Before I start, I would like to point out that I know that we’re in a technological golden age for golf and that equipment for the average mortal has never been better than it is today. That being said, I’m so bored of new equipment coming out! The marketeers have sunk their claws into our great game and are trying to take golfers for all they have. It’s time they step off! Trust your local golf pro and don’t buy into the fancy new drivers!
The average golfer in the US has a handicap of 15.2, according to the USGA. With this exponential surge in technology and the ease of which our great game can be played you would assume that this has reduced somewhat over the last few years. Guess what, it really hasn’t. This has roughly been the average handicap in the US for many years. What’s going on?
One of the easiest things a marketing department can use to sell a new driver (which is essentially the same as the old one but with a different paint job) is to say that you’ll be able to hit it further. That’s true but if it doesn’t go straight, that simply means further into the trees. Taylormade (easily the worst offender here and really the inspiration behind this piece) brought us RocketBallz around 2011. They claimed to add 17 yards to your fairway woods and irons. This is game changing stuff and I know a lot of people benefited from it. That got scrapped, the RocketBallz series two was out about 15 minutes later. I have since heard that Taylormade plan to release at least 2 new products a year for the next few years! What’s the point?! Give people a break!
Think of the poor club professional. Work is tough as it is with websites being able to offer clubs cheaper than he/she can buy it. Then companies come along with products that only have a 3-6 month shelf-life before they need to slash the prices (their profit margin) in order to stay competitive. How can you possibly have golf clubs coming out more frequently than football shirts?!
Here’s my honest advice. Driver technology has hit the ceiling in terms of advancement, pick one and stick to it. Get your local pro to custom-fit you and go for it. If you can’t hit it after that, you need a lesson. Go back to your pro and get that too. If you want to be a better golfer shell out for a good custom-fitted putter. This is a club you will use on every hole except after the rare pitch-in. The only thing that can affect your score more than your putter and wedges is your pencil and I’m not going into that.
Take home message: ignore the companies telling you their driver is better than the others, this is just not true. One driver will suit you more than another brand’s, but this is personal preference, not technology. Stump up some cash for a good set of wedges and a good putter. Get lessons and get custom-fit. Do all of this through your local pro and watch your handicap tumble. Don’t be a sheep and 2014 will be the season of your life!
Don’t agree? Secretly can’t part with your brand new Taylormade? Get at me: @kennypallas
Photo Credit: todaysgolfer.co.uk