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Like It Or Not, Ultra-Premium Golf Equipment Is Here To Stay

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Back in 2015, Bob Parsons burst onto the golf scene with PXG. Its ultra-premium pricing, eccentric CEO, and bombastic brand image have remained a lightning rod for attention in the golf industry for the last two years. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Nearly everyone has an opinion on the matter, and they will argue it until their face turns blue. There’s one thing it’s time for us all to agree on, though, regardless of which side of that fence you happen to be. Parsons started something. It has officially stuck. And it’s not going anywhere.

About a month ago, I wrote an article surmising that the vast majority of golf clubs are incredibly well priced. I also stated that some equipment manufacturers are looking to reach new heights in that regard, and ultimately, consumers will vote with their wallets as to the validity of those prices. After letting that idea marinate for a little bit, I think the aforementioned validity is already bubbling up to the surface. Consumers are buying it.

The obvious place to start is with TaylorMade, which launched its P-790 irons about a month ago. While their retail price is less than half of a comparable set of PXG irons, their construction (a hollow head filled with “Speed Foam” and tungsten to increase MOI) was strikingly similar to PXG’s 0311 (a hollow head filled with TPE and tungsten screws to provide perimeter weighting). The constructions are similar enough, in fact, that Parsons has elected to drag them to court over the matter. Time will tell on that one.

The company that’s probably most excited about that lawsuit is Callaway, which has been leaning pretty heavily on the accelerator pedal in its own right. In January, the company released the GBB Epic and GBB Epic Sub Zero drivers at a price of $499.999 each. Later came its Epic and Epic Pro irons at roughly $2,000 a set, and just recently, Callaway released an ultra-lightweight line of Epic Star clubs. Those will hit the streets at $699.99 for a driver and $2,400 for an eight-piece set of irons. Callaway isn’t filling its irons with SpeedFoam or TPE, but it is reaching for the same ultra-premium price points.

Even if you step outside of the “big boys,” you’ll notice that as long as a company is providing an exceeding level of technology, quality, customer service, fitting, etc., consumers are more than willing to open up their wallets. Examples include some names that have been around a long time in the “boutique putter” game such as Tyson Lamb, Byron Morgan, and MannKrafted, but can also be stretched into newer craftsmen such as Raybon Putters and Selfmade Flatsticks. I spoke with the owner of Bluegrass Fairway, a company that sells hand-made leather scorecard holders and yardage book covers, who recently told me he was “blown away” by how busy his business is.

If you read the forums and comments sections on GolfWRX and all the other sites across the golf world, you’ll find a lot of belly aching over the price of gear nowadays and also over the gear geeks that buy them. What’s starting to crystallize at this point is that regardless of your personal opinion, this level of gear has officially gained traction in the marketplace. In return, the consumer is getting a very high quality product with unprecedented attention to detail and technological advancement. Who knows how long PXG will be around, but its contribution to the game has already left an impression.

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Peter Schmitt does not profess to be a PGA professional or to be certified at...well...anything much in golf. Just another lifelong golfer with a passion for the game trying to get better every day, the definition of which changes relatively frequently. Peter is a former Marine and a full-time mechanical engineer (outside of the golf industry). He lives in Lexington, KY with his wife and two young kids. Follow Peter on twitter and Instagram using the links below.

43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Sean

    Sep 29, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I have no problem with premium clubs, and I don’t understand people who do. It’s not like golfers are being forced to purchase them. If people want to lay out the cash for these types of clubs, that is their business. It has no affect on either my wallet, or my game.

  2. Steve C

    Sep 29, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Full disclosure… I am currently a 6 HDCP and have been as low as a 3. So, I am neither a good or bad golfer. I recently went on a vacation to see some friends. Not expecting to play golf, I did not bring my clubs on this trip. I ended up using my buddy’s wife “Golden Bear” set that was likely 10 years old. I shot an 80, which is probably what I would have shot with my own clubs. MY POINT IS THAT I DOUBT SO CALLED PREMIUM CLUBS WILL TRANSLATE TO BETTER SCORES.

  3. Peter Schmitt

    Sep 29, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks for the reactions and comments as always, guys and gals. As one can plainly see, it’s a polarizing subject, which makes it worth pondering and writing about.

