I've never felt farther from the golf course than I do right now.
Last night, both mine and my wife's car were sitting in our driveway. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac on the innermost street of our neighborhood. Typically it's pretty safe, but as it turns out the COVID-19 quarantine slaps different for some people. While I'm sitting here contemplating how many cookies a man can reasonably eat in a single sitting while staring at a digital clock, others are on a crime spree. I've been seeing updates on Nextdoor discussing how people's tires are being slashed, dogs are being attacked, and now I'm going to throw a major felony into the mix: my golf clubs were stolen.
We're pretty confident the doors were locked, so they must have had some sort of device that remotely unlocked the Jeep. Regardless of method, I feel violated. This is not petty theft. Golf clubs are exceptionally personal. I've spent more hours and have had more memories with those clubs than my closest friends.
There was this time.
And this one..
Clearly I'm not cut out for detective work because it took far too long for me to realize the car had been compromised. I was driving to Starbucks, and the passenger side door ajar alert was going off for 5 minutes before I took notice. Passenger door? Surely I had entered on the driver's side, hadn't I? That's when I noticed all the contents of the center console and the glove box strewn about the front seat. I pulled over to check the trunk for my precious cargo. There, sadly, remained only one golf shoe.
I found the other shoe on the driveway when I returned home. It was behind where the car had been parked...I had backed over it. Jot that down in the observant column.
Moving Past the Grief
I couldn't figure out how to properly mourn this loss until I started writing this article. There's really only one way. Because each club had a special place in the bag (literally and emotionally), each deserves a special mention. Special doesn't necessarily mean good, but would be a shame to let their memory fade without at least some acknowledgement that each played a role in my golf career.
I organize my bag (like most people who aren't sociopaths). 4 irons on bottom (lob wedge, sand wedge, pitching wedge, 9-iron), 6 in the middle (grouped from left to right 3-4-5, 6-7-8), and woods and putter up top. So let's start the club memoriam from the bottom and work our way up.
- Lob wedge: My go-to. 58 degrees, which is technically a short wedge. I only believe in using a single club for chipping all shots around the green, the logic being you have to learn less shots which leads to more predictable chips. I've saved more rounds with this club than any in the bag. A slight wear mark on the toe from constant hooded bump and runs. A true utility club that I may never find its equal.
- Sand wedge: Eh. Perfect from 105-110 yds, full swing. Never actually used it out of the sand (see above). It was a pretty solid club but was actually fairly new, and since I stopped playing everyday I became the guy who doesn't remove the factory sticker from the shaft. Probably going to be the highest resale value for that reason, one of the lower emotional tolls.
- Pitching wedge: Huge loss. The only club I've ever made a hole-in-one with on #3 at Mission Viejo Country Club in the Member Guest tournament (the tees were up). The next day on the same hole a hole-in-one won an Audi R8. Go figure.
- 9-iron: Butter warm up club. Straight to 9-iron after the lob-wedge. Gonna miss those 140-ish green light par 3 chunk and run shots.
- 8-iron: Same as the 9-iron, tough loss. A strong 150 yard shot with a high 8-iron put a smile on my face.
- 7-iron: Tin Cup. I never miss with a 7-iron.
- 6-iron: Meh, couple good memories I guess. Although when I think 6-iron I just think of Tiger's shot at the RBC in 2000. Not sure why.
- 5-iron: Not exactly a long-iron for me, could control it and also hit it higher than I should have. Notable player.
- 4-iron: Had a loose weight in the shaft. Although I know the laws of centrifigal force would never allow the weight to be a factor mid-swing, I always secretly thought I would hear it when I paused at the top. Sort of relieved I don't have to get that fixed.
- 3-iron: Keep it.
- 5-wood: Great off the tee when I needed it, surprisingly much more accurate with my 3-wood. Probably because I secretly thought I was a huge wet noodle for not hitting 3-iron. Might have to think about trading-up to a hybrid. People change.
- 3-wood: ROCKETBALLZ. Loved it, could hit it 250 when I needed to, dead straight. Lot of par-5's shouldn't have worked as well as they did solely because of this club. Big L for me.
- Driver: Love/Hate. Completely eliminated the left-side of the golf course, but completely introduced how far right the golf course allowed your ball to go. When my timing was on, 2nd best club in the bag.
- Putter: Never been a big hitter, so this was always the difference maker for me. Best club in my bag by far. Hot little rose gold Ping B-60 number. Won a lot of 5 for $5 with this. Gone, but never forgotten.
May you all rest in peace, my rifle shafted friends. May the wind always be at your back and the grooves clean upon your face. And may the ball flights of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars.