GOLF IS GOOD: AN­DREW DADDO

Golf Australia - - CONTENTS - EX­CLU­SIVE B Y AN­DREW DADDO | GOLF AUS­TRALIA C OLUMNIST

WHAT is it about that grass over there be­ing greener? The other day, I spent some time with Dar­ius Oliver the new Won­derkind of Aus­tralian golf course de­sign. He’s got King Is­land’s Cape Wick­ham in his cred­its and is very ex­cited about a new project on Kan­ga­roo Is­land. He’s spent years writ­ing those Planet Golf books: trav­el­ling the world, play­ing beau­ti­ful and ob­scure cour­ses, tak­ing notes, putting lyri­cal sen­tences to­gether with all those envy golf course pic­tures.

It would be fun, but that wasn’t the green grass bit.

It didn’t even mat­ter that he’s a con­sid­er­ably bet­ter golfer. No, the green grass bit was his gear. When I saw him com­ing to­ward the putting green at Morn­ing­ton Golf Club, I knew we’d have a prob­lem. He only had about seven clubs in his scabby old golf bag, in­clud­ing a per­sim­mon 3-wood. His put­ter, which glowed with love and pol­ish looked like it had been snapped off an old Greek fish­ing boat’s an­chor. His driver must have been five years old. His irons looked old enough to buy al­co­hol. As for that put­ter, if it had kids, they’d be old enough to have kids of their own.

I’m not even con­vinced it was a match­ing set. The irons were the same, even num­bers only, no odd. But the wedges, or was that a wedge, was dif­fer­ent. As for that Cleve­land Per­sim­mon 3-wood, my grand­fa­ther would have shelved that lit­tle knuckle of wood long ago. Breathe, I said to my­self. Breeeeeathe. I had hard­core club envy, which is ut­terly ab­surd be­cause when I looked over at my stuff, it was hard to fo­cus given the shine com­ing off them. I mean, I’ve got this bag that’s too good for me and the clubs are in­di­vid­ual art­works. They’ve all been fit­ted to me and my swing vari­ants. There’s a laser doo-dad for ex­act dis­tances, a ball wanger for draw­ing straight lines on my balls. Was I wear­ing the watch that con­firms what my doo-dad does? Not that day, but I’ve got one. It tells the time, too. And how many steps I take in a day and which way the hole is if I got lost in fog. Dar­ius had none of this stuff.

So that’s what I wanted, too. It struck me as be­ing on the quirky side of nutty. And whilst I feel as if I’ve been tread­ing those boards for a while now, clearly, I’m an am­a­teur.

What’s with these golf course de­sign­ing vi­sion­ar­ies – him and Mike Clay­ton and the oth­ers – walk­ing around with their half full bags of clubs that work for them and no one else? What’s that about?

It’s nuts, and frankly, I want to be a bit nutty, too.

I thought I was, but clearly haven’t com­mit­ted to it the way they have.

Putters are as far as I’ve gone, so far. Oh, sure. I’ve dab­bled in two irons in­stead of hy­brids, buy­ing them off the in­ter­net and putting them to­gether in my shed. But it’s the putters that’ve got me most ex­cited. I spent the last year or so us­ing an old Harold Swash (pic­tured) I’d found, and pur­chased for $5, in a Cooma Vin­nies store.

Every sin­gle per­son I played with had feel­ings about that put­ter that were ex­clu­sively neg­a­tive. The more I pol­ished it, singing its’ praises, the more peo­ple seemed to hate it. I just loved it even more.

A bit like that old song My Grand­fa­ther’s Clock, but not re­ally, the put­ter went cold. Maybe around the same time Harold Swash died.

Since then, I’ve tried to find an­other to chal­lenge the abil­ity of other golfers to say nice things when they don’t want to. The re­sult, a re­lent­lessly ugly col­lec­tion of fairly odd look­ing flat­sticks. Which is com­pletely ridicu­lous, be­cause whilst try­ing to find one that works like the Swash, this beau­ti­fully weighted Odyssey put­ter has been in the bag. And it ac­tu­ally works, but only to sink putts. With the Odyssey, no one says any­thing. No one’s giv­ing me the Dar­ius. The what-the-hell-are-you-us­ing-that-shit-for?

And if I want to get the most out of golf, and I truly do, that’s a big part of it. To com­mit to the ‘lu­nacy’ of only play­ing even num­bered irons is still a bridge too far be­cause I’m just not a good enough golfer. You can only re­ally get away with us­ing crap stuff on pur­pose if you’ve got the skills to over­come their short­fall.

Or maybe the old stuff’s like the new stuff. Maybe the vi­sion­ar­ies are look­ing back­ward into the fu­ture. There might be some­thing in that, which would be kind of cool, be­cause an auc­tion’s about to end on the net for a very dull look­ing, old hick­ory put­ter. You’ll never guess who’s the high­est bid­der?

Wa­hoo!

HIS IRONS LOOKED OLD ENOUGH TO BUY AL­CO­HOL. AS FOR THAT PUT­TER, IF IT HAD KIDS, THEY’D BE OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE KIDS OF THEIR OWN.

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