    To be continued… 🙂

  4. Mike

    Sep 29, 2017 at 4:21 am

    Have you forgotten we used to pay $1500 big ones for a”J’s Professional Weapon” driver not so many years ago

  5. AD

    Sep 29, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Ooooh I want my $3000 set of irons, please

  6. Da Judge

    Sep 28, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Ultra-premium priced golf equipment is so so pathetic. It’s only for show and status. Toys for golfturds!

  7. Andrew

    Sep 28, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks, shoeshine boy. Now I know the market for “ultra-premium” is topped. Good luck, suckers.

    • Doobie

      Sep 28, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      Next big golf club market is the “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” golffing gearhead geeks who don’t play golf… they just want to fill their WITB so they can join golf forums and share their feeelings with other like minded morons.

      • AD

        Sep 29, 2017 at 3:01 am

        You really aged yourself there, girlfriend, with that quote from what was it – Mary Poppins, is it? Lemme look it up on Wiki…..

  8. Methislife

    Sep 28, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    if you can afford a ferrari, go ahead… But your the douche that drives a Ferrari. If you can afford PXG, go ahead.. it’s your money… But your the douche that plays PXG

    • Fredo

      Sep 28, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      I guess that makes you the douch that can’t afford top end anything

      • Da Judge

        Sep 28, 2017 at 10:21 pm

        And what are you? A bottom end golfer with top end ultra-premium clubs?
        You know what that makes you look like? (Clownish).

  9. L

    Sep 28, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Parsons didn’t start anything really. Brands like Honma pioneered the ultra expensive sometimes funky looking equipment niche way before PXG came along.

    • Doobie

      Sep 28, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      Honma pioneered the ultra expensive clubs because in Asia you are what you own…. even if you can’t hit the golf ball a snot.

  10. BB

    Sep 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    GM. Ford and Chrysler owe their survival to pickup truck sales at exhorbitant prices for a cheap to build product. The markup on pickup trucks is huge whereas profits are meager for the econo-sedans because the Asian car builders have the low end market sewn up.
    Similarly the big golf OEMs are not selling enough lower priced clubs to a dwindling market and must seek profits from the upscale market where price is irrelevant.
    So stop slobbering over the premium golf equipment because that’s not for you to judge. People who buy these golfing pickup truck at premium prices are mostly golffing clowns anyway.

    • bbdumdum

      Sep 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      You sound jealous. Maybe you can get a used set in a few years.

      • Da Judge

        Sep 28, 2017 at 10:23 pm

        Me jealous? Naaah! I just love to twist you WITB nerds and geeks into pretzels.

        • DaJudgeisJealous

          Sep 29, 2017 at 8:44 am

          Just what we all thought. Jealous. Thanks for confirming.

    • JThunder

      Sep 28, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      The fact that golf sales are down since the dizzying heights since the high point “bubble” of Tiger Woods era hardly makes them “dwindling”… if people would stop drinking the Kool-Aid, then the global economy and corporate culture might actually work.

  11. Tom54

    Sep 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    The golfing public is pretty smart when it comes to equipment. Those that love the game and all it’s new products will continue to purchase the latest stuff. Those that don’t have fat wallets will wait a while (not that long anymore) till this years hot item is a fraction of what it was when it was current. That’s the way to go.

  12. Gorden

    Sep 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    We all know part of the fun of golf is having new or equipment we really want to play (even if may not be right for our level of play) So having premium equipment is important for ones who can afford that choice. I would worry more about the division in course quality we are facing now…the premium market (Country Clubs etc) are even facing this problem…Just in my area 4 public courses have closed in the last 3 years, 2 more have announced closing in 2018 add to that 2 Private Country clubs in the same area have gone Public this year….must remind those buying premium equipment hitting off bare dirt fairways and putting through weeds on greens may not be worth the price.

  13. Jim

    Sep 27, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Actually nothing new about appealing to the upscale, luxury (big ego) market. Ever hear of Hiro Honma (who hasn’t)?. Some of their gold-plated stuff goes for well over $10,000 per set of irons.
    Many of their older, lower cost items (PP-717, 727, etc.) are quite wonderful, very playable blades, challenging any muscle back or blade in today’s market.

    • Doobie

      Sep 28, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      In Asia, you are what you own…. even if your slicing drive is only 150 meters…!!

  14. AM

    Sep 27, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Of course they will be here to stay, and new and improved premium clubs will be available annually.
    The new model clubs will sell because they are aimed at the ultra-rich up-scale market where price doesn’t matter.
    The rest of us peons will play with our 5-7 y.o. clubs and save money for another super-duper driver down the road. The golf market for cheaper clubs is vanishing along with the drop in participation.

  15. Matt

    Sep 27, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Don’t see a problem with more options. I’m one of few in my group with new gear, though definitely wasn’t in the market for PXG prices. Most of the guys I play with are old school – quality second hand clubs and new balls only for tournaments.

  16. SV

    Sep 27, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Just keep churning out the equipment at whatever prices the OEMs want. If it’s available left-handed and I like it, I’ll buy it later on Ebay or Global Golf for a lot less and enjoy it just as much.

  17. 06aces

    Sep 27, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Might be the up and coming market….time will tell…
    a already elite sport played by the rich….becoming harder and harder for the young families to play together…
    Not sure how this grows the game….
    Look at all the golf course closures in Myrtle Beach the last 10 years….
    The true bench mark for golf course is not how many $600 drivers it sells….it is all about…”rounds of golf played per year”……a number that has been declining recently

  18. Sam

    Sep 27, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Why would people not like this? It’s just more choices and something for everyone.

  19. cgasucks

    Sep 27, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Let’s face it…most guys want to play the same clubs the pros play on TV and most pros choose performance over luxury. The luxury golf club market will be there, but it will be nowhere as big as the regular mainstream performance club market.

    • Joey5Picks

      Sep 28, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      So how do you explain Nike have virtually no success in the club market, despite Tiger Woods playing their equipment for 2 decades?

      • JThunder

        Sep 28, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        The stuff that sells well in stores has very little to do with what the pros play. Ping G-series irons far outsell Titleist MBs, yet tour use is the very opposite.

  20. Golfgirlrobin

    Sep 27, 2017 at 11:40 am

    As with virtually all products, the tech in these ultra premium clubs will filter down to the more reasonably priced sets at some point, and every golfer will benefit.

    Every sport has equipment options that the average participant can’t afford but they don’t seem to take those offerings as a personal affront the way golfers do.

  21. Darrin

    Sep 27, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I have several friends who own these sort of clubs. They are the kind of people who have a lot of disposable income, they might wear Rolex watches, drive new BMW’s, live in nice houses located at private clubs etc. What exactly is the problem? Some people like premium products, if you can’t afford them or justify buying them then don’t buy them. Personally I can’t justify it, I have good clubs, I am happy with them, but I don’t look down on people for buying them if they can afford it.

    So I guess I don’t get the “like it or not” title to the thread. Should we protest premium products just because we can’t afford them? It’s a really weird mentality. I also think it’s cool to see people playing discounted classic clubs, because they like them and because they are affordable.

    To each his own.

    • Ray

      Sep 27, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Agree with comments here. This is the same unfortunate mentality that prevails every aspect of daily life. Its called jealousy.

      Example: I know for a fact where i play locally that a good portion of the higher handicap golfers tend to disparage and isolate the accomplished members. The same mentaility applies to those buying $5,000 bag of clubs. Sad but true….

  22. Ripken08

    Sep 27, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Yes expensive equipment is here to stay, but not “ultra premium”. Think you got it all wrong as the performance isn’t there to warrant the price. This is just going to drive prices up and shy away people that mat want to take up the game.

  23. Ray

    Sep 27, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Im happy shooting low 70’s consistently with my Ping I3 blades, thanks anyway though 🙂

  24. moses

    Sep 27, 2017 at 10:36 am

    A lot of people thought Callaway was crazy charging $499 for the Great Big Bertha Driver back in the 90s. How did that work out?

    • BB

      Sep 27, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Yeah…. and then they yanked out the stock graphite shaft and put in an exotic shaft because the stock shaft was floppy, soggy crap intended for sub-80mph swings.
      So the suckers had a $499 GBB driver head and a $150 fancy graphite shaft for a $650 driver….. and nothing changed until the OEMs decided to offer a choice of shafts when they realized what was happening.
      Stupid is as stupid does…. and nothing much has changed.

  25. Dat

    Sep 27, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Next up, golf equipment loans and credit lines.

    • TC

      Sep 27, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Taylormade already started it:

      “Here’s how it works: After credit approval, a consumer can purchase drivers and irons such as the company’s current M1 driver and M2 irons on TaylorMade’s e-commerce site through a monthly payment plan on an 18- or 30-month billing cycle. The resulting interest would lead to the $500 M1 driver typically costing about an extra $100.”

