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A Few Loose Screws

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I have a driver that has allowed me to hit the ball farther than I have ever hit it before. I can hit it farther into the woods, farther out of bounds and deeper into a lake on another hole way off to the right. No one in my foursome would have thought the ball was in play until they saw the splash.

 
My driver has been designed by some of the leading minds in golf club engineering to help me produce a draw. Inserts called “launch cartridges” are positioned to weight the club face in such a way that no matter how much my flying-elbow, outside-in, reverse-pivot, off-balanced, laid-off and blocked-swing flaws combine to produce a banana slice, the club will turn that ball flight into a draw—even when that slice is so severe the ball seems like a satellite launched by a boomerang.
 
That’s the way the engineers designed it. With this club my ball flight is a controlled but pronounced fade.
 
Imagine what it looked like before.
 
I guess the ability to draw the ball is a God-given gift, or at least the result of training and practice that I refuse to devote to a game. All I know is that as long as I continue to set up dead left, I have a reasonable chance of delivering a tee ball somewhere toward the center-right of the fairway.
 
Most of the time, for there are times when all the swing flaws combine in some inexplicable way that cancels them all out and produces a finely tuned, beautiful-to-watch, gentle draw that disappears into the woods on the left where I had set up (remember?) to hit that pronounced fade. No golf club engineer can make a club to deal with that.
 
That’s because they’re putting the launch cartridges—or screws—in the wrong place. Instead of screwing them into the club face, they should provide a standard driver, but with a surgical kit that allows you to screw the cartridges into the precise positions of your wrists, elbows, shoulders and back that produce the draw bias they’ve been mistakenly designing into the club. Include a couple of those screws for your head, and I believe you’ve delivered a complete package.
 
No sport has made broader use of the entire spectrum of mechanical, aeronautical and cosmological engineering to design an instrument that, under the appropriate launch conditions, could land a golf ball on the moon, then return it safely to earth. (OK, I’m making that up.)
 
It’s as naive as thinking a kid could have launched Apollo 11 from a sling shot, yet we insist on placing this precisely engineered instrument into the hands of an average golfer who insists the swing should be no more difficult than a left turn—or in most cases, a right turn—against traffic. Giving a 460cc titanium-headed offset draw-biased driver with a frequency-matched, low-torque, high kick-point graphite shaft and Winn grips to an average golfer is like giving an iPod to a Druid.
 
We’ve long since learned in the world at large that technology cannot solve all of man’s problems. But for some reason, out on a golf course, we stubbornly cling to the notion that the solution to keeping our golf ball off the roofs of the adjoining golf course community requires technological, maybe even divine, intervention.
 
It’s not the screws in the club head that have to be moved and adjusted, so much as the loose ones in our heads that have to be tightened.
 
Reid Champagne’s essay “The Six Stages of Golf Grief” is set to be published in the 2009 anthology “Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul: The Golf Book” to be released in April. 
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