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WITB - Like a Moth to a Flame


mGolf
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Sharing my WITB without a little background feels a little self indulgent, but what is golf if we don’t spoil ourselves a little?  Since I’ve been playing golf (started in ‘93), I’ve always played knock-offs, with a Taylormade driver being my only spurge. I learned to play well, and down to a single digit handicap with the help of golf magazines, eventually the Golf Channel, and lots of range time.  Somewhere along the line life interrupted, my priorities shifted, a few playing partners moved on to other things, and I let the clubs sit.

Fast forward about 10 years to my son seeing the clubs in the storage room in 2019 and asking why I don’t play. My reply was that I didn’t know. I should play.  I’d like to play.  In that moment, I pulled the bag of dusty, under-loved clubs from the depths of the storage room and headed to the backyard.  I grabbed a well-loved wedge and started chipping balls to a familiar target from years past. I then explained to my son some basic techniques and let him hack away at my neatly manicured lawn. It didn’t take him long to start asking questions about the rest of the clubs.

The spark was ignited, both in him and me.  This would quickly lead to the driving range to see if my aging and *ahem* slightly heavier and less flexible body still had some memory of the game I left behind. It was also a chance to see if my 12 year old had interest in taking golf a little more serious.  Instant playing partner for life, I thought.  And wouldn’t you know it, like a moth to a flame, we were both drawn in— him for the first time and me all over again. 

At this point, I was perfectly content with the clubs in my bag until I pulled out my tried and true Dunlop putter. A putter with a lot of great memories.  I loved that putter, so it saddened me when I noticed the shaft had signs of rust. I knew with a little elbow grease I could bring it back to its glory, but then again, it gave me an opportunity to visit the candy store to see what was new in the world of golf. After all, I’ve always wanted a PING Anser and their was a little more change in my pocket these days.

The trip to the Golf Galaxy resulted in that new PING Anser… and a full set of Taylormade M4 irons, 3-wood , Driver and of course a bag.  It wouldn’t be fair for my son not to have his own set of clubs, so it just made sense for me to upgrade and hand him down my old clubs while he learned.  As luck would have it, the pandemic afforded us plenty of time to practice, followed by weekends together on the course. It truly was the brightest light through 2020. And we got better. 

It was clear my son was learning the game quickly and improving consistently. Those old clubs just weren’t going to cut it any longer. Having spent a significant amount of time online reading, on YouTube watching, and in stores drooling, I felt the P790’s calling. The dream had always been to play blades, but it was never affordable or practical to consider. I just wasn’t that good at golf, but the Taylormade marketing machine change my opinion and made me think I could get the blade, but with forgiveness. I was golfing well, and saw my single digit handicap in sight, it was down the fairway some distance, but I could see it.  I owed it to myself to visit the simulator, and didn’t I owe it to my son to give him a better set of clubs, my now loved M4’s?

I was given a 7-iron and loved the look at address, how it felt when hit solid, and even the results on mishits. What I couldn’t reconcile was that I seemed to struggle to hit my yardage consistently. I also felt the club head was weighted, or heavier, than I prefer. The P790’s felt ok, but I really wasn’t convinced. I wasn’t in love. It’s then the associate asked if I had considered Mizuno. I had not. I know Mizuno’s reputation, but I’m just not good enough to play them. 

Without saying anything, he put an MP-20 HMB in my hands. I chuckled to myself, but gripped the club anyway, felt the weight, checked the view at address, gave it a few waggles. So far so good, but still thought there was just no way I could play Mizuno. He knew something about these clubs I didn’t in that they were hollow-forged clubs and forgiving. Their appearance was deceiving, and he knew their secret. 

I setup, gave it a smooth swing, made solid contact… and asked myself what it was that just happened.  How did I just hit a forged blade so well? Did I really hit the sweet spot?  I looked at the gentleman helping me, who still said nothing, but stood there with a sly grin on his face. He knew that sound, that feeling, that reaction.  He finally broke his silence and suggested I hit a few more. Swing after swing, I couldn’t believe the feeling, and the consistency from all various strikes was remarkable.  I wanted to know more, so he started explaining the HMB to me and answering all my questions. We’d talk, I’d hit, and we’d talk some more, and on it went like that for about 30 minutes.

I came in thinking P790’s were my club, but left with a set of irons I only dreamed of ever playing. They’re in my bag and I can’t believe how accessible and friendly these are to my swing. Nothing feels like a Mizuno wasn’t just marketing any more. And while they’re not true solid forged blades, they have all the features of blades I love, while still being forgiving to a hack like me. Sometimes you have to treat yourself, and nothing feels like a Mizuno. 


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Edited by Mzno
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Taylormade SIM 9° set at 7.5°, Xcaliber Avalon 6 tour stiff, tipped 1/2", 11g backweight, 10g adjustable weight, D5, 45 7/8", PING G425 LST 3 wood, set at 13° Xcaliber Avalon 6 tour stiff, tipped 1 1/2" 43", D4, Maltby KE4 FDI 19° (bent to 17°)Modus 120S 3 iron shaft, D4,Snake Eyes quick strike tour 18° hybrid, Xcaliber T6* TS untipped (soft stepped)

Maltby KE4 tour hybrid, 22°, kuro kage black shaft X 

Maltby TS-1 irons, DG X100 Sensicore, D4, 2° flat, 4-PW

Maltby TSW wedges,  DG X100 Sensicore,  50°, 54°, 58°, 2° flat

Ping TR series Anser 5, 33", 2° flat, 1.5° strong

Tp5x pix

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Posted (edited)

You may be asking yourself how the SIM2 got in the bag if I had an M4, and you’d be right to question it.  I was prepared for the new set of irons, but the M4 driver was really working well for me and I had no interest in taking it out of the bag. My son was using my old Taylormade R580, and hitting it well.  No need for a new driver. 