      • Dat

        Sep 27, 2017 at 6:22 pm

        Next up, golf equipment credit defaults and government bailouts.

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Opinion & Analysis

Bag Chatter: An Interview with Uther Supply

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Bag Chatter is a series of interviews that spotlights brands around the golf industry and the people behind them. We’re looking to make this a regular thing, so please comment and share through your medium of choice. If you have a brand and are interested in participating in these interviews, you can email mailbag@golfwrx.com for consideration. This interview is with Daniel Erdman of Uther Supply.

Tell us about Uther. How do you pronounce that? What are you all about? How did you start?

It’s actually pronounced “other.” We’ve gotten that question a lot and, to be honest, we’re kind of OK with it. We wanted to brand ourselves as unique, so we think it fits well. We want to create products that no one else creates. That could be towels in unique prints or some other golf goods outside of that. We’re targeting the customer that wants to be different as well…people who want to demonstrate their unique personalities.

Forgive me for being a little direct, but golf towels may not strike a lot of people as being something a lot of people would start a business with. Were you seeing a lack of something in the marketplace somehow? What prompted you to start this company selling golf towels?

It may not be conventional and I definitely recognize that. Some of my friends have laughed at me for starting a golf towel business. I guess it hit me when I was working at private clubs (I have worked at The Thornhill Club and Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto). When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together. Billy Horschel’s octopus-print pants at the 2013 US Open was something that always stuck out in my mind and in that moment when I was staring at all those bags, it all kind of came together in a way. I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.

What do you think differentiates your products from others in the marketplace? Why do you think people would buy your products?

We’ve already addressed the fact that we offer different and bold prints, but that’s obviously the first thing that most customers will notice. Beyond that, though, we put a lot of attention to detail into our products. We went through 40 different suppliers to get things right. My grandparents had a really successful flooring mat company when I was growing up. Watching them run the family business gave me the bug at a very young age to start my own business. It also taught me how much quality matters and getting the right suppliers and materials. It was so much more difficult back then without the internet, but now, a quick google search just does so much of the legwork for you.

Uther Supply’s golf towel lineup

Something that I think is very interesting here is you’re very young at only 22 years old. A lot of the people I’ve talked to recently have been in their twenties as well. Tell me a little bit about what it took to start this company. Did you have to secure an investment? A lot of people shy away from starting a company for fear of the hill being too steep to climb, if you will. Since you’re in the process of climbing it, what’s that actually like?

It definitely was difficult. The only outside funding I got were some grants and loans from business accelerator programs. Those helped tremendously. I remember having to place a very large order at my supplier at the same time my one of my funding opportunities was being processed. That particular one only had like a 20 percent acceptance rate, and if I didn’t get it, I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to fund the order. The way everything happened to be timed, I had to I place my order before I heard back from my funding application to meet a deadline. It turned out I was accepted, so that was a relief, but it was definitely pretty stressful. You know, in the beginning, you’re working for months before you generate any income. You’re doing everything for the first time like sending stuff through customs, dealing with suppliers, collecting transactions, you name it. You’re bound to make mistakes along the way and when you have zero money coming in, the mistakes you make hurt so much more. You have no processes or systems in place. It’s something you need to accept for what it is and grind through it. Social media helped accelerate things quite a bit (including meeting my sales partner Luke through Instagram). Selling on Amazon and going to the PGA show last year gave us a boost as well. It’s hard to say what the hardest part is specifically. It’s just the grind in the beginning trying to get momentum behind it. Once you get over the hump, it’s really exciting and fun, but getting up to that point is definitely not easy.

It should also be mentioned that you’re based out of Canada. A lot of people would assume being in the Great White North would make the game of golf a challenging proposition. How long/short is your golf season in Ontario? How do you stay sharp over the Canadian winters? And what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to play golf when it’s far too cold for most of us? To what lengths will you go?

