Spring Cleaning Time Already


The answers to it all are somewhere here on this fire hazard of a desk of mine. Let's see some of the things I've been jotting down.
Hang on a sec.for years now, we've been told that modern golf club technology helps us keep off-center hits in the same zip code. But detractors of the new, thin-faced, 'hot' drivers say the most benefit of those clubs comes on direct center hits. What happened?
On a related subject, Callaway has been saying that recreational use of the ERC II isn't cheating when used in a round turned in for a handicap score. (The U.S. Golf Association disagrees.) After all, Callaway reasons, why would anyone try to hit it farther when being a short-knocker might buy more strokes?
So.are thin-faced drivers the answer to sandbagging?
While we're on this. the World Golf League, a pay-for-play league for recreational players, has decided to adopt the Rules of Golf as promulgated by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, not the USGA, because - you guessed it - the ERC II is legal under R&A rules.
Tom Stites, club design genius, five employees, little workshop in run-down west Fort Worth. Nike Inc., sporting goods giant, thousands of employees, huge campus in granola-heavy Beaverton, Oregon. Someone start the popcorn and click off the lights; this oughta be good.
Speaking of Tom Stites, he likes to tell the story of the day Ben Hogan (Mister Hogan to you, Tom, and everyone who knew him) tried to explain his idea for a gooseneck offset driver. Exasperated, he reached back into his credenza and pulled out a wire flyswatter, and promptly bent it into the shape he wanted. He gave it to Stites to use as a concept model. Tom has it to this day.
The Lady Precept continues to capitalize on its cult-ball status, even among the game's he-men. What next, raspberry visors?
Seriously, though: In what other sport would grown men use equipment branded for women, no matter what the advantage? Such is our game.
Bernhard Langer goes Spalding. Few people in the game have more presence or integrity. Will he capture the imagination of American golf buyers? Despite good play, he never seemed to do so for Wilson.
Seve Ballesteros goes Callaway. Talk about presence. People still crowd around to see Seve pull off magic around the greens. They don't line up on the left side of the fairway, though. By the bye, Seve will play the ERC II driver.
Another front may be opening in the Nike-Titleist war. As if the golf ball battle weren't enough (a solid core product line versus solid and wound, upstart versus market leader), Titleist is coming out this summer with a new forged iron. The 681 will cost about $1,000 per set.
Oh, and the first Nike iron prototypes? They're forged. And so far, Nike has been in no rush to bring them to market.
Better make some more popcorn.