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Big-Ticket Irons Hot US Opens and More

Spring cleaning in my brain:
  • Whats a set of premium irons cost nowadays? About $800 for 3-iron through pitching wedge, right? Well, how does this industry expect people to replace, even every third year, something that costs as much as a good television or refrigerator? Even in this Disposable Age, those things last longer than three or four years.
  • In the non-premium segment, golf can be a real bargain. While visiting a range in California, I asked a player where she had bought her handsome clubs and bag. On the Internet, she said, for about $250 ' and that included seven irons, two fairway woods, a driver, and a putter, and of course the bag, which had plenty of pockets. She said she was a beginner, and enjoyed her new clubs very much. She looked forward to adding a sand wedge down the line. But for now, she liked the feel of good contact with her starter set.
  • Oh, and she also said she had seen the same set in a retail store for 400-some dollars, and thats what drove her online. Smart sellers of golf equipment long ago realized that this is a multi-channel retail world ' and that the channels had better match up pretty closely, price-wise.
  • How do you wind down after work? Who among us hasnt thought how nice it would be to do it with three holes of golf? The person who finds a way to make three-hole quick courses profitable could reap a lot of profit him- or herself. (Clue: A lot of municipalities have three 3-holers available already. Cmon; how many bowling alleys have just one lane?)
  • Why do so few golfers have USGA Handicaps? Is there perhaps a way to create special handicaps for those who want to compete, for instance, only on par-3 courses? Doing so might make the golfer graduate to a regular handicap one day, and that ties in well with making golf a multi-tiered set of aspirations, instead of the intimidating Everest it can seem like now.
  • OK, the color choices are radbut who would you rather have your daughter go out with, Aaron Baddeley or Allen Iverson?
  • Hey, dont laughdid you see how fast Charles Howell III got snapped up? Mrs. Hs momma didnt raise no fool.
  • Matchmaking aside, we still have some of the best-behaved, most accessible athletes in sport. And all in all, Id say the game is doing a good job of capitalizing on that asset.
  • The Masters ended a month ago. But before you say, Martha who?, think about it: She didnt get where she is in the activism biz by giving up. Burk haters beware; shell be back.
  • People who chastised TaylorMade-adidas Golf for signing Fred Couples are now cutting their own hats into bite-size pieces.
  • It will be marvelous to see the U.S. Open return to Chicago next month, at Olympia Fields in west-suburban Flossmoor. But it seems a shame ' and Im not blaming the U.S. Golf Association for this, by the bye ' that the seasons conspire to keep the Open away from some of the best courses in the country. By that, I mean tracks in the steamy South, such as Champions, near Houston; The Honors Course, near Chattanooga, Tenn.; and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C., to name just a few. Yes, the heat can be withering. But geography is no guarantee. Remember Oakmont in 1994? It was so hot, Colin Montgomerie and others not used to the climate probably felt like pouring themselves into Ziploc bags at the end of the day.
  • Coming to Chicago for the Open? Dont bother with an umbrella; itll get blown inside-out in a second. Just start moseying toward the clubhouse about 4 p.m.
  • A priest who plays golf told me theres an express lane into Heaven for those who rake bunkers.
  • Done anything nice for a junior golfer lately? It can be as complicated as a swing tip (as long as they ask for it and you dont steer them in the wrong direction) or as simple as a sleeve of new balls shoved into the pocket of her bag when shes not looking ' whether youre related to her or not.
  • But the best thing you can do for a junior at your club or course is to say Join us when he catches up to your group ' and then treat him as a golfing equal. That brand of kindness lasts a long time ' and we probably all remember when someone in our youth missed the chance.
  • Your honor.