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Thursday, 4 August 2016

It Ain't the Fiddle

There has been a concerted effort on the part of golf equipment manufacturers to convince us that, in order to improve, we need to continually upgrade our equipment.  Every year--sometimes perhaps even more often--the big name club makers come up with a new "improved" model guaranteed to have you hitting it longer and straighter.  It has worked, thanks to the touring pros being willing to shill for them and change their equipment for the right price.  

However, despite all the advertising and the money-back guarantees being offered, most golfers still struggle to break 100, or 90.  At least they struggle to do so playing by the rules.  The reason for this is really quite simple.  It ain't the fiddle, it's the fiddler.  Hand me a stradivarius and I can make it sound like a wounded parrot.  Hand a real fiddler a cheap fiddle and they will make it sound good enough that you won't run for the door.  It's the same with golf clubs.

A couple of years ago I had the idea that I might need a new three wood.  So I went to the big golf store and asked the guy at the hitting bays if I could conduct a Pepsi challenge.  I came equipped with four or five of my old three woods--some of them quite ancient--and said I wanted to test them against the new models.  I told him I would purchase yet another three wood if he could provide me with one that made a significant difference.  

Suffice it to say that, after hitting my antiques and the assorted new-and-improved models he brought me, the machine could not provide enough difference for the sales person to even try to sell me a new club.  I hit them all pretty much the same.  In part that is because I'm probably about as good a fiddler as I'm ever going to be, and in part it's because, in my hands at least, the improved equipment doesn't make that much difference.

For the top players, the new improved stuff makes a difference.  In fact it makes such a difference that we keep having to make golf courses longer and longer.  But for the weekend player, he might better stick with his old fiddle.  Unless he has money burning a hole in his pocket, or he just loves the look of the new tools, he might better save his money and spend more time working on his short game.  That's the only way he's going to start shooting lower scores.  Those new PXG's won't do it for him.