My set of Precision TechoCat irons turned 20 years old in February and I had a very difficult decision to make. As last golf season was coming to end I started seeing signs that the sun was setting on my trusty set of irons. The Ferrule, what’s a Ferrule you say...yeah I looked it up, the Ferrule is the ring that covers the entry point of the shaft where it connects to the hosel of the club head. Anyway, that black thing at the bottom of my 4 iron was always sliding up and down the shaft. I had to put away my 3 iron because it was vibrating on contact like a broken baseball ball. Most of my irons I could not get clean anymore, and I guess you could look at this as a testament to good ball striking, but my 8 iron’s grooves were very worn down. The reality is that this is probably mostly due to hitting rocks and roots in the rough, but I’m sticking to the good ball striking story.
One day not too long ago while trying to clean my irons after a round I stopped for a second and really looked at the clubs. The bottom of each club had lots of these small shallow scars, my 4, 6, and 8 irons were clearly my go to clubs, and their faces had tiny pitted scars all through the grooves. It was like looking at your 12 year old dog’s face for the first time since she was a puppy. Her eye’s are a tiny bit foggy, the fur around her face is graying, and she can no longer jump up on the couch. This observation takes you by surprise and you're shocked into reality, you think to yourself, where did the time go, old girl you have lived an adventurous life, and maybe our time together is getting shorter.. Suddenly a stab of sadness and joy washes over you at the same time. You're sad because you will miss the companionship, and joy because all the good times come rushing back to you. You hold the dog's face close to you and thank her for all the support she has given you, and then immediately you find a treat that you know is bad for her and give it to her anyway…
I bought new irons on March 13th. After much research and a solid club fitting session I went with P-790’s. I walked out from the golf shop into the parking lot, opened the trunk of my car, and gently placed the box of new clubs next to the TechnoCats that were resting in the always ready to play golf bag. Before closing the trunk I paused, I reached out to the TechnoCats and felt an accepting energy, as if the irons were preparing for the transition from inside the bag to being placed against the golf wall in the garage. It felt like the irons were saying thanks, we were good partners on the course, but it’s time to let go and head out and develop a new partnership. Everything was going to be ok. When I got home I slowly replaced each iron in the bag, placed the TechoCats on display in the golf dojo, and placed the always ready to play golf bag with the new irons into the trunk of my car. Everything was going to be ok. Two days later the shelter in place order hit our area and everything around us shut down and we needed to stay in our homes.
Three months later
It’s June 11th and I’m about to tee off at my home course at Blue Rock Springs Golf Course. This date marks my first time on the course since mid-February, and it marks the first time I am on the course with the new irons. Leading up to this round I had been doing my part and sheltering in place at home and hitting balls in the golf dojo. The clubs were feeling great and the ball seem to
burst off the club. I was able to compare the new and old irons during this shelter in place. The old dogs still work really well, but the new sticks are obviously better, and no one in the dojo could argue that. By the way I’m going to ceremoniously pass the TechoCats on to my Son once the world returns to a more normal state.
As time moved into May golf courses opened up for play, but I decided to wait until June before I headed out for a round. Driving ranges were open and I was very excited to get out to the range to see how well these clubs worked in open air.
To add a bit of golf adventure I decided to head out to Davis, CA and hit a bucket at the The Ranch. This place is out in the middle of a working farm. It is sort of like the “Field of Dreams” of golf. Will Smith built it and they did come, it took about 3 years for people to seek out the range, but they did come. You drive and drive, make a right and then boom you’re there. Paying is on a honor system and the price is right, $5.00 dollars for a large bucket. I know you’re thinking this is the driving range Roy McAvoy ran from Tin Cup. It’s way better, the mats are in great shape, you have a ton of targets to aim at, and you have these great Adirondack chairs to take a little rest in. Bottom line it was great place to open it up a bit, by the way the clubs hit very well. **Side note: I just realized that both movies I referenced are Kevin Costner movies. That's a weird coincidence, but I'm sure I could work a Dancing with Wolves mention in here for the trifecta!
I walked up to the first tee and prepared to hit my first drive on a golf course in just about 4 months. Reminder now...that’s a long time for us Californians. I’m not a native but I’ve played here long enough to become very spoiled. I was playing as a single, which I thought was great for the first time out because I could play a second ball to get more swings in. I lined up my shot and went into 75% mode and hit my drive in play to about the 150 marker. As I approached my second shot I could see I was at 150 exactly, seven iron it is. Then it hit me. This will be the first time that these irons will touch grass. For the 4 months or so I had the clubs I have been hitting off a mat either in the dojo or on a range. I didn’t even swing the clubs through the grass in my yard.
I paused, I looked behind me to see if anyone was at the tee waiting for me to hit, all clear, I had some time. I pulled the 7 iron out and slowly brought the club face to the grass, I swooshed the club through the grass a few times very slowly. I then pulled the club faster through the grass, everything seemed good, the club was getting acclimated to its new environment. I looked back again to see if anyone was frustrated with this crazy person performing a sort of golf iron baptism, luckily no one was on the tee box. I settled in to take the shot and I stood over the ball a little longer than usual, taking a moment to make sure I remember this final transition from the old dogs to the new sticks. I took a deep breath and fired away.
Change takes time, and you have to go though a few transitional stages before you fully accept change. For me and my new irons the change took four month, and under very unique circumstances it was a good journey. I placed my 7 iron back into the bag satisfied with my shot and headed to the green. When I got close to the green I could see my ball was about foot from the edge of the green, that will do...I reached for my trusty putter and noticed some wear and tear on the blade. I pulled the club out of the bag like I have done for 20 years and started to walk toward the ball. As I walked past the flag I began to wonder, is it time for a new putter...not yet!