Out of self interest I thought I would spark up a thread looking at the thrills and the challenges of playing persimmon in the age of titanium. So this is for those who play persimmon regularly, just occasionally, or who might even just be considering it. Hopefully we might be able to pull together some stories, tips and advice.
I’ll kick off with some thoughts and observations:
Making the transition:
Having played titanium exclusively since I came back to golf (I hadn’t really played since my college days) 10 years ago there was some adjustment to be done when I got interested through Lags thread on ISG towards the end of last year. On the positive side I found that the mind really does adapt quite quickly to the 150-200 cc club head and playing alone or with those also playing persimmon as a “one-off” the transition is relatively easy. It’s really not as scary as you think it might be. But the reality is if you want to keep playing with your buddies or competitively you will probably have to deal with the full range of reactions from people viewing it as a passing fad that you will shrug off quickly or simply a sign of eccentricity! In fairness many golfers who remember the persimmon age may well be intrigued and curious about it. If you are lucky you will get lots of those “nothing sounds better than a balata on persimmon” comments! With the under 30’s I usually find a puzzled vacant look is the order of the day – but I usually find that anyway –
First tee nerves:
I must admit the I struggled with first tee nerves in competitive play. I am not the type who likes to draw attention to himself (not deliberately anyway!) and the persimmon obviously marks you out as “different” and you will find people paying attention to you and your play because of that. There were a few times having seen my playing partners fire a couple of titanium mortars down the 1st I would have gladly reached for the frying pan if it had been available. This is a confidence thing and has largely faded with time but will resurface if I am hitting the ball poorly.
Reaction to ball velocity / speed and sound:
I would love to understand the science behind this but I can unequivocally say that your perception of how much further a “well struck” ball will go with titanium compared to persimmon is not matched by reality. I think it’s a combination of sound and the initial velocity off the clubface that makes the ball struck by the titanium driver appear that it will go so much farther than that struck by persimmon. I have seen it I don’t know how many times now as my playing partner blasts a cannonball after I have driven well. When we get to the balls the difference is rarely more than 20 yards at most. Perhaps the winter may be different with less run and where carry is more important, we will see! Miss hits are a different story but the gear effect is real and will help keep you in play I find.
Reaction to Partners playing titanium:
I remember Lag saying that he made a conscious decision not to watch his playing partners drive during US Open qualifying so it would not influence what he was trying to do. I haven’t tried this but I probably should. The problem with watching your partners hitting titanium is not just the mental picture you form of the sound/velocity/shape of shot you want to play. To me the major problem is one of the effect on rhythm as so many players swing out of their shoes with the big dog now. I really don’t think that works with persimmon. Even long, long drivers with persimmon like Norman, Davis Love and Two kept everything nicely balanced.
The pleasure of playing a course that feels the right size again:
Obviously it depends what type of course you play on but for me playing persimmon has made my home course more fun to play. A 100 year old Harry Colt course my home club is 6,200 yards (par 70) from the tips. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t exactly dominating it in the first place but it’s nice to be able to play it more as it was intended and not be hitting a series of wedges all day.
Anyone else have any thought, tips or experiences to share?