Just Hit It!
What would you pay for a golf club that is guaranteed to hit every drive 260 yards down the center of the fairway? I don’t mean a club that’s simply more forgiving, that will reduce your hook or your slice or give you more distance on your off-center hits. I mean a beautiful boomer into the middle of the short grass, every single time.
There are already plenty of clubs on the market that make promises like this, and they generally cost $400-500 new. You’ve probably got one in your bag right now. So how much more would you pay to know for certain that you’re going to get the result you want? An additional $500? $1,000? More?
I wouldn’t pay a penny for such a club.
Are you surprised? Let’s think about it for a bit. Yes, the first time you swing this Biggest Big R7-983 Bigfoot you’ll thrill to the sight of the ball soaring into the sky and settling to rest in Position A. Your friends will ooh and aah, you’ll walk a little taller, and you might even play the game of your life—though you’ll still be on your own for the approach shots, the short game and the par-threes. For the first time in ages, you’re not buying the drinks after the round. The ride home feels shorter somehow. Your wife looks prettier. The kids are better behaved.You are TheMan.
But what happens next week? You show up, full of your newfound confidence, swing smartly, sending your opening drive straight and true—and then your brother-in-law steps up with his brand new Biggest Big Et Cetera and the next thing you know his ball is sharing prime real estate with yours. Your step loses some of its spring, your pride and joy feels a little tarnished, and you’re not looking forward quite as much to next week’s round.
And, sure enough, at your next game, the rest of your foursome drags out their Biggest Bigs, and you begin to notice a nasty cluster of divots right down those formerly green paths. Pretty soon, you all agree that there’s really no point in bothering to swing this Biggest Big driving club, so you walk directly from the previous green to a spot 260 yards from the hole’s former teeing ground and each drop a ball somewhere away from an existing divot. Your round is quicker, and your scores are reduced significantly, but you know that something’s not right. You consider sleeping in or cleaning the garage next week. Or taking up tennis.
You realize that the great score you recorded when you first used the club was something you bought, not something you earned. The pride you were feeling seems pretty hollow about now. What’s happened is that the game you once enjoyed is no longer your own.You’ve taken the value of the effort that led you to your best results and exchanged it for the false economy of someone else’s certainty. The only thing such a magic club can do is to take all themagic out of the game itself.
Golf club manufacturers seduce us with the promise of implements that will undo our errors, and lead us down the straight and narrow. They can’t, of course, and that’s a good thing—even though we would like to believe they can. Such fantasies have always been part of this complex game’s charm. And yet, the moment we realize we would reject an all-correcting club is when we move closest to a true understanding of why we play at all.
We’re funny creatures, we humans. We construct our lives so as to eliminate as many obstacles aswe possibly can. And then we take a whole set of artificial difficulties and obstacles, put them directly in our way so we have to maneuver around and over and through them, and we call it a game.
Why do we play golf? What are we hoping to prove when we do? Is it just a pleasant walk or ride in the country, or is there something more that draws us back to the course time after time?
Golf is a game of overcoming challenges. Many of them are internal. But more of them are external: water hazards, sand bunkers, long rough, trees, elevated greens, tricky putting contours, and the sheer distance from tee to green. For every golfer, there’s an ideal mix of difficulties and opportunities that will provide the internal tingling warmth of knowing you overcame the obstacles and didwhat you set out to do.
It’s the job of the course designer to provide those difficulties, ideally a host of options that allow a hard way home for the highly-skilled player and a safer route that requires more strokes but lets the lesser player complete the hole without shame. It’s the job of the equipment manufacturer to create implements that allow the player to enjoy the game. And it’s the job of the governing bodies to maintain and protect the challenge of the game, making sure that it neither becomes so easy that we quit because of boredom nor so difficult that success by our own measure is hopelessly out of reach.
The player has the easy job. There’s a ball in front of you. Just hit it!
Just Hit It is available to order at www.franklygolf.com or Amazon.com.