Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Rant About Hybrids and Technology

This is on The Golf Channel's front page today. This is not an indictment of the Golf Channel at all, but rather one of the golf industry. I still carry a 3 and 4 iron. I do have a hybrid, but it has 3 Wood loft, so that has become my 3 Wood. And I love the work that has been done around the industry to innovate and design clubs that test traditional ways of making equipment.

But this seems to be going a little far in suggesting that you are working too hard if you are still carrying long irons. I think being able to hit a long iron is a very important skill. After all, the long irons and the driver are the clubs that are most difficult to hit properly with consistency. If you can hit a long iron well, then you can hit anything.

By encouraging people to not work so hard and to hit hybrids exclusively instead of developing the ballstriking ability that a long iron requires, I think that the golf industry is giving amateurs a false perception of what technology can do for their games. Do hybrids make hitting the golf ball easier with clubs of that loft? Yes. But, do hybrids cure the swing ills that will still haunt amateurs even if they sink a lot of money into equipment? No way.

Amateurs need to realize that success in golf comes from being fundamentally sound and not from having a large enough wallet to purchase the latest innovation. I play a Nicklaus driver from 2 seasons ago, and before that a MacGregor driver from 2003. I have an iron set that that is almost 5 years old now. I play just fine.

Even though I don't get out as much as I would like (only 10 times per year), I can still find my way into the high 70s every now and then with my so-called antiquated equipment. Why? Because I have developed and nurtured a swing that will work with clubs from today and from 1960. Trust me, I've tried.

I know it goes against the capitalism of club manufacturers to warn players that their equipment won't necessarily make them better, but golfers should be made aware of that reality. They will never break the magic number - 100, 90, 80 - that's important to them if they don't know that getting better starts with practice not payment.

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