Episode #15: Meredith Kirk’s 5 Most Annoying Observations About the Game of Golf 02/25/2020
Meredith: All right, folks. I went on a little rant today on this episode. I shared the five most annoying things I observe with the game of golf. These things really grind my gears. So listen in and let me know if you agree.
Meredith: Hey everyone. Welcome to the Gimme Golf podcast. I am your host Meredith Kirk and joining me to today is Nate DeWitt, our marketing manager and producer and we have a really great topic for you. Welcome Nate.
Nate: Hey, Meredith. You in a little angry mood today?
Meredith: I'm annoyed today.
Meredith: That's why our topic is, the five most annoying observations about the game of golf.
Nate: Yeah. I think you said, let's do five and you got six. Right?
Meredith: Yeah, because I'm annoying.
Meredith: I was writing the list this morning and I'm like, "Wait a minute, I've got to throw in number six."
Nate: But there's things in this list that you've ranted at me before.
Meredith: Yes, I know.
Nate: When we haven't been on a podcast.
Meredith: Yes, I know. Yeah. When we're off the air, I talk about these things all the time.
Meredith: So, it's fun to talk about annoying things sometimes. Right?
Nate: It's gets, when you elevate your anger sometimes. Right.
Meredith: That's just to vent.
Meredith: Get it out on the table.
Meredith: Release it. That's what we're doing today.
Nate: It's out there.
Meredith: So, I'm going to start with my number six. The one I just jotted down.
Meredith: When golfers lose their temper on the golf course-
Nate: Oh, geeze.
Meredith: ... it annoys me beyond anything else. Now, as an instructor, I always encourage students, "Listen, go out there and have fun. You're going to have poor shots. We all, are going to have poor shots. How are we going to respond to them?" And when I see guys throw their clubs or get their club and they're, wham and just tear up the grass. I literally want to walk up to them and say, "Leave, just leave."
Meredith: "Just leave. You don't belong here. Don't come back."
Nate: Well, they're going to play on tour, you know? That's their long-term goal.
Meredith: Oh, that's right. Yeah, yeah, because everyone's going to make it on tour, right?
Nate: On tour, exactly.
Meredith: But, doesn't that annoy you? What is your response?
Nate: People have faults. I guess first of all, I'll defend people, to start. Everybody that is competitive that has ever played at any sport, golf is a very difficult game. When people can't master it which we all know golf obviously, can't be mastered in the amateur, but people have faults, hopes or faults, expectations of their game.
Meredith: Right, right.
Nate: I guess it does get annoying but, if people knew how silly they looked when they're pounding their club or when they're throwing their club? If you could get a video and everyone should, if you've got that guy in your group, you should take a video of it and say, "Bill, look at what you look like."
Nate: It's embarrassing, but it is embarrassing to have someone like that in your group. No doubt.
Meredith: It is. And honestly, if they're doing that on the golf course, then they're doing it in other areas of life.
Nate: You think?
Meredith: You know, golf reveals things out of people.
Meredith: Look, we're all imperfect. We all have our stuff. We all fall short. Okay? So, temper is just one of these areas. If you're doing it on the golf course and you lose your temper, then you're going to easily lose your temper in life. So, those are people that I try to avoid. If I see someone losing their temper, I'm not going to want to go near that person.
Nate: And you can always just think, "I can be at work." Right?
Nate: Yeah. It looks silly. I guess you kind of initially chuckle. If you don't play with the person and your out, obviously being on the golf industry side, you see people get mad and it is kind of funny. As long as they're not doing destruction. As long as they're not, and I've seen it-
Meredith: Me too. Yep.
Nate: ... damages the green or something, but when you see someone slam their club, honestly, it's a little chuckle for me at first but if they're my regular person that I'm playing golf with, it gets to be beyond annoying.
Meredith: Oh, absolutely. It's totally annoying. I had an incident one time when I was running some junior leagues and camps in the area. This is many years ago and obviously, I would never reveal the persons name.
Nate: Don't do it.
