In this edition of Fourball, Steve Carroll, Alex Perry and James Savage join me to discuss what lengths we all go, or not, to make sure our clubs are looking and performing their best…
Give yourself a mark out of 10 for how well you look after your clubs?
Steve: I’ve let myself down. Normally, and particularly if there’s a decent competition to be played, I’ve slaved away with a brush and a bit of chamois and they are gleaming. But they’ve been stuck in the boot of my car for a few weeks now, my precious Scotty is rusting in the damp conditions, and I can’t even be arsed to carry around a towel to get the grooves clean during a round. It’s a disgrace and I must humbly ask all of your forgiveness. 1/10.
Alex: I’d give myself 10/10 for the way I look after everything I own, I’m oddly particular like that. I clean my clubs all the time and sort my bag out before and after every round. The state of some playing partner’s bags I’ve seen down the years makes me feel sick just thinking about it.
James: I’m pretty good with cleaning my clubs. I like to make sure everything is in order the night before I play. I was the same when it came to football boots. However, I have a lot of clubs in my boot at all times and they are susceptible to damage. I’ll give myself 7/10.
My verdict: If Steve is awarding himself 1/10 for temporarily letting himself down then I would certainly be a big fat zero. I have two sets of irons in the same bag, neither of which have ever been cleaned, and I’ve got no idea what is any of the pockets other than some very strong painkillers. I work on the assumption that I play best when things are muddled, and if everything is sparkling and sitting in their compartment then I feel like there’s only one way to go from such a spectacular start.
Are you weird about where you keep them and the rest of your golfing accessories?
James: My gamers live in my bag in the boot of my car. My other two sets of back-up clubs also live in the boot of my car. I have a lot of equipment in the office and like to keep the clubs I will actually use separate from all the testing samples that come in. I also have four pairs of shoes that live in the boot of my car, about 100 balls, 15 gloves and three sets of waterproofs. At home, I have an entire wardrobe full of golf shoes but I don’t keep any clubs in the house.
Steve: I’ve a box in my office that can only be used to store my ever-growing number of ball markers and pitchmarks. There’s more than 200 of them now, from all over the world, and most of them have never been used. I hate to think how much cash I’ve frittered away on them in the last couple of years. I’m just a bit of a freak, really.
Alex: I keep my golf clubs in my home office – another good reason to make sure everything is clean. The bottom of my wardrobe is dedicated to all my sporting accessories, from football boots to squash racquet to cycling helmet, all neatly organised in order of how often I use them. I don’t think any of that is weird, but you might.
My verdict: Where to start? If my marriage breaks down then never offer to let me move in for a short time to sort myself out. I have around eight boxes full of tat, gloves, balls, tee bags, batteries for lasers that have since been lost and spare spikes even though I don’t wear spikes any more that are scattered around the house. The clubs sit in a corner of the garage, this is the only constant.
A friend used to sleep with his Newbery cricket bat which, to be fair, you could understand given it was a thing of beauty and cost him a pretty penny. If you were to take one of your starting XIV to bed which one would it be and why?
Alex: I told you my cricket bat fetish in confidence. Hilarious jokes aside, I have an odd relationship with my putter and if anything were to ever happen to it I’d… I’d… well, I’d buy a new one. But I love it. We take care of each other.
James: My 58˚ wedge. It’s a Vokey SM7 in the K-grind which is the widest sole they do. It’s probably the best club I’ve ever had.
Steve: My driver and I endure a relationship that can best be described as ‘torrid’. We can go from inseparable to jumping off a bridge in the space of a few days. But, since it’s behaving itself at the moment, we are very much in love and it’s wearing in a shaft-shaped groove on the other side of my bed.
My verdict: A colleague keeps a large collection of three bean salad tins to cover any eventuality like an apocalypse. I should do the same with the Callaway Sure Out wedge which is 64˚ of pure goodness and a club that has finally given me one option, other than putting it, when I’m within 20 yards of the hole. If anything’s going to join me in the super king size, it’s that.