I’ve been playing golf for about 6 years and like many folks, I got hooked on the first swing and dove headfirst into the culture of equipment, technology, and science. I was fascinated by all of it - ball flight, face to path, lag putts - I couldn’t get enough. And like many, I bought every line from the big club makers that their latest and greatest model would get me further and straighter down the fairway, and strokes off the scorecard. It was like a sickness. I spent well over $5k on clubs upgrading year after year but never got what I was promised. I was told it was because I didn’t get fitted, so I would go get fitted, spend more money, hit the ball OB all day, and then think that some new product was going to fix the problem. At least that’s what I was told. Foolish, I know, but I was drowning in the deep end of the golf junkie cesspool and major brands we’re claiming they had the life raft.
A few years later I flew out with my family for a visit with the in-laws. I couldn’t take my clubs on the trip but I figured I could borrow a set if I played while I was there. I ended up going out with my brother-in-law’s set that was made back in the days Jesus walked the earth and shot one of my best rounds ever. It was a blast, but also, confusing af. Why in the freaking world would I play well with this ancient technology!? Sure I lost a few yards, but you can lose yards with modern clubs too depending on the configuration! In my naivety, I had no idea why I was hitting it straight and consistent. It was like a scene out of A Beautiful Mind, but instead of code and equations falling all around me, it was campaign slogans and tag-lines from the big brands mocking me with my cash in their hands. I couldn’t reconcile playing well without the cutting edge tech aids that promised effortless tour pro performance.
That experience led me to realize that one’s ability has far less to do with physical tools and almost everything to do with the human aspect. Your swing, your physical and mental health, your resilience after mishits, and all of the mental toughness that makes great players great are what really take strokes off the card.
Now, let me play devil's advocate for a second and state that technology has come a long way, and undeniably helps golfers play better. The gobs of scientific data and statistics unquestionably affirm that achievements in club design have made both distance and dispersion more in the favor of players of every skill level.
So, why would I play one of my best rounds with technology that was about 2 decades outdated? It’s simple because I played well that day. Profound, I know, but at the time it was my swing and attitude not the clubs that won the battle, and that one idea changed my whole approach to the game. I now battle myself, not my scorecard, and my toughest opponent is my own mental stamina.
Moral: Go get lessons. Hit the range. Practice mental resilience. Buy less expensive clubs and spend the money where it actually counts. And go. Have. Fun.
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