After 28 years with Koch Industries, Chris Hamman might be excused for wanting to spend a little more time on the golf course.
Instead, he’s taking a swing at his own golf business, opening a store that seeks to match players with the right clubs for their swings.
“Everybody has a unique swing,” said Hamman, who opened Golf Etc. on North Greenwich Road last week. “It’s like a fingerprint. We can either take their existing clubs and alter them or help clients buy clubs fit for their swing.”
Hamman’s store is one of about 30 franchises in Texas-based Golf Etc. The company’s website says it’s the fastest-growing retail golf franchise in the country.
Hamman, a native of Overbrook, which is near Topeka, played four years of golf for the University of Kansas before moving to Wichita.
What sets Golf Etc. apart, Hamman said, is proprietary club-fitting technology that was developed by D’Lance Golf of Colorado and licensed to Golf Etc.
That, and the person Hamman hired as his club technician – Bruce Martin, who did the same job for the Calloway Golf company for nearly a decade. While working for Calloway, Martin made or repaired clubs for such pros as Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Annika Sorenstam. Prior to Calloway, Martin worked for Mizuno, another club maker.
Golf Etc. uses technology to analyze a customer’s golf swing in one of two fitting bays, measuring such things as club speed, ball speed, spin rate and carry distance. Then it recommends what kind of club would work best with the client’s swing, from the loft angle of the club head to the amount of flexibility in the shaft.
“There’s a lot of technology in one golf club,” Hamman said.
One morning this week, Hamman analyzed a customer whose 6-iron was spraying golf balls all over the simulated course. The recommended cure: a stiffer shaft, which improved his accuracy.
Hamman’s 5,600-square-foot shop is full of gleaming new irons and woods from Ping, TaylorMade, Calloway and a half-dozen other manufacturers, along with bags, balls, shoes, clothes and anything else a golfer could want. There’s equipment for women and children as well as men.
The store will celebrate its grand opening March 27-30, with representatives of many of the club manufacturers on hand.
Martin said the right club is guaranteed to make a difference.
“I’m not going to say five shots off your game, but ultimately this is going to lead to lower scores,” he said.
Of course, there are a couple other routes to improvement – lessons and practice.
“Our recommendation is that you do both,” Hamman said. “We focus on the equipment side.”