February 26, 2010
This year’s preparations for the upcoming golf season will be quite a bit different from the recent experiences of many Cape Region golfers.
It has something to do with all that snow that has kept the local golf courses closed for the past six months or so.
Perhaps “six months” may be slightly overstating the actual length of time that the snow has kept players off their courses.
However long the snow really has lain here, it’s extended presence is in marked contrast to the last several years of mild winters. The conditions may not have been ideal, but the weather was usually warm and dry enough to help stay in some kind of golfing shape, without resorting to the snowbird option available to some Cape Region players.
While we wait for the snow to thaw and the golfing grounds to dry out, there are other ways we can ready ourselves for a pleasant spring start to golf.
Make sure your equipment is up to date. For some, that may mean buying a new club or two, or a whole new set.
If you focus on buying one club, I suggest the driver, but only under certain conditions. For example, if your driver is more than ten years old, you are definitely missing out on the club technology improvements that have come out since then. To a limited extent, you actually can buy a better game.
However, I recommend you stop at your local neighborhood golf shops or visit the Cape Region’s golf pros, and discuss the relative merits of buying new clubs, instead of just jumping onto the Web and hitting the click-here-to-buy buttons.
The local folks can discuss your own tendencies and skill levels. They can also gently suggest some equipment options that may do your game some real good. At some locations, such as the Tee II Green store on Rehoboth Avenue Extended, you can also use the golf swing simulator program to help hone in on the right choices.
Most folks won’t need new clubs, but everyone should make sure the clubs they have are ready for the spring. That includes having the clubs re-gripped.
Using grips for too long is one of the common differences between most amateur golfers and golf professionals, whether the pros are on tour or at the local clubs. The club grips are the only thing connecting golfers to their clubs, and it’s important that this connection be as good as possible.
The process doesn’t take long, and is relatively inexpensive. For less than the cost of a new driver or high-end putter, the local stores and golf pros can put a new set of grips on all of your clubs. For many golfers, re-gripping will do their games far more good than the latest and greatest item touted in the golf magazines.
Don’t forget to re-grip your putter, also. I’ve tried a few friends’ putters sometimes, and had a hard time holding onto the slick old grips. No wonder they have such a death-like hold on that club, with the resulting unfortunate results.
When helping another golfer may not be appreciated
The USGA’s Rule of the Day for Feb. 23 made me laugh as soon as I read it. See if it has the same effect on you:
Question: At a short hole, A’s tee shot may be out of bounds or lost, so he plays a provisional ball, which he holes. A does not wish to look for his original ball. B, A’s opponent or a fellow-competitor, goes to look for the original ball. When does the provisional ball become the ball in play?
Answer: In equity (Rule 1-4), the provisional ball becomes the ball in play as soon as A picks it out of the hole, provided his original ball has not already been found in bounds within five minutes of B starting to search for it.
I have a vivid mental image of a mad dash to the green by player A, while player B runs at top speed to “help” player A find that first ball.