Thursday, April 17, 2008

Latest lame ass trend in golf

Interchangeable shaft drivers. You pay 700-900 bucks for a driver head and a few shafts. You can screw in the shaft you want with a proprietary tool. Let me count the ways of lameness:

1: That is not going to help ANYBODY. Pros don't change their shaft types regularly - they get fit to the type of shaft that fits their game. That would be like alternating irons between brands, depending on course conditions and how you felt that day. Consistency is the holy grail of golf. Interchangable shafts are killing consistency; they represent the "tyranny of choice" fully manifested.

2: 700 bucks? Are you kidding me? For the price, you could basically buy 3 drivers (maybe one 2008 and 2 older models). You know how a top of the line much a shaft costs? 40-80 bucks. You could by one driver, and try 5-10 shafts and still spend less money. Of course, that shouldn't be necessary, which comes to the next lameness...

3: This lets the consumer, rather than the golf pro, decide what is best for you. If you are ready to plunk down 700 bucks, you ought to be getting fit by a professional that knows your game. Trust me - you might think you need a whippy shaft, or know how much flex should be in the tip, but you don't - the golf pro knows. Otherwise, just buy an off the rack driver.

4: You can only use the shafts that are part of their proprietary system. So you are limited to their three shafts. What are the odds that a golfer hungry for shaft experimentation is going to find the perfect marriage there?

5: Things like cutting a shaft to the right length or a different grip are going to be overlooked here - things that are way moire important that flex.

6: The driver is totally not where you want to spend money to improve your game. Get a few hybrids, or blow your budget on a nice, balanced putter. You could do both with the amount you'd need to spend on a driver - whose only requirement is to go a reasonable distance, and stay in play. You can drive a ball only 150 yards, and still make par if you've got game.

7: When you spend this much on a driver, you are apt to hold on to it way longer than normal, and also likely to continue using it, making yourself mad with shaft combinations, when maybe what you need is a different driver. The implicit statement is that the driver head is without flaw, and you just need the right shaft. Perimeter weight distribution, face height and loft are way more important, and shouldn't be taken for granted as absolutes.

8: This just points out to the sad realization that technology innovation for golf equipment is reaching a plateau. They've pushed the limit on just about every USGA regulation regarding equipment. Like square headed fairway woods, "deeper grooved" wedges and hybridized 9 irons, this is just showing that equipment makers are struggling to bring something new to the marketplace. A lot of smoke and mirrors. And in the end, this stuff won't make you better - it will just be enough of a swing nanny to make a horrible golfer into a mediocre one.

9. It smacks of desperation, but not just on the part of the manufacturers. This is for the player who will do anything to improve their drives - as long as it doesn't require practicing or a lesson. If you aren't hitting it right - trust me, three driver shafts aren't going to help you break 90, or 100.

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