During the winter season, avid golfers have fewer opportunities to go out on the course to work on their game, but thanks to Club Champion, they can still make offseason adjustments.
Matt Siegel, Club Champion's vice president of marketing and sales, said it was on the verge of becoming the nation's top golf club fitting company. Following the opening of a Club Champion store on Halpine Road in Rockville, golfers in Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and Virginia now have access to premium club fitting.
"What the Rockville location allows us to do is it allows us to market to folks in Maryland and in Virginia," Siegel said. "We don't have many locations that give us that broad of reach."
Club fittings can range from $90-$350, depending on the type of club. Through Feb. 15, Club Champion is offering 50 percent off any club fitting, and it is releasing new equipment throughout January.
The company's first store opened in Willowbrook, Ill., in 1995, and it was the only store open for 15 years. The company went national in 2010 after receiving funds from a private investment group, which allowed it to open a chain of stores, Siegel said.
The Rockville location will be the company's seventh store, and an eighth will launch in January in Orlando, Fla. Multiple Club Champion locations were included in the 2013 edition of Golf Magazine's biennial listing of the nation's top 100 club fitters.
The company's primary service is club fitting, but it also offers club building, makes repairs on site and hosts corporate events, Siegel said.
"It becomes a pretty cool corporate event that is different -- that some haven't done before," Siegel said.
Most club-fitting businesses use a standard club-fitting cart, which isn't always able to match different style shafts with the various brands of club heads, Siegel said. Club Champion uses the Club Conex, a universal club-connecting system, which Siegel said separated the company's stores from other club fitters. Most stores use a limited fitting cart, while the Club Conex can fit any style shaft to the top-of-the-line brand club heads.
"When you're talking about going and getting a club fit," Siegel said, "if you've got six choices versus 600 choices, it just stands to reason that the more choices you have, the better chance you're going to have to hone in on something that's going to work better for your game."
The other systems Club Champion uses are Trackman Launch Monitors and the Science and Motion PuttLab. The company also strives to have the most experienced club fitters in its stores, Siegel said.
"There's an art to the science in club fitting," Siegel said, "and that takes some time. You've got to hone your craft."
Siegel said most people thought premium club fitting was for low-handicap players only, but he felt custom fittings were more beneficial for players with a higher handicap. His rationale was that high-end, more experienced players have less room to improve and fewer strokes to remove from their game compared with those who consistently shoot higher above par.
"The best part about Club Champion is at the end of the day, we are 100 percent dedicated to people improving their scores through proper club fitting," Siegel said. "If you don't improve, we haven't done our job."