The M4 was my grail driver. I loved how it setup to the ball, it’s design, the Atmos shaft, the grip, head cover, everything. The M4 and I got along really well, we saw the challenges on the fairway ahead and knew just what to do.  We were simpatico with each other and I’d never been more comfortable with a driver. And then it happened. 

During a range session, which was going well, the M4 decided it would retire itself from golf. We didn’t even talk about it, the M4 decided without me. It was like a gunshot when the club-face made impact with the ball.  The sound was so loud, I ducked. I looked around not knowing what just happened and only after a few seconds connected the sound to the ball exploding off the face. It had to be the ball, right?

I shook the club, tapped on it with my fingers, but heard nothing unusual. There were no signs of failure.  I tee’d up another ball, and tentatively took the club away and back down to the ball. It was a miserable sound to be sure, a hollow and terrible plink.  Still no signs of damage, but it clearly was a club retired. Now what?

I just paid a kings ransom for this club not that long ago. Am I to pay another?  Do I even trust Taylormade now? The sinking feeling was real, and the disappointment was palpable. What do I do now?  The answer was to use the rest of the clubs to finish the bucket of balls… I paid for them, I’m going to hit them!  As I finished up, I decided I would go to DSG and suck it up, hit a few drivers, and pay up... again.  Maybe I could find a new, but older and cheaper generation club?  The problem is that I’ve been loyal to Taylormade drivers for all these years of playing, and it was difficult to see myself using another brand. It didn’t feel right. 

I walked into DSG with my son, immediately from the driving range, and walked right to the SIM2. I went to the simulator and hit some of the most disappointing drives in memory. I couldn’t connect well, I didn’t know if it would pull hook, or push slice, or simply go where I intended. Despair set in. I don’t want to be here doing this and I definitely don’t want to pay this much money for something I was hitting so terribly.  Then a sign of hope.  After hearing my story, the team member asked if I reached out to Taylormade, and suggested I go that route first.

It was hope I felt as I left DSG, but was still concerned about how I hit the SIM2 MAX. Maybe they’ll find an M4 in some warehouse somewhere so I could reunite with the club I’d grown comfortable hitting. I followed the warranty instructions on Taylormade’s website, uploaded pictures, and explained the scenario surrounding the return.  It didn’t take long for them to respond explaining they would send a new SIM2 MAX and all I had to do was send my M4 back to them. 

Was it really this simple?  Was it really this easy?  They weren’t going to make me send the M4 first, then decide what to do?  They were just going to replace it and trust me to send back the M4?  This is no hassle customer service and I was blown away. I was thrilled and anxious all at the same time as I waited for the club to arrive, because I felt I would have some work to do in order to hit it like I did the M4.

While I waited, a trip to Golf Galaxy was made to get the matching 3-wood.  The bulldog protects it while not in use. My M4 3-wood would go to my son.

I went to the driving range immediately upon receiving the SIM2 MAX. My concerns were justified, I just wasn’t hitting this new driver well. Not only that, I was hitting it poorly, but after the customer service experience i received, I was now determined to stick with Taylormade.  I have since worked on it and am beginning to gain confidence with my new driver. In fact, I’m now hitting it well and am relieved the SIM2 MAX will be in my bag for as long as it holds up, or some new shiny object grabs my attention— Taylormade, of course.

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Edited by Mzno
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  • mGolf changed the title to WITB - Like a Moth to a Flame
Posted (edited)

The rest of the story just isn’t as interesting, or long. I don’t want a bunch of different wedges and prefer to have fewer choices, but with more options. I learned the game using a pitching wedge almost exclusively from 100 yds in.  I was golfing Titleist DCI knock-offs and became very well versed with that pitching wedge.  I knew better—  I knew I needed more wedges, it just wasn’t in the budget back then.  I wasn’t fitted for the SM8, rather did research on my own. Why the Vokey wedges?  The answer is simple, I’ve always wanted them and could now afford them.  And I love them. 

Regarding the putter, if the Ping Anser was my grail, as you read above, why the Newport 2 you now see in the bag?  The answer is simple. The SC has been one of the highest regarded putters for years, looks amazing to my eye, putts beautifully, feels amazing, and has been on my radar since about ‘97. You know why.  

But again with that kings ransom thing… it just wasn’t going to happen when I started golfing. In fact, I didn’t think I’d ever actually pull the trigger and get one. Who would spend that kind of money on a putter?  So then in my youth, the Ping Anser became the one to dream about.  However, since I’m now well invested into my bag, what’s a few hundred more for my absolute grail?  Yes, a fool and his money are soon parted. 

The final things in my bag are the odds and ends, including the ball. I’ve been using Bridgestone, but am currently trying Titleist Tour Speed, and just ordered some MAXFLI Tour balls.  I use either a Foot Joy or MAXFLI glove, and have a few various ball markers. I use 18 BIRDIES to keep score and gps, but just downloaded The Grint to try. 

And what is goofy hiding?  He is protecting my first ‘real’ driver.  A TM Ti Bubble 2.  Goofy has been on my golfing journey this entire time, purchased by my then girlfriend turned wife.

All in it’s an expensive bag. My choices are personal, and I have no illusions these choices will actually improve my game. I am also aware I’m probably “that guy” who’s game doesn’t match the equipment.  To all that, I don’t care.  I currently love hacking away with my 10 handicap as often as I can. I’ve only just returned and I’m looking forward to single digit handicap golf again, and these are the clubs I’m using to enjoy that journey.  There is little justification in my choices, so laugh with me over the absurdity of my choices, but don’t deny me the joy of hitting exactly the clubs I love. 

That’s What’s In My Bag.

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Edited by Mzno
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