Gulfshore Artisans: T.J. Shelton
Meet the manager and master fitter at the TaylorMade Performance Lab at Tiburón Golf Club.
T. J. Shelton
Manager and master fitter at the TaylorMade Performance Lab at Tiburón Golf Club
Got his start: Turned pro Jan. 6, 2006
In Southwest Florida since: 2006
Billy Graham says that the only time his prayers aren’t answered is on the golf course. While many golfers would likely agree, others have been blessed to come across T.J. Shelton, manager and master fitter at the new TaylorMade Performance Lab located in Tiburón Golf Club. A former professional golfer himself, Shelton is equal parts Old World master and futuristic seer when it comes to getting everyone from the weekend duffer to current PGA pros hitting their best. And thanks to the advanced 3-D motion capture technology used in the Lab, golfers can see just how much better they’re hitting with Shelton’s custom creations versus what they’re using now. It’s not uncommon for golfers to immediately add yards and accuracy, thanks to what he can build—often right on premises while you wait. So if you spend much time cursing at your clubs (and you know who you are), he’s someone you should consider getting to know.
What he does
“My goal, when you walk in the door, is not to sell you golf clubs; my goal is that when you leave your fitting session, you understand exactly what I fit you for and why I fit you for it. There are several factors in a golf club that affect golf swing, the most important being weight, flex and length. Those are the three main componentsof a dynamic club fitting."
His unique insight
“Being a pro, I’ve seen a bunch of different golf swings. Some are hideous-looking and some are picture perfect. And some of the ones that are hideous-looking get results, and some that look picture perfect are struggling. I understand the lines of communication that have to go between golfer and fitter. I know the right questions to ask and the answers to listen for. I think there is a world of difference when you can actually play the game at a high level yourself.”
Thank goodness for the 21st century
“Twenty years ago, we didn’t have radar-based launch monitors. We didn’t have top-of-the-line laser frequency analyzers. We didn’t have adjustable drivers that you could change the locks on. It’s a natural climb, like cell phones and computers. As technology gets better, they have transferred that into the golf club design and into new, cutting-edge materials that are lighter and make the golfer swing it faster. Materials are the difference. A new club will give you a larger sweet spot. It will give you—through a combination of shaft and loft—the ability to maximize your launch angle. And it’s also going to be a lot lighter, making it easier for you to control. And when it’s easier for you to control a golf club, you swing on plane better and hit the sweet spot more consistently. Titanium vs. steel and obviously wood: You’ll see a difference with launch and distance and that will allow you to hit the seven iron (for example) farther than you did years ago, which is going to eventually lead to lower scores because you’re getting closer to the hole.”
“From the time I was three years old—when I started playing golf—I knew I wanted to be a professional athlete. And golf, for me, was the one. I wasn’t the biggest, I wasn’t the fastest, but I have been extremely blessed with great hand-eye coordination, so golf just came naturally to me. I turned pro right after graduating from college and played for three years (his highest finish was fifth). But I had a couple of potential sponsors fall through. Sponsorships free your mind up and give you the peace of mind that if you miss the cut this week, it’s not the end of the world. You’re going to miss a cut or two or three here and there.