It can get interesting for sure. I first started golfing because of my hockey friends. Yes, a lot of us do play hockey up here. It was a natural transition for a lot of us to play hockey in the winter and golf in the summer. However, if you do happen to get a golf itch in the winter, you will have to get creative. It’s pretty easy to go to just an indoor simulator to practice. Sometimes I would go to Golf Town (our version of Golf Galaxy) to pretend to demo clubs in order to practice my swing. That can get you by for a while, but it’s not the same as hitting an actual golf ball and watching it fly through the air, you know? So when you get to that point, there’s a nice indoor/outdoor range near me with covered, heated hitting bays. Our golf season is from like April through October, so that leaves a lot of time in between. Golf vacations become necessary sometimes.

Before starting Uther, you alluded to your experience working at golf courses. First off, you must have some good stories. No need to mention any names, but what’s your favorite story from that stage of life? Also, what was it like to go from working at a club to having to court those golf clubs to become your customer, stock your products, etc? Was that really easy or really difficult?

Well, I have a bunch of stories involving golf carts. Just in case the old golf directors read this, I won’t give too many details. Working at a course is great. You can’t get a better “office” than going to the course every day. There’s nothing like watching the sunrise on a dew-covered golf course, especially when you’re being paid. Some of my best memories were after tournaments where three of us guys would clean like 80 golf carts. We would all have fun and get to know each other. It didn’t really feel like work.

In both instances (working for a course and now selling to them), it doesn’t really feel so much like work. It does take a lot of work, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t feel like drudgery, that’s for sure. The difference is that there’s a lot more behind the scenes work that I’m doing now. We recently did a towel for the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance in collaboration with State Apparel. It took us a lot of back and forth to get that product right, but once we did, we came up with a custom, one-off product that our customers really loved. And watching them react to it was incredible. Stuff like that really keeps you going.

Bo Links, Co-Founder of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, holding custom towel developed with Uther Supply

This question is unabashedly inspired by (ahem…lifted from) one of Rick Shiels’ recent posts. (Giving credit where it’s due here). If you had to “Tin Cup” it (i.e. play a round of golf with only one club), what club would it be and how many extra strokes do you think it would take? So, if you were to play your home course, your normal score is what? And what would your “Tin Cup” score be, you think?

If I had to choose one club for a Tin Cup round, I think it would be a five iron. My home course (and the public golf course I worked for) is Richmond Hill Golf Club. It’s only like 6,000 yards, so I feel like I could totally get by with a five iron and get on any green in 3. I typically shoot like an 80-85. I don’t think I would be that far off the number honestly. I trust the five iron, but also, I know my course pretty well and I think that club would suit it nicely. Now that you ask, though, I feel like I’m dying to try it!

What tour pro would you most like to have a beer with? Not necessarily the guy you’d want to play golf with or pick his brain about the game. Who do you think is the most likeable guy on tour? Who would you most like to befriend, if you will?

I would definitely have to go with Rickie Fowler. He’s got a bold style for sure, but he owns it and I really dig that. I love that he congratulates the other guys on tour and is supportive of them when they win tournaments. He seems so humble. He’s also really adventurous. He’s into motocross. I’m not into motocross, but I love the adventurous spirit. He just seems like a really cool guy from what I can tell.

It’s almost hard to believe, but the PGA Merchandise Show is fast approaching (January 23-26, 2018 in Orlando, FL for those who don’t know). Will you be exhibiting? What are you most looking forward to? That question is, of course, about what steps you think Uther will take, but also, are you looking forward to anything specific from other manufacturers? What companies’ booths are you planning on going to?

We will definitely be at the show and we’re really looking forward to it. Come see us at booth 3988! I walked the show last year but wasn’t exhibiting, so I would go up to potential customers and pitch my products to them. That was a lot of work and it was quite stressful being out on a limb like that. We’ve been working on this year’s show since August and I think it’s going to be a ton of fun. We’ve got some really cool stuff planned. You also get to meet so many people there, which is just a blast. As far as other stuff I’m looking forward to, Greyson Clothiers is definitely at the top of the list. Charlie’s story is so interesting and I just love their products.

Uther Supply plaid towel on the course

Lastly, what do you guys have in the works? Are there any product releases forthcoming? Tell people how to find you on website, social media, etc.

So, the big news is that we will be expanding beyond golf towels. We will be launching some gloves and hats that I’m really excited about. We have six different golf gloves as well as bucket and baseball hats we’ll be rolling out in some very fun prints and colors (because that’s what we do). Definitely a good idea to check out our website, which is www.uthersupply.com. The website has a link to sign up for our email list which will send out some discount codes from time to time. There will also be some exclusive and limited-edition products on the website at times too. @Uthersupply is our handle on all social media platforms. Business customers can reach us at contact@uthersupply.com to collaborate with us on custom products. We’d love to have people come see what we’re about!

