Golf Tip – Buy a Better Game at a Garage Sale?
Advanced technology works – today’s clubs are much more user-friendly than those of yesteryear. But getting the most out of that technology is still substantially the product of a fundamentally sound swing. I accidentally found this out for myself recently.
I was fooling around between appointments at Riverside the other day and came across a Spalding Autograph 1460 2-wood that is at least 50 years old. The most awesome features of this club include a well worn thimble sized persimmon head, super-slippery wrapped leather grip and an ultra-heavy steel shaft. As an aside, if your golf career started anytime after 1985, you may not know that “woods” actually used to be made of wood and “persimmon” was the cream of the crop. Anyway, I took a few swings in front of the TrackMan with this old pelter and found a few interesting things. My swing speed was about 10mph slower than “normal”. I attribute this to the shorter shaft length of the Spalding, at 41.5 inches compared to today’s norm for a driver of about 45 inches. Given that swing speed generally drops about 2mph for each half inch of decrease in length, the lower swing speed was due almost entirely to the club’s characteristics.
However, remember that slippery, leather grip along with that microscopic thimble-sized head? Given these factors, I was swinging very “consciously”, paying strict attention to balance and maintaining positive grip traction/contact throughout the swing. After all, I wanted to ensure that I wouldn’t miss the ball or fling the club across the room – or both! Interestingly, my smash factor numbers were slightly higher than what I’ve been posting with my own driver of late – so my swing was actually more efficient. My modern driver gives me an instant swing speed boost of 10mph simply because it’s longer and lighter. Being attentive to the fundamentals of grip and balance is the key to making the most of that added speed. Long story short: Go out to a garage sale this weekend and invest 5 or 10 bucks in a “new driver”. Shop with these features in mind: tiny wooden head, very small sweet spot, heavy steel shaft, slippery, worn-out grip… actually, in the interest of public safety, splurge on a decent grip for your new training aid. The small head is challenge enough! Hit a few balls with your “new” driver each time you go out to practice, focusing on staying balanced and keeping your grip firmly connected to the club throughout the swing – right to the finish! When you go back to your regular driver, you’ll be filled with confidence and ready to really capitalize on that powerful technology!