Letter of the Month

NASA just informed me that there is reasonable golf intelligence outside planet ABS. :sunglasses:
A beautifully written letter here from a casual reader found it’s way to my email box.

Nice :smiley:

Whenever I am on the range and people want to strike up a conversation about the old gear, they generally start out thinking I’m nuts and end up very interested in the concept of practicing/playing with it.

The problem with golf is that the iron clubheads are so damn durable…there are already in existence enough clubheads of adequate design and quality for all golfers to reach scratch …when worn out they can be refurbished to a like new state… and they are already in circulation on ebay… this is a big problem for the manufacturers… same goes for persimmon…add new insert…varnish etc… like new… and those refurbishment skills are (were) widely available outside the manufacturing community…so there is a lack of control over the products… so manufacturers spend all their time making golf easier for us… bestowing new technology on us…which we gratefully lap up…thinking that we are just not good enough to play real golf anyway…

I agree with HG…

The iron thing is definitely a major problem for manufacturers. I bought my “modern” iron set (Mizuno MP68’s) used in March, but in like new condition for a little over half the retail price at the time. A couple months later, I got a set of Macgregor Tourney blades in okay shape for less than a tenth of the cost of the Mizunos, including shipping. Sure, I prefer the Mizunos cosmetically at address, and the shafts are better, but they are maybe twice as nice as the Macgregors. Certainly not 10 times better. Had I payed retail, the Mizunos would have cost 20-25 times more.

Is a Ping G20 going to play that much better than a G15 …than a G10…than a G2 ?? …perfecting the shovel is an “emporor’s new clothes” type game…

The main problem is that the newer clubs from what I have seen are all too upright, and light. The modern clubmakers are typically not fine players, but more along the lines of wind tunnel scientists. They have all bought into the velocity game.
But golf is a game of feel, and while the physics of heavier gear can be found in formulas such as p=mv or f=ma, the scientists are not taking into consideration the need for feel in the players hands. They are not taking into consideration that heavier gear requires the player to grip the club more firmly which lessens the shaft torquing for off centered strikes as I showed in the “swing - hit” video. They don’t understand the golf swing, or why flatter lie angles reign in directional vectors, particularly the left one. They don’t understand that the purpose of an iron shot is accuracy not distance. They don’t understand how offset will inhibit a proper swing from ever developing.

The vintage clubs are not just a nostalgia trip… but they are simply better designs from both a practical standpoint and one of physics also. The forgings are softer and a player can bend them much easier to their desired specs giving them more control over their personal interface with the clubs. This is actually more technologically advanced.

What needs to be understood is that technology is NOT only what is recent. People are quick to forget the sophistication of the Apollo Space Program from 1966 to 1972. Much more advanced than any homemade rockets flying up from modern hobbyist using modern new materials. A simple sharp knife will offer technology much more useful that a laptop if you were stranded in the jungle or a remote island. While some things are obviously better, others are not. It’s important to take things on a case by case basis and not just assume technology is better just because it is newer.

There is no reference to “new, modern, recent” in the definition of technology.

The interesting thing to me is that while aspects of the designs improve, they also become longer and lighter, negating the benefit.

I play a G15 driver, but due to a small chip in the shaft I had to quit using it for a while. While I waited for the replacement shaft, I played my Taylormade R7 from 4 or 5 years ago. It is a smaller head, which was nice, but the sound and feel weren’t as pleasing as my G15. It also didn’t launch as consistently. It was quite apparent that in some ways, my G15 was really a better driver than the R7. At the same time though, the R7 can be made very heavy through the moveable weight ports, and it isn’t as long.

Ping G15 drivers come stock at 45.75 inches. Mine with the stock shaft weighed about 315 grams. I put in a heavier, stiffer shaft (that ended up cracking but I got it replaced) and got the static weight up into the low 330’s. The problem though, aside from lie angle, which I flattened 2 degrees, is that because they are so light, they come from the factory very long to get the swingweight up. For example, I just helped my neighbor sell his brand new Taylormade driver that weighed only 279 grams total, but was 46.5 inches long to make the swingweight acceptable. If you were to buy one and shorten it to 45" or less, you would have to add quite a bit of tape to get it to swingweight correctly, and then the shaft would play softer than intended.

