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!