Meredith: I had a junior golfer out there on the course, an older junior golfer, getting ready to go to college. We were in a pretty tough match and this individual got their club, slammed it on the ground, injuring the ground and murmuring something under their breath. I was the coach and there's a gallery of people. This was a big event, there's parents there, there's spectators. Here I am, I saw it, I observed it, and I disqualified them on the spot, my own player and we had a chance to win. That junior golfer was very upset with me and never owned the behavior and even the parents said, "No, they should not have been DQed." I said, "Under me, as a coach? They will be DQed." Yeah.
Nate: That's different. When golf is a team sport, I played high school golf. That's a reflection on the coach. So, that's a direct reflection on you.
Nate: So that takes it to another step, really.
Meredith: Right. But I think the sad part about it is, not owning that behavior.
Meredith: So, if you lose your temper, "All right, sorry. I'm going to work on that." But this particular individual never owned it and that's the sad part, is you don't learn from it and you go and you continue to repeat this.
Nate: To this day?
Meredith: To this day. Actually it's funny. I ran into this family, the individual recently, and of course, we were polite, "Hello, how are you?" But there was that underlying resentment. I felt it still, to this day, I could tell they were upset with me about disqualifying this particular golfer. But, I had to do that and I had a lot of support from the other families and spectators saying, "You know what? You did the right thing." So, that's an area that I'm a little sensitive to. Can you tell it annoys me?
Nate: Yeah, I can. I can actually sense it.
Meredith: Yeah. So, you know what? If you're listening to this, and you lose your temper, I would suggest this. Turn on a little music out on the golf course. Try to relax.
Nate: That's just different today, now though. Music is a calming factor. Yeah.
Meredith: It is. And just change your perspective. Go out there and have the mindset when you get to the golf course, "I'm going to go have fun and if I stop having fun, then I need to fall back on something." Turn some music on. Keep everything in perspective. So, on one hand, yes, I'm totally annoyed by people who lose their temper but on the other hand, I miss the mark, I'm not perfect and how can we correct the behavior? How can we fix it? Let's fix it because we're all going to do something stupid whether it's losing our temper or something else out on the golf course. So, I want to be compassionate.
Nate: Yeah. I've had a couple instances where obviously, at the golf course, people lose golf clubs all the time and you do your best to try to find them for them. However, when somebody comes in and says, "Hey, my golf club is up in a tree on number two." It's like, "Well, how did it get there." Like, "I threw it." It's like, "We're not going to send someone up to that tree, someone from the maintenance team to go up and get it."
Meredith: Right. Or the fire department.
Nate: "If it comes down, you put it there." And a lot of times people, "I lost my club in the pond, it just slipped out of my hand." It's like, "Yeah, sure." I guess, like I said at the top, if I'm watching somebody that I don't know, it's kind of funny, but if it's a regular person that plays in your group, it's like, "I'm not going to play golf with him anymore."
Nate: If it's just continually, like I said, gets to the point of destructive.
Meredith: Exactly. That's right, destructive.
Nate: But I get a chuckle out of it sometimes.
Meredith: Yeah. It is kind of funny. Yeah, but just when it gets out of control. All right. So, number five. This is the weirdest topic right here. But I have this idea of a general tip jar at a golf course. The reason why is, we live in this modern society where really, it's almost a cashless society. Think about it, how often do you have cash on you? I think men are more likely to have cash on them than women. I think we as women, we love our debit cards and our credit cards.
Nate: Yeah, I don't have cash.
Meredith: You don't carry cash?
Nate: No. Unless, if I'm going to a golf course.
Meredith: See, here we go. So this is what annoys me, is before I go out and play golf, I always want to make sure I have at least $10 in $1 bills. So, my rule of thumb is this, and I hope this doesn't sound cheap. But if I'm by myself, I usually will tip $2 to the bag drop guy, $2 to the beverage girl. Usually $2 as an individual is my rule of thumb. If I take a friend out or a family member out, $5, I can do $5 bills is fine, But, I always tip though. Okay, first and foremost, I am a tipper. Am I always 20%, 25%? Sometimes it varies. I usually try to hit the 20% mark.
Nate: You're tipping for services now, versus in a restaurant. You're tipping for somebody to take care of your clubs, take care of someone for giving you your beverage. So, to put a percentage on it, is different than a restaurant.
