Which “Demon” Club Do You Hate?
I read an interesting article this morning on which club or clubs in the bag scare people the most. Of course, when the greatest in the game, such as Nicklaus, was asked, he replied that his favorite club was whatever was in his hand at the time. Thatâ€™s totally understandable. Jack Nicklaus worked the game to a level where he had a confident, reasonable expectation that the shot would go well. He got to that point most of us never see, where a truly bad shot surprised him.
However, for those of us who have limited practice time, playing time or just donâ€™t have that extra special knack for mastering the game the way Nicklaus did, itâ€™s a different story, and considering the clubs that scare me the most, my personal reaction doesnâ€™t always have much to do with the resulting shot, or my track record with the club.
Driver? I love the thing, no matter how itâ€™s going. I never stand on the tee afraid of whatâ€™s going to happen, because regardless, driving is so much fun. Sometimes itâ€™s right, sometimes itâ€™s left, sometimes itâ€™s far, sometimes itâ€™s painfully short, but I love the big stick, the mega-ball, the â€œstill feel youngâ€ club â€“ and what a great sound it makes.
Fairway woods, same deal â€“ they donâ€™t always get airborne, but most of the time, they do. Either way, Iâ€™m not viscerally frightened by what might happen. Lee Trevino might claim that even God canâ€™t hit a one-iron, but mine wasnâ€™t too bad. Might hit it a little fat, a little left or right of the sweet spot and get a so-so result, but usually nothing tragic.
Two and three-irons â€“ aye, thereâ€™s the rub. My Uncle Rich was right. Overswing a two or three iron, and you might as well just hit an anvil with a lead pipe. When I line a long iron up, I can see how far it is to the green, and almost wish it were just a little farther, so that I could hit a three or four wood. With the long irons, I donâ€™t get the shanks â€“ I get the â€œclanks.â€ And donâ€™t ever ask me to hit one low and short to get back on the fairway. Every tree and bush in the hemisphere knows that trick, and sees me coming a mile away.
Middle irons, pretty good. Iâ€™m almost at the point where a bad shot surprises me. I donâ€™t feel the need to swing too hard, and in general, I look fairly competent in the 4 through 6 range. I love the seven iron. I tend to hit it high, and think of it as a long distance wedge â€“ not always smart, but it almost always acts that way. Eight iron, same principle â€“ limited, perhaps, but workable.
But then comes the pitching wedge, designed and manufactured by the devil himself. Iâ€™m so scared of that rod of metal, it keeps me awake at night before a game the next day. I shank it, stub it, blade it, go limp on it, mis-aim it, and in general, canâ€™t hit anything with it unless I throw it at the river. Then, Iâ€™m accurate. The pitching wedge is like Voldemortâ€™s wand, evil, cruel, and ever-dangerous. It is the â€œhumiliation stickâ€ that turns birdies into chip-ons for bogey or double, or worse. It is the only club with a built-in GPS for bodies of sand, and I believe that it has two little eyes that open and scan the room while I sleep. It sits there so innocently in the bag, but to me, the clubhead looks like a sleeping cobra. Psychiatrists probably call it “pitchophobia.”
As for the putter, not being afraid doesnâ€™t mean I can putt. However, fear of missing the ball is generally absent with the putter. Thatâ€™s a major plus right there. I donâ€™t see putting as an object of fear, but I see breaks and distances that I failed to read properly as insults. The ball moves away and breaks wrong so slowly that Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s taunting me.
Iâ€™m happy for Jack Nicklaus that he won all those tournaments, but Iâ€™m equally happy for him that heâ€™s lived a life without demon clubs. He prevailed in his struggles against the powers of darkness. Me? I still shank it, stub it, blade it, go limp on it, mis-aim it and look around for a river.
I hope that none of you have a club like that in your bag.