I have seen PING’s facilities, which aren’t far from my house. They could definitely produce something flat enough and heavy enough for an ABS student, while keeping the trampoline effect. If there was a high profile tour player that demanded it, they could easily have a driver that managed to provide enough distance to compete but still retain some persimmon characteristics. They have their color code system for irons which allows a consumer to order irons up to 4.5 degrees upright and 3.75 degrees flat. I don’t know why they don’t offer this for drivers. One thing they do get right though is that weight is important. The G20 is supposedly 7 grams heavier in the head than the G15, which is already heavy by today’s ever changing standards. If you order through their WRX department, you can also have them sort out the heavier heads for you and specify loft to a fraction of a degree.

It’s a shame they don’t offer any good forged irons, because their weight port on the back of the irons would allow for some very heavy swingweights if wanted. Their only forged set is a super game improvement set, and even their blade-like irons have dampening inserts to rob us of feel and feedback.

As much as we here on ABS advocate the old gear v new stuff. Your average Joe doesnt want to be told his new $800 460cc shovel is crap. I have tried explaining it to all my friends and they just dont want to know about it. Most people enjoy life with their head in the sand.

Its not really the manufacturers fault IMO, its the people/player in general who are responsible. This isnt just true in golf either, I worked as a personal trainer for many years and the same mindset exists in the gym industry(+ many others). No one wants to put in the hard work/sweat to improve, they just want buy the latest powdered crap(or titanium driver for golf) and trick themselves into believing it will magically change them.

When people would come up to me and ask how do I get a six pack like you, I’d tell them exactly the steps to do so word for word. You’d see em the very next day doing their old routine eating donuts. I’d say 90% of people are like this, same as golf. We here at ABS are the 10% who really want to work and get better.

Your average person is lazy, be it golf or any other endeavour in life. Thats the fundamental reason why golf manufacturers can sell all this flash gear for thousands of bucks. It preys on your average joe being lazy thinking the latest club will make him improve instead of practice…

I have 2 friends who have been taking lessons for 2+years and playing for over 10, One is off 20 and the other 19. I have been playing golf for 10 months and competetive golf for 4 months and Im down down to 14 from 20. Few more rounds and I’ve no doubt I will be single figures once my 1st few crap rounds get moved off.

I’ve tried telling both these blokes about ABS and not once do they listen. It stikes me as sheer stupidity by expecting “if what you are doing currently isnt making you better, by doing more of it will make you better”

If your slicing your Taylormade R11 OB all day, why would the R12 make you hit it straight?..

I’m glad your optimistic that we are the 10%… I suspect at best 1% or less. But in all honesty, I don’t think we could handle the student load of 10% of the golfers who graze this site much less 90% of them.

For many, golf is nothing more than a few beers with friends on a sunny day and a chance to get away from the stresses of work and possibly even home life.

For others, there are deeper peelings of the golfing onion that intrigue, fascinate, and inspire a deeper look into the possibilities of a more harmonious relationship between a controlled high speed projection of a golf ball and the interface of the human body.

Very interesting comments which I believe strike at the very heart of the matter.

Let me just start by saying that I am the one who wrote this letter to lag. I am glad that I have found this website/forum and hope that it will be a platform in which I and others can express (and continue to express) our honest and sincere thoughts on the state of the game today without being vehemently attacked or censored.

I was, perhaps, being a bit modest in referring to myself as a “duffer.” Many people see me at the range and on good days at the course and can’t believe that I am not at least down to an 8-10 handicap… But that’s another story…

I took up this game in my late twenties not only because of it’s obvious appeals (beautiful outdoors activity, exercise, social aspects), but also because I saw it as an athletic endeavor which would be difficult to conquer. Intelligent study of swing theory, lessons and physical effort invested in practice promise nothing. Therein lies the true beauty of the game for me. I and many others may never achieve the ultimate objective… the scratch round of golf…
But isn’t that what makes this game so special? Isn’t that what makes the ultimate accomplishment so fulfilling? If golf is made easier through handicapping technology…then what’s the point???

I could go on for quite some time on this, but, as it is my first post here at ABS, I’ll just end by stating this heart felt point.

This “handicapology” may be making the game easier for the masses that just want to go out and have fun, but it is cheapening the sport for those of us who take it seriously or who play it at a very high level of skill. Most annoying are the unthinking, unquestioning people who look at me and say…“What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you take advantage or t-e-c-h-n-o-l-o-g-y? What’s wrong? Do you think were cheating?”

What these people don’t realize is that they are playing “Soma” golf, or “feel good” golf. (see the above letter) This game has been presented to the unthinking masses to keep them happy and to keep their wallets returning back to the retail golf outlets and courses around the world. In fact, we are one step closer to “Magnetic Golf” that was played by the sheeple in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.”

We have in fact two games to chose from this day and age (IMHO)

Soma golf (feel good leisure activity)
Golf (very difficult challenging sport)

Which do you prefer?


Thanks for your insightful posts.

Ultimately each one of us can change the golfing experience, if not for others that immediately surround us… then for ourselves.

My objective as a golf instructor is to teach people how to strike a golf ball properly, that being straight and with power and control. The long, lightweight frying pan drivers are damaging to a proper golf swing… because I still agree with Ben Hogan that the most important shot in golf should be the proper positioning of the tee shot. The modern version of the game has put that ideology out to pasture and with it… a proper golf swing as well. 7500 yard courses which are still not long enough for the modern gear, have turned golf into a different game.

My long standing argument has been that golf should fracture into two sports as have baseball and softball, or the variety of football games, NFL, Canadian, Australian, Indoor, Arena and so forth. What is not right is having to be forced into “one version” put forth by whom? A think tank of high handicap hackers called USGA officials who sit around a King Arthur’s round table and make the rules for the masses as they see fit? I’m not having it.

Lot’s of fingers to point… going back to Karsten Solheim suing the USGA for his own selfish egotistical megalomania. Or the USGA simply not fighting the good fight hard enough… or being clever enough… or the PGA Tour failing to author their own competitive rule book.

What needs to happen, and I think over time will happen… is a serious new organization will rise from the ruins of destruction and offer a platform for proper golf to once again be played… including a much simplified rule book.
You might want to read through some of the rules threads here.

Action over passive complaining is the key to nourishing the seeds of change.

Vic Wilk and myself have put on 4 TRGA events where professionals and amateurs play golf using persimmons and blades with a stripped down rule book that is traditionally grounded in “play it as you find it” and implemented a simplified universal drop procedure if you choose not to “play it as ye found it”. The rule is grounded in an early Scottish procedure which implemented a yardage penalty for a ball laying in a hazard or other “watery filth”

We hold the event each year in Las Vegas and play it at what was formerly the old Sahara CC where the PGA Tour played the LV Classic for over 20 years. Put in on your calendar for next January.

Can the game be changed back to more traditional values on a bigger scale?


I believe it needs to happen with a professional tour that rises and plays for decent prize money. Amateurs look to the pros for inspiration and ultimately a professional tour would lend bigger scale credibility to such an undertaking. It’s very doable. Add money and stir.

Ten National events or a “Persimmon Tour” or even a large scale “National Persimmon Open” will turn heads. The media loves the story… we would have their support… because they love an underdog… it’s great journalism. I think a lot of support both from the public and players would jump on board once they felt “safe”. I’ve been working with a fellow professional on putting together a business plan to get such a thing off the ground. He has experience running smaller tours in the past, and like others, has an axe to grind being run out of business by the modern equipment manufactures.

Never underestimate the power of “A Few Good Men”. :sunglasses:

Persimmon golf is contagious. I’m heading out for a game today with a fellow persimmon player who can shoot par or better with them on a good day. If we end up playing with others who use modern gear… we absolutely kill them because our technique is so much more refined from the cranial feedback we get from properly set up gear. If the golf course is set up to where you have to hit the ball straight, the modern gear becomes a hindrance because for accuracy purposes, it is a poorly designed and failing technology.

JRich - I hear your story about comparing drivers - but your Ping driver may just be better suited to your swing physics…rather than the design itself being “better” per se. I wish that for every new set sold there was a little custom fitting/teacher man who whould at least have the oportunity to give the player a chance at revamping their current set (maybe new shaft / lead tape / swing thoughts…) before they buy the “latest thing”… At some stage we have all been seduced by the latest gear… but it rarely makes much difference IMO (once you have a decent set of blades as your starting point)…

Glad you found a great place to hang your hat Nutmeg…one more person like yourself thrown into the mix makes us all not sound as crazy as people think :laughing:

Great post by Lag in response (see 2 posts above)…“They say you want a revolution…weelll you know, we all want to change the world”…not necessarily…just the golfing mentality

A few comments from a one year member, and student for 10 months, in response to the wonderful letter and post from NutmegGolfer. (I did peruse the ABS site for a few months before joining).

I’ve posted a few times that I do not own a metal “wood”, or a graphite shafted club. I play forged irons, one old set, one fairly new at 1998. This used to not be the case. I was the first one to purchase the newest driver every year. Maybe irons every other year. Before I changed equipment (one year ago), I shot below 80 once in my life. During the last 2 months, I’ve played on Saturday, with practice only on Sunday. I’ve shot in the 70’s everytime except this last Sat. when I shot 80. These scores are with the '68 bounce soles and persimmon. My golf is also much more enjoyable, gratifying may be a better word. Before I drive to the course, I do some module work to get “alive”, get the muscles ready for a fairly aggressive swing and a most enjoyable walk. A couple practice motions on the first tee…and off.

The instruction from Lag has probably been the most important part of this improvement, but I also firmly believe the the equipment change has also been a huge factor.

I’m planing on playing in the TRGA event this next year in January, can’t wait to meet John and Bradley.

Any update on the exact date of the event? On the TRGA website it still says January xx 2011. The website for the LV National also has no “Event” scheduled.

Of course, Lennon played persimmon and blades…


What a great pic…had no idea Lennon had ever set foot on a golf course…why is he walking like an ape though?..probably just him goofing off

Went to Cavern Club when I was in Liverpool playing the British Open in 2006…that was a neat sight…couldn’t imagine them and all the people crammed underground in such a small area… In fact I played a practice round with Daly on the tuesday and he was going to do his exes’ wear rolexes at the Cav Club that night. I didn’t go watch but Lumpy Herron admitted to me it was a disaster :laughing:
I was always a Beatles fan growing up even though they were split up as a group when I was about 3 years old. Their music still sounds great (as does their solo stuff…yep even Ringo Starr had a pretty decent solo album many moons ago!!!) compared to all this rap crap that I can’t understand with every song sounding almost identical with talking instead of singing that bombards the airwaves today

I’m surprised (pleasantly) by all the musical references on this site.

Who caught Jeff Beck at the end of TM’s latest video? Now there’s a guy who plays with his own style.

Yep, saw that… Jeff Beck, the Gary Player of rock guitar. Very underrated guitar player and more ‘complete’ than Eric Clapton I think.

Yes, so am I. And such tasteful musical references !

Remember way back in high school when I would sit back with my Les Paul and try to cop licks off the Jeff Beck “Blow by Blow” and “Wired” albums. Ahh, the stress free days…

And if you don’t mind, with the help off a Marshall Tucker classic, we’re going to get the place shakin’. This is a little something called “Persimmon on my mind…”

I’ve got Persimmon !!!
Persimmon on my mind Lord…
Gotta find me a game,
Of the original kind…
Now she’s gone Lord !!!
I’ve got Persimmon on my mind… Yeeeaaaaaahhhhhh !!!