Sure enough, after yesterday’s tryout at the PGA Tour Superstore I couldn’t get the look and the feel of that Callaway Steelhead XR 7-iron out of my head. Maybe I had, after all, fallen in love with that girl that looked, talked, and moved so nice – I fall in love so easily!
But there was something bothering me about this whole clinical trial business: it was all being done under the same controlled conditions. In some ways that’s good – anyone who ever had a 8th grade biology class and dissected fetal pigs will tell you any experiment worth its salt requires a control along with the variables. In my case, the control was the PGA Tour Superstore setting and the clubs they gave you to try out; the variables being The Great White Shank’s swing and mental attitude that can change from one day to another.
It was late last night, and it was lovely sitting under happy pineapple lights with a glass of Pinot Grigio, the palms stirring restlessly in a slight breeze, the bright moon basking the patio in a liquid silver. I liked that Steelhead XR a lot, I thought, but what would I really accomplish by heading to the PGA Tour Superstore and hitting the same club again? How could I be sure? How could anyone be sure in my position? And what’s really behind that Ben Affleck / Jennifer Garner divorce? Did they just outgrow each other? Did Jennifer get tired of picking Ben’s clothes up off the floor? Did Ben get sick of Jennifer’s routine of sitting in front of the TV, eating bon-bons and watching Lucifer reruns?
The important questions. Mind you, I never thought JG was that cute to begin with, so maybe I’m on Ben’s side on this. But what do I know?
It was then I decided I was going to do something completely uncharacteristic. I’d go to another golf place, Van’s Golf Shop, and roll the dice. Play dumb and see what they offered me to hit along with, oh by the way, a Steelhead XR (if they had one I could hit). And then hit balls under entirely different conditions.
I had been at Van’s before and I wasn’t impressed. The PGA Tour Superstore is big, bright, and open, whereas the Van’s is a kinda small – claustrophobic even – a store that reminds me of the golf version of the old Building 19 1/2 outlet chain back in my Massachusetts days. Everything crowded into a small place with a few nets you could hit into. They didn’t have a huge selection, but Brandon the sales associate set me up on a spot with a lower-tech version of the swing machine that PGA Tour Superstore has in spades. He had the Steelhead XR 7-iron and he had a Ping G30 with a graphite shaft that I could compare against.
I took a couple of practice swings with the Steelhead and just felt like my swing was off from even yesterday’s clinical trial. Still, we set up and I proceeded to hit a few pushes, a few pulls, and a couple of straight ones, all traveling between 143 and 150. Hell, the most I used to get out of my old RAZR-X 7-iron was 135-140! I grabbed the Ping and hit a bunch of shots, none of them exceeding 135 yards. I’m thinking that can’t be right, so I asked Brandon to make sure I was setting everything thing up exactly the same so I could hit three balls apiece with the Callaway and the Ping.
I actually hits some pretty good shots – at least for The Great White Shank. The Steelhead went 143 (a push), 142 (a pull), and 153 yards (on the screws), in that order. The Ping went 133 (straight), 135 (straight), 133 (a push).
“Wow”, says I. “That’s quite a difference. Do you think it’s the graphite shaft?”
Brandon smirked. “Must be, it’s never the person swinging the club.”
So that as they say is that. I’ve hit the Callaway Steelhead XR 7-iron on two different occasions, in two different locations, using two different 7-irons, and with two different kinds of machines to measure swing and distance. That’s enough variables in and of themselves, dontcha think? And in both cases, I’m consistently hitting that 7-iron nearly ten yards further than I hit my old RAZR-X 7-iron. I mean, what’s up with that?
I’m thinking a decision is about to be made.