I spent about an hour yesterday in Brockton, MA with Joe Izzo of the Foot Joy staff who was running a test as part of Foot Joy's ongoing research into the dynamics of what makes their golf shoes great.
I climbed into my car and drove the hour and fifteen minutes from my home on Cape Cod to the factory in Brockton, Massachusetts. Brockton is an old industrial hub, the site of many once proud companies involved in a range of businesses. Foot Joy was one of several shoe manufacturers that called Brockton home. Located south and west of Boston, I remember Brockton as the home town of one of the great boxers of all time, Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. It is also the home town of my first grade crush...Ah, those sweet memories...!!
In any case, I arrived at the Foot Joy site, the old factory where Foot Joy Classics were produced until a few years ago.It is a a gritty part of town, not untypical of where you would find a factory. After signing in, I met my host for the next hour or so, Joe Izzo, Joe is a golf fanatic, a one handicap in his mid twenties who, as he said, "Knew from the time I was seven years old", that he wanted to work in the golf industry and for Foot Joy. He worked as an intern for a year and impressed the staff with his enthusiasm and hard work. The company and Joe haven't looked back since...
Joe took me through a maze of hallways and up the stairs to a room set up fro shoe testing. We walked through Foot Joy history, this old and proud factory that produced some of the best golf shoes ever made.
Opening the door, I entered a room with a wall lined with boxes of golf shoes and an indoor driving range - Think of a simulator and elevate the technology a few notches.
Now, while I thought this "test" was to evaluate Foot Joy shoes for my own benefit, the reality was a bit different. I joined others who had volunteered to help Foot Joy evaluate shoes under hitting conditions. I had brought my 5,7, and nine irons and Joe explained that the research department wanted to compare how testers hit golf balls while wearing different models of shoes - Today was FY Sport versus M Projects. Joe fitted me into each shoe style and I hit several shots with each club in each pair of shoes. He applied contact tape to the bottom of each iron for each shot so that club sole contact point with each shoe style could be evaluated. There will be other tests hitting other clubs and comparing how well or poorly testers hit the ball in other shoes.
For me, there was little to no difference in my sole contact points wearing M Projects or Sport shoes. Personally, I like the structure and support of the Sport shoe and still prefer my ICONS over either of these two styles. But this was the first time I had tried on either of these models and given how short a period of time I was in them, I would not rule out either shoe for future purchase.
All in all, I had a wonderful experience at the FJ site and cannot wait for the next request to test from Joe. he is a great guy, as enthusiastic and passionate about the game as one could hope for. Foot Joy certainly has a keeper in Joe!
Next time, I'll bring a camera and document the process and site for all FJC members to view..