Some See Michelle Wie’s Admission to hitting High-Numbered Woods as a Gotcha Moment
When I was introduced to the game of golf as a child, several years passed in which I compared and calibrated the sensations that accompany each and every club in the bag. Of course, the driver was my favorite – no surprise there. What young boy doesn’t like to hit what everyone called “The Big Stick?” Suddenly, it was time to get serious and start mastering shots from the fairway, if one was lucky enough to land there. When the time came for working with the irons, especially long irons, I was very self-impressed to own a set of Wilson Staffs, biut also scared to death of them. Sure, there were a few things that could go wrong with a wood impacting the ball. It could go a lot of places, but striking the ball only had a few familiar failures. For the irons, the categories of ill-fated swings were in the dozens – shank this, blade that, stub this, and the worst, vibrating one’s self into almost shock-like conditions. The 3 wood was difficult to hit at first, but I loved it, and knew I was going to get better at it – and I did. But, one of the most wonderful days in and with the woods was in procuring my first 4 wood. By comparison, it was a dream of simplicity to hit that thing. Learning that a 5 wood existed bordered on the bizarre. It was easier still, despite the fact that it didn’t go that far. I almost always got it into the air, and it was at least somewhat forgiving of my usually fatal swing flaws.
My work continued with the irons, and some success emerged from the effort. Hiowever, I find that half a century later, I can revert to the same metallic disasters with such ease that it makes me wonder why I ever practiced them at all. I can take a joke, even when I’m the punch line, but not when I do the same stupid thing I did as a child. I remember wondering why they didn’t just make woods for every loft and distance, and for every situation. Was I ever stunned to find out that they did, snooping around the club section of my aunt’s attic. I took them out and tried them repeatedly, and what do you know? The higher the number, the easier it was to hit – a little more loft, a little less distance. No problem, Getting it airborne eliminates 90% of potential embarrassment with gawking friends. No one knew that better than I did, and it was worth a few yards.
I didn’t care if higher-numbered woods weren’t macho. Golf’s hard enough. Anything that gives me an edge is just fine. My manhood can take it. But now I wonder if Michelle Wie’s can. Recenty, she’s had to fess up that she, on occasion,..now get this…uses an 11 wood. And, she says the very same thing I used to say – “This is so much easier to hit1” A rounded hunk of wood, even if it’s really metal, just doesn’t run into as much trouble with the ground as a machete shaped iron does.
The drawback, of course, is that for deep rough shots and various forest catastrophes, a machete is precisely what is needed. We do well to remember that hitting from the deep stuff is as much an archaeological dig as it is a golf shot . Still, for every good lie I get off the tee, dreams of 14 and 15 woods dance through my head, and I’d try them if I could ever find them. Pursuant to that, I must admit that I have never tried a hybrid. I’m trapped in the old school like a fossil in amber. One of these days, I’ll try one, but if I don’t like it, Michelle Wie will become my new guide – the higher number, the better.