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Opinion & Analysis

Tara Iti: A Golfer’s Paradise

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This trip couldn’t have started better. Tara Iti Golf Club is magic! No disrespect to the home of golf, but this course might be as special as it gets when it comes to playing links golf.

Catch Up: The Start of My Golf Adventure

Tara Iti is a masterpiece that opened late in 2015. It’s designed by the famous golf architect Tom Doak, and it’s located on a large piece of land on the North Island of New Zealand around 1.5 hours from Auckland. It’s well hidden from houses and traffic, so you can just focus on your game and the stunning property.

The course brings swift fairways and plenty of risk-reward opportunities, offering a bevy of challenging shots that you need to plan carefully in order to get close to the flag. I loved especially the shapes presented by the fairways and waste areas, which make it feel as though the entire course is seamlessly woven together. I also like the idea they’ve got here of playing the ball as it lies. No bunkers, just waste areas.

On a personal note, my match against Johan was halved. He played very well on the first nine while I did well on the back nine.

What’s key to success to Tara Iti is a polished short game in combination with the ability to hit the fairways. I found my favorite hole at No. 17, a strikingly beautiful short par-3 that pops up between the wild sand dunes. There are three iconic trees to the left with the sea and a beautiful island as a backdrop.

Up Next: Kauri Cliffs on the northern peak of New Zealand. It is said to be one of the most scenic courses in the world.

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Opinion & Analysis

Life as a left-handed golfer

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“My bad, forgot you were a lefty,” my cart partner says, driving to the wrong side of the ball for the third straight hole.

“All good. Let me just grab my wedge and putter and you can head over to your ball,” I say, realizing I left that wedge on No. 2.

“Too bad you can’t use one of mine!” my hilarious buddy jokes. And just like that, we’re off. The life as a lefty.

Saturday morning rounds usually start casually enough. Tees are thrown and partners drawn. As I approach the ball, my laser-like focus after a terrible range session is typically interrupted by everyone’s favorite knee-slapper.

“Did anyone ever tell you you stand on the wrong side of the ball?” ZING!

“Actually, I’m standing to the right of the ball if you really look at it,” a younger me once quipped, a joke that would confuse and embarrass all involved. And then, with the confidence of an awkward night at the improv, I dead block one that nestles next to a tree.

As we cruise down the rough, my chauffeur politely asks, “You pulled your drive, correct?”

“Yeah, missed left side,” I mumble, preferring not to get into that brain teaser.

Now, this ball may be perched to the right of the tree, giving me a lucky angle in. “Man, what a time to be left-handed, eh?” Or, to my chagrin, settled just to the left of it forcing me to play it sideways. “Ugh, what a tough break being left-handed, huh?”

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Now, I don’t fault anyone for making these observations; even I think left-handed players look outrageous on the golf course. The most experienced golfer will still see a fellow lefty in the middle of their ensuing fairway and wonder, “Why is this guy hitting it toward us?”

We’ve been conditioned to think this way. I like to call it The Ugly Duckling Syndrome. Maybe someday, we too will turn into swans and have the beautiful swings that all right-handed golfers like to say we have (we don’t). The compliment usually comes in around No. 6 as he’s starting to get the hang of this cart thing and your wedge is still holes behind.

“You have a good swing there. You remind me of Phil Mickelson. I bet you are a big fan of his?”

Sure, why not. I also have a Mark Brunell jersey, Mike Vick fathead, and I exclusively watch James Harden play basketball.

Sarcasm aside, us lefties are a proud bunch and really do love playing with or seeing another lefty on the course. For many of us, it’s the only chance we have to try different equipment. We take full advantage.

Seeing another lefty at the club is like seeing a long-lost friend on Thanksgiving Eve. We might wave, give a head nod or take an air swing, but I promise you we are acknowledging each other. Have you ever been out on the lake and pulled off the friendly wave to a fellow boater? That’s being a lefty on the golf course.

Now, we like you righties; we know your charm. You provide us an endless supply of dad jokes and sometimes you have an original one. And when we finally have a second to go grab that wedge left on No. 2, we know you’ll return it with a smile. “Well, at least you knew I wasn’t going to keep this one, Mickelson!”

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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