The Happy Golfer

The three most important inventions of all time
April 2, 2009, 11:17 am
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The Happy Golfer and his wife, Fran

The Happy Golfer and his wife, Fran

A post from Fran, The Happy Golfer’s wife:

Speaking with Nick on Wednesday evening, I received an update. He’s under strict instructions from me regarding not eating fast foods, so he took a side trip to Walmart in Amarillo, Texas to grocery shop. Having completed seven states and 14 rounds in just 11 days, he is currently heading toward Wichita, Kansas.


His last round had been played at Lake Hefner, Oklahoma, playing with Callaway pros John and Pat, who both gave him valuable playing lessons. Lake Hefner Golf Course has the distinction of being the most played course in the state. All the cars in the parking lot, as well as all the golfers, were garbed in “Go Sooners” logos.


Here’s some wisdom according to Nick. The three most important inventions of all time have been: the wheel, cruise control (in 2,000 miles, he’s used it for all except 30 miles,) and his Callaway FT-9 Driver!


The professional at Belmar, in Norman, Oklahoma, gave Nick still another Callaway hat after they chased his down the fairway and rescued it from blowing into a lake. At Ross Rogers Course in Amarillo, Nick shot 76, had three birdies and two double bogies. This is quite a feat, since he had played 36 holes in one day in both Amarillo and Oklahoma. While there are campgrounds everywhere, golf courses are a lot harder to find.


Finally, a little backtracking … while playing in Durango, Colorado with golfers Henry and Carlos, Nick was offered some jerky to chew on. Accepting, he was surprised to learn that the jerky was elk, and that Carlos had shot it and cured it himself. A bit of the Wild West?


Thanks to everyone for your notes and comments; it makes The Happy Golfer even happier. 


New Callaway Sticks

I have played four rounds of golf with my new Callaway sticks, and my handicap has gone down 2.1 strokes!

At my club fitting at Callaway in Carlsbad, Calif., fitting specialist Marc Zien said, “Nick, I want you to lower your right shoulder and take the club – a six iron – back slightly inside; make your shoulder turn and hit it.” I did, over and over and over. I thought there must be something wrong with the machine; it showed 138 yard carry, 145 yards with roll, and a left-to-right flight pattern. Marc repeated, “Try it again. And again and again.”

“What is going on?” I thought. I hit my old, 12-year-old Callaway Big Bertha 6-iron 155 carry, 162 with roll, when I close the face. Then Marc told me, “Stand a little more upright and have your toes in a little closer to the ball.”

After each shot in the fitting room we would get feedback on clubhead speed, miles per hour, ball speed, miles per hour, launch angle, spin rate, flight pattern – their machine will tell you a percentage of your efficiency. Mine was about 82-83 percent. Marc changed me to a more upright face club, and magically, my distance went to 155 yards with roll and 91 percent efficiency.

Move up to driver. Bad fades; so bad it’s called a slice. 196 yards and a left-to- right pattern; Marc feels we should go to the FT-9 Driver head, 9 degrees, with a stiff shaft and 1 degree closed. I, for some reason, seemed to nail it 225 yards. That is good for me, with 94-96 percent efficiency on the computer chart.

For the rest of the long clubs, the new Big Bertha Diablo 3- and 5-woods, and Big Bertha Diablo 21 degree and 24 degree rescue clubs. The clubs seemed very light in my hands – this is the good part – Marc asked me to look at my grip. I held the driver in both hands and he said, “Take your right hand off the grip.” He told me that my middle and first fingers are slightly, ever so slightly, touching the lower fat parts of my thumb pad. To fix this, he suggested that we wrap the shaft with five rolls of tape instead of two before putting the grips on. Works for me!

Oh, I forgot the best part…all the time, over two hours, while trying my best to follow Marc’s instructions, I am hitting into the net and the screen behind it is the finishing hole, the 18th hole, at Pebble Beach. Then he said, “Hit a few wedges; gap, sand and lob.” You won’t believe how easy it is to swing these X-Forged Wedges. Marc suggested steel shafts and graphite on the Fusion FT Irons, 5-pw. Marc said, “Nick, I don’t want to wear you out before you start on your trip. Let’s go downstairs and look at putters.”

Marc mentioned that he was going to play in an important tournament over the weekend. I found out on Tuesday that he won. Why doesn’t that surprise me? I just wonder, how many rolls of tape does he have on his grips?

The Happy Golfer with Callaway fitting specialist Mark Zien

The Happy Golfer with Callaway fitting specialist Marc Zien