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      Introducing TST "Clubs!"   08/28/2017

      No, we're not getting into the equipment business, but we do have "clubs" here on TST now. Groups. Check them out here:
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You Can't Buy a Lower Score

newtogolf

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I was glad to have moved on from Dons craziness but my swing was still a mess.  My wedges and short irons weren't horrible but I struggled with distance on clubs longer than a 7i.  The season was close to over so I had stopped playing golf and was spending most of my time reading golf books and watching golf swing videos when I wasn't on the golf range trying to apply what I'd seen and read.   I was also reading a lot of golf magazines and websites about new equipment.  I read about how much more forgiving and longer new irons were and the importance of being "fit" for the clubs.  I started thinking that maybe the problem wasn't my swing but the clubs so I went to Golfsmith to get fit for new irons.  Based on my research I knew I wanted either the Titleist 712 AP1 or Mizuno JPX-825.  I tested both along with the Nike Coverts at the urging of the salesperson.  I decided I liked the JPX-825 best and got fit for them.  I was hopeful that these new irons that were fit for me (interestingly fit for me meant standard out of the box with a regular shaft) would improve my golf game.  The season was close to over so besides a few range sessions I never got to test the irons on the course.  

Our accountant convinced my business partner and I to join his home golf club.  It's a fairly exclusive club on Long Island and in addition to the cost I was a pretty concerned that I'd embarrass myself given the mess of my golf swing.  We were offered a good deal to join and I'd have the winter to work on my golf swing so we went for it.  I convinced myself and my wife since we were part of a country club I'd have to get some new clubs to replace my old driver and woods, a new golf bag and a new putter. Over the course of the winter I'd purchased a Titilest 910 driver and 3 wood, TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid, Vokey SM4 wedges, a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter and Ogio Chamber bag.  I spent close to $1200 but I had a nice bag of clubs, now I'd just have to play better.  

I spent all winter looking at my new bag and reading about golf.  I was looking forward to the new club and start of the golf season but it was delayed since we had a rough winter in NY that year.  I did manage to get some range time in March and the new clubs weren't doing much for my game.  I still struggled with distance on anything longer than a 7i, I sliced my driver and 3 wood but could hit the hybrid pretty well.  The club was officially scheduled to open the course on April 10th, so we reserved a tee time and headed out there.  

I was pretty nervous, new country club, new golf clubs and upon our arrival at the starters shed we were assigned a caddy.  No one had mentioned that except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays members were required to use caddies.  The last thing I wanted was someone from the club to watch me hack up their nice golf course.  The caddy took our putters and headed out to the fairway while he waited for us to tee off.  I was used to first tee jitters but this was worse than I'd ever experienced.  The caddie was out in the fairway and other members were waiting for us to tee off.  I could hear them making comments about my new shiny clubs and new golf bag and then realized that I was so nervous, I had grabbed my driver when I went to the tee box.  I watched my business partner hit a nice drive right into the middle of the fairway and then it was my turn.  I'm standing over the ball thinking to myself, you dumb ass why did you take your driver, you never hit your driver well.  Of course with swing thoughts like that I hit a huge slice into the trees.  They encouraged me to hit another but I knew it would be no better so I declined and rushed to my cart driving away as fast as the cart would move.  

My nerves settled down a bit as the round progressed but overall I played poorly.  I decided to show some mercy to our caddy and teed off with my 7i on the back 9 so he could take a break from hunting for my ball in the woods.  I finished the round with a 105, certainly not my worst score but not what I was hoping for given all the money I spent of new clubs.  



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Before my first year of playing was up, I knew the second-hand blades from the 80's I'd been playing with wouldn't do. While I might have been able afford a new set of TaylorMade Burner irons from my local sporting goods store, I was too self-conscious about being the guy with nice clubs and a really crappy swing. So I upgraded to a more modern set of used clubs from Ebay.

While my swing has become only marginally better over the years, I have substantially improved my indifference towards the opinion of other golfers.

I will agree with you that more money spent on equipment doesn't equate to better results. More practice on the other hand...

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Agreed, I still like new clubs but when I buy them the expectations are realistic in that I'm buying them to own them not because they will do much to improve my scoring.  

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Can't buy a lower score?  Well, that's disappointing! :whistle:

Liked your story though.  Now that you're a club member, a few lessons might be in order.  A decent teaching pro can likely help you get off the tee and move those long shots down the fairway or somewhere close.  Good luck and keep at it.

dave

 

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13 minutes ago, mvmac said:

Unless you buy a book called Lowest Score Wins ;-)

Darn, that's what came to mind for me :-D

What about buying lessons? 

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LSW was a great investment, no question.  As for lessons, sure, if you're lucky enough to find a good instructor.  It took me six attempts to find one good instructor, most people don't have the time, money or patience to work through all the bad instructors out there.  

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10 minutes ago, newtogolf said:

LSW was a great investment, no question.  As for lessons, sure, if you're lucky enough to find a good instructor.  It took me six attempts to find one good instructor, most people don't have the time, money or patience to work through all the bad instructors out there.  

And there are a lot of 'em.

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13 minutes ago, newtogolf said:

As for lessons, sure, if you're lucky enough to find a good instructor.  It took me six attempts to find one good instructor, most people don't have the time, money or patience to work through all the bad instructors out there.  

And even good instruction does not guarantee good results.

In the end, after we've put in all our available time, money, and effort, perhaps we simply look back and accept whatever skill level we achieved. Then be appreciative to have been able to play the game at any level.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going out to the garage to mindlessly whack golf balls.... with my 1983 Hogan Radials.

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Good post. I don't think I would have been comfortable at all in that situation. The idea of a caddy makes the whole thing sound snooty and pretentious.

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13 minutes ago, gregsandiego said:

Good post. I don't think I would have been comfortable at all in that situation. The idea of a caddy makes the whole thing sound snooty and pretentious.

The club was a bit snooty (part of the reason I'm not a member there any longer) but the real purpose of the caddies was to ensure pace of play when the course was busiest, which I learned is why they weren't required on Tuesdays and Wednesdays or for tee times after 3:00 pm.  

The caddies not only reduced or eliminated the time spent searching for mishit balls but they also ensured your group maintained pace with the group in front.  They were always nice about it, but it was an easy way for the club to enforce pace of play and many of the members liked playing with a caddy anyway and depended on them for reading putts, etc.    

1 hour ago, JonMA1 said:

And even good instruction does not guarantee good results.

In the end, after we've put in all our available time, money, and effort, perhaps we simply look back and accept whatever skill level we achieved. Then be appreciative to have been able to play the game at any level.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going out to the garage to mindlessly whack golf balls.... with my 1983 Hogan Radials.

Funny you mentioned Hogan irons because that was part of the story I left out.  When I met Don I was using Callaway Diablo Edges which he took one look at and handed back to me with a look of disgust.  Don was obsessed with Hogan irons and suggested I purchase the "best irons ever made" Hogan Apex Pros with Apex 3 shafts.  He claimed to own 5 sets of them so he'd never have to play the "crap" they sell today.  

At his urging, I found a nice set of lefty Apex Pro's on eBay and purchased them which led me to start a collection of Hogan irons.  

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I'm not sure I'd ever call Callaway clubs "crap", but I have read here at TST that the Hogan models (Apex Pros, maybe) were very good players clubs. Also read where some of todays clubs are not that much different in design.

I don't know much about it, but I believe the Radials were an early attempt at game improvement clubs.

In any case, you can pick up a set of used Hogan clubs (the old company) at very reasonable prices. Some are in very good condition.

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4 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

but I have read here at TST that the Hogan models (Apex Pros, maybe) were very good players clubs.

Apex was a line of Hogan irons but Callaway bought the rights to the name when they acquired Hogan. They kept the "Apex" name when they sold Hogan a few years ago.

