Sunday, August 27, 2006

So, what's in your bag?

It was an interesting scene Saturday in the WCG-Bridgestone Invitational. The last pairing of the day was Tiger Woods and Davis Love III. The last group of the day, the twosome was teeing off of the first hole. Tiger hit first. Love followed, striking a metal head that was something less than his driver, probably a 3-wood-metal (or whatever you wish to call it. I prefer to say 3-wood.)

Hitting it cleanly and straight down the middle, Love picked up his peg and walked straight off the tee toward the fairway. He was carrying his club. Tiger, who the public perceives as very serious and a minimal conversationalist during his competitive rounds, quickly caught up to Love and obviously asked about the club. Love plays Titleist, which Woods endorsed until Nike came along with lots of money. Love handed the club to Tiger who gripped it and waggled it in front of him without losing stride as the twosome proceeded down the runway from tee to fairway. Woods' possession of the club lasted just seconds, but, basically, he was asking Love, "So, what's in your bag?"

Either Woods was obviously curious about Love's clubs or he was trying to thrown Love off his game early. The latter didn't work until the final nine that day, so the former is assumed to be the case. Most golfers like to peak into their opponents golf bag at the very least to take inventory of the brand names of the clubs as well as the different lofts, shafts, and unique selections.

I'm no different than most and usually look with envy into the bags of those who score better than I. If I had my way, the 14-club limit would be excused, and I would have a variety of weapons. But, as it is, there are 14 clubs in my bag, a burgundy Titleist double-strapped carry-bag with extending legs for resting it at a 45-degree angle at each stop. The MacGregor Downs Country Club logo is embroidered on one side.

My clubs and my game start with my driver. Today, I use the Titleist 983K with a 9.5 degree loft. It has a red Grafalloy shaft. I bought it on sale from the MDCC Pro Shop. Previously, I hit a an 8.5 degree 975. It was a scientific search for the new club followed by the sale. I tried several demos of various degrees and shafts, all the 983K. I was about to order just what I wanted when I saw the bag of drivers on sale, asked a couple of questions and picked one. I made a good choice. At 54-years old, my length off the tee is longer than ever and somewhat accurate most of the time.

The only other wood I carry is a rather old Big Bertha War Bird Strong Four, a.k.a. 4+ with a Callaway RCH 96 firm flex shaft. I bought it back when I was using a Big Bertha War Bird Driver and got it at a local off-course golf equipment shop. I was asking for a matching 3-wood when the 4+ showed up on a trade-in deal. Brand new, this club would have been around $260. I got it for $135, and it was not more than two months old. Some of the regulars in my group suggest I hit it more and more off the tee. With it, the ball travels far, nearly as long as it does with my driver, and I usually hit it straighter than the driver. But, there's something about the power of a driver that keeps me going to it. The 4+, it was explained to me, has a 3-wood loft, a 4-wood shaft and a 5-wood size head. Great club as far as I'm concerned.

My irons...3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, E and F...are Hogan Apex Plus with True Temper Dynamic Gold S-300 shafts. These were purchased about five years ago and replaced a nice set of Hogan Directors bought in 1974. Please don't lecture me about changing technologies. Probably the only reason I don't use the Hogan woods that came with the Director set is because I cracked every head hitting balls either on the practice range or during a round. I love the irons. The E is a 46-degree club, not the usual 48-degree wedge. The F is a fairway wedge and is 50 degrees. In all likelihood, I'll soon get rid of the 3-iron and replace it with a hybrid of some type. This said, Ii only use the 3-iron, choked down, for low shots coming out tight places in the woods.

I carry two other wedges, a Titleist 56-degree Vokey (SM56-14) which was recently acquired to replace one of my all time favorites, a very heavy Haig Ultra Sand Wedge with an aluminum shaft given to me by some close friends (thanks to Greg and Chico) in 1969 to match the rest of a full set of the same. That sand wedge had no grooves on it at lifes end, but it was excellent for getting through heavy Bermuda rough. The Vokey was a gift to me as well, but from the MDCC professional staff for serving five years as the Club's Golf Committee Chairman. This club is used in various ways such as hitting from sand bunkers, or hitting a slap, pinched, knock-down shot from the fairway no more than 75 yards away from the green, or a full 100 yard shot.

The other wedge is an American Standard Golf Lob Wedge with a cam sole. It was also a gift, one of the many given to all players in a 100 holes of golf fundraiser for the local YMCA. This is also a good club for me from about 100 to 110 yards from a tight fairway lie. It's not good from Bermuda rough because no matter how hard I grip it, the Bermuda tends to grab the head and cause the ball to travel in multiple directions.

The putter in my bag is a Ping 60i. Not sure it would matter what the flat stick is. I'm considered a terrible putter, though I've tried other putters with somewhat better results.

Also in my bag, you'll find an assortment of balls. I'm definitely a Titleist guy, usually playing the ProV1-392, but recently I've been playing the NXT-Tour with my nickname--POM POM--printed on the side. There must be some truth to the commercials that say this ball gets more yardage. I seem to have picked up a few yards since I made the switch. But then I don't remember the last time I played the ProV1.

I have a pocket of tees, both short and long, a few pencils and scorecards from MDCC and other courses. My gloves are usually FootJoy WeatherSof (Men's Medium Large if you want to send me one). There's a USGA rule book, a towel that's either from another course I've played or from my NC State Wolfpack collection of towels. I have two or three Sharpie Markers, a water bottle, a sand bottle and the cover for the clubs in case it rains. I carry a MDCC Tartan 2000 (member-guest) umbrella. And, there's a nice clock hanging from a strap along with my MDCC bag tag and 2006-2007 USGA Member tag.

While this is a carry-bag, I'm now one of the push cart brigade. My wife thought it would help my back so she bought me a very nice Sun Mountain model. It seems to be the push cart of choice at MDCC. It's also very doubtful that Tiger will ever ask me about it. Or about my clubs.

So, what's in your bag? Please, do tell.

1 comment:

  1. My bag has been the same for 7 years. 7 years ago my wife purchased me a set of Spauldings that have done me some justice. I play about 1-2 two rounds a month if I am lucky. I shoot in the 90's most of the time throught this period and have recently found myself breaking the high 80's. Would a new set of clubs in my bag take a few strokes off.....possibly. I might get a little more distance but my best bet would be to buy some short clubs as this is my achillies most days. Let's face it...some days our long game is good or bad and it's never the clubs fault...that is all mechanics. When it comes to the short game a better set of wedges might make the difference. So with that said....maybe next year I'll invest in some short clubs...then replace the rest at the end of the yeay and hopefully I'll have it down to low 80's. birthday gift a wife can get you.


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