Thursday, 26 October 2017

Spiros Goes Old School

Spiros and I had a fun day yesterday. He took up golf later in life in his late forties. He was a soccer player and only turned to golf when his legs told him his soccer playing days were over. He has his own swing, which is a pronounced over-the-top move where he aims at least forty five degrees right of his target, makes a big turn, and hits it. When he sets up, he looks like he has his back to the target. It's really quite disconcerting to see, especially if you happen to be standing a little to the front and right of him. You're quite sure he's trying to hit it right at you. But he hits it surprisingly well, considering.  

Spiros had never played with the old equipment that I cut my teeth on. He had never hit forged blades, or woods that were actually made out of wood. So I decided to give him a set of Wilson Staff irons and woods that I had in my collection. They probably date from around the early seventies. The irons, I picked up at a thrift shop, but the woods were ones that both my father and I had used. They were top of the line clubs in their day.

Spiro looked at those irons and thought he'd never be able to hit them. But yesterday he gave them a try after hitting a couple of shots with them the day before. He loved them. He was hitting solid, straight shots with a two iron that looked like a damned butter knife. He was chipping and pitching like a demon with the old pitching wedge. And when he hit one out of the sweet spot, he'd let out a moan, and his face would light up. He said they felt like butter when he hit them well. And he hit a lot of them really well.

Those thin, small-headed blades were giving him such great feedback. If he hit it on the sweet spot, he knew right away because he felt nothing. If he got it out on the toe, or clanked one near the heel, he knew it right away as well. He started showing me the mark on the clubface where he had struck the ball and admitted that he was swinging more easily in order to make sure he hit it on the sweet spot, something he had not really worried about doing with his clubs. It was obvious that he was getting feedback he'd never had using his "game improvement" irons.

Now Spiros has no intention of playing the old blades full time. At least he doesn't right now. But it was obvious that he had really enjoyed the challenge of hitting them and he loved the feel of hitting one out of the center of the clubface. He has also hopefully realized from this exercise just how important it is to find the sweet spot. Hopefully, when and if he goes back to his old, newer clubs, he will take as much care to make sure he hits it out of the center of the bat. There's nothing that feels better than that--especially if you're hitting forged blades.