Confessions of a Hacker – New Sticks

Filed in Other by on April 17, 2012

The time had finally come – after a few years of regular service in the bag, eight more years of sitting reasonably dormant and a final couple of year helping with my ‘born-again golfer’ status, my old Cobra Series One irons were ready for retirement. But which set of irons would take over the mantle of being blamed for my ongoing poor performances? It was off to Drummond Golf for the ‘audition’ process to begin…

One thing that had become increasingly apparent over the past two years was that my game was a shadow of its former self; a more forgiving set of irons better suited to a mid-handicapper would be required this time. Down to the back of Drummond’s Fyshwick outlet I headed, to try out an array of clubs in the practice net facility.

The irons short list quickly developed into a race in five, between the Taylor Made RBX, Callaway Razr-X, Cobra AMP, Wilson Staff and Cleveland CG 16 sets. Five then became two, with only the Taylor Made and Cobra sets still in the running.

At this point, the benefits of getting your clubs fitted started to kick in.

I was leaning to the Taylor Made set, but Matt (who was doing my club fitting) was adamant that I’d hit them too high and that I should try the Cobras again, but with stiff shafts rather than the regular flex. Half a dozen swings with the suggested club were all that was needed to be sold on the proposal – the Cobras with stiff shafts would end up in my bag.

The fitting process didn’t end there though. After going through a series of measurement processes, a club with tell-tale white tape on the sole and the face was brought out, in order to establish the points of contact with both ball and ground. A few swings later: “Okay, try this one now. It’s half an inch longer, so for a 5-iron it would be the same length as your normal 4-iron, and so forth”. A few more swings with the longer club, then time to inspect the evidence.

The evidence was both telling and a little counterintuitive at first. The standard length club had a couple of strike in the middle but just as many towards the heel; everything from the longer club was coming out of the middle. Matt explained the unusual results this way: “Club Fitting 101 suggests that when someone hits a few out of the heel, it’s because the club is too long and they need a shorter one. But you’re actually getting stuck too close to the ball with the shorter club and overcompensating to try and dig it out at impact; with the longer club, you stand further away and just swing through the line”.

Much like my golf lesson where a buried head at address was diagnosed as the problem, I’d have never thought to solve hitting balls out of the heel via choosing a longer club.

If you’re a regular golfer whose annual spending on golf is substantial once memberships, comp fees, equipment etc. are all added together, a new set of irons isn’t going to be bought in a haphazard way*. And if you’re going to invest time, effort and dollars into a new set of clubs, it pays to have them fitted, either by your local club pro or by a retailer who offers such fitting services.

The new sticks will take some getting used to, as a front nine of 52 in their debut performance would indicate. But if the back nine of that same round is any indication of things to come, they will prove to be a great investment. Here’s hoping.

* I’m assuming that the people who read this column are either regular golfers or my Mum. If you fit into the latter category, hi Mum.


Previous ‘Confessions of a Hacker’ columns:

(1)  Seeking help, (2) Racking them up, (3) Holding your nerve, (4) Five-foot putts, (5) Letting the Big Dog eat, (6)  Slow play, (7) Trust the yardage , (8) Learning from low markers, (9) Learning from high markers, (10) Playing in the sandpit, (11) Shaping your shots, (12) Missing one-foot putts


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