I enjoyed our esteemed equipment guru James Savage’s latest column about why we choose to buy new golf clubs over having much-needed lessons. You can read that here – after you’re finished with this, of course.
I’ve told this story, but I’ll tell it again. I always think of an incident that happened many moons ago – during my student days, in fact.
I was in Broadmead in Bristol, the city’s main shopping area, and I’d popped into the UK’s No. 1 sports retailer – their words, not mine – and while waiting to pay I heard an immortal line from behind me in the queue, in the thickest Westcountry accent.
“Here, babe, I bet I’ll hit this 300 yards every time.”
I turned to see a couple who were, I would say, in their late 30s. The gentleman was checking out his reflection in the head of brand new driver and his wife was staring at her phone. (Probably playing Snake. This was, after all, circa 2003.) I had a little smile to myself and made a mental note to tell my housemates.
The driver in question, by the way, was the Donnay Slammer – remember those? – and was a whopping £9.99 marked down from £19.99.
Now, I mean no disrespect to Donnay or, indeed, this gentleman who brightened up my day. He obviously believed that a snazzy new driver with a shiny 460CC titanium head would make him hit the ball further, and this attitude is just typical of that from people I have encountered week in week out in my 10-plus years in the golf industry.
Can’t keep the ball in play off the tee? Must be the driver.
Struggling to find the green from the fairway? Time for some new irons.
Why won’t the ball go in the hole? Maybe I need to try a blade putter. Or a mallet putter. What about one of those putters that looks like it was modelled on a space station?
Whatever you put in the bag, though, the issue can’t possibly be you, can it? Hell, I was guilty of this myself for so long.
It’s so easy to chuck money at a problem and buy the latest, flashiest gear that the marketing bods tell us will help us hit the ball further, and get the ball in the hole in fewer shots, and get our handicaps down, and probably bring peace on Earth.
Why is it so hard for so many people to accept that the problem is quite simply not enough practice?
And why are people so reluctant to pay for and have lessons? Is it because you’re not getting a physical product in return, something you can show off to your mates on the 1st tee?
I have a friend who plays off 18 and refuses to budge from his Mizuno tour irons because “they’re the best looking club on the market”. It doesn’t matter how pretty a club is – if it doesn’t do the job for you, it may as well be a pick axe.
Of course, there are benefits to having the right gear for your game, but try out every brand and find out which is best for you. Then get custom fitted into clubs with the correct lie and loft and other nuggets of data suited to your swing.
But the bottom line if you think having the right gear in your bag is going to make you a better player, then you’re in for a shock. You’re not going to get better without working on your game.
Go and see your local pro and I’ll guarantee he can come up with a good deal that works for you financially and around your schedule. And practice, practice, practice. Then practice some more. At least then you don’t have any excuses. There’s a reason Justin Rose can go from TaylorMade to Honma and carry on winning.
I never did find out if that man could hit it 300 yards – but I’d bet my house that he never even got close. Now if he’d bought some lessons…
Shout out to Jonny Rattenbury, the assistant pro at my old club, Okehampton, who shot 58 there last week.
Here’s his card:
Assistant pro and bloody good rep at my old stomping ground shot 58 yesterday.
Drinks are on him. (In him.) pic.twitter.com/vNCRd8XXtJ
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) January 24, 2019
A couple of notes:
1. Bogey on the 1st!
2. The course was shortened from par-68 to par-66 – but 8-under is still incredible, man on Twitter who pointed this out despite never having broken 80 himself.
Our little secret
This is great.
When you win the club comp but can't claim the fame ?
We’ve all been there.
Elsewhere, I’ve been in the States this weekend, where National Club Golfer was the only overseas brand invited to the Under Armour media day at Dallas National to chat with Jordan Spieth about the brand new Spieth 3 Under Armour golf shoes.
When Jordan Spieth invites you to his hometown to tell you about his new Under Armour shoes, you clear your diary. pic.twitter.com/vowDuUFUv8
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) January 28, 2019
As well as his new kicks, we had a good old fashioned chinwag about The Masters and The Open. It’ll all be on National Club Golfer soon, so keep an eye out for that.