Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My utility club dilemma, new toys, good service, and bad baseball

Raise your hand if you can hit your 3-iron consistently well. Not all at once. Anyone? Okay, you in the back… you may be dismissed. And here’s a one-iron as a parting gift.

Does everyone else have a hybrid or a 7-wood or, like me, do you just sacrifice that yardage and hit the crap out of a 4-iron or go easy on a 5-wood? My 5-wood used to be my favorite club aside from my driver (someday I hope my putter will earn the spot). Lately, I haven’t been able to hit either of my fairway woods well (I have a five and a three and yes, I’m aware they aren’t actually wood). Maybe it’s because my irons are really developing and it’s messing up my wood swing. For now, that’s okay. I’ve managed to play well without them for the most part, only breaking them out in dire situations. Hitting a wood fat has more effect on the shot (decreasing yardage) than hitting an iron fat. But at least it goes straight. I will get my wood swing back. I’m assigning it to the inexperience and developing categories. Meanwhile, my 4-iron is probably the club I use the most in an 18-hole round. I use it from the tee, from the rough, from the fairway, from the bunker and for longer punch shots. I think I have fallen in love with my 4-iron. We go everywhere together. Probably even to places where it’s inappropriate. But that’s part of what love is, right? I feel like I abandoned my 3-iron prematurely, though. Like if I would have given it some of the attention my 4-iron was getting, maybe we’d be a nice, happy ménage-a-trois. But alas, I’ve neglected it. Since I’m getting so comfortable with my 4-iron, I’m thinking the 3 can’t be that different. I just didn’t want to risk it in my journey to the club championship. Why mess with something that’s working well enough? Well, to make it better, of course. And now I can.

Ready for a small spending spree

A week before the club championship, I went down to my local Pro Golf Discount. I’d been keeping my eye on the Taylor Made Rescue clubs. I figured if I didn’t want to change things up immediately, I still wanted one or two in my bag for later. The prices have really come down lately. Golfsmith had them for $129.99 and Pro Golf had them for $119.99. (Side note – Costco has also lowered their price to $119.99 but they only have the 4 in stock at the warehouse near me). I went in with a wad of cash, ready to buy at least one, maybe two of them – I was thinking the 2 and the 3. Yes, I’ve considered other brands and tried some out. Since I don’t see a huge difference, I feel I might be better served to stay within the Taylor Made line because the shafts are the same as my woods, which might help with consistency in the long run. I swung them both in the simulator, and the yardage was a little short of what I was hoping to achieve with them. The sales clerk told me that people hit differently indoors in a simulator than they do on the course. Some people hit longer because of the ideal lie, but most hit shorter because of the atmosphere and enclosed feeling. I told him I was looking to replace my 3-iron and that I thought there might be a big enough yardage gap between my 4-iron and my 5-wood that I was looking into the 2-utility as well as the 3. He asked if I had my clubs with me so I could swing them in the simulator and find out what yardage was really lacking. On a course, my 4-iron goes an average of about 170, and the 3-utility was doing the same thing on the simulator, so we needed to compare apples to apples. Of course my clubs were in my trunk, so I brought them in and we figured out that there was only the gap of the 3-iron. He asked me to swing it, so I pulled out the shiniest club in my bag. Lo and behold, I hit it clean and straight every time. No yardage gap after all. The sales clerk talked me out of buying the two clubs I came in to get. How is that for service? I decided right then I’d be bringing my business back there.

He said to take my 3-iron out on the course and see if I could apply that swing in a real situation consistently and to come back if I still wanted the hybrid club. I didn’t do that right away because when I played, I was either preparing for the competition or competing and I didn’t want to mess with my game. Now that I have the opportunity to test it out, I’ve also had more time to consider the other reasons I wanted the utility clubs in the first place. It’s not just a yardage thing, it’s a situational thing. Out of the rough or the sand, irons can be more unpredictable. With the utility club, I can swing it with the confidence of my iron swing and, theoretically, have better results with the hybrid. Hey, maybe that’s why Taylor Made called their utility the “Rescue.” There’s also something to be said about just having a new toy to play with.

You can take the kid out of the toy store...

I decided to just buy the 19° 3-utility anyway. A little over a week after the guy talked me out of it in the first place, and a day or so after the tournament, I went down to Pro Golf to buy it. They were out of the 3 in the shaft I wanted – graphite regular – so I had to order it. I went out of town that week and when I got back it had arrived and I picked it up on Saturday. I played with it on Sunday and I already like it. I used it in a lot of those situations where I used to pull out my 4-iron. I need more time with it, but I can tell I’m not going to work on my 3-iron as much as I intended (if at all). It is the 14th club in my bag, so if I decide to add the 2-utility later, I’ll have to eliminate something else. Let me think… what might that be? My 5-wood is my goose (I’ll explain later) and I have a sentimental attachment to it. I also bought a used left handed 6-iron I want to put in my bag for emergencies. Also, I keep hearing announcers talk about gap wedges and lob wedges. I don’t know what good they could do for me, but I have to explore that, too, don’t I? It’s not looking good for my 3-iron. It better pull out all the stops in its limited opportunities to woo me or it’s likely to be history pretty soon.

