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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Breezy Point

Local Golf
August 22, 2017

PSYCHIC - EQUIPMENT
Old Tom Morris chipping
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Old Tom Morris chipping
Phil Mickelson chipping
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Phil Mickelson chipping
By R.J. Smiley


As the setting sun causes the few cumulus clouds to turn a pinkish orange, the Psychic throws his golf clubs in the trunk of his car, then slams the trunk! His thoughts reflect back over the past two rounds. Yes, he is getting older. Yes, he is in pretty good shape. And... yes he is sometimes out driven by 80 yards.

On the most recent golf outing, the Psychic hit his driver good, to the waters edge on a lay-up par-5. Yes, he hit a 3-wood onto the putting surface. Yes, he scored a birdie. But, his opponent, a young buck that is built like Dustin Johnson, hit a lay-up shot off the tee with a 5-iron, only a foot away from the Psychic's ball. His opponent then flew a 6-iron onto the green. Yes, the long hitting kid 3-putted allowing the Psychic to win the hole, and the match, but the Psychic was demoralized.

In the previous round the Psychic matched his driver with his partners 5-iron. Both balls in the fairway about 230 to 235 yards from the tee. Then on the par-5 12th, his partner's second shot (after a near whiff off the tee) from 230-240 yards had to get up quickly to carry a huge cottonwood tree that guarded the corner. His partner hit a towering 7-iron, that seemed to stay in the air for an hour, to within ten feet of the cup. Too much! Too much!!

"It has got to be the equipment!" the Psychic lamented.

Late that evening, the Psychic placed the turban squarely on his head and polished the crystal ball to sparkling clarity. As his face becomes expressionless and his unblinking eyes peer deep into the future, the Psychic sees players playing a game he does not watch on Sunday afternoons. This game is not played on a field made of synthetic turf by players who resemble super humans wearing modern day armor. The game he sees is a football game from the past. The rain is a steady drizzle and the players are covered with mud and - the Psychic draws closer - blood. The football warriors are wearing leather helmets without the protection of facemasks. These players play both offense and defense. These players use smelling salts to clear their heads after a head to head collision. There is no "concussion protocol." These men play football like most men go to war.

As the Psychic wrestles to clearly read the message he is seeing, a seaside scene becomes visible. As the fog along the coast begins to lift, the Psychic sees ancient sheepherders whacking round stones into a small hole with their shepherd's crook.

The mist again settles as the sound of the incoming tidal waves continue to echo in the Psychic's ears. The Psychic hears the sound of the wind as it sweeps across the seaside and the fog is cleared by the brisk winds. This picture is somehow different, the seaside is the same but the holes in the ground are marked by sticks and are much farther apart. The shepherds have been replaced by gentlemen dressed in the finest fashions of the day. Instead of crooks, these gentlemen whack at a brown/tan ball filled tightly with feathers then laced together forming a firm almost round ball. The Psychic flinches as a ball explodes from the impact of a club with an iron head attached; feathers fill the air.

The Psychic needs no crystal ball as his mind replays the recent Open Championship. The duel between Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson was contested on the same seaside links land as the scenes from the crystal ball. As Stenson launches a sky high long iron into the brisk wind off the sea, his modern day golf ball, with a spin rate ideally suited for his swing bores into the wind and lands softly on the pool table smooth putting surfaces. The Psychic recalls the, over the bunker, chip on the second hole where Phil, the golfer with a surgeon's skill, hit a 64° wedge stone dead. That golf club would have been used as a tool, to hoe the garden, when the shepherds first played the game.

The Psychic sits back and ponders what he has seen in the crystal ball and what he has witnessed in the past few rounds of golf. "Golf has changed like football has changed!" Blood is rarely seen on a football field and the helmets, gloves and shoes allow the superbly trained athletes to excel in the safest conditions possible. Golf has also changed. No self respecting golfer would go to the golf course, even his muni, without having a club fitter select his golf clubs and a ball recommended specifically for his spin rate.

Kids, the Psychic thinks, are no different. The Psychic learned the game with a golf club that his father cut off and then wrapped adhesive tape for a grip. Kids today have a set of clubs that fit their size and strength. They play golf balls that come in so many colors that they choose a ball that fits their mood on this particular day.

The Psychic again peers into his see-all sphere looking for the golf equipment of the future. What the crystal ball revels does not surprise him. Instead of blacksmiths forging club heads from molten iron, the Psychic sees computer geeks who continue to fine tune technology making golf clubs with materials not found on the Periodic Table of Elements. The geniuses, who work within very specific guidelines, will continue to squeeze an extra yard or two from drivers. They will configure the weighting of irons to go a little farther and fly a little higher.

The floodgates of technology have been opened. Golfers who want to compete at the highest levels will continue to seek the advise of personal trainers and club fitters. Even SHRINKS, who specialize in training golfers to fine tune their brain, are added to the golfers entourage. Where a personal caddie once was a luxury, today's professionals need a bus or a large personal jet to transport their entourage to and from events.

Even the aging Baby Boomer, who now has more time and money to enjoy golf, is continually experimenting with the latest in rescue clubs and hybrids. Seeking that little advantage over his grey haired buddies.

The Psychic removes his turban and covers his crystal ball. He opens the refrigerator and pours a small glass of milk before heading off to bed. As the refrigerator door closes and the kitchen goes black, the Psychic wonders what time the PGA TOUR Superstore opens tomorrow morning. Maybe one of those new TaylorMade AeroBurner drivers would give him a few more yards off the tee.






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