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FORE May/June 2013 : Page 13

RANGE TOKENS ,VLWWKHFOXEV RUPH" BY MARK WILLARD 5 ory McIlroy changed clubs recently, why shouldn’t I? Never mind that his change has been less successful than New Coke. Truth be told we changed clubs for very different reasons. He changed because (for the money!) he felt Nike presented him with a better opportunity than Titleist. I changed because my clubs were getting rusty. And I don’t mean they were rusty as in they hadn’t been used in awhile. I mean, they literally had rust on them. The good people at TaylorMade set me up with a new full set. I took them to the range the same way a kid starts using a Hot Wheels track after he rips the wrapping paper off Christmas morning. My brand new toy. First swing … mediocre. Now I’m no stranger to the mediocre swing, but of course I was expecting the ball to fly off these new clubs as if the ball was attached to a rocket. After all, these were RocketBallz clubs. They had to live up to their name. The clubs felt good, especially for the fol-lowing reason. If I hit a good shot, I thought to myself: “wow these clubs really make a difference!” After a bad shot: “well, I’m getting used to new clubs.” Perfect! A foolproof plan that meant no bad shot was ever my fault. Time to take these puppies to the course. My first two rounds with these rocket ship clubs were a little troubling. The scores were higher than Marky Mark in the movie Ted. Then, of course, all the doubt creeps in. Was it a club problem or a me problem? Pretty sure I knew the answer but didn’t want to face it. Funny thing happened during my third try … I hit the ball better than I have in five years. Now you could argue that my clubs and I finally started to understand each other, but I’d argue against it. Truth is, when you get fitted for clubs, and then you hit bad shots, it’s NOT the clubs. I got 5 bucks says it’s you. Maybe it’s different if you’re Rory McIlroy. The No. 1 player in the world probably could blame the clubs because you know, he’s the No. 1 player in the world. A good friend of mine who is not No. 1, but is a professional, recently played with new clubs, and was so uncomfortable with their performance, he had his old set shipped to him overnight. Next day, his score was five strokes better. So maybe at that level there is something to it. Ninety-nine percent of us don’t play at that level. Now I’m not saying all clubs are created equal. That’s clearly not the case and I’m now in love with my new set as if we met in a chick flick. What I am saying is that after your club fitting, trust your clubs. Trust yourself? Not so sure about that… ■ You can catch Mark Willard on ESPNLA (710AM) weekday mornings from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. where he gives instant reactions on the hottest topics in Los Angeles-based sports. SCGA.ORG MAY/JUNE 2013 | FORE Magazine | 13

Range Tokens

Mark Willard

Is it the clubs or me?<br /> <br /> Rory McIlroy changed clubs recently, why shouldn’t I? Never mind that his change has been less successful than New Coke. Truth be told we changed clubs for very different reasons. He changed because (for the money!) he felt Nike presented him with a better opportunity than Titleist. I changed because my clubs were getting rusty. And I don’t mean they were rusty as in they hadn’t been used in awhile. I mean, they literally had rust on them.<br /> <br /> The good people at TaylorMade set me up with a new full set. I took them to the range the same way a kid starts using a Hot Wheels track after he rips the wrapping paper off Christmas morning. My brand new toy. First swing … mediocre. Now I’m no stranger to the mediocre swing, but of course I was expecting the ball to fly off these new clubs as if the ball was attached to a rocket. After all, these were RocketBallz clubs. They had to live up to their name.<br /> <br /> The clubs felt good, especially for the following reason. If I hit a good shot, I thought to myself: “wow these clubs really make a difference!” After a bad shot: “well, I’m getting used to new clubs.” Perfect! A foolproof plan that meant no bad shot was ever my fault. Time to take these puppies to the course.<br /> <br /> My first two rounds with these rocket ship clubs were a little troubling. The scores were higher than Marky Mark in the movie Ted. Then, of course, all the doubt creeps in. Was it a club problem or a me problem? Pretty sure I knew the answer but didn’t want to face it.<br /> <br /> Funny thing happened during my third try … I hit the ball better than I have in five years. Now you could argue that my clubs and I finally started to understand each other, but I’d argue against it. Truth is, when you get fitted for clubs, and then you hit bad shots, it’s NOT the clubs. I got 5 bucks says it’s you.<br /> <br /> Maybe it’s different if you’re Rory McIlroy. The No. 1 player in the world probably could blame the clubs because you know, he’s the No. 1 player in the world. A good friend of mine who is not No. 1, but is a professional, recently played with new clubs, and was so uncomfortable with their performance, he had his old set shipped to him overnight. Next day, his score was five strokes better. So maybe at that level there is something to it.<br /> <br /> Ninety-nine percent of us don’t play at that level. Now I’m not saying all clubs are created equal. That’s clearly not the case and I’m now in love with my new set as if we met in a chick flick. What I am saying is that after your club fitting, trust your clubs. Trust yourself? Not so sure about that…<br /> <br /> You can catch Mark Willard on ESPNLA (710AM) weekday mornings from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. where he gives instant reactions on the hottest topics in Los Angeles-based sports.

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