Friday, 11 August 2017

The End of a Matter

Rory McIlroy has been driving the ball about as long and straight as we've ever seen anyone drive it. It's been something to behold. When the subject has been discussed it has sparked some debate about equipment, and especially the golf ball. And rightly so, in my opinion. It just isn't right. I just can't relate to these guys playing 7800 yard courses. They're playing a game with which I am simply not familiar.

But, then again, there is a saying that goes something like: "The end of a matter is more important than its beginning." And this is particularly true in golf. It is a truism that has upset many a golfer. Every golfer wants to hit the driver long and straight. Most golfers wish they could hit it longer and straighter. The equipment manufacturers have made a lot of shekels because of this preoccupation by so many golfers. But a three hundred and fifty yard drive in the middle of the fairway doesn't amount to a hill of beans if you then chunk your wedge shot into the pond. In golf, it's the final score--the end of the matter--that's important.

Ben Hogan quite rightly said that the three most important clubs in the bag were the driver, the wedge, and the putter. He believed the driver was the most important club because it set you up to attack every hole. Now, far be it for me to claim to know more than the great Ben Hogan, but in this case I have to disagree. And I've got plenty of company. 

How many winners of the long driving contests do we see on the tour? Rory put on a driving display, the likes of which we've probably never seen, last week. Who won? The driver is an important club. No doubt about it. But, until they change the rules of golf and give you points for the length or accuracy of your drives, you had better be able to putt. 

The end of a matter is more important than its beginning. Not that long ago, I made birdie on number eight after duffing my tee shot just past the ladies' tee. I also remember missing a two-footer for eagle on a par five after a three hundred plus drive and a near-perfect second shot. Believe me, I wasn't the least bit consoled by the length of that drive. A good wedge shot, or a good putt, can cover a multitude of sins. A good drive is just a good start. Golf, until they change the rules, is still about "how many," not "how far."

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