The unique challenge of customizing NFL star Saquon Barkley for golf clubs

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The unique challenge of customizing NFL star Saquon Barkley for golf clubs

From:

Rachel Bleier


September 27, 2021

Saquon Barkley is obsessed with golf – and just keeps getting better.

True Spec Golf

Let’s play a word association game. What do you think of when you hear the name Saquon Barkley?

Some common answers can be: New York Giants, Running Back, NFL Star. You definitely don’t think of “golfers”. But you’re wrong about that.

When the 24-year-old Giants running back started playing in the summer, the golf virus bit him hard. Like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and other NFL stars, Barkley found an outlet for the innate competitiveness that comes with being a top athlete. And he’s determined to get better.

“I’m super competitive,” said Barkley. “And I can’t beat my boys in it yet.”

He wants to be the best in everything he does, including golf. That’s a huge challenge for someone who’s just picked up the game, and that’s exactly why Barkley walked through the doors of True Spec Golf’s downtown NYC location in August – a pit stop before his tee time at 3 p.m. later that day . (True Spec Golf is owned by the same parent company as GOLF.com.)

We weren’t sure what to expect from Barkley’s fitting. He has “the strongest legs in the NFL”, to hear it, and is clearly an incredible athlete, but golf is a difficult game even for the most athletically gifted. But as soon as Barkley started swinging, his raw strength was evident. Barkley walked with the enthusiasm of Bryson DeChambeau after every ball in a long drive contest. And when he got his hands on one, the boy flew – his best drive was 350 yards.

The golfer you are vs. the golfer you will be

As a beginner, Barkley’s raw technique left him with a two-way shot, so the main goal of this adjustment was to straighten his shots and gain some distance.

Equipping a beginner with his strength can be a challenge, however, as the upper limit for improvement is so high and his swing can change drastically as he gets better. Even so, True Spec Master Fitter Caulen Coe says it’s best to adapt to the golfer you are now, not the golfer you will become. This way, golfers can benefit from instant results on the course.

“When he starts working with the right teacher, his technique will be better when he says he wants to play,” Coe said.

Throughout the fitting, Barkley couldn’t get enough. Whenever Coe had to change a club head or shaft to find the best setup for his game, Barkley would beg to hit a different one. “Just one more,” was the saying of the day.

Trust the process

Barkley didn’t just enjoy hitting golf balls, however. He was invested in the process. His eyes sparkled every time Coe opened a drawer full of shiny new club heads. And when it came time to review the results of various club builds he had just put to the test, Barkley was ready with questions.

That investment in the club fitting process is something Coe has identified as necessary to finding the right clubs, be it for an NFL star or an average joe. Coe said it was like having a suit tailored – there is a perfect fit for everyone.

Barkley’s latest driver build.

Rachel Bleier

“When you come to True Spec, you say, ‘I’ll make the investment,'” Coe said. “And hopefully if you put the time and effort in, you will get better.”

Barkley’s final build included a Callaway Epic MX DR 9 driver with an Autoflex SF505XX shaft, Miura PI 401 irons (4-9), and 54 and 58 degree Miura Tour wedges, complete with a stamp of his logo.

When the fitting was over, Barkley checked his watch and then asked his agent a question.

His agent replied: “3 p.m.”

“Oh, we have to go,” said Barkley.

A tee time was expected.

Are you ready to revamp your game? Find a suitable location near you at the GOLF subsidiary True Spec Golf.

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Rachel Bleier

Golf.com editor

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