RORY McIlroy had a helping hand from Portadown-born Peter McClelland during his preparations for the Irish Open.
McIlroy’s bid to bag home success at Royal Portrush led to a call for Peter to visit the home of the former world number one and conduct a driver custom-fitting session on behalf of Titleist.
Peter, who spent seven years at Carrickblacker under Paul Stevenson and is a PGA-qualified professional based in Loughgall Country Park, staged the one-on-one session at McIlroy’s home outside Carryduff.
“I cover Ireland as a Titleist club custom-fitting technician so got the call one morning and drove up from Dublin for the meeting,” said Peter. “I was delighted to get the call and Rory was brilliant.
“Rory was at home with his dad, Gerry, plus caddy, coach and a Titleist Tour representative.
“The process can take anything from 30 minutes to almost two hours and I basically use radar and a special launch monitor to track each player’s shot then use that information to put together the best possible Titleist club.
“We analyse areas such as impact, launch angle and spin rate to fine-tune the club specifications for the individual.”
McIlroy’s home, which has a 335-yard driving range, was the perfect place for the meeting, and the former US Open winner could test out his equipment.
“It was a wonderful experience working with one of the game’s top players and his numbers were amazing,” said Peter.
“As we were waiting for the information to download and transfer across Rory went in and made tea for everyone then we spent time chatting away about the Irish Open and football. It was extremely interesting working with a player of Rory’s talent and something I never imagined I would get a chance to do.
“Tandragee Golf Club’s Stuart Paul has been a big help in his role as a sales representative for Titleist and Footjoy and the job is brilliant.
“I am also enjoying my work based at Loughgall Country Park but certainly getting to fit a Major winner has to go down as the best moment of my career.”