It was sometime in February when I made the big decision. About the time we had 80 inches of snow on the ground, but before setting the dubious record of getting hammered with the most snow ever in a winter. I remember sitting in my recliner watching the Golf Channel, from someplace where it never snows, and dreaming “What would it be like to hit a 300-yard drive?”
The decision to buy a new driver was a game-changer for me and for many weeks played games with my feeble and gullible golf mind. “Do it. Don’t do it. Will it help me break 80? Is it wise to spend $400? Should I be fitted? Will this be the season I finally win some hardware? WTF is a launch monitor? Do I keep my trusty five-year old Taylor Made Burner around as backup? ”
Nothing can get you stoked for the golf season quite like shelling out $400 for a brand new high-tech driver, completely furnished with 460 cubic centimeter head, eight adjustable loft settings each marked and numbered, sleek black coloring attached to a regular graphite shaft with custom synthetic leather grip. Did you understand that driver description or was it a little too high tech for you?
Did you know “Real Innovation. Tour Validated” is exclusive to Srixon? “Building a Better Game” and “Engineered without Sacrifice” and “Get Fast or Get Passed” logos belong to Ping. I like the Titleist mantra which reads “Introducing Distance without Compromise” and in small print “High speed. Low spin. Exceptional Forgiveness. New Titleist 915 Drivers.” Callaway makes two ridiculous claims: “Up to 2 Clubs Longer” and “Built for Outrageous Speed.” Cobra weighs in with “More Roll. More Carry” and “Flip It & Rip It” offering “revolutionary FLIPZONE technology delivers two unique flight patterns.” WTF does that means? Nonsense from Nike Vapor reads “Precision Tuned Distance” and “there’s only one thing better than a whole lot of distance. More distance.”
When it comes to marketing golf clubs the undisputed kingpin is Taylor Made, which owns about 40 percent of the driver market. Is this hype or BS? “The R15 Has Everything” and “Made of Speed” and “Mis-Hits Happen” and “Timeless Shaping – Next Generation Performance.”
Since I know nothing about drivers or belting a 300-yard drive, we asked Clem Lamarre, a sales rep for Cobra Puma Golf, with 22 years in the golf industry, a few questions. “When players are looking to purchase a driver, distance is everything. They want to know what driver will help them hit the longest and straightest drive. There’s a lot of technology that goes into making these drivers and it’s all designed to help players hit for distance. Before buying, most consumers will do some homework beyond the marketing phrases and TV commercials and ads and they will study the Golf Digest “Hot List” edition (March) which rates the golf club driver manufacturers. The best way to buy a driver is to first get fitted at a demo day and then hit 20 or 30 balls. You’ll know what’s right for you after that. ”
The new technology in drivers is confusing to me. I don’t need a driver wrench in my bag to adjust my club’s hosel and weight to see how shots change. I can shoot 88 anywhere, but my goal is to shoot 78 and be happy! The high tech options are overwhelming. No idea what these terms mean nor do I care: “gravity core” or flight pods” or sliding split weights” or “flip zones.” Call me old-school but I have great familiarity with golf terms such as “hook” or “slice” or “off-center hit” or “worm-burner” or “sky ball.”
In the game show “Who wants to be a millionaire?” the last question asked of contestants: Final answer? So I “invested” heavily a/k/a bought the Power Built Air Force One, promoting “nitrogen charged technology” with the promise (there’s that word again) of giving give me 23 yards more that had been missing from my old driver!
(Tom Gorman, a Boston-based golf writer, best chance of hitting a 300-yard drive is when his ball hits a cart path and rolls out another 100 yards.)WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?