Mama's got a brand new bag

Oh, while I was at Pro Golf the first time and in the mood to spend, I purchased a new Ogio cart bag with all the bells and whistles. It had the right type of club dividers I wanted and its color scheme is called “chocolate” so how could I go wrong with that? It also has some extra features that caught my eye, like the non-zippered snap-shut ball pocket, a cool rain hood that opens like a mouth from the top to remove or replace clubs, and a removable front pocket. It also has an external ball and tee dispenser that’s pretty neat and a place to tuck in the strap while it’s on the cart. I have found a couple things I don’t like, though. It is a women’s bag, which I thought just meant it was lighter or considered frillier or something. It actually means that it’s about an inch shorter than a men’s bag to accommodate the shorter women’s clubs. But I play with men’s clubs, so they hang out a bit awkwardly. Also, the side mesh pockets don’t have elastic tops, so the things I put in there fall out all over when I put the bag in my trunk. That design just doesn’t make sense. Even for a bottle of water or Gatorade, there should be elastic at the top to hold it snug. Instead, they just hang wide open. I think I can probably fix that if I get motivated. Maybe while watching one of these games they call the “World Series.” I’m sorry, but that’s just bad baseball when the umpires determine the winner with incorrect calls. (You’ll get ‘em next year, Angels! :)) I think the umpires have money on the White Sox or Ozzie Guillen's pulling some kind of voodoo on them. I feel bad for the Sox, too, because they're playing great baseball and could probably win on their own, but now we’ll never know. If I wasn't rooting for the Astros before (I was), I am now. Let's go, four in a row!

Next post.


Eric Stone said...

Custom Golf Drivers
No matter which types of golf drivers one is using, be that 300 Yards drivers or any other type, they must necessarily be Custom Drivers or nothing at all. Preferably, golf drivers should be custom fit for a better swing. Buying golf drivers that are not custom fit is the same thing as buying an expensive pair of trousers or shoes without first trying them on. One would not do something like that! More and more golfers are realizing the need for drivers that are tailor-made to fit their necessities. A legal driver size as limited by the USGA is 460 cc. One can easily stay within the legal driver size and have a great game of golf too!

Dave said...

My 2 cents, and I'm no golf pro, I'm on the bomb squad, so read carefully...

Your swing has probably become pretty upright. Great for the irons, not so for the woods. I have the same problem. I have to fight it every time I get a wood in my hands. I practice on the first tee by standing on the side of a hill, facing it, and taking a few (dozen) practice swings. It makes the swing feel more like I'm hitting a baseball, but it helps me get that "flat swing" feeling back. The inside approach training aid is what has helped me flatten out the most. It has help with all my clubs, but more with my woods than irons. I'm not endorsing it, but you can't have mine.

kiwihacker said...

Nothing wrong with throwning a couple of hybrids in the bag. I'm getting old (yep 23 next month) and the highest iron have is a 5 iron. 19' and 21 hybrids. i play off 4 so I didn't have too much trouble hitting the irons but now i have absolutley no trouble, go the hybrids!!!!!!!!!

Greg said...

I was considerng a hybrid too and when I saw one on eBay for 14.99 new, I snatched it up. It's the Dunlop Ti Rescue 19* and it has the uniflex shaft. I hit two greens on my second time out (~180 and 220 yards out, I wrote about the round in my mew blog - broke 100 fro the first time). I hit it one the range twice prior to that as well.


Still Learning... said...


Too late to help, but my recommendation is the Tour Edge Iron-Wood series. Tour edge's marketing problem is that they are so cheap (~$55 if you look around) that people discount them out of hand. I carry the 2-iron and have almost abandoned my 3-wood.

Golf Addix said...

I have already stuffed my 3 and 4 iron into the old golf bag in the store. Now already getting used with Nike wood 4 17 degrees loft and Taylor Made Mid 4 - 22 degrees loft. It fits the range in between Driver and my iron 5.

mediaguru @ hookedongolfblog.com said...

The more you play the more you'll realize that your swing goes through cycles. There are times you hit your irons great and your driver bad. Then the opposite. Rather than fighting it, go with it. I'm one of those who can hit a 3i or 2i. I love it. But I ALSO have several hybrids for certain courses or conditions. I have 3 drivers to "choose" from depending on what my swing is doing and what course I'm playing. I have 5 hybrids: 17, 19, 19, 20, 23. I have two 3-woods, 2 sets of irons, 3 bags, 3 pairs of shoes and well....about 20 putters. (I only use one of them usually though).

"Hi, my name's Tony and I'm a golf gear ho."

So go with the flow and use what works. Half of golf is confidence in what you're doing. If you fear a club, you'll just hit bad shots.

Eric Stone said...

Golf Graphite Shafts
Graphite Shafts are considered the ultimate tee weapon to enable a good game of golf. However, there are points to be kept in mind while selecting the right graphite shafts, as they are all different. They are:
Torque: It is the measure of lateral twisting a graphite shaft experiences when placed under playing conditions. For the player, the lower the torque value, the better for the player. The graphite shaft torque value ranges anywhere from 1.8 to 7.2.
Weight: This refers to the shaft's weight in grams. For that power and swing, shafts should not be too light or too heavy. It should be custom made for the optimum weight.
Flex: It is the measurement of the amount a shaft will bend under stress. The more flexible the shaft the easier it would be for the player to swing the ball.
Kick Point: It is the point in the shaft where the majority of shaft flex is experienced. Kick point affects the flight of the ball more than anything else.
So, while buying graphite shafts, the above pointers are absolutely necessary to knock the ball best!