Looking Back

As is my habit every Spring I spent some time down in the basement rummaging through my old clubs. I have a fair collection and I think I cling to them simply to evoke the memories of golf games past.

In thinking about it I recalled a column I wrote for Flagstick on the topic of my older gear. It was published in May of 2003 and still stands as a favorite for me. I thought I would share for those who didn’t see it the first time.

It’s My Year

Is this your year? Well, it’s mine. Just like it has been every year for as long as I can remember. My year to drop my index, my year to play more golf, my year to play more golf tournaments, my year to get my golf swing just right, my year to have the best equipment in my bag that I can.

I call it a positive mental outlook – some just call it mental. I realize it all may not come true but I am the one who will have to live with that once the golfing year really begins. But until then, I have a chance to make my mind and body ready to have the best year yet. But before I get to those things, no season could start without a change in the clubs I will use to polish my game back to the shiny lustre of youth. You may not have my mental approach but I am sure many of you join me in the annual rite of introducing new clubs into your golf bag.

But this year is different. Instead of looking ahead to the newest, shiniest, chromiest (I know it’s not a word but I like the sound of it) clubs of the 21st century, I am taking a step back this year. This will be no draft of future prospects; I want an all-star team of grizzly veterans, with the touch of one young new superstar that is a bit of a throwback to the legends of the past.

Blah, Blah, Blah, you say. What’s that all mean. It means that this season my golf bag (at least to start with) will contain the best of the best – the clubs that I have trusted in the past; the ones that have been with me as my golf game reached its varied pinnacles. The ones I trust, the ones I know will work under pressure. Why you say? Because I’m tired of guessing, I am tired of hoping. If I fail I know it will be me, not the clubs, and that I can live with. I am not sure why, but I can.

I have spent a winter chatting online with people looking for the next best thing in golf clubs. Many times they do this even after saying the clubs they currently play are “The best they have ever had.” So why make the change? I know we all do but what would happen if you could just take one step back – to the clubs that you hit those great shots with; to those wedges that landed the ball softly by the flag; to that putter that just looked right at address every time. Well, thanks to my thrifty tendencies and my annoying ability to hang on to enough golf clubs to clutter a large portion of my basement, I can.

So here they come – the starting line-up. Welcome back Ping Anser putter – I have missed you. Sorry for putting you away after making those six three putts at Tobacco Road. I even bought you a new grip to wear.

I took me all winter but I found you again Cleveland QuadPro woods. I have longed for the return of your high floating shots that land casually next to the pin. I know our visit was brief before but I promise to make it longer than a few weeks this time.

To my KZG wedges, so unknown to many but the best feeling wedges I have ever owned. Thanks for sticking around to help make this year special. I promise I will practice with you more and finally scrape off those scraggly old cord grips.

And lastly, the star of the retro fleet, the 1979 Maxfli Australian Blade irons I rescued from the hardships of a second hand store. I brought them back to life with new shafts, grips, and fresh grooves so long ago. It’s time they returned the favor and give my game a fresh new look. I hope they are still not mad about that tree at Eagle Creek – I really thought it WAS the six iron’s fault.

Whoops! I almost forgot one. This one is from the latest generation of equipment but it has some ties with the past. My Great Big Bertha has been reincarnated in a whole new model, the GBB II. When I hold it though, I know it contains the spirit of my original one, the one that left after having been re-shafted one too many times. If you are still out there GBB, I apologize, but I hope your descendant will bear the same fruit that you once did.

Once the first golf tournament of the year comes around, the weight of my off-season golf club decisions will finally come upon me. Time to turn winter dreams into summer realities. I am not afraid; I will have a few old friends along to keep me company. We always have the past to talk about if the future doesn’t turn out so bright. If it doesn’t happen like I dreamed, I am not concerned. There is always next year.

That’s going to be my year too…