We’re less than a month away from the Masters, and just a little over four months away from Goodboys Invitational weekend, and the only golf club I have left in my possession is my Ping Scottsdale putter. The newer Callaways I got to replace the older Callaway woods and hybrids that were stolen have been returned for a 90% refund, and my RAZR-X irons have been sold to the Golf Liquidator folks for a whopping $100, which is just about all they were worth.
In golf equipment terms, I am officially a free agent.
To those wondering what the hell happened, I guess it all started on the #6 hole at Las Vegas National a week ago Wednesday. Because we started off on the back nine, it was my fifteenth hole of the day. As mentioned in an earlier post, I was feeling like crap and battling the shanks and the yanks for the second straight day. #6 is a lovely hole – one of my favorites, actually – a slight doggy left with a good-sized landing area. I had yanked my drive way right, my ball stopping just before a ditch that marked the OB line. Meaning to just get out of trouble, I pulled a 5-iron and shanked it across the fairway and through a fence that marked OB on the left. I found my ball and pulled a 7-iron to coax it back out under the fence. Imagine my surprise when I saw being pulled out along with the 7-iron what seemed to be half the inner lining from inside my bag. Just what I needed, right? And that’s when I also noticed a hole the size of a half-dollar on the side of my bag, probably the result of one of the trips to and from Massachusetts over the years.
I didn’t know what to do. Resisting the urge to tell my playing partners I was done and just walk off the course, I stuffed the lining back inside the bag best I could and took a good look at the 7-iron I had pulled. The grip worn out, a couple of good-sized hacks at the bottom of the club, the hole in my bag, me feeling like crap. What on earth was I trying to accomplish out there? It was at that moment I knew the Callaway replacements were going back, and I was getting rid of everything else as well. I’ll admit it: this time having the shanks as bad as I did really frightened me. The yanks? I could always chalk them up to playing with woods I wasn’t yet fully familiar or comfortable with. But those shanks, and with my old reliable Callaway RAZR-X HLs? That bothered me. Still does. And not just because I didn’t know what I was doing to cause them (which I didn’t and still don’t) but because no matter what I tried to do I couldn’t fix them. I couldn’t fix me. So either I had to go, or the clubs did.
I chose the clubs.
So all the clubs are gone, except for the Ping Scottsdale. Even if we haven’t always seen eye to eye, that’s a club worth keeping and taking care of – heck, I’ve even bought a replacement cover for it.
So where do I go from here, you ask? Well, I haven’t received my invite to the Masters, so there’s no real rush to find new clubs. And even if I had clubs, I wouldn’t really start preparing for Goodboys Invitational weekend until April at the earliest. Original plans to perhaps travel to San Diego for some golf in May have been cancelled due to more important stuff, so there’s really no need to have clubs until around, say, oh, the second weekend in July when (at least theoretically) I’d be wanting to start hitting balls in Massachusetts as part of my last-minute Goodboys Invitational preparation. So I’ve got plenty of time.
More than anything else, I’m not even going to think about trying new clubs on for size until I feel a whole lot better than I do now. I’m on the mend for sure, but my legs are still shaky and I haven’t even got the strength to get back to the gym, let along try out new clubs and hit golf balls.
So I’m going to take my time this time. Maybe go down to the PGA Tour Superstore come April and have Chris do an analysis of my swing. And if I start shanking the ball again, maybe he’ll suggest I try ping-pong or tennis. And if that happens I’ll just give it all up. Hopefully, though, that won’t be the case. With my handicap (presently 27) there’s no point in spending big dough-re-mi on brandy-new clubs, but it would be nice to find clubs with only a year or two of use. Maybe I’ll look at some of the later Callaway models, but I’m thinking it’s time for a change. I like the look of the new Cobra stuff, and I still remember that set of Mizunos I played in (I think) Vegas a few years ago; they were really nice. But no matter what I end up choosing, having clubs fitted for my size and swing can’t hurt – heck, my swing coach Alex Black has been encouraging me to do that ever since we started working together.
After last week, I’m ready for a fresh start. And I’m gonna take my time going about it.