I’m guilty. I just have NOT talked enough about sports in this blog yet this year, most particularly, golf.
But golf season’s just really getting underway, and with the PGA set to visit Torrey Pines in San Diego starting tomorrow at The Farmers Insurance Open, I can assure you that will start to change.
Over the Christmas holidays, I mentioned, in fact, that Santa brought me a self-imposed present: Some Ben Hogan “Red Line” irons, circa 1988. I found them from a nice gentleman in Illinois via eBay, and the day they arrived via UPS at my folks’ place, where I was visiting, there was a few inches of snow on the ground.
Finally, later that week, back in Austin, I got to give them a go. I’ll remind you these are the same clubs that Tiger Woods won a U.S. Amateur with back in the day, and a range of pros (including Austin inhabitant Tom Kite) played with these clubs at one point or another.
I’ll also remind you that I’m no Tiger Woods or Tom Kite…I’m a mid-level handicapper working his tail off to drive that handicap down into the single digits.
Since that first round, I’ve played a few more, and I LOVE the clubs. But last weekend, just for grins, I went out and swung my Mizuno MP-25s, my original Mizuno set which are cavity-backed (what Mizuno calls their “Hemi Cog”).
So how did I hit those clubs now that I’d been out flirting with some blades for a few weeks?
Well, suffice it to say, my first five-iron probably sailed close to 180 yards and had this amazing trajectory and ball flight that made my want to cry.
And that happened again. And again. And again.
Ever since golf school last summer, there’s been no doubt my game improved. But, I don’t play enough as an amateur to consistently hit a thin blade in that oh-so-small sweet spot.
So, this weekend, I’m going to take the forged clubs and see what happens at a challenging course out in Blanco (the Texas Hill Country). Assuming my short game doesn’t completely fall apart, I expect to see my score drop back down into the lowish 80s, but we’ll see.
Do I regret the trial experience with those blades? And will I ever play with them again?
No, and abso-frickin’-lutely.
Playing with those blades drives focus on the swing like you’ll never have with a forged club, because they’re not nearly forgiving. For that reason alone, I’ll continue to bring them out, because they force you to find the center of the club.
But when it comes to playing to score, and to have the most fun I can have on the golf course, I realize now more than ever why they make those forged clubs — so we “hacks” can fairly consistently hit those beautiful iron shots that we so admire when Tiger or Ricky or any other pro step up to the ball and make it look so easy.
I can’t wait for my tee time on Saturday.