THE ULTIMATE CLUB MASTER
Derek Murray is renowned worldwide as a golf club custom-fitter par excellence. The award-winning Irishman with a big personality set up his ForeGolf business more than 20 years ago working out of a small shop just outside Dublin. Today, he and his family-oriented team operate a modern custom centre at Killeen Castle, Co. Meath providing amateur golfers with the same degree of fitting expertise as he once dispensed for several Major champions on Tour.
Where did you fine tune your club making skills?
I worked with Golfsmith in the UK and USA and took all their club-making courses and credit a lot of help to Neil Cooke of Golfsmith UK. I also did a spell of training with Dynacraft/Diamond Golf under the late Chris Treacy. The late, Barry Willett from Mizuno also helped me a lot when I first went out on Tour. I got a huge amount of help and began to hone my craft with Loic Monchallin and David Richalot from Cleveland Golf on the European Tour. The biggest fine tuning came from doing all the fittings over the years, as every player is different and it helps you to improve your process and achieve the true craft of club fitting.
What reaction do you find most rewarding when a customer hits with the clubs that you’ve fitted?
Our process for fitting clubs and then building them to an exact specification means we see great results on a regular basis. Even the large golf brands struggle to build the clubs as well as we do, so great reactions and instant drops in handicap are a regular occurrence. We recently asked our customers to review what we do and how they have improved and to date we’ve had over 500 reviews with very positive messages of wins, lower handicaps, more fun and enjoying the game more. My father particularly loves to hear the customers’ stories of their reduced handicaps or winning the monthly medal. It’s good for us all to hear that we are making a difference and that our customers are getting the most from our custom clubs.
What particular skill in club-making marks out your craftsmanship?
We’re most famous for our consistency and extremely low tolerances. We have a cap on daily production, which means we can only build a certain number of clubs each day in order to meet with our quality controls and build consistency levels. The ability to ‘read’ the player quickly is also a trait that I have become very good at over the years and getting to the right shaft and head spec quickly is what I’ve become very talented at.
What does it take to be the best in the field and what brands do you fit most of?
It’s been over 20 years of a dedication to our craft and we never wavered from our path of building the best clubs using the best components and creating one of the best and most successful experiences in golf. We stuck to our core values of making the process all about the player. We focus on making a difference and not about selling clubs. We work with all of the major equipment brands and have quite an even split of product application, as it’s all about what works best for the individual golfer. We also have a lot of mixed product bags with different products doing different jobs. We were one of the first brand agnostic fitting centres and one of the first in the world to be allowed the license to build clubs outside of the factories.
When did you come across Galvin Green for the first time?
I came across the Galvin Green product on Tour and remember seeing the logo on some of the players. I then got invited on a press trip on behalf of Golf Digest Ireland a few years ago where I was properly introduced to not only the products, but also the design team and great people behind the brand. Then I realized that we both shared a similar mind set. At Galvin Green, they only use the best components, have an extraordinary attention to detail, have the best build quality and employ the best people to design, support and drive the product. It was the easiest thing to partner with Galvin Green and its culture and I’ve been a fan and an ambassador for the brand ever since.