Whats in your bag?


A local golfer moans about moments of inertia as he contemplates purchasing a new club.

You cant buy a golf game. But it sure is fun trying.

Besides, its not as though the $500 spent on a new driver would have bought that much food or many clothes for the kids.

You spent WHAT on another golf club?

Honey, this isnt just another golf club. Its a TaylorMade r7 CGB Max. The movable weights let me adjust the flight of my drives. How cool is that?

Golf was never a simple game, but club manufacturers have turned it into brain surgery. Those of us who have no clue about moment of inertiaor MOI, as the technologically correct call itmight as well be living in caves.

Wikipedia (which didnt exist the last time I bought a new club) defines MOI as the inertia of a rigid rotating body with respect to its rotation. Golf Digest touted the virtues of the new Adams Idea a3 hybrid by writing with a straight face: The stretched blade length and boxy shape help the club achieve a horizontal-axis moment of inertia of 3,350 grams/cm2.

Weve reached a point where taking the cover off your driver on the first tee is as harrowing as undressing for the first day of seventh-grade PE.

Case in point: Last year, I was a guest at Del Paso Country Club, excited to be playing the renovated course with head pro Mike Green and designer Kyle Phillips. Before we teed off, Green looked at my Tommy Armour 855 irons and said something along the lines of, Do you really plan to play with these relics?

Unfortunately, my game did nothing to disprove Greens skepticism. But as I pondered his harmless gibe, it suddenly dawned on me that my new irons werent new anymore. I bought them in the mid-90s.

I recently reminded Green of his comment and asked whether all these technological innovations really make a difference.
If you didnt make the switch to the new models that came out several years ago, such as oversized perimeter-weighted irons, youre missing out, Green said. People took this new equipment and immediately saw a difference.

The Callaway Big Bertha driver looked like a cudgel when it came out in 1991. Now, measured against drivers twice its size, it looks like a peashooter. Maybe this is just a sign of the times. We supersize our fast-food orders every day. People constantly trade in cars that run perfectly well for new ones.

Still, theres something ridiculous about TaylorMade coming out with an enhanced driver every six months. Ive owned two sets of irons in 35 years. My handicap hasnt fluctuated by more than three shots in that time. I find it hard to believe that my clubs are holding me back. Id say its my nonrepeating swing, or the fact that I seldom practice.

But in talking to several gearheads about their addiction, I found it hard not to admire their passion, optimism and disposable income. Smitten, I visited the Haggin Oaks Super Shop to size up one of the baddest boys on the block, the Nike SasQuatch driver. A sticker on the shaft listed eight different variables, including flex, weight and butt stiffness.

Butt stiffness triggered in me a momentary moment of inertia, and I went home empty-handed. But I loosened up and returned about a week later to sample the SasQuatch and the King Cobra Speed LD.

Both boast an extremely high MOI and comically gigantic heads. The King Cobra looks better with its red shaft and shiny black head, but each test drive resulted in a slight draw. The SasQuatch produced about a dozen perfectly straight drives. Its as though someone else was swinging the club.

The SasQuatch was mine for $323.24. Driving home, I tried to convince myself that a new driver was worth more than what we pay each month in after-school child care. Put it this way: I didnt walk in the front door showing it off.