For all the many times I’ve lost my temper on the golf course, I’ve never intentionally snapped a club or thrown one into a water hazard.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’ve broken clubs. I’m not sure quite how many, but probably five or six. It’s just that those club breaks have been accidental byproducts of my tantrum. Throw a club, it lands wrong and the heads snaps. That type of thing. Once, I even tossed my sand wedge at my bag after a chunked bunker shot. Then, as I stood over my drive on the next tee, I realized that upon impact with the bag, the wedge had cut right through my driver shaft. It was a shame. I had been driving the ball well that day.
Sad as it seems, the reason I haven’t purposefully snapped or drowned clubs has little to do with decorum. I’m simply too frugal. Golf clubs are expensive. So I try to not to destroy them. But I’ve sometimes wondered; how many clubs would I have broken or tossed into the nearest lake if cost were not an object?
To that question, witness Jim, a Canadian pharmaceutical scion. Preparing for a round at the famed Doral Blue Monster in Miami a year or so ago, he outfitted himself with a $2,200 Scotty Cameron putter, a set of ultra pricey forged irons from the Japanese club maker Miura and even with a new bag.
Jim’s forecaddie that day was Brandon Lang, a former PGA Tour looper and a sports handicapper who was portrayed by Matthew McConaughey in the 2005 film “Two for the Money.” Ahead of the round, Lang had been warned that Jim can be a bit of a hothead. So he had watched with little surprise as Jim’s temper ratcheted up over the course of his first 13 holes of bad golf. Even so, Lang couldn’t have been prepared for what would transpire on 14.
The longish par 4 doglegs slightly left. A typical leftward drive will land a player in the rough, or in one of two left fairway bunkers. A big pull or a wild hook can find water. Jim found the water twice. That’s when he exploded.
As Lang watched in astonishment, Jim drove his cart to the edge of the water, removed his bag, then dropped it and all of his clubs into the lake.
“You can have it all!” he exclaimed before walking alone, some ¾ of a mile, back to the clubhouse. Jim didn’t even remove his wallet from the cart before storming off.
Lang took Jim at his word, returning to that lake after the round to retrieve the bag. He still has those Miura clubs in his garage.