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|The 2007 PGA Merchandise Show had all the latest high-tech gizmos in golf. (Courtesy photo)|
Not long ago, I went on a golf course reviewing trip to the U.S. It was a spectacular time, as I played some great golf courses and met some great people. I even went on a bare-foot walkabout across the U.S., meeting people, getting into adventures and solving people's problems like David Carradine in Kung Fu. I even started telling people I was Chinese.
I learned many a great lesson on my trip, but none greater than this: the golf technology boom totally slipped by me, and I am a lesser man because of it.
You see, due to an extended time of not golfing, my game had atrophied to the point that I looked quite a bit like Captain Caveman out there, slamming my club into the ground repeatedly, while in desperate need of a haircut. I had a few positives -- my putting was decent, and my short game as a whole was not atrocious, thanks to some G.R.I.P. Wedges loaned to me by TravelGolf.com's Kiel Christianson. More than anything, I was struggling with my driver.
As a teen and young adult, I took a lot of pride in my driving ability. While never particularly long off the tee, I was consistent, and someone who could find fairways more often than not. I was also fearless - I loved being the first off the tee, especially when there was a forced carry involved.
Sadly, those abilities were gone. My ability to drive a golf ball had nearly disappeared. After years of introducing new gyrations to my swing, I was starting to look like I was having some type of fit while teeing off. And the results were equally horrifying.
Until my brother-in-law lent me his Nike Sasquatch. Suddenly, my obscure dance of a golf swing was delivering 250-yard drives, splitting fairways and putting me in perfect position to flub my approach shot. I felt manly and stellar. It was one of those great moments where suddenly it all hit me: "Oh, so this is what all the fuss is about."
One day hitting good drives with a Sasquatch was all it took. My opinion was made - golf equipment technology is a fabulous thing. Which is why when I saw so many of my colleagues heading to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, I was jealous. Bitterly, bitterly jealous.
And it killed me to know that WorldGolf.com's Brandon Tucker - a guy whose arm's rival Mary-Kate Olsen's - hanging out at Demo Day, which is pure Nerd-vana for golf technology geeks. Plus, it burned me to envision Tim McDonald's combover blowing in the breeze as he tried out the new MacGregor MacTec NVG2 and proclaimed it best of show.
It burned me because I wanted to be there. I wanted some of that action. I wanted to swing clubs that magically put the ball six inches from the hole.
Because I'm a believer now. Golf technology is out of control? No chance. Let Nike Golf, and Adams and Callaway, and the rest of them go nuts. Because from here on out, when I buy golf clubs, balls, tees, or anything else, I want to know that they spent more money on research than NASA does on the Space Shuttle.
Some argue that all this advanced technology is ruining the game. They do so because they're idiots. Give me a driver with a head that's four-feet in diameter and made of Martian titanium any day, say I.
Seriously, can someone give me one?
February 5, 2007
William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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