Home' Australian Golf Digest : May 2017 Contents I
’M OLD enough to be a
father to most of the
players out here. In a way,
that’s the role I often assume.
Fixing their old toys, building
them new ones, pumping up their
confidence and then shuffling
them out the door to go play
against the other boys.
I live not with any of their
mothers, but with whom I call
“my 30,000 -pound date”. It’s
the 18-wheeler I drive across
America to nearly every US
PGA Tour event. In the back is
my shop, stocked with every
club and component of my
company’s line. The truck is my
responsibility, and she’s with
me every where I go. Meet you
for a beer downtown or catch
a quick movie? Sorry, but we’ll
need to talk parking.
In general, tour players are a
fantastic group of people. Their
contracts don’t prevent them
from experimenting with every
brand, so I see them all. As with
any assortment of 200 humans,
inevitably there will be a handful
who are a pain to deal with. A big
part of my job is to protect them
from themselves. When it comes
to equipment, it’s staggering
how misinformed some players
are. I once had a top player tell
me he needed to hit his 3-wood
15 yards longer, but he absolutely
didn’t want to decrease the loft
or lengthen the shaft. When I
told him that was impossible, he
challenged me and got all pissy.
Another player once asked me
to make a club an inch longer,
but to keep the swingweight the
same. Hello? The only way to
do that is to start from scratch.
I appreciate the players who
recognise that in the truck, we’re
the experts. Jason Day and Paul
Casey, just to name a couple of
the good guys, totally get that.
There aren’t many, but some
players like working on their
clubs. I understand the desire
to be hands-on and respect the
need to know intimately the
tools of one’s trade. But it’s a
liability issue. With changing
grips, my rule is, I cut them
off, and you can slide the new
ones on. It takes a fair amount
of physical force to slice rubber
and cord, and the last thing I
want to read is a news item that
so-and-so has withdrawn from
the US Open because he lopped
off his finger in my truck. Sergio
Garcia, for instance, is a guy who
loves shaping the soles of his
wedges. Now, a grinding wheel
isn’t an especially dangerous
machine, but accidents do
happen. Just look at the scarred
hands of any tour technician. So
I do my best to supervise. The
most important thing a player
can walk out my truck with is
confidence, and if applying the
finishing touch himself achieves
that, so be it.
Some players are plain nutty.
Years ago, we had a dude who
insisted on this tedious system
for building the shafts of his
irons. I had to cut the shafts
at precise spots and then fit
them into the steps of other
shafts. It took almost 20 shafts
to build a set of eight irons.
He claimed it affected the
balance point differently on
each one. A real nice guy, but
his only engineering degree
was from hanging out on a tour
range – with most of the credits
transferred from the Web.com.
I love the rookies who act
sheepish. “Excuse me, sir, but if
it’s not too much trouble, do you
think you could check my lofts
and lies sometime today?” Yeah,
kid. That’s why I’m out here and
get a pay cheque.
Of course, there’s the flip
side, too. Some players take one
step into my truck and turn
into Al Czervik. A lot of the
time they’re just immediately
giving the clubs we build to their
friends and family, or maybe
their caddie. And we always
know. Every pro is extremely
particular with his specs, and
so when a guy places a loose
order like, “I want to try that
head with that shaft but just
throw whatever grip on it,” I
know right away he’s lying.
But it’s cool. As long as it’s not
an unreleased prototype, it’s
worth looking the other way to
maintain the relationship.
And hey, it’s hard to say no to
– with Max adler
It’s staggering how misinformed
some players are.
Opinion Mr X
30 australiangolfdigest.com.au | may 2017
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