Or you may be referring to the Hogan Apex Edge Pro's, but those really weren't "players" irons.

56d338ebca62d_APEXEDGEPROSTS.thumb.jpg.5

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13 minutes ago, mvmac said:

Apex was a line of Hogan irons but Callaway bought the rights to the name when they acquired Hogan. They kept the "Apex" name when they sold Hogan a few years ago.

Or you may be referring to the Hogan Apex Edge Pro's, but those really weren't "players" irons.

56d338ebca62d_APEXEDGEPROSTS.thumb.jpg.5

Those are the ones Don suggested I buy.  

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There is no doubt that there is an endless supply of people that believe they can buy lower scores. Otherwise we would not have so many suppliers and all of that advertising. I believe that the technology really improved in the years from around 1985 until maybe 2000.  Most of the easy improvements have been made. Now we have reached diminishing returns with equipment, and a small improvement costs a lot.

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1 hour ago, mvmac said:

Apex was a line of Hogan irons but Callaway bought the rights to the name when they acquired Hogan. They kept the "Apex" name when they sold Hogan a few years ago.

Or you may be referring to the Hogan Apex Edge Pro's, but those really weren't "players" irons.

56d338ebca62d_APEXEDGEPROSTS.thumb.jpg.5

Yes, the Hogans Apex Edge Pro's are the ones I was referring to. Thanks for the clarification that they are/were not players clubs. I can see by the picture that they were cavity backs and perimeter weighted.

Did the Ben Hogan Golf Company (pre-Callaway) make other models that were thought of as a "players" club?

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It's probably an equal combination of good instruction, smart and hard work, getting fit and playing and practicing every day for 4-6 hours that can lower your scores. I don't see a way to get around paying a heck of a lot. It was just like @BuckeyeNut said.

I've also heard that if you'd been playing for some number of years that it is difficult to lower your scores more than a few strokes. I haven't found this to be the case, but maybe I'm only now just getting to the "playing some number of years" phase. I don't see myself getting better than a few stroke from where I am now, but that's kind of because I feel like there is too much to improve. However, if I was a 20 handicap, I don't see why I can't get to an 8 or 9 handicap.

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10 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

Did the Ben Hogan Golf Company (pre-Callaway) make other models that were thought of as a "players" club?

With cavities? Yes they called them the Apex Plus irons, Jim Furyk played them for several years. They also had the Apex FTX irons which were a mix of cavity and muscle back irons.

backs.thumb.jpg.90a01a14d5bd4ce057b1bd8f

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To a certain extent you can buy a lower score, but you need to be realistic about it.  A 36 handicapper playing blades with an inappropriate flex and hitting the ball all over the clubface will definitely benefit from getting a fit set of SGI irons.  However, once you start to reach around bogey golf or so, buying the game is a lot harder and the improvements are a lot more incremental.  At the end of the day, a consistent swing will do more for your game than spending money on new clubs and balls with the "latest technology"

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On 2/28/2016 at 2:31 PM, JonMA1 said:

Yes, the Hogans Apex Edge Pro's are the ones I was referring to. Thanks for the clarification that they are/were not players clubs. I can see by the picture that they were cavity backs and perimeter weighted.

Did the Ben Hogan Golf Company (pre-Callaway) make other models that were thought of as a "players" club?

These are a hybrid players club. The short irons are musclebacks, the long irons are cavity backs...They are fantasic clubs, especially with the T4 shafts. I've been playing them for 15 years and haven't considered replacement.

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On 2/27/2016 at 4:39 PM, newtogolf said:

As for lessons, sure, if you're lucky enough to find a good instructor.  It took me six attempts to find one good instructor, most people don't have the time, money or patience to work through all the bad instructors out there.  

There was another thread here about how feels change over time, even when your priority piece does not change. I think this was a really good and overlooked thread. Ineffective communication is a massive barrier in golf instruction.

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