I admittedly am “one of those people” that can only last maybe about fifteen minutes… a half hour tops…. shopping around. Honestly! I am not even exaggerating. Just thinking about having to spend any longer than a half hour in a mall makes me hyperventilate.
I am your classic mission shopper. When I go into a store looking for say, khaki pants, I go straight to my go-to Old Navy and see if they have khaki pants- try them on, buy them if they work and then get out. If not, I go to the next place and buy them. I typically give up after three places and just pray there is something decent online. Sometimes I have to call in my mom or sister for backup.
I’m better with groceries. I like to work the edges and can usually pump it out in about twenty minutes. It goes something like this… Which bag of potatoes is the cheapest? I’ll take it. Where are my Large Grade A eggs? Found em. Then I grab some skim milk and maybe a few 69 cent chicken pot pies, and perhaps a vegetable or two, maybe a tub of ice cream depending on my mood and… peace. Some of my issues with shopping around come from a lack of spare time, but a deeper issue might be that I am also “one of those people” who is a little stuck in my ways.
It’s not all my fault. I grew up in a farmhouse that was built in the early 1800’s. My family still uses firewood to heat much of the house and I still prefer to go split the wood by hand in my 1996 Buckeye sweatshirt with the old maul. Forget machine log splitters… where is the muscle building in that!
In addition to my old farm ways, I am a classic English major who thinks that George Orwell’s 1984 is really happening and computers and technology are taking over the world and someday we will just stare at screens and have no thoughts or emotions! But this won’t be my fault because my computer and TV skills are weak! I once lived with a really nice IT guy who was always upgrading our TV with fancy new stuff. He would update it so often that I rarely knew how to turn it on… Thus, you get the idea of what sort of technology/shopper person you are dealing with here.
So when it comes to looking around for new golf clubs, it can be kind of hard for me. My first thought is usually, “Can it really make that big of a difference? I’ve only had this driver for six years? Are you seriously telling me that the Ping I25 irons, which look just like the I15’s I already have, are that much better?” My next thought is, “There is no way that I need to spend that much money just to get new grooves on these wedges. They look fine. They’ve been doing fine. It’s the exact same club. Heck, they’re all fine!”
See, unfortunately, unlike our LPGA friends, we Symetra Tour players don’t necessarily get free golf clubs. Unless you have a quality relationship built up with one of the companies or one of the company reps, then you are going to be coughing over some cash for new equipment. I play Pings and although they are fantastic supporters of LPGA pros and the Solheim Cup, you really need to be on one of the Big Tours before they give you too much of a discount on clubs. Different companies like Taylormade and Odyssey have sent me a free club in the past and if you can get in good with Titleist/Footjoy then they are very giving with golf balls and gloves. They sell the clubs at 40% off wholesale too so that’ pretty decent. Hey, every little bit helps from any company so I am not complaining.
Thus, for various reasons… because I think it’s usually the player and not the club… and I don’t like spending that much money on golf clubs… and I don’t really enjoy shopping around…. I don’t get golf clubs very often, which, if you believe that technology really is that much better every year, can maybe be a problem.
I headed into this season pretty satisfied with all of my clubs even though they had a few years on them. I wasn’t looking for new clubs. Then how did I end up having my fourth club fitting last week and zapping my credit card info to Ping for a $609 set of brand new I25’s?…. I’m still scratching my head too… in that excited sort of new car way.
You see, it’s really all Brooke Henderson’s fault that I went in there to getting a fitting in the first place. Back in January I was innocently enough watching the Golf Channel and this Brooke Henderson report comes on about how she increased the length of her Driver to 48 inches and gained 20 yards. I can remember thinking, “Well, that’s really something. Good for you Brooke, but I like my 44-inch Titleist.”
And then the idea just sat there in my mind and would not go away. Like every golfer I kept thinking, “Hmmm, I really do need ten more yards”. Last year I averaged 240 yards off the tee… 250 would be way better…. think of all the eagles I could have!
I mean, don’t worry, I’ve been working on my swing and all too but some new technology and the idea of just one more inch kept growing on my mind so much that by March I found myself up in Golf Galaxy in Columbus paying thirty dollars for a ten minute test of Taylormade’s new M1s and M2s.
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My review of Golf Galaxy… unless you are an affluent looking middle aged male, they usually assume you aren’t going to buy anything (probably often correctly like in my case). Thus, their idea of a fitting is having you pay your thirty dollars to hit a few. Then they spend a few minutes with you and basically move along to the next pocket.
But the M1 did beat my old Titleist, according to Best Golf Improvement Irons and so I knew I was on to something, but I needed more data. Shopping around at last! I had to find somewhere better than Golf Galaxy, though.
Golfworks, of course! The Golfworks is an incredible golf equipment juggernaut in the middle of Ohio cornfields. To get there I drove north through the beautiful Midwest countryside. Once I finally stumbled upon it, I saw all of these barns and barns full of golf stuff. There were dozens of employee and customer cars parked outside. It was quite a site for rural Ohio.
Founded by Ralph Maltby in 1976 in Newark, Ohio; The Golfworks continues to do some of the finest club engineering for players all over the world and they also hold club making classes, do club fittings and have most anything golf club technology related under the sun.
My technology challenged self was pretty overwhelmed walking in there but I was in luck. The fellow who fitted me for clubs was married to a gal who I played junior golf with so he took me under his wing and gave me many clubs to hit full of facts on facts on facts. By our third fitting and a lot of lie angle study, we decided not only was a new driver going to add yards but new irons might help me get some consistency too. So I went for it. Thank-you Golfworks!
My big change was to go back to men’s standard length irons. I used to play men’s standard length irons but I changed to shorter in college. Recently, I had begun to wonder why I did that. I don’t know if shorter has helped so I am fearlessly going to test standard length again. I’ve spent a good amount of time with my old irons, so these longer clubs are going to take some getting used to and might not work (Trackman doesn’t know everything!).
But that’s okay and even though it costs me a good amount of time and money, that’s okay too. I am really excited about getting potentially better equipment. You have to be willing to make investments and take chances with your game if you really do want to be your best. And I do want to be my best. Thank you to all of the reps and fitters who are helping me get the right technology for me.
Although, change makes people like me a bit nervous, at the end of the day… we all know it’s mostly about the putter anyway! Thankfully for me, I’ve been with my White Hot Odyssey Number Five for 15 years- two state championships, college golf, a US Open, a couple of Symetra top tens. We have a really great relationship. Don’t get me wrong I’ve dumped old Number 5 a few times for a month or two here and there and we’ve had our problems… times we didn’t talk… times we talked too much… but we’ll be out there this season battling away like usual. No need to shop around.
Allie White from Lancaster, Ohio, is a professional golfer and golf journalist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at Ohio University. With four years of experience on the Symetra Tour, a cut-made at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, and a 2016 Ohio Open Championship, White hopes to continue her golf career during her academic breaks.
My two biggest golf dreams are to play in Toledo Ohio’s LPGA event and to make it back to another US Open. I’m still hunting for that first hole in one!”