Golf Equipment


I have a theory about golf simulators. They are solely designed to sell golf clubs. They make the average Joe Golfer think he’s pounding the ball about 20 yards farther. Clubs sold.

For this golf pet peeve, I’ll take you back to the early days of my blog when I wrote about my experience with a golf simulator at a local golf store. Wanna hear it? Hear it go.

So I’m in the market for a driver.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to demo the Nike Sumo. I pretty much don’t buy anything Nike, so this was quite a compromise—one of which I feel quite convicted about now. But that’s neither here nor there.

These machines lie. (Image: seikatsu/Flickr)

Anyway, so I’m on my lunch break at this Pro Golf store, and I decide to hit a few balls in their indoor golf simulator/video screen/driving range/ thing.

You’ve got understand my frame of reference here: when I quit playing golf ( and I know this is beginning to become a theme on the blog…”back when I was a young man…”) the Pro Golfs of the world had the little side room with the green net. You hit the ball and basically judged by feel how well you hit it.

So now, they’ve got these massive simulators. You swing, the ball flies into a screen, the projector then displays your ball flying through the “air”.

The device tells you how far the ball went, your trajectory, swing speed, ball speed, whether the ball had a hook, slice, fade, or draw. It stores each shot so you can see how your shot patterns develop throughout the session.

Well, here’s my opinion of these fancy little contraptions: crap. Crap, crap, crap. Let me explain. My second shot with said Nike driver was a nice heel job. With my ancient Great Big Bertha, it’s the type of shot that would probably be a low fade, 230 yards out in the fairway. I really mishit the ball.

But with this Pro Golf “simulator” I’m like Ernie Els hitting some kind of power draw 325 yards down the middle of the fairway. The pattern continued. When I hit the ball solid, it estimated my drives anywhere from 280-290; my misses were in the 270 range.

So I take the club out to an actual driving range. I hit the Nike, then my Bertha (which averages 255ish). Zero difference. The Nike actually ballooned on me a good bit, causing me to actually hit the Bertha further in many instances.

It was a stiff shaft, so that wasn’t the issue. Needless to say, I was thoroughly unimpressed. Thankfully, I made the wise decision of taking the club out on the range and not trusting those God-awful simulators.

I’m sure if you bought one for yourself, you could calibrate it to be accurate. But no doubt the issue is this: the golf stores are going to fix the devices so they estimate a good 20-30 yards farther.

Joe Hacker comes in, swings the hot new club, and he’s amazed by how much farther he hits the ball. He’s got “golf club fever” now, and he makes the buy. It’s a screw job on the store’s part.

When I asked the salesman if the simulators were accurate, he responded, “Dead on.” Right. I should have known something was up when I was hitting 190-yard six irons. But it took the experience with the driver for me to figure this out.

Don’t trust these machines. The grass and the air at your local driving range is much more honest.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#10: Pre-Shot Routine Guy

#9: Cell Phone Guy

#8: The Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Worker

#7: The Drunken Wedding Party

#6: The Distance Exaggerator

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer

golfetail_logoFor, you, my faithful Game Under Repair readers…all two of you.

GolfEtail.com contacted me about offering you a special discount. From today through midnight on Thursday you can receive 15% off all orders on GolfEtail.com, using the special code for Game Under Repair (code below).

You name it, and those guys have got it. So save yourself a trip to the store, use the discount, and purchase some early Christmas presents–or just treat yourself to something nice. Thanks to Gabe and the guys at GolfEtail.com for the special offer. Take advantage of it!

The Details:

Coupon Code: REPAIR09

Discount: 15% off all products for through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 1.

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4. All eBay, Amazon, or Overstock orders are excluded.
5. Sale ends at 11:59PM ET on October 1.
6. Offer is meant for personal use only; quantities may be limited.
golf-clubs

Image: Robert Bruce's iPhone

I present to you the two newest members of my golfing family: a Ping G10 3 wood and a Cleveland CG12 56 degree wedge.

