If my clubs could talk, what would they tell me?
Most people might start that question with, ‘If these walls could talk’ - referring to the walls in their offices or homes. But as touring professionals our office and home are continually changing, while our clubs remain constant. We have 14 of them at any given time, even though most of us carry around a few stragglers that only come out to play on special occasions. Each club has its own name, its own unique characteristics, and its own different dynamics relative to the player. We’re often asked which one is our favorite, like asking a parent to name their favorite child.
In response, we may say the one we have the most fun with (driver for me) or perhaps the one that is the most reliable (hand me a wedge please) or the one that digs us out of trouble (punch-out 7-iron) or maybe it’s the one that gets used the most but loved the least (sorry flatstick). Just like a mother or father looking out onto their herd in an effort to select their “favorite,” the only real answer is that they love them all. Because we do. We love them all in a unique way.
When reflecting upon my year this morning, I thought about how much I’d spoken to these hunks of metal, graphite and glue. And in all my efforts to demand that they obey, to bend them without empathy and beat them to near death in soils I don’t want my hands to touch, I’ve never wondered what they’d say back to me if they could.
In warm-ups, when I wrap my hands around the shafts’ rubber jackets, do they already know the way the day is going to go? Can they feel the tension tingling in my fingertips and understand the consequences of a fat, thin, or flushed shot?
Is there certain turf they like to touch more than others? Do they prefer their grooves dirty or clean?
After rounds or on weeks off, would they tell me when to stop crushing those round dimple delicacies? Do they have a threshold that I should honor?
When we succeed together do I give them the credit they deserve, like a kiss as opposed to a kick? When it doesn’t go away and they are shut into the darkness of the trunk, do they feel alone? Would they wish I’d open them up to some sunlight at a time and place outside of a golf course?
As I played with this anthropomorphism, I thought in some ways that I was losing my mind. Everyone knows that golf clubs don’t have heartbeats, just as we all know that cars don’t understand you when you’re talking to them – “come on, baby, you can make it.” Clubs don’t have brains. They definitely don’t have feelings. But, if you look closely and see past the logos, the design and the number engraved on the end, you’ll notice a detail that you may have ignored before.
Staring in the shiny steel, just beside the number, I saw two blue circles, a line of white and a tan complexion that the manufacturer did not produce. It was me. My clubs are a mirror, a reflection. All the questions, all the commands, all the torment that I toss onto them could be answered if I took one quick second to check in with my soul - the part of me that can get lost during the season.
When we are tossed around from place to place and the noise on the surface of our lives neglects the foundation deep below, we forget to care for the person deep down, the one who has put in the work, planted the seed, and persevered through obstacles only we can testify to.
So, in this off time at the conclusion of the 2022 Epson Tour Season, I’ve decided to ask my clubs to talk, to speak of how the year went for them.
In what ways was it good, and in which ways would they change?
At the end of the day, nobody knows their clubs better than the person wrapping their lifeline around them every day. And so I sit, and I wait, and I ponder. What do you want to say to me you 14 beautiful, inanimate children? We have plenty of time. I’m listening.