Arccos Ambassador Profile: Bryan LaRoche and the Intersection of Data and Club fitting
If you’re a club-fitting fanatic, Bryan LaRoche is an industry icon. His Instagram account, @bryangolf, has more than 33,000 followers. He has his own wildly popular podcast, BryanGolf Show, and has been a guest on countless others.
Eminently entertaining and informative, he’s appeared in hundreds of YouTube episodes and has been interviewed by just about every major golf media outlet about the myriad benefits of club fitting.
His shop on Fleming Island, Fla. is the golf junkie’s equivalent of “Cheers,” featuring just about every brand of clubs, shafts, training aides and more.
“About 15% of my clients are Arccos users,” LaRoche says. “I can tell right away when they come in if they use Arccos because they are so proud to show me all their data.”
As you might expect from an admitted techie who deals in loft, lie and spin rate, LaRoche was an early Arccos adopter. He’s been pleasantly surprised by how many golfers he works with understand the inherent connection between on-course data and club fitting.
“When someone comes in with their Arccos data, they have a realistic expectation of the average distances with every club and that can save us a lot of time,” he says. “If they don’t have Arccos, they might come in thinking they hit 7-iron 185 yards, but they actually hit 6-iron that distance. The Arccos player is the opposite.”
Distance being all the rage on the PGA TOUR these days, you’d think that every club-fitting session might turn into an attempted long-drive contest. But LaRoche says that’s actually not the case. His clients are seeking accuracy, more so than power, and want to better manage their misses.
“Arccos users can go into the app and you see that they come up short a lot [on approach shots], well, that player either grossly mis-hits the ball or is mis-clubbing,” says LaRoche. “That’s where a fitting comes in. I might have a player who thinks he leaks it right all the time but actually snap hooks it left just as often. But he doesn’t like the look of the leak to the right, so he is focused on that. But with Arccos we have the data to counter biases and provide a better club fitting experience.”
Better Fitting Through Strokes Gained Analytics
Using Arccos’ club-level data to enhance a club fitting is like algebra. Tapping into Arccos Strokes Gained Analytics feature to really dial in performance is more like calculus, according to LaRoche. He says Arccos members should be looking for lost strokes as a precursor to a club fitting.
“When you see red [indicating lost strokes] you should be wondering if the clubs you use on those shots are properly dialed in,” LaRoche says. “For example, if you are hitting your 4- and 5-iron the same distance, maybe it is time to switch to a hybrid. Getting fit is the number one thing you can do to improve your game with minimal effort.”
Arccos Strokes Gained Analytics Feature and club fitting go hand-in-golf-glove since the primary objective of getting custom-fit clubs is to lower one’s scores. LaRoche says conversely, strokes gained data can also help club fitters drill down the root cause of a problem.
“An Arccos user might be losing strokes on his or her approach shots and I’ll say ‘why did you sign up for a driver fitting, then,’” he says, laughing. “Or take putting as an example. Sometimes golfers are bad putters because they are bad green readers or bad with speed. But oftentimes they aren’t hitting their irons close enough to the hole, which is a function of their approach game, not their putting necessarily. Strokes gained analytics is where every fitting should begin.”
Practice What You Preach
A rock-solid amateur golfer with a plus-1.5 GHIN handicap, LaRoche leans on Arccos for course management. He’s played in more tournaments in 2021 than any other year by far, he says, and uses Arccos Preview Caddie to prepare for competition.
“I do a lot of homework with Arccos, almost the same way a caddie would prepare for his TOUR player,” LaRoche says. “I use it for cover distances for bunkers and hazards and to get landing area yardages and into greens. Essentially, I rely on Arccos to tell me how to play golf.”
And lately, Arccos has been telling LaRoche to work on his putting – and it’s working. He played in the U.S. Open Qualifier in May and finished -7.7 in strokes gained putting. In mid-July, he played in the Florida Open Championship qualifier and was +2.8, a dramatic swing.
“I was hitting my approach shots close to the pin, according to my Arccos data, so I know it had to be something with my putting,” he says. “I switched into a new putter, a new grip and had a conversation with a friend on TOUR who told me I need a consistent routine.”
To learn more about Bryan LaRoche and Bryan Golf, visit www.bryangolf.golf.
As an Arccos Caddie member, be sure to leverage your Arccos account during your next fitting. Or even examine your Smart Club Distances to see if you should be scheduling your next fitting sooner rather than later!