Meredith: It is, it really is.
Nate: I always do 20% and just multiply the total by 2 and it's like, "Here it is."
Meredith: Right. But I get annoyed with having to have all these $1 bills or making sure I have some $5 bills because then I have to go to the actual bank or I have to go to a grocery store and buy something and get cash back so I have money on me. Sometimes, I just don't have time for that before I go play golf. There needs to be a better system. What if we had a general tip jar for all the staff, including the beverage girl, all of them working together and having a general tip jar?
Nate: It's cool, you think about this because there's a lot people that don't. I just know, people who work in the golf industry, they don't get paid a whole lot, they're working because they love the industry. Some people are part-time and retired but they bank on making some extra money and some people obviously, don't tip them. I'm not saying the majority of people but there are people that just don't.
Nate: It's not their fault. They're from different places that you don't generally have a cart attendant, you don't have a beverage cart person. You do have someone working behind the bar and you leave them money after they purchase a beverage. But the other thing I think about though, because I don't carry cash, unless I go on vacation. Sometimes, I will get that security cash out just in case you get caught.
Nate: So, people, I think in Myrtle Beach may have cash on them more so. If I'm going to travel I'll get some cash.
Meredith: Right. Yeah. I don't know. It annoys me to always have to have the cash on hand and there has been a couple incidences not often, that I have forgotten to go get cash.
Meredith: So, here I am arriving at the golf course, I have a tee time, I don't have cash on me because I'm a debit card girl.
Meredith: And then I'm like, "Oh, how am I going to tip?" Then I create this mini stress, "Oh, no, I have to go find an ATM inside." Then, I have to pay the $5 ATM fee just to get cash back to tip.
Meredith: Then it becomes stress that I don't want prior to a round of golf. So, I've had this thought before, "Why can't we have this really cool bucket, throw 5, 10 bucks in it, everybody's covered."
Nate: Got you.
Meredith: I want to focus on golf.
Nate: On golf. I don't want to worry about this. I want to tip but I don't want to worry about it, right?
Meredith: Exactly. Right.
Meredith: Okay. All right, number four.
Nate: First of all, I want to say, I'm glad that you mentioned the tip part though. I think that's good, people need to realize that people do work for those tips and those sorts of things.
Meredith: Absolutely. All of our staff, at all of our courses, they do amazing jobs.
Nate: They work hard.
Meredith: They work really, really hard.
Nate: When you think about it, you think about the cart attendant, they're there early, early in the morning pulling the golf carts up and some of them are there this the last cart comes in.
Meredith: Until dark. Right. Cleaning them, yeah.
Nate: So, that's a long day. Trust me, I've been there.
Meredith: Yeah. I actually figured, I've been there too.
Nate: I know, feel my pain. Yes.
Meredith: I think you and I, we've been in this industry for a long time now. I know you, 25 plus years, myself 20 plus years and you and I have worked pretty much every job. The only thing I think that I have not done out in the golf course is actually cut the grass. I've actually wanted to do that.
Meredith: I still want to do that. To this day, I want somebody to teach me. I want to go out there, I would love to mow the fairways. Spend an entire week with the maintenance crew. I know that sounds cheesy but I really would love to do that.
Meredith: Just to see what they do and be with them because they are out there 4:00 AM.
Meredith: They're out there early prepping the course and there's just so much that takes place that we don't see.
Nate: And think about the elements. You think about cold mornings.
Nate: Summer mornings, hot, long days. It's a tough job, tough job.
Meredith: Oh, totally. I have the utmost respect for them.
Nate: It gives you perspective.
Meredith: It does. It really does. Okay, so number four. Groups that do not let you play through. Now, for me as a female, this totally annoys me. When I'm out on the golf course, and let's say, I'm moving and grooving. I can play pretty efficiently. If I'm by myself, I can play really fast and even if I'm with somebody else, I can move pretty quick, but then you get stuck behind let's say, a foursome that probably have 20 plus handicaps, all of them. Which is okay, but they don't allow you to play through.
Meredith: My issue is this, they turn around and they see me as a female, they're not going to let me play through because men, in my opinion, a lot of them, I can't say all. I can't speak for all men, but a lot of them on the course, they see a woman playing and they're like, "No, she's going to be too slow." When really, they're the slow players and women, oftentimes, are more efficient golfers.
