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Separating life and golf clubs

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By Brian Chipper

GolfWRX Contributor

Fellow Golf WRX’ers, after the golf club carousel I went through this year, I can say I am content and will stick to my current bag for the years to come. Maybe.

While my golf club habits didn’t put me in a dark place of my life, by no means was it a mentally healthy state either.

This spring I had finally ruined my old Mizuno Grad irons.  They served me well for over 10 years and helped me become the golfer I am today (I’m a 2-handicap). However, a few of the clubheads were chipped, there were no grooves, the grips needed to be replaced and a few shafts (which means all the shafts) needed to be replaced.

My old man found me a set of used Mizuno 29s for a steal at a local Play It Again Sports and I parted with the Grads.  In my mind, the 29’s had to better — they were a few years newer, they weren’t completely bald and I only had three grips to replace (Of course, I replaced them all anyways).

My first few rounds of the year with the 29s?  I went low. I went under on three local municipals and put up some solid scores on some nicer, more difficult courses.  The confidence boost was there, but was it the clubs or was it my mind? I’m still not sure.

But then the wheels fell off.  It wasn’t my iron play that was getting me in trouble, it was errant drives, three putts, bad bounces and on some days, apathy.

So what did I do? I did what any logical person would do and tried to find a club to fix my errant drives. I wanted a hybrid to give me a good 250 yard drive and second shot club on some longer par 5s. I bought the Ping i20, but found that the face was too closed for my liking. After about the fourth time truly playing it I traded it in and tried four more hybrids. The Titleist 910H, opened up 2 degrees at 19 degrees was a solid club. It was very straight, but I didn’t know if it was going to go 225 yards or 270 yards. None of the others quite fit me at that point either.

Now, what would you have done?  I could have waited for them to order me something special and tried all the fairway woods, but I didn’t. Instead, I upgraded my gap wedge. I also picked up some golf balls with the leftover money from the trade in.

And then I got a matching sand wedge.

And then I got a new set of irons.

Remember when I said it was my putting and errant drives that were costing me strokes?  Well, I upgraded everything but those clubs. What in the heck is wrong in my brain?

I reevaluated why I was going on Ebay and in local golf stores.  A few weeks ago I wrote about my putter issue (Click here to read about it). Well, as of this week I found a like new version of my old putter with the same toe balance with a new milled face. My find aligned perfectly with the end of fall and some massive rainstorms the days where the temperature has happened to sniff 50 degrees. During one day of misting, I did go out and putt with my new putter, but it was ignorant as all the greens are still showing the last signs of aeration and fall fertilization.

So have I broken an addiction to owning golf clubs? I think so. That or I am just extremely happy with the clubs I’ve replaced this year. Maybe addiction is too strong of a word. Yes, maybe I am just passionate about golf and golf clubs.

Holy Cow!  Look at the end of the year sales on drivers…  And a custom fitting for Bridgestone is in town next weekend. Look out folks, wife, this could get expensive!

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum.

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Topical writer for GolfWRX. Minnesotan. Father. Golfer. Has convinced himself that if he played on nicer courses he could truly be a scratch golfer.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Burnsie

    Nov 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Brian – I also settled this year with Adams CB1 irons with Project X Flighted 6.0 shafts, a Titleist 910 D2 driver set in the B1 postion, and a Cleveland CG15 56 degree (10 bounce), Odyssey 2 ball DFX putter from many years ago – I have found staying with same sticks over the whole season leads to better scores and my lowest handicap ever – 4.

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Podcasts

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Check out the podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Courses

Barnbougle Dunes: World Class Golf

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We arrived to Launceston Airport in Tasmania just before sunset. Located on the Northeast Coast of Australia’s island state, Tasmania, Barnbougle is almost as far from Sweden as it gets… yet it immediately felt like home when we arrived.

Launceston Airport, Tasmania. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

The drive from the airport was just over an hour, taking us through deep forests and rolling hills before we arrived to Barnbougle Golf Resort, which consists of two courses — The Dunes and Lost Farm — a lodge, two restaurants, a sports bar and a spa. Unfortunately, it was pitch black outside and we couldn’t see much of the two courses on our arrival. I would like to add that both Johan and I were extremely excited about visiting this golf mecca. We later enjoyed a tasty dinner at the Barnbougle Lost Farm Restaurant before we called it a day.

The locals at Barnbougle Dunes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

The next day, we woke up early and got out to The Dunes Course as very first guests out. Well, to be quite honest, we weren’t actually the first out. There were a few locals — Wallabies, lots of them — already out on the course. The natural landscape at Barnbougle is fantastic and my cameras almost overheated with the photo opportunities. After two intense hours of recording videos and producing photos both from ground, we headed back to Lost Farm for a wonderful breakfast (and view). After our breakfast, it was time to try our luck.

“Tom’s Little Devil.” Hole No.7 at Barnbougle Dunes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Before describing our experience playing the courses, I would like to mention about Richard Sattler, a potato farmer and owner of Barnbougle. In the early 2000’s, Richard was introduced to U.S. golfing visionary Mike Keiser, who had heard about his amazing stretch of farmland in Tasmania and came down to visit. Mike convinced Richard that Barnbougle (which at that stage was a potato farm and still grows potatoes and raises cattle today) might be perfect for creating a top quality golf course.

After an introduction to well renowned golf architect Tom Doak and the formation of a partnership with former Australian golf pro and golf architect Mike Clayton, the development of the Barnbougle Dunes Course commenced.

The walk between the 4th and 5th holes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Featuring large bunkers dotted between fun rolling fairways shaped from the coastal dunes, Barnbougle Dunes offers the golfer some tough challenges, in particular on the first nine. This is indeed a course that will entertain all kinds of golfers.

After our round, we looked back at some fantastic highlights such as playing the iconic 7th hole, a short par-3 called ”Tom’s Little Devil,” as well as the beautiful par-4 15th. We were just two big walking smiles sitting there in the restaurant to be honest. Lets also not forget one of the biggest (and deepest) bunkers I’ve seen at the 4th hole. The name of the bunker is “Jaws.” Good times!

As a small surprise for Johan, I had arranged a meeting after our round with Richard Sattler. Richard, ever the farmer, entered the car parking just in front of the clubhouse in a white pick-up van with a big smile un his face. We talked to Richard for almost 30 minutes. He is an extremely humble man and left such a warm impression on us. Richard explained the Barnbougle story: how it all began and the property today.

To me, this is a high-end golf destination offering something very unique with two world-class courses in Barnbougle Dunes and Barnbougle Lost Farm, both ranked in the top-100 greatest golf courses by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine (U.S.). With the courses located just next to each other, it’s probably one of the best golf resorts you can find down under and a golf resort that I would like bring my hardcore golfing friends to visit. Everything here is exceptional with the resort providing spacious rooms, comfy beds, good food and spectacular views.

(C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Barnbougle Dunes is a real treat to play for any golfer and will leave you with a sweet golfing memory. Compared to the golf courses available on the more remote King Island, Barnbougle is accessible (given Tasmania is connected by better flight connections) and the hospitality and service at is much more refined.

The golf resort is one of the absolute best I’ve been to. I can also highly recommend playing Barnbougle Dunes; I had great fun and you can play it in many ways. Tomorrow, we will be playing and experiencing the other course at Barnbougle: Barnbougle Lost Farm, a Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw course with 20 (!) holes.

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19th Hole

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