I had what I thought was the laugh of my life when my dad called me a few months ago saying he’d “reinvented the driver” – by grinding its face off.
My dad has literally just taken up golf. Actually he’s just taken up hitting golf balls. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a genius when it comes to building and creating motorcycles, but he’s only just picked up a club. And yet – he’s already figured out “what’s wrong with these stupid things.”
While Dave’s solution seems ridiculous, his argument is understandable. He was having a hard time hitting the ball. First he realized that his prescription glasses messed up his depth perception, so he took them off. But then he couldn’t see where the ball went, so he got my nephew to act as ball spotter.
Next and more to the point, once he put his glasses back on, he saw that the face of the driver was convex and surmised that “of course you can’t hit a straight ball with a curved club face! That’s how they keep you buying new clubs and golf lessons.”
So among the plethora of tools at his disposal downstairs, Dave took a 6-inch disc-grinder to the face of a few drivers he picked up at a garage sale and voila, Ground-Down Flat-Face Danger-Drivers were born.
After hearing what he’d done I explained that 1. there was some very heavy science behind the club face being convex and that this was probably the best shape for about 100 reasons, 2. if flat drivers were better for accuracy there would be more of them around despite his conspiracy theories, and 3. grinding down the metal face of something that’s impacting a hard object at over 100 MPH is a good way to get shrapnel in your eyeballs.
Nonetheless when we visited him on Maui he insisted we test out his drivers. Nervous about the injuries we were surely about to sustain, we apprehensively agreed to try his clubs. They had ‘lawsuit’ written all over them so we found the quiet side of the driving range at Pukalani, lest they cause any collateral damage. For the sake of comparison we started out with our normal “safety drivers” (ones that haven’t been mutilated). Good strikes, solid sound, straight enough.
Then we picked up a danger-driver each. Phil went first – I figured that when we had to call the ambulance it’d be more efficient for me to phone up as they might not understand Phil’s English accent. I crossed my fingers as he took a swing.
To my complete and utter surprise, not only did the driver remain intact, but the drive was good. Really good. And straight. Without a second’s pause my dad began his victorious cackling laugh. He shouted “See? It’s straight!! Have you ever seen a shot as straight as that?!” though you could hear in his voice he was as surprised as we were.
I had to give it a try.
First shot, straight off the bat – went straight as an arrow. What the actual ffffff—ace-grinder? Try again. Boom. Straight. Cackle. Boom. Straight. Cackle. I couldn’t believe it – especially because I’ve been having some trouble of late hitting my own driver straight…
We continued on like this for ten minutes or so, until I started hitting a few crappy shots, and I somehow started to feel better (I can’t stand it when my dad is right). Then Phil realized that while they were going pretty straight, he wasn’t getting the same distance as he was out of his normal driver.
So they went pretty straight, but not nearly as far. We’d agreed that accuracy was more important than distance, so my dad put “inventing drivers that go straight” under his mental checklist of career successes.
And really, he had done it. At least a little. His mangled drivers seemed to work well, and they didn’t explode. And while we did notice that the non-titanium club face had gone from flat to concave (#danger), we all agreed that in general, the clubs ‘worked’. Nice job dad.