Let me say from the outset that I am not a real golfer. I enjoy a game here and there, and have been known to win a few times, but I don’t get much of a chance to play these days. Even when I did play during the nineties I was not that good, a real beginner, but I did manage to learn how to swing the club and got quite in to the game.
And then life intervened. About ten years or more of an intervention, before I was once more thinking about having a regular game of golf.
I started to look for clubs in earnest, thinking I ought to be able to find a half decent set for not much money, but actually it is very hard to do. I read review after review, I read technical specifications and advertising. I read until my eyes were sore, and finally settled on some TaylorMade Tour Burner irons. Heck, American Golf were selling them for less than Â£300, and I had to get a set! I was very fortunate that this coincided with my birthday and I was offered new clubs for a present. Well, it would have been rude to refuse…
When I visited American Golf in Braintree, Essex (Freeport) I found the staff to be very good indeed – much better than I had anticipated. I explained that as a former golfer I didn’t really class myself as a beginner and didn’t want irons that a beginner would use. I had my heart set on TaylorMade Tour Burners, and that was that. The salesman (Mark) was excellent. He listened patiently, nodded knowingly and selected a range of clubs for me to try out on the electronic analyser at the back of the store. I had some Taylormade irons, some Callaways, and two types of Nike, including the Slingshots.
So onto the machine I stepped and swung the clubs as best I could. The machine plotted the trajectory, speed, flight direction – everything! It turned out that I was getting a 7 iron about 160 yards on a good swing, which isn’t too bad at all in my opinion. The thing is, I got consistently good readings from the Nike Slingshot irons and only sometimes good from the Callaways. I was rubbish with the TaylorMade clubs!
I was pleasantly surprised at the way I could tell the difference between the clubs after all these years, and with the way I was able to swing them… I thought I’d be pretty poor at both, actually. I know the machine environment is not a golf course, it doesn’t have wind, sun, rain, slopes or the mocking laughter of your comrades trying to put you off… so it wasn’t a real test. The thing is, it was a consistent test, and I really enjoyed the work out it gave me.
So much so, that I left the store with the Slingshots – a good weight, consistent distance and direction, forgiving in those awkward moments and pretty good value for money. They are not top flight clubs, but I am not a top flight golfer. They are not necessarily for beginners, but they would be a very good first club. They seemed to suit me as a returning golfer, and I think they’ll actually help improve my game faster than others would, and that’s what I am after achieving!
I did also try a TaylorMade Burner driver, and loved that – much better than the Nike equivalent or the Ping G15 that was there to test too. So I added that to the set and finished it off with a putter.
Now, for putting I am an old fashioned sort, and I like the ordinary looking putters. I went for a Rife ‘Aussie’ – it felt excellent in my hand and on the carpet putting green, I was having a lot of fun watching my ten foot puts drop in the pot. If only it was like that on a green…
I’ll be testing the set out on a course as soon as I can, and will report back on how they were (and how I was). I am expecting good things.