Teeing off – does anything on the course offer up such an exquisite blend of promise and anxiety? A new fairway before us with a wealth of possibilities! Not all of them good, as we know, and folks are watching. Tee it up!
We posted 9 Notable Things to Know and Do Around the Teeing Area a while ago. Inspired by new experiences, and an entertaining new book, On Par, by Bill Pennington, we’ve got a few more things to say.
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Do you place your tee nosed right up to – and in the middle of – the imaginary line between the markers? An uneven and divot-dinged place, perhaps. Seek level ground, as far back as 2 club lengths, because it’s easier to hit a good shot when your feet are level and level with the ball. As Pennington says, “You’ll never miss the 3 feet.”
The markers aren’t there to help you line up. Deploy whatever personal lining-up routine you have – but ignore where the markers are pointing you. The mowers probably placed them there.
Ball Falling Off Tee
When we tee up the ball, it is not yet in play – we haven’t tried to hit it, we haven’t made a stroke. Along comes the wind, or we accidently knock it off at address or with a practice swing. No penalty – we have not intentionally tried to hit it. See USGA Section II, Definitions,“Stroke” and Rule 11-3.
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Is it the scent of freshly cut grass or the heady mix of friendship and competition? Every year one of our group drives a ball from the incorrect tee. We don’t notice at first, then we do and are sad … and then inspired because she takes her penalty – 2 strokes! – re-tees in the right place and keeps on smiling. She’s our club champion in more ways than one.
There’s lots of buzz this year about fairway woods because of some significant breakthrough technology. “Make friends with the new breed … before someone decides these clubs are too long and need extra scrutiny,” was the zippy line in the morning NYTimes that got us out of the arm chairs and over to see Brent Norton at the Miles of Golf Cluboratory.
First, what ARE fairway woods, exactly?
Around for a long time, they are often called “fairway metals” these days. Designed for maximum distance off the tee or fairway, they have over time given ground somewhat to hybrids. This year, big changes in the engineering of these clubs have made for faster swings, easier hitting, longer distance.
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We took tested fairway woods at the Cluboratory.
Here’s how a typical club testing goes:
What to Expect
Bring along your old club that you’re considering replacing. Plan to spend 45 minutes to an hour and hit about 75 balls. Fee for club testing is $25, fully refundable if you make a purchase. Making an appointment is always a good idea.
What we’re looking for, our game, our current clubs, anything helpful in defining the mission – just tell it like it is.
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Club Technology – Explanations and Examples
The conversation with Brent touches on fairway woods vs hybrids; loft and spin; club playability for women’s slower swing speeds; new technology/engineering, particularly the Adams Speedline Fast 12 and Taylormade Rocketballz Fairway Wood. You’ll get as much technical info as you want.
We hit some warm up shots while Brent gathered seven clubs for us to test.
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Trying Them Out
The Cluboratory has a sweet, peaceful glow in the morning sun, but make no mistake, Brent is hard at work. He hands us clubs, watches, analyzes, gives us another. We hit with our old club too, making comparisons. Brent knows more about my swing in 5 minutes than I know in 5 years. It’s a team effort – my swing, his knowledge; together we’ll narrow the selection down to the club that works.
The Good Feeling
You’ll know it when you hit it – which is why it’s so valuable to test clubs in the Cluboratory. It’s not always the latest and greatest technology that works. It’s the one that generates confidence and consistency for YOU.