Don’t Leave Home Without It!
Welcome back to the beach and the start of the 2019 season for sunbathing, swimming and golf. For a while, I wasn’t sure if the winter would ever end. Since last October, it seems like the weather was hot one day, wet or windy the next and cold or snowy in between. How can you play consistently when it’s 30 degrees one day and 65 degrees the next afternoon?
In recent memory, this was one of the worst winters for “winter” golf. So if you haven’t played much since last fall, now is the time to knock off the rust and get serious about your game. I could hear my clubs calling my name from the back of the garage on a recent 65 degree Saturday, so I took two Aleve and headed for my local course.
The Aleve helped ease the soreness after hitting thirty balls on the practice range, but a 15 mph wind didn’t help my mental state, driving into the wind, on what seemed like every hole. To make matters worse, I was playing with a new set of Callaway X-Hots with steel shafts and had no idea how far they would go, since I had played with graphite Taylor Made irons for the past fifteen years. (As President Roosevelt once said, “this day will live in infamy”.)
After a round of numerous chili dips, short and long windblown shots and putting like I had a sledgehammer in my hand, I hobbled into the clubhouse with my buddies to drown our sorrows. My goal of at least one par had been met, so I was not totally unhappy and I did play with the same ball for thirteen out of eighteen holes.
It’s not rocket science, but knowing your distance with each club is essential to your game and the latest equipment and newest golf ball is only as good as the golfer swinging the club.
With that thought in mind, I will tell you about some golf equipment oddities that I came across on a cold and snowy research day.
Golf Equipment #1: In 1928, Michael Manning, a judge in Talladega, Alabama became the first unofficial record holder for playing the most rounds with the same ball. On November 15, 1928 he purchased a Pro-Flite golf ball from his local pro shop and played forty-six consecutive rounds of eighteen holes before he used a new golf ball on January, 28, 1929. It was estimated that he drove and/ or used his irons to hit the ball over 2,000 times. (My current record is thirteen holes, see above.)
Golf Equipment #2: Would you show up playing in The Masters Tournament without a driver in your bag? Well in 1934, playing in the first Masters Tournament (known then as the Augusta National Invitational), Horton Smith did just that! Prior to the first round, he borrowed a Bobby Jones model driver from a fellow competitor Paul Runyan and won the tournament by one stroke.
Golf Equipment #3: Write this name down and remember to thank Dirk Jackson each time you play golf. Jackson was a car dealer in Houston, Texas in 1948 who loved the game of golf, but battled arthritis. Using his auto body shop and engine knowledge, he invented the “Arthritis Special,” which became golf’s first gas powered golf cart. It is estimated there are over 750,000 golf carts in America today.
Golf Equipment #4: Don’t Leave Home without It: Three years ago, on the urging of my wife, I made an appointment to have a small dark spot on my right cheek checked out. No big deal, I wear a hat and “occasionally” use suntan lotion, but the dermatologist checkup took me by surprise. After using a special cream for three weeks, it revealed numerous unseen pre-cancerous lesions on my entire face and bridge of my nose. The special cream “skin peel” did the job and I got a clean bill of health two weeks later. So don’t be macho and end up with skin cancer, use sunscreen and get a yearly checkup which could save you a lot of trouble.
19th Hole Putting Trivia
In the 1961 PGA Championship, Jerry Barber was trailing Don January by four strokes with only three holes left to play. With darkness approaching, January bogeyed two of the three, while Barber sank a 22 foot putt for birdie on sixteen, a 44 foot putt for birdie on seventeen and a 58 foot putt for par on the eighteenth green to tie January. Barber won the next day in a playoff.