These are the latest clubs to join the family in my nearly completed process of updating my golf bag with 21st century technology. Joining my backup set–and every self-respecting golfer has a backup set–will be my twelve-year-old Taylor Made spoon and a ten-year-old Cleveland wedge.

Haven’t been on the course yet, so it’s hard to tell how the wedge feels. But after hitting the 3 wood on the range, I gotta say that I love this club. Maybe I can actually reach a few par 5s with that bad boy. I’ve talked about my love of the Ping G10 driver before, and this 3 wood is no different. A worthy addition to the bag.

All that’s left to update my bag is a 60 degree wedge and a 2 hybrid. After ten years in the golfing wilderness, I’ve almost found my way back home.

While I was searching for a driver, I found this website called Golf Club Demo.com.  Think NetFlix, but instead of renting Batman Begins, you’re renting a Ping G10, a Taylor Made R7, or a set of Callaway irons.  You pay anywhere from $20 to $30 to basically rent the club for about five days. You pick it, they maiI it to you, and then you mail it back.

I haven’t tried it out yet, but I was impressed by the selection of clubs available to demo. They have both woods and irons available from six manufacturers–Adams, Callaway, Cleveland, Mizuno, Nike, and Taylor Made.

As I’m sure you already know, never, never, never buy a club without hitting it. And take a lesson from me–don’t trust those golf simulators in the golf stores.  They are crap, my friend…crap.  You’ve got to take the club out to the old-fashioned driving range and knock it around a bit. So this site allows you to do just that.

The cool thing about this site is that you not only pick the club itself, but you have different shaft choices as well. Pretty nifty idea. Brilliant, in fact–especially for the public course golfer who doesn’t always have access to top-notch pro shops.

Let me know if you’ve tried this out, or if you plan to. My next big golfing purchase is a 3 wood and a hybrid sometime in the next several months. So I’m thinking about giving Golf Club Demo.com a try.

So, after a hard-fought battle between the Ping G10 and the Titleist D2, I bought a driver today.

Maybe I can convince Corey Pavin to use this driver.

Maybe I can convince Corey Pavin to use this driver.

I discussed my experience with the Ping the other day, but on Wednesday I took a Titleist out to the range and hit it around a little bit. It didn’t seem to pop off the club like the Ping did, and it also ballooned a bit on me. Of course, these could be shaft and loft issues. 

But, bottom line, I just chose to go with my gut. When I hit that massive drive last week, I knew right then I would buy that Ping. I wanted to do my research, so I demoed the Titleist.  I thought about demoing the Taylor Made and the Callaway. But the G10 was the first love. So I bought it today on my lunch break. Nine degree; stiff shaft. It’s a winner.

I’ll be breaking it in tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, going to make it to play 18 early tomorrow afternoon after the Georgia game. Tomorrow’s goal with the new driver: 9 fairways. 11 greens. We’ll see what happens.

Play on…

Golf technology. Holy crap. It’s awesome.

Please excuse my inability to articulate today. I’m still at a loss for words for the utter pounding I placed upon a couple of golf balls at the course yesterday. The 77 was decent, respectable. But the drives. Oh, the drives.

The driver of the gods.

The driver of the gods.

I’m demoing a Ping G10 driver from a local golf store. So I took it to the range on Saturday afternoon and hit it pretty well…definitely noticed a difference between the Ping and my old Bertha.  Nothing overly dramatic, but I could tell I was hitting the ball a bit further.

Now, keep in mind: I am not a long hitter. With my old Callaway, 250-255 yards is an average poke. If I knock it 270, I’m feeling proud.

But then…oh, but then. So I played a round yesterday. The first few holes, I sprayed it a bit—military golf, as they say…right, left, right left.  Then we reached the 8th hole, a 520 yard par 5.

This Ping G10 totally destroyed that little helpless Titleist. When I made contact with the ball, it felt like I was hitting one of the small, plastic whiffle balls. The lightweight, spherical object rocketed off the club face and then just kept going, and going, and going. Then it violently struck the ground and kept rolling, and rolling, and rolling.

Nice, beautiful ball flight. Not too high; not too low. Perfect amount of draw. By the time it was over I had about 210 left to the green, a 310 yard drive. Outside of cart-path-bounce drives, that definitely was  my longest driver, ever. And it felt like it, too. My approach with a 3-iron fell just short (a hybrid is the next purchase) and I made a miserable par. The short game misery continues.

But, who cares about that?  Let’s talk about this driver. I followed up the drive on the 8th hole with a couple of other long knocks, ranging 280-300, and a couple of other wide rights.

We may have a winner on the driver search. I would like to demo a Taylor Made R7, but Jack’s is only carrying the Burner right now because the new R7s, or their equivalent, are coming out soon.And this particular shop is the only place around here I can find that will let you take a club out on the range—so you don’t have to hit the ball in those God-awful simulators.  

I did spray the Ping a bit more than my old club. But I’m thinking that was more from just getting acclimated to a new club. The shaft seemed about right (stiff flex) and the club was a 9 degree loft.

Somebody, particularly any current or former pro golfers reading this blog—you know who you are—tell me…is it worth it to track down an R7 to demo? Any other suggestions?

I do realize how riveting that title is, but work with me.

So I’m in the market for a driver.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to demo the Nike Sumo. I pretty much don’t buy anything Nike, so this was quite a compromise—one of which I feel quite convicted about now. But that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, so I’m on my lunch break at this Pro Golf store, and I decide to hit a few balls in their indoor golf simulator/video screen/driving range/ thing. You’ve got understand my frame of reference here: when I quit playing golf ( and I know this is beginning to become a theme on the blog…”back when I was a young man…”) the Pro Golfs of the world had the little side room with the green net. You hit the ball and basically judged by feel how well you hit it.

So now, they’ve got these massive simulators. You swing, the ball flies into a screen, the projector then displays your ball flying through the “air”. The device tells you how far the ball went, your trajectory, swing speed, ball speed, whether the ball had a hook, slice, fade, or draw. It stores each shot so you can see how your shot patterns develop throughout the session.

indoor-golf-simulator

Want to hit a 300 yard drive? Head to your local Pro Golf Store. (Image: High Profile/Flickr)

Well, here’s my opinion of these fancy little contraptions: crap. Crap, crap, crap. Let me explain. My second shot with said Nike driver was a nice heel job. With my ancient Great Big Bertha, it’s the type of shot that would probably be a low fade, 230 yards out in the fairway. I really mishit the ball.

But with this Pro Golf “simulator” I’m like Ernie Els hitting some kind of power draw 325 yards down the middle of the fairway. The pattern continued. When I hit the ball solid, it estimated my drives anywhere from 280-290; my misses were in the 270 range.

So I take the club out to an actual driving range. I hit the Nike, then my Bertha (which averages 255ish). Zero difference. The Nike actually ballooned on me a good bit, causing me to actually hit the Bertha further in many instances. It was a stiff shaft, so that wasn’t the issue. Needless to say, I was thoroughly unimpressed. Thankfully, I made the wise decision of taking the club out on the range and not trusting those God-awful simulators.

I’m sure if you bought one for yourself, you could calibrate it to be accurate. But no doubt the issue is this: the golf stores are going to fix the devices so they estimate a good 20-30 yards farther. Joe Hacker comes in, swings the hot new club, and he’s amazed by how much farther he hits the ball. He’s got “golf club fever” now, and he makes the buy. It’s a screw job on the store’s part.

When I asked the salesman if the simulators were accurate, he responded, “Dead on.” Right. I should have known something was up when I was hitting 190-yard six irons. But it took the experience with the driver for me to figure this out.

So there you have it. My longest post yet. On indoor golf simulators. Quality writing here, people. Quality writing.