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Adventures of a Dirter Episode 1: Dirt vs. Technology
I was at Golf Galaxy with my buddy today and some Nike sales reps were running a contest having people test their VRs line of Drivers, Fairway Woods and Hybrids. The deal was that you would hit whatever stuff you had in your bag, then hit the Nike stuff and they guaranteed your distance would increase. If/when your distance increased, you'd be entered in a drawing for some new equipment, blah blah blah.
I sign up for the thing and I run out to my car and bring in my stuff which I had just leaded up the night before. I had a frustrating round off the tee yesterday and I wanted to test the effect of lead tape on my driver and longer clubs to see if the increased weight would help me improve my consistency and awareness of the clubhead. I hadn't really tested the now-heavy version of my driver before this.
My buddy was testing his stuff at the Nike simulator so I jumped in another simulator station and started feeling out my heavy clubs. I hit my 3 hybrid like 220, 3wood 235, and driver 240. I've had range sessions where I had hit driver way past that but that was pretty good for me in the the simulator. I've never really been able to get the simulator past 240.
So I get into the Nike rep station and she looks at my stuff and starts building me a 9* Stiff shaft Nike driver to match my Taylormade SuperFast (the black head, not the newish white one). I told her about the lead tape and she's looking at it and just giving me hell about how it's not legal. I'm not trying to hear that from her so I'm giving it right back to her. The mood of the exchange was lighthearted but I was a little bit annoyed. She's talking about how if I went to a tournament they wouldn't let me use the club blah blah blah. I'm like "How can you make clubs lighter then say heavier clubs are illegal?" She said it's in the rule book. I said show me. She's telling me she's not here to argue. I guess she just wanted me to sit there and let her accuse me of cheating.
The USGA rule book states:
I finally start hitting my driver. I get three swings with my stuff then I compare that with 3 swings of Nike equipment to see how much distance I can gain.
As I'm swinging she asks me "Do you always stand like that?" I was using my closed diagonal stance. I was like, "This is Hogan. This is 5 Lessons. I want my right foot back here to support my hip turn on my driver because its the widest swing arc I have." She's like, "Sure, ok, whatever floats your boat. . ." Dariusz felt a disturbance in the Dirt all the way from Poland on that one.
Diagonal Stance! Dirter 2, Nike Rep 0
I put some good swings on the ball with both my driver and the Nike. I had about 2 good strips o' lead on my SuperFast driver. It was significantly heavier than the Nike. I hit both clubs straight though. Hadn't hit 6 driver swings straight (or straight enough) in a long time. I had felt out some important ground forces to focus on in my practice leading up to this session in the Nike simulator so I was doing well.
Superfast Yardages: 248, 245, 243
Nike Yardages: 263, 263, 263
So the Nike rep starts going over my numbers and starts giving me the spiel. . . . . yada yada improved distance. . . . I'm pretending to listen but I'm thinking about my swing. Then I remember something. I didn't really get a good Bradley Hughes styled shallow swing in with either club.
"Could I hit this thing (the Nike) one more time? I want to put a swing on it that I didn't do yet, I just remembered something," I said.
I go up there and baby fade the Nike perfectly 272 yards. She starts talking again. I'm pretending to listen again. Then I was like,
"Let me put that swing on my lead driver."
Heavy lead driver goes boom, I hit a nice fade 268 yards. I'm doing mental backflips at this point but she's not convinced.
"You hit that one 15 yards to the right," she said.
"I planned for that shot," I said, "I wanted it to fade. I don't want to miss both ways. I know I'm not going to miss it left so I aim left and fade it back to the right. If I aim that shot I'm fine."
Lead Tape Consistency and Course Management Insight! Dirter 3, Nike Rep 0
She's keeps saying that my lead tape is illegal, I keep arguing that if you can move weights around a club and adjust lie angles and continually manufacture lighter and faster clubheads, there's no reason you can't add weight. Rocketballz should be illegal. Belly putters should be illegal. Half of these golf balls should be illegal. Losing distance and gaining consistency by adding weight to a club is not illegal.
We were both trying to stay lighthearted with the argument it but I was annoyed and she was too. I backed off and she backed off. She said she'd never seen anybody add weight to a club. I told her that I'd been learning a lot from secretinthedirt.com and that I was having a lot of fun and making a lot of improvements. She told me that she was frustrated with her game and wished she could play better. I wrote down the website for her and she seemed interested. I hope she checks out the site.
I hope she doesn't get too embarrassed if she sees this story though. She seems like a good lady overall she's just trying to sell some clubs and there's nothing wrong with that. I couldn't hack it as a salesman and I've tried, believe me.
It felt good to perform well in this silly situation. It was kind of a clash of "golf philosophies" and I was pleased to see my side of the argument come out on top. Technology these days ain't all it's cracked up to be. . . .
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