Golf tip: Lesson learned from breaking my precious 3 wood

My golf tip comes from replaying the circumstances surrounding the destruction of my favorite golf club, my 3 wood.

Golf tips are a dime a dozen but equipment is to golfers like water is to fish, essential to the maintenance of life.  And I’ve long-believed that my golf clubs are designed to withstand whatever abuse I’m capable of delivering. They’re made to hit golf balls, as hard as I can manage to hit them.

That belief was shattered when I broke my 3 wood during my regular Saturday round; and reviewing the circumstances surrounding the disaster leads to an important golf tip, a safety reminder.

It was a traumatic moment for me. I’ve boasted many times that I’ver never broken a golf club, and I’ve been playing golf for half a century or more. That’s a lot of golf rounds!

I can still say I’ve never broken or damaged a club in anger but stupidity doesn’t get a pass any more.

I’ve always loved the game because no two rounds of golf are ever the same, so I probably should have understood that the moment would come when I would break a golf club. I just didn’t imagine it would be my 3 wood.

My 3 wood is the one club in my bag for which I don’t have a substitute! I’m more than a little embarrassed to admit this, but that’s the way it is. I can and have putted with my 3 wood, my 4 hybrid, and in a pinch my 7 iron.

In addition to my precious Ping driver, I can hit tee shots with my 3 and 5 woods and even my 4 and 5 hybrids. I don’t get the distance with the other clubs that I get with the driver, but I can rely on them delivering consistently down-the-middle shots.

When I’m faced with a fairway shot of more than 150 yards, however, my 3 wood is my go-to club. I depend on it to move my ball into striking range on par 5s and to get me to the green on most par 4s. I can sometimes hit my driver off the deck but it’s an iffy shot. I need a fluffy, slightly uphill lie to pull it off.

How it happened

Here’s how it happened. I hit my tee shot slightly off line. It came to rest on the left side of the fairway, just inside the hazard. I had a shot. It just wasn’t ideal but it was doable. I  had a good round going and didn’t want to take the penalty. So I lined up and took a couple of practice swings. They seemed clear of the red stake just outside my peripheral vision on the right.

Cleared for action!

I took my backswing, came down toward my ball, and collided with the stake. That was the end of my 3 wood. The head went flying off into the woods and I was left holding a shattered shaft.

One small lapse in judgement, one slightly off-line swing, and I killed my favorite piece of golf equipment. In hindsight, taking the penalty drop would have been the wiser and safer choice, but hindsight is almost always 20-20!

We retrieved my clubhead from the woods and I delivered the whole tragic mess to the pro shop. A new shaft, an exact replica of the one I broke, is ordered. But I’m going to be without my 3 wood for two or three weeks!

Golf tip: safety first

My pal Betty is bringing an assortment of her retired 3 woods that I can pick from for a loaner until my own club is repaired and back in action. But I know it won’t be the same club with the same good vibes.

Lesson learned. I’ll think twice before I again choose between a penalty drop and a risky shot. I emerged uninjured this time and for that I’m grateful. But even my slow, little-old-lady swing delivers far more power than my hands and wrists can resist when a clubhead strikes an immovable object.









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