The Strange World of Golf Equipment Terminology: Version Pro V1.1 7A-X(2) Quad-Razor-Valve²

I consider myself to be nothing more than an amateur golfer, not an astoundingly good one, but not one either that would make you consider giving up the game and taking up something a little interesting; such as waiting for the next ice age to arrive.

There are many things that I love about this great game; the mental testing, the fatigue factor, that gust of wind which can change a hole from a benign par 4, into a test of beast of golfing ingenuity.

Golf course

Then there is the camaraderie on the course from fellow players, John Daly’s dress sense, Tiger Woods saying “Tigurrrrrrrr!” every time he hits a bad shot (which is now worryingly frequent), Peter Alliss style of commentary, akin to an avuncular fireside chat over a packet of Werther’s Originals. There’s the delight of nailing a perfect approach shot to the heart of the green, watching that lengthy putt topple joyously into the hole and the all-too infrequent gasps of admiration from the watching crowd (in my mind…) as you thump a glorious drive 300 yards down the middle of the fairway.

But appreciate the strange world of golf equipment terminology? Not a chance; can you?

The fact that my appreciation of this alien language is somewhat akin to a dead badger’s understanding of quantum theory, was brought home to me in no uncertain terms recently when visiting the local driving range.

Golf-ball-in-a-grass

I had brought my 8-year-old son with me as he is very keen to learn the game. Given his myopia, it seems a far better sporting option for him than football or rugby, where he tends to spend half the game chasing what he thinks is a ball, only to discover it is an errant dog that has run onto the adjacent pitch. The other half of the game is spent squinting through his glasses, trying to get back onto the right pitch so he can stand around while his teammates run around trying to avoid passing the ball to him.

Golf, however, offers him a chance to compete on a level playing field and he does so with admirable gusto and considerable enthusiasm. If you want to see a new definition of speed, fill up a bag with coins and head to a driving range with an enthusiastic 8-year-old golfer, complete with his first set of clubs. He can machine-gun through 100 range balls in about 30 seconds.

Practice-golf-balls

On a rare occasion my son allowed me to thrash my clubs blindly at the ball, I practised hitting my driver, which is somewhat unusual for me at the range. If I am hitting 100 balls, I usually hit 10 to 20 with the driver as a maximum. My thinking being that on any round of golf, a sum total of 14 or 15 shots maximum can be hit off a tee with a driver and usually, the actual number is less.  Today, I’d begun hitting my relatively new driver pretty well until, on one shot, I swung and heard something that I didn’t want to hear.

Golf-practice-range

It sounded like someone twisting an empty sweet packet and when I brought my club back, I could see the head of the club lolling at an unusual angle; the shaft of the club had given way to the join to the club head.

After my initial shock (and accompanying laughter from my son), I decided to go into the club shop. Fortunately, I had bought the driver from this very shop barely 12 months previously and I was well aware that my broken club was still covered by its 2-year warranty.

I went into the shop, spoke to the manager and explained to him my predicament. Then the manager started speaking Golf-tech-ese at me.

“Oh, it’s an Adams Fast-shaft 10.5 loft degree, right hand draw snozzle-wanger of a pistachio coloured rainbow shaft and hammersmith onion-flap grips.” He concluded giving me a look that I assumed meant this was somehow problematic.

“Err, yes…” I agreed.

“Not many of them left in stock now,” the manager stated. “It’s just been superceded by the new Adams Fast-Shaft Pro-Zelf-Devlin, Corpulent, Swing-Faster, Supergo-fast V2.5(x-y) Coefficient Superghost mighty powerblast driver.”

“Ooh,” I said trying to feign some level of knowledge.

“I’ll have to place it on order,” he told me gravely. “It might be a few weeks before a replacement arrives. Is that ok?”

I wasn’t all that bothered if I am honest, the rate my son was going through range balls meant that I was unlikely to be able to afford another round of golf until I sold a kidney, won the Euromillions lottery or he left home for university.

“That’s ok,” I said.

The manager did kindly offer me a replacement club on loan to replace my broken driver while I waited, but knowing I would hardly use it in a round anyway (and also somewhat fearful that the replacement driver would end up as headless as my last one), I politely declined.

Golf-bag

I thought that would be the end of the matter, but then he took out a notepad and began asking me questions. At first they were somewhat predictable: name, contact details, phone number, email address, but then he lurched back into Golf-tech-ese once again.

“What type of club is it?”

“Err…An Adams one.”

“Yes, what version?”

I looked at the club head that was in my hands. “Ah, it’s a Speedline Fast 10”

“Great, and what shaft is it?”

“A broken one.”

“No, what type of shaft?”

“Oh!” I said laughing at my seeming foolishness. “It’s a graphite one. It’s…Erm… Green,” I said trying to sound knowledgeable and utterly failing.

The manager could obviously see he was dealing with some new form of golf cretin. He picked up the shaft and noted down a series of words that appeared to me just random scribbles.

“It’s a Pixtin-X-10-Super-Stiff-Trojan-Whopper. Version 2.3,” he informed me.

He then decided rather than ask the idiot in front of him, he would get the rest of the information about my broken driver from the club itself.

It’s not just manufacturers clubs where this golf-tech-ese is endemic. Golf balls now come littered with a variety of numbers and prefixes and suffixes that mean absolutely nothing to me. I am sure they are meant to mean something to somebody, but what is it? When do you get told these guarded secrets?

I mean I can’t tell the difference between a Titleist Pro V1 and a Pro V1x. Obviously, many players can, but to me the only difference is that one ball has an “x” next to the name.

Golf-balls

Clubs are the worst culprit though. No longer are they simply woods, irons and a putter. Oh no, you must describe your driver in intimate detail. “Nice driver,” will simply not do on a golf course. Instead, you have to turn into the golfing equivalent of a Jeremy Clarkson:

“Ah! I see you have the Callaway Big-Mutha Razor Blast-this-ball-to-Belgium, 8 degree loft, slice bias with Monochrome, whippy-wang V2 graphite shaft and Treadwell,superfirm-mighty grips!”

At which point your playing partner stops addressing his ball and starts to address your head instead.

So, I’m all for a new movement in golf. Let’s simplify the words we use to describe the equipment. Let’s call clubs and balls what the really are. The Adams slice-into-the-woods, The Callaway-topped-down-the-fairway, The Titleist Pro V once-I-am-lost-in-the-rough-you’ll-never-find-me, the Nike embarrassingly-hooked-into-the-carpark.

Then both we, and the golfing professionals, would know exactly which clubs we are talking about.

Do you speak golf equipment terminology?

Golfing-green

Images by Gorilla Golf Blog©

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