Golf Gazette: Some words of advice on golf equipment

You may have heard this little ditty: It ain’t the arrow, it’s the Indian. No, your golf guy isn’t so desperate for material that he’s now writing about the wild west. This week we’re going to address golf equipment, a/k/a the arrow.

The golf equipment industry rakes in a tidy sum each year and, like so many products on the market, golf equipment manufacturers are regularly shaking it up, changing colors, designs, shapes and technology. These changes, we are told, will help us hit the ball longer and straighter, putting our handicaps into single-digit territory.

Timeout, Tonto.

I have to admit, I must give credit to the new drivers out there today. For most of my life I couldn’t hit my driver worth a darn. A few years ago the golf industry introduced drivers with huge heads and beefed-up technology. With these new drivers, even I can hit some pretty decent drives every now and then, so let’s chalk one up for the club manufacturers in the driver department.

As far as the rest of the clubs in your bag go, I’m not so sure. Much of the equipment out there seems to be geared for the better skilled players. We see “so and so” out on tour hitting great shots and think we should be able to hit shots just like our heros if we use the same equipment, right? Wrong. In this case, with irons, I think it’s the Indian and not the arrow. Unless you are a skilled, competitive golfer, clubs used by the pros should not be in your bag.

There are a few manufacturers out there that actually design sets with the average golfer in mind. These sets do not contain the conventional 3, 4 and 5 irons. In their place you will find hybrid clubs which are easier for the average golfer to hit. Even some pros today are getting rid of their higher irons and replacing them with hybrids.

Believe it or not, a number of years ago sets included 1 and 2 irons. The legendary golfer, Lee Trevino, put it best when he said: “If you are caught on a golf course during a lightning storm, hold up your 1 iron. Not even God can hit a 1 iron.”

If you are new to the game, there is no need to purchase expensive equipment. You can upgrade your weapons down the road if you find that you enjoy chasing after a little white ball, but first find yourself an inexpensive set of clubs. And don’t worry about carrying the 14-club limit. All you need is a driver, fairway wood (maybe), a few hybrids, a 7 and 9 iron, pitching wedge, sand wedge and a putter. That’s enough equipment to get you going.

The most important thing in golf is not your equipment, it’s having a good swing. Invest in developing a fundamentally sound and repeating swing. It’s not that easy, but with a good swing it won’t matter what equipment you use.

Yes, Kimosabe, it all comes down to the Indian.

TEE TIMES The Southold Town Recreation Department will be offering three golf programs this year.
Golf Fitness, under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Poplarski, will kick off on April 8. This program will target golf swing analysis and body mechanics. Dr. Poplarski is the wellness director for the U.S. Open Golf Championships.

Beginner/intermediate golf lessons will be conducted at Island’s End Golf and Country Club beginning May 2 for all golfers 14 years old and over.

Basic golf with Tom McGunnigle will begin on May 26 for residents 18 and over.

For more information, stop by the Southold Town Recreation Department on Peconic Lane in Peconic or phone (631) 765-5182.

Long Island National Golf Club in Riverhead will be offering great specials throughout the season. Contact the club at (631) 727-4653 to enjoy this wonderful Robert Trent Jones course.

Cherry Creek Golf Links and The Woods at Cherry Creek will again be offering men’s and women’s golf leagues this year. Contact the club at (631) 369-6500 for details.

OUTINGS The inaugural Ecumenical Golf Outing hosted by the men of First Presbyterian and St. Patrick’s R.C. Churches will be held on May 16 at Island’s End Golf & Country Club in Greenport. Men and women of any and all faiths are welcome to participate. Call (631) 765-2597 for details.

Hamptons Collegiate Baseball has scheduled a golf outing for June 27 at Rock Hill Country Club in Manorville. Call (631) 897-5544 for information.