A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a pretty good golfer. Heck, I’ll throw pride out the window here and say that I was a pretty terrific golfer. Someone that can go out and shoot in the upper 60’s on a regular basis deserves to gloat a bit about it, don’t they? Of course, that was a long time ago, like I said in the opening. Anyway, life certainly go in the way of my aspiring pro touring career, or at least my weekend tournament participant mode, but that was probably a good thing. This stuff gets expensive and we all know that, in golf, keeping up with the Jones’ is a serious issue.
When my Mom passed away 3 years ago, my Dad found golf again. It was something he had given up to enjoy more time with her. It was the same thing I did when we started our photography business and then continued through Evie’s early years. For some reason though, late last year, the bug bit me again and I found out that he started playing again too. I still had my old stuff in the garage, though I’m not sure how it made 2 moves over the last 5 years after never being used… I guess I know now…
To make a long story short, in December, I played my first round of golf since 2008. It was really 2007 when I stopped playing, but who’s counting. I packed up my 2005 era Ping S59 Tour Blades and some Nike One Gold balls and headed out to the course I played 1000 times in high school. The trees had grown up, but the course hadn’t changed too much. It was still Riverbend. Shockingly enough, I shot pretty decent until the last few holes. The weather moved in and we got drenched, but my game was still there.
We played a few more rounds, one at Maplewood in Renton and one at High Cedars in Orting. My game had the obvious rust on it, but overall, I was comfortably coasting in with mid to upper 80’s scores. It was then I had a crazy idea, so I dug something out of the corner of the garage where I had my 1988 Wilson Staff Tour Blades hiding. I mentioned it to dad and he said he would love to see them out on the course again, so I had to run with it.
These little beauties, while not the exact set, are the same irons that Dad bought me for Christmas back in 1991. I had drooled over them at Christy’s driving range in Federal Way for almost a year before they disappeared from the shelf. The owner told me some guy had come in and bought them. Everyone was pretty sneaky about the whole thing. That set was stolen from my car in Canada, but I found this set at Puetz a few months later and instantly grabbed them. Of course, they had been sitting wrapped with a velcro tie for the last 11 years, not hit, not used, just sitting, so they needed a bit of cleanup and a set of grips thrown on them.
After a bit of de-rusting with a high grade sanding block (the foam blocks with a very high grit work great for this) and about $6 in paint pens, I had them cleaned up and ready for the course. If you’ve never given your irons a paint job, it really makes them look new, even if they are beat to death. All that needs to be done is to scrap out the stampings, clean them well, let them dry and then fill them with paint. Paint pens work the best for this, but you can use a brush if you would rather.
The end results were quite stunning and I couldn’t wait to get these beauties out on the course. Riverbend was just two days away and I was ready to go.
The weather we encountered was perfect. Sunny, warm and not much of a breeze. They course was playing more like July than April, but I was not about to complain. I found that the lost distance that I was suffering from was quickly made up with control over the forged blades. My draw had returned in a consistent fashion and hole by hole, my distances got stronger and stronger. As the round progressed, I worried that this would be the first round I had ever shot with a set of Wilson Staff’s in the 90’s. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and I carded an 84 for the day.
Round two the next week was exactly the same, but the 84 I carded in that round was in far less optimal conditions and included 3 double bogies that didn’t need to be there at all. I’m fully expecting to return to the 70’s by June, even without practicing much. I can only imagine what I could do with enough time and a decent driving range to practice at. Scary stuff there! But for now, I’m having a blast spending a few hours with Dad and just getting back out there.