I'd always taken a hands-off approach to my equipment. A lot of people get paid a lot of money to decide what clubs I should play with and what specifications they should have. I'd just tell them what felt good and what didn't.
After playing a Pro Am tournament outside of Atlanta on Monday morning, I packed up my stuff and headed to the airport shuttle to catch my flight to Charlotte, N.C. I watched as the driver threw my clubs in last.
I arrived at the Quail Hollow Golf Club around 4 p.m. and my caddy met me there for a practice round. He started pulling my clubs out of my bag and suddenly asked me, "Were you mad or something when you played earlier today?" I said no. "Because every single one of your irons is bent," Josh told me.
Fortunately, my equipment sponsor Titleist had its truck on site. These are the sorts of incidents club reps live for -- they love to jump in and solve problems. Within an hour, my club rep had replaced the old shafts and my clubs were ready to go, thus ending what could have been a catastrophe.
In the process, however, I learned something very important. My club company keeps a database of every club they've sent to every golfer they work with. As they were fixing my clubs, they realized that when I had my shafts replaced six months ago, the replacements weren't the ones I had ordered.
Leave it to a freak accident to show me that I don't pay enough attention to my equipment.
The way clubs are designed these days, the technology can often fix some common swing flaws. I think that's great. But my philosophy on equipment is that I don't ever want to have to rely on technology to make up for my swing flaws. That's in part why I've never been too worried about knowing the specifications of my clubs. I don't want to take the feel out of playing.
Even so, I had been telling my reps through trial and error that something either felt "good" or "bad," neither of which, I realized, is very helpful. I need to get more involved and actually help them do their jobs better. If I'm going to continue to get better at this game, I should be the one who notices that my club tipping is off or the shaft is wrong.
Lesson of the week: There are some things that you just shouldn't outsource.