Nate: You're bleeding into your third rant, by the way. Just so you know.
Meredith: Oh, I am. I see that. Yeah.
Nate: So, think about it. So, I have two thoughts on that, being in the Myrtle Beach golf industry and working at a seasonal club. Playing through, yeah. I think at a community golf course, yes, if you're slow, let someone play through. Now, if you're playing in Myrtle Beach, you need to pick up the pace because you cannot stay out there and just continually let people play through if you're playing slow.
Meredith: That's right. Don't lollygag.
Nate: You've got to, what's funny about it is, look at someone who's a bad golfer. You can be a bad golfer and still play fast. Right?
Nate: So, it's generally, I find that people that play slow are the 15 to maybe 5 or 6 handicaps. Those folks play a little bit slower.
Meredith: They take too many practice swings.
Meredith: I mean seriously, you do not need to take more than one practice swing. If you're taking two, you're overthinking.
Nate: Yeah. But you need to pick up. You need to pick up the pace. If you're a hole and half behind, generally, you should be obligated to have to pick your ball up and go where you should be on the golf course.
Meredith: Exactly. I could not agree with you more.
Nate: So, I could see maybe if you have a bad hole and maybe you have three out of four guys that you're looking for a golf ball. You say, "You know what guys? Go ahead and play through, we're just going to." That's okay but you can't continually let people play through. You have to stay up with the group in front of you.
Meredith: That's right.
Nate: You cannot do it.
Meredith: Absolutely. There are times that when you're out on the course, it's packed hole to hole, and you can't play through.
Nate: There's nowhere to go.
Meredith: Yeah, there's nowhere to go and there are those times but I'm talking more about the times when there is some space in between the holes. It's like, "Come on."
Nate: Typically, it's not the group that's directly in front of you. Typically, it's two or three groups ahead that you can't see.
Nate: Then, you get to a point in the golf course where you can see it's, "Okay, I'm coming down this hole and I have a vantage point for three or four more holes." Then, you see where the problem is. So, yeah.
Nate: That gets it back to the biggest problem in golf and it's what's hurt the game is, slow play.
Meredith: It's a huge issue because people don't want to start playing golf.
Nate: People don't want to take the time to play golf.
Meredith: Yeah, because they're like, "It takes too long."
Meredith: Yeah, we do have to speed it up. We really do. So staying kind of on this topic, the number three. I feel like a lot of men, again, I have to be careful. I'm not speaking for all men here, I know that there are many men that love seeing women out on the course playing but there are a select few men that dread seeing women. If you're listening to this, you may be one of them. Look, no judgment, okay?
Nate: Oh, yes, judgment.
Meredith: Sometimes, there is a perception that women are the slower players, that we lollygag.
Meredith: Often times, we don't. In fact, I have found, I have been instructing for over 20 years. I have taught thousands of women. Women, oftentimes are much more efficient players than men.
Nate: I completely agree. When I saw this on your list, I chuckled because every time we talk about golf, I think about days being in the industry, working on the industry side of it. You would not believe, it's countless amount of times that I would checking a group of women in, which women on vacation are fantastic. I know sometimes women get petty behind the scenes but when they come to the golf course, number one, they are ready to play.
Meredith: They're prepared.
Nate: They're prepared because, just like you, they think that people think that about them. They're there on time.
Meredith: Yeah, because we want to prove ourselves.
Nate: Exactly. It's sad that women still feel they have to do that. They're there on time. They're having fun. I'll check them in, have a great time with them. They're bubbly, energetic personality and then you'll have the next worse group of guys check in, "Are we behind them?"
Meredith: Right? That happens all the time.
Nate: Is say to them, "You know what? Guaranteed, they'll play faster than you." You would not believe, and I would go out on a golf course myself. If there's a group behind, the starter will come in and, "I've got this group, it's a little behind." "Let me go out and talk to them." It was that same group of men that are behind the women, they're behind.
Nate: I had to go up to them and say, "Guys, remember when you checked in?" And you said, "Are we behind them?" "Well, you're behind."
Nate: So, when I saw your list, it's like, "Oh, wow."
Nate: That happens so many times, so many times. It's unfortunate that the perception is that way.
Meredith: It is.
Nate: And I'm here to tell you that, I'd rather have a group of 16 ladies come to the golf course any day of the week.
Nate: Just because that they're fun and the shop. Right?
Meredith: Yeah. We like to shop. We like to eat good food. We like to have a good time.
Nate: And generally, they're not hungover.
Meredith: That's right.
Nate: You know? Right?
Meredith: That's true.
Nate: That's right.
Meredith: All right. Number two. I have written down here, egos and fish stories. I get so annoyed hearing about fish stories and you know what I mean, Nate. You know what I'm talking about. Fish stories, exaggerations of what you believe your game is and then what it actually is.
Meredith: "Oh, I just had a drive that was like 275 yards." "Okay, really?" If we were to actually go out and mark it, it would be like 220.
Nate: "I don't know what's happened to my game today? Yesterday I played so good."
Nate: Have you ever hear that?
Nate: "Yesterday I was hitting the ball so good."
Meredith: "Yeah, yesterday I shot a 75." And you're like, "Okay. How many mulligans did you give yourself yesterday when you played?"
Nate: So, how does that equate to teaching? If someone doesn't give you a realistic observation of their game, like you say, "What do you hit from 150 yards?" Do people still lie to you there because that's a fish story too. Right?
Meredith: Yes, yeah. Absolutely. When they're coming into their first lesson, I always get their background in golf. What are you scoring? What are you struggling with?
Nate: It takes less than a minute to realize that.
Meredith: It takes me less than a minute, yeah. Less than a minute and then I see the reality of when they start hitting and oftentimes, students gently need that reality check of, "What are your actual yardages?" You can gently, as an instructor say, "Hey, let's go ahead and start tracking your yardages here. I see that you hit your pitching wedge 90 yards, let's work through your bag and get some general ideas of what your yardages are." By doing that, it's a good reality check for those people that are open to receiving that information.
Meredith: Honestly, most people that come for a lesson are. They're ready to accept the reality of what their golf game is. It's the ones that don't want the lesson, are probably going to be more in the category of a little bit of an ego or exaggeration.
Nate: Like exaggerating to yourself? Is that right?
Meredith: Yeah. It goes back to speeding the game up because if you believe that you need to play the back tees, you may not and it could be really slowing the game down. Not just for yourself but for your group and it's a chain reaction out on the golf course. So, one individual playing slow affects everyone to a certain degree. When it comes to pace of play, having more fun out on the golf course is going mean moving a little bit more efficiently and all these things, there're different moving parts. It's really, just getting a reality check of what your game really is and accepting that and having fun with that and playing the appropriate tees.
Nate: Well, I was just going to say, anyone out there who is listening, you're going to look at a golf course that plays 7,000 yards and you have never broken 90 in your life or even 80, and you step back there, people at the golf course are looking at you saying, "Gosh, this guy has no business playing this tee."
Nate: So, why do that to yourself? Make the game fun, enjoy it. It's your ego.
Meredith: Right. It's ego. It's literally, yeah, leave your ego at the door.
Nate: It's no justification, you let people a lot of times... I will say this though, a lot of times people will start back there on the first couple holes-
Nate: ... then all of a sudden, you see them move up a couple of tees.
Meredith: That's awesome that they do that because they realize, "Hey, why am I pushing myself?" It's going to be miserable. When you're not playing the appropriate tees, you will hit a wall in misery.
Nate: And don't just look at the yardage and say, "Oh, this course is only 6,800 yards, I can play all the way back." Well, there's back tees for a reason. There's force carriers that you don't know about. There's longer par 4s, the yardage may read under 7,000 yards and you think you can play that, but there's a reason there the back tees.
Meredith: Right. Exactly. Look, I'm an LPGA teaching pro, I play the forward tees. There was once a time a few years ago, that I was playing what we would call the mins tees. I can drive about 240 but I realized, "Why am I doing this to myself?" Yes, I could technically play with the men at that distance, but for 18 holes, I get tired.
Meredith: I just get physically tired. By the time I make the turn, I really, at that point have to pay attention to what my body is saying. I'm drinking fluids, I'm eating some protein because I tire out. I kind of hit a wall and I think a lot of golfers do around 12, number 13.
Meredith: It's almost like your-
Nate: Mine used to be 14 or 15.
Meredith: ... yeah.
Nate: With me too, it wasn't just physical, it was more mental.
Nate: Like you're thinking, "Okay, what am I going to do after this?" You've lost your focus.
Meredith: Exactly. I have found that playing forward, I'm having more fun, obviously. My scores are lower which is like, it's fun. I'm like, "Yeah, playing pretty good."
Meredith: I can get through 18 holes and have fun playing forward tees. I'm okay with that. I don't care. I don't have to show off saying, "Yeah, I can hit with the guys." I don't have to do that. I don't care. I could have my little LPGA bag and play forward tees, people looking at me like, "Why is she playing the forward tees?" Because I want to play the forward tees.
Meredith: I have more fun playing the forward tees.
Nate: More enjoyable.
Meredith: I've gotten a lot better shots too, Nate, on par 4s which are really fun for me because I can drive longer for a female so I do love that advantage point of par 4s because it does change my club selection versus when I'm playing back. I might be on some holes looking a maybe a hybrid or a five iron for that second shot but there are times, by playing forward, that I can just have a pitch shot which is a lot of fun. So it changes different aspects of my game and it's just a better time.
Nate: Well, the other thing too is, golf is social and you don't want to be playing a different set of tees than the people you're playing with because that gets rid of the social aspect of it. So, if you're playing, if you've got guys that two of them play the back tees, two of them play the front tees, it's you kind of want to walk up together. You want to talk, you want to experience the same golf course. Golf is meant to be fun and it's more of a social sport I think.
Meredith: Right. I think yeah, that approach. Going and having fun with your group and accepting the reality of where you're at in the game. I think acceptance, there's a saying, acceptance is the key to all of my problems today. It's a live principle. Okay? So, let's apply it to the golf swing. Truly, acceptance is the key. Just accept where your game is at, embrace it and go out and have fun and put it in it's proper perspective and enjoy it.
Nate: Right, exactly.
Meredith: Studies have shown that when you are having fun playing golf, you score better. They've done studies on the brain, actually, with golf. So, when you're having fun, you're scoring better.
Nate: It all makes sense.
Meredith: So if things start to go downhill and you're not having fun, make it fun, play forward. Who cares? Change it up. That's what we need to do in golf right now, progressively moving forward.
Nate: We've talked about this several times and we're beating this one to death but, we need to get rid of the colors of the tees. We need to get rid of red, gold, white, black.
Meredith: Right. No gender.
Nate: Exactly. They need to be so that-
Meredith: Gender neutral.
Nate: ... I'm going to say this but there are men that should be playing the most forward tees which are generally, the red tees.
Nate: We just need to get rid of the color and they all need to be rated for men and women.
Nate: At some golf courses, I will say, are doing that and some golf courses have already done that. That's a good thing too.
Meredith: Yeah. Also, there are some golf courses that have tees now, at the 150 yard marker which is great. I always advocate that for junior golfers. When you're learning the game of golf, tee off at the 150 yard marker. I also tell beginner golfers, women and men, coming into the game for the first time, tee off at the 150 yard marker.
Meredith: Playing more like a par 3. Play 18 holes like a par 3, very much so if you go that route. Then, as you progress in the game, you move back to find that comfortable distance. There's no shame in that. Sometimes, you can have the most fun rounds of golf by playing it forward, getting closer to the hole. It really does change the game.
Nate: Oh, it makes sense.
Nate: That all makes sense.
Meredith: But, what do you do when you're with a group of men, 30 of them, coming to Myrtle Beach to have some fun. It's probably hard. I don't know. I'm not a guy, but Nate, is it hard if you're with a large group of guys and you're wanting to kind of like prove yourself with your driver? Do you think that's more of a struggle for men in large groups coming together?
Nate: Well, I think it depends. It depends on who you're traveling with. A lot of times in Myrtle Beach, what's funny a lot of times, I used to see, you would have guys and I've talked about this before as well. You come on vacation of people you didn't really even know so you almost feel, I think men, some of them get the macho. It's like, "Oh, yeah, I play the back tees or I hit the ball 300 yards." Whereas, if you come with guys that you normally play golf with, because they know you-
Meredith: Right, they know you.
Nate: ... they know exactly how you play. They know your game.
Meredith: There's not this fear of, "I'm going to get judged."
Nate: So, it's really strange though. Like I said, I've said this before, it's odd to have groups show up on vacation with people that they don't even know. Maybe John lived in this city for a while and he moved to another city and he's got friends in that city and he brings them together, which is all good. But, you're on vacation with people you don't know and I think you feel the need to-
Meredith: To prove yourself.
Nate: ... maybe do that to prove yourself.
Meredith: Right. Yeah.
Nate: But again, a large majority of people that come on vacation are guys and gals that I'm sure they've played golf with, pretty much their whole lives. It's their buddy trip.
Nate: So, I don't think they feel that that's macho.
Meredith: Right. They can let their guards down a little bit.
Nate: It's like, yeah.
Meredith: All right. We're moving on to number one. The most annoying observation in a game of golf, in my opinion is, new equipment coming out, year after year, trying to convince consumers that they need this product. It's a bunch of hunky dory.
Nate: It was one of my most frustrating things in the golf industry. I always prided myself because I wanted to keep up with the latest equipment but it got to a point where it's like, "I can't keep up anymore." They're just throwing things at people now.
Meredith: Yeah. And they're trying to rebrand new, innovative ways to reach the consumer with catchy phrases and they're just repackaged, year after year. Many consumers are going out, wasting their money on new equipment that they do not need and it's not much different than the previous year. They'll maybe add one or two new, and I'm saying this very carefully, technologies that that are really-
Nate: How else can you change it? What technology changes within three months? That the manufacturers didn't know three months prior to that?
Meredith: ... right.
Nate: Or six months prior to that?
Meredith: Right. And you know right now, that they're working on things two years from now.
Nate: It's frustrating as a consumer because you feel the need. They talk you into having to upgrade your equipment and then you try to go sell what you've only been playing with for maybe a year-
Meredith: It's worth nothing.
Nate: ... your driver's not worth anything.
Meredith: It's worth nothing. Yeah. So you're spending upwards of sometimes thousands of dollars on equipment that when you walk away with it, is worth nothing.
Meredith: And that's the reality of it. Look, I'm a pretty frugal person. I have three kids so when you have a family and you've got kids getting out and going to college, you're saving money. For me, I'm always looking at ways to save. So, when I see people blowing money on equipment, and being convinced by professionals in the golf industry, that they need this, when they don't, I just want to put up a red stop sign and say, "Wait, wait, wait. Let's talk about this. You don't have to spend the money on all of this new equipment." So, how do you know when you need new equipment? So this is my rule of thumb.
Nate: That's what I was going to ask you.
Meredith: Yeah. So, this is my rule of thumb. This is what I tell my students. "If your equipment is older than five years, we really need to check on everything." I do believe this. Grips need to be regripped yearly. Your lie angle needs to be checked. If you're playing golf three days a week, you need to check your lie angle at least twice a year, at a minimum, once a year. Lie angle does change. When you're putting your clubs in and out of your car, from winter time from the cold, to the heat in the summer, metal does change. Lie angles can change. My lie angle does change by a degree to a degree and a half, regularly, because they're in and out of my car in heat and travel.
Nate: That's not an expensive change either.
Meredith: No. You can take your clubs to a golf super store and they can check your lie angle there. Getting your clubs regripped. Getting your clubs calibrated. Just making sure everything is consistent. I'm not a big advocate of having a bunch of different brand clubs, kind of like a mixed bag. That works for some people and I'm not saying it can't work. I like consistency. So, a golfer, when their club is going to have a similar feel, the weight and everything from the grip, to aesthetically the way the head looks at address, really having consistency in a bag, I think and believe it does promote better golf. So, if you have clubs that you have purchased within the last five years, just go have them checked out.
Meredith: It's almost like a doctors' appointment. You go for an annual appointment or you should, most people should, go every year for an annual appointment. Just go, take your clubs into a golf store and say, "Hey, I need to get these checked. I just want to make sure my grips are good." I think that's fine. But if they're older than five years, I would say this. You would be candidate to test out new golf equipment. I would suggest, the big companies, the major ones, Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist, PING, you can go to their websites.
Meredith: You can Google when they have fitting times and you can go out and schedule a fitting. What I mean by fitting is, at that point, they're going to watch your ball fly. They'll have you on computerized equipment. They'll know your speed, they'll know what type of shaft. What kind of weight would be good or you? What type of head would work for you? How it aesthetically looks? What type of grip you're comfortable with? They take all of these factors and then they can fit you for a club. I will say this, see I have so much to say about equipment.
Nate: It's not your most angry rant though.
Meredith: It's not. No.
Meredith: I think the rant is getting educated. That is my rant.
Meredith: That we need more education and honesty to our consumers in the golf industry about what they need, golf equipment wise, because it's become like Christmas. Christmas is completely secularized. It's all about selling, making money, the economy. The reason for the season, there's not a lot of focus on that. It's just become this huge, let's generate money for the economy and spend money.
Meredith: And most people spend money they don't have, on gifts that they don't need. That's another rant. I'm annoyed by that. Okay. But we have Valentines Day coming up, that's another secularized day.
Nate: A Hallmark card.
Meredith: Love should be every day.
Meredith: Why is it we have one day? That's ridiculous. It's just a money making business. The golf business, it's gone out of control, this new equipment thing. It's out of control. It's like, slow it down. Golfers need to be educated on what is most important about equipment. I would say this, if you have clubs that you've had within the last five years, but you have never been checked for your lie angle, that is going to be my number one thing, go get your lie angle checked. Obliviously, lie angle has to do with your irons. That is a huge factor in itself, right there. I have seen students lie angle change upwards of 4 degrees. Usually, it can go more than that.
Nate: You can just look at the wear pattern on their club head and tell they have the wrong lie angle.
Meredith: Absolutely. Yep. Yeah, you could pull out, just like Nate said right now. You can pull out one of your irons and you can look and see where all your strikes are at on the face. If you see that all your strikes are literally on the toe or literally on the heel, something's off with your lie angle. There's ways that you can somewhat diagnose if you don't have the correct lie angle but that's huge. You want to make sure that when the club is addressed to the ball and you're nice and square, you want that leading edge flush to the ground. For people who are taller, let's say, you're over 6' tall, you might find you're a little bit more upright. You're going to be naturally more upright. If you're more of a shorter person, you might find you're a little bit flatter.
Meredith: Just from an anatomical standpoint, when it comes to fittings in golf, when it comes to lie angle, it doesn't matter if you're upright or your flat, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter where you fall, but what matters is this, is that you have a good fit with your equipment. It's like putting on a shoe. If you wear a size 10 shoe and you put on size 12, that's not going to work. Golf is the same way. I'm a big advocate on having fitted golf equipment but I'm not an advocate on promoting this idea that golfers need to go out and get new equipment every year or they need to upgrade. You don't need to upgrade.
Meredith: It's like buying a brand new car and then somebody convincing you that the model you have, the newest model, with the newest technology, is going to almost completely change a year later. I can tell you this, I'm going to drive my car until my car doesn't work.
Nate: Go get another one.
Meredith: And then when my car's not working, I'll go get another car because I'm not going to waste money on another brand new car just because I'm frugal. It makes me sad, I feel bad for people that buy into the concept when I see them blow this money year after year, after year and as an instructor, I don't see much change in their golf swing.
Meredith: They're guaranteed, "Oh, this driver is going to." Oh, my gosh, I'm ranting. Listen to me.
Nate: Yeah, actually-
Meredith: And I'm not stopping.
Nate: ... it actually turned into some anger there. It happens.
Meredith: Yeah. Because these companies are saying, "Oh, I'm going to give you 10 extra yards." Okay, so let's add this up. So, the last 10 years, right now, okay, if I'm driving 240, where's my 340 drives right now, Nate?
Meredith: Where are my drives that are 340 right now? Because that's