Lee Trevino once quipped, “There are two things that won’t last long in this world, and that’s dogs that chase cars and pros putting for pars.” Statistics don’t lie when it comes to defining what’s the most important club in your bag. Case in point. In 2011 Luke Donald ascended to the No. 1 spot in the world golf rankings. It wasn’t through driving. Donald ranked 127th in the PGA Tour’s Total Driving category, which combines distance and accuracy. Contrast that with his Total Putting rank, second, and you clearly see what it takes to be successful.
Throughout his 26-year PGA Tour career, Brad Faxon was a horrendous driver of the golf ball. However, he always ranked in the top 10 in Total Putting, amassing $17 million in career earnings with 8 wins. Does anyone not think that the putter is the most vital weapon in a 14 club arsenal? Seems to me that when we analyze the game’s greatest players, the discussion is divided into two groups – great putters or drivers. Greg Norman, Tom Kite, Nick Faldo and Mark O’Meara were consistently outstanding drivers. Ben Crenshaw, Loren Roberts and Tiger Woods dominate in the near-perfection putting category.
Unless you’ve run into Timmy “the Dunce” Geary lately, whoever talks about great chippers? The only name that comes to mind when the conversation turns to great chippers is Seve Ballesteros. Other than that, if a player is relying on his chipping game to deliver low scores, then that career is similar to dogs chasing cars. Its over! Those type players can mostly be found on The Golf Channel’s Big Break, because they simply don’t have solid driving or putting games. Golf is a torture chamber for me when my driver is not working. Maybe I use it 14 times a round but it has to be my go-to club when a big match is on the line. I think that if the average amateur hit driver to his typical distance, and that drive put him in the middle of every fairway, he’d better his handicap but several strokes.
According to TaylorMade, which dominates the golf club manufacturing market at about 47 percent, there is nothing more satisfying than the sound and feel of a well-struck tee shot. How many driver ads promise Distance, Control, and Forgiveness? Distance is the sexiest thing they offer for a $400 driver, but not all swings are alike, which means not all distances will ever be the same. And if you believe the millions spent on advertising, 2014 is “the year of the driver” just like years 2001 – 2013 ! Another reason that the driver is more important than the chipper is from an aesthetics standpoint. Other than the putter, it’s the one club you’re going to look at the most times in an average round, and like your putter, the only club you’re probably going to show off to your friends. There are many choices of drivers and you want to be comfortable with the coloring and branding marks that go into it. You can only hit a driver you’re comfortable with, and that includes the shape of the head, the size and any alignment marks on the crown.
My personal golf agony, or good walk spoiled, erupts when I’m hitting the driver long and straight, but walk off the green with bogey. Oh, the pain of repeatedly making bogey from the middle of the fairway! And, oh, yes, the cuss words fly! Bogey is a great score for guys like Geary, but it often makes me wonder, what the heck would I score if I wasn’t hitting fairways with the driver? My new slogan this year is “putt for show and drive for dough.” Unfortunately, it’s not earning me any pro shop credit!
Tom Gorman uses a 4-year old TaylorMade Burner 10.5 degree loft driver, his longest and most powerful club, that has several small dents on the crown, from being tossed many times.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?