BIG DOG TIM BAINES
As the snow begins its slow exit in the northern U.S. and southern parts of Canada and as golf show season ratchets up, I’m staring at my golf clubs and wondering why am I not a better golfer?
It’s hard to put a finger on why I’m not particularly good. Lack of practice and inconsistency are a couple of factors, but it has to go beyond that, right? There has to be a reason why my game too often sucks. I’m guessing there are plenty of people reading this who can relate – you shoot 83 one day and 103 a week later.
I should be better. Every now and then, I can drive the ball 300 yards (let’s face it, I’m just happy to keep anything in the fairway, though). And my golf pals a long time ago called me The Boss of the Moss for what I could do with the flatstick.
For the most part, I keep the anger inside and keep smiling and laughing through the frustration. But it bothers me.
What makes it even more befuddling is the terrific technology that should be giving my game a big boost. Maybe I’m not taking full advantage of that technology. No complaints with my Daddy Long Legs putter. While I was fitted for my RocketBallz Stage 2 driver, I’m using a hand-me-down set of Adams irons. So maybe this is the year I take the leap. Get a swing coach. Get all new clubs, fitted. Proper equipment really is a big deal.
Kevin Haime, a former PGA of Canada national teacher of the year and owner of The Kevin Haime Golf Centre in Ottawa, said finding the right clubs to suit your game makes a world of difference.
“All the technology is wonderful, it’s most important to the people with a lesser amount of skill,” said Haime. “If you’re going to pay $500 or $600 for a driver, you want to optimize the way it works for you. A different golf shaft, different weight setting, different lofts in the head can make 20-to-30-yard differences in how far you can hit the ball.
“Every year more people understand that fitting is important. Of the people who show up on my fitting tee who have a club in mind that they want, I would say less than 20% of them buy that club once they go through the fit. Either they change brands or they change the shaft of the club they have in mind.
“There are so many variables. It’s like going into a car dealership. The odds of you going in and they have the exact car you want, the colour, the options … it’s pretty rare because there are so many options and so many colours.
“There is no bad equipment. If you stick with the top golf brands – PING, TaylorMade, Titleist, Callaway, Cobra, Mizuno – if you stick with one of them, they all have teams of engineers working on better technology. There is certainly equipment that is more suited to each golfer and that’s where the testing comes in.”
Finding a golf ball to suit your game is also important.
“My recommendation would be to go buy six different sleeves of golf balls and give them all a try,” said Haime. “Use your early season to find the ball that’s right for you. That’ll be based on a lot of things – your clubhead speed, your spin rate, your angle of attack. You will feel the difference. You’ll find one you like the most. You might as well take the early part of the season to have a little fun and test them out.”