Meet the LeBron James of club fitting

June 6, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by Austad’s Golf.

Every industry has its superstars, its legends. The tech industry had Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Manufacturing had Henry Ford and Jack Welch. Basketball has LeBron James. Football has Tom Brady.

And the golf custom fitting business has Dan Rotert of Sioux Falls.

For the past 13 years, Rotert has operated as a master fitter at Austad’s flagship location on East 10th Street.

While Rotert might have less name recognition than Jobs, James or Brady, his accomplishments place him in exclusive company in the golf industry.  Here are a few of Rotert’s numbers to illustrate the point:

  • Over 34,000 golfers custom fit in the state of South Dakota, 27 percent of the state’s golfing population.
  • 17,000 hours custom fitting golfers; put another way, Dan has spent almost two years helping golfers play better with the right equipment at the right specifications.
  • 102,000 strokes saved on handicaps. The average golfer gains three strokes per round after being fit for equipment.
  • Recognition from the games biggest manufacturers such as Ping, Callaway and Taylormade as a master fitter.

How does one ascend to such lofty heights? Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, driving him to be great. Brady was drafted in the sixth round. Rotert’s story is a little different.

Rotert grew up in Sioux Falls and developed an “addiction” for golf his junior year of high school. Upon graduation, he joined the Marine Corps and promptly moved to South Carolina.

While stationed overseas, Rotert was able to take up the game in a bigger way.

“Any chance I got, I was out on the course; golf became my passion,” he said. In the meantime, Rotert’s mother set him up with a nice girl back home. When he wasn’t golfing, he was writing letters to his new girlfriend back home. After six years in the Marine Corps, Rotert married his wife, Sherri, and moved to Denver where she would attend law school.

“In Denver, I began working as a software engineer,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in the details and the numbers.”

While working as an engineer was rewarding, it wasn’t Dan’s passion. He spent evenings reading through club building books, learning everything he could about the art of club making and custom fitting. The couple had three kids while Sherri attended law school “and she graduated No. 1 in her class,” Rotert said, with a big smile on his face.

Three kids and a wife with a career in law led Rotert to stay home. As if taking care of three kids weren’t enough, he took a golf club building class in Denver. He started building custom sets in the Denver area.

“I built over 200 sets for people who needed clubs that would truly help them improve their game. It was a lot of fun.”

An opportunity back home brought the family of five to Sioux Falls.

“I immediately applied at Austad’s,” he said.

Austad’s, a family-owned golf retailer synonymous with custom fitting, would prove to be a perfect fit.

“In the early days, fitting was rudimentary. It was like someone handing you a hammer and saying build a house,” he said.

“Austad’s however has every tool needed to conduct Tour-level fittings, from state-of-the-art technology to hundreds of shaft options. We have so much confidence in what we do, it’s all in the numbers. Our customers can see on the screen the performance gains we can get them through a proper fitting. My engineering background really helped prepare me to fit golfers by leveraging large amounts of data.”

Always thirsting for more information, Rotert has attended Austad’s Fitting School, Ping’s Tour Fitting Academy and Callaway University. Each year, he passes online education from each key manufacturer ensuring he knows every detail about the products he ultimately recommends to his customers.

“I love when a customer can see results. I love helping people play better golf by building them clubs designed for their size, swing and skill,” he said. “I love seeing the excitement on their face when what we do really works.”

As you can imagine, Rotert has built a loyal following over 13 years of fitting the area’s golfers.

“I get emails and calls almost weekly from happy customers that want me to know that Dan is the reason they knocked five strokes off their handicap, got a hole in one or just won the state golf title,” said Austad’s president Ryan Austad. “Dan is one of a kind, and we are fortunate to have him.”

One of Rotert’s favorite fitting stories involves a gentleman who was reluctant to be fit in the first place.

“His kids got him a fitting and a gift card for his retirement gift. He begrudgingly showed up with a firm belief that his old set was fine.”

After an in-depth fitting and a new set of irons, he was off playing the best golf of his life.

“One week into playing his new clubs, he got his first hole in one. His kids even had me order an extra six iron so he could frame the club that got him the elusive ace. He still calls every once in awhile after a great round to thank me for the fitting; it’s a great feeling.”

Custom fitting is part science and part art. This father of three from Sioux Falls has mastered the formula, delighting golfers along the way. LeBron James, Bill Gates, Jack Welch and Dan Rotert — all industry superstars.  You can schedule your fitting with Rotert or any other master fitter at Austad’s by following this link.

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Meet the LeBron James of club fitting

Basketball has LeBron James. Golf custom fitting has Dan Rotert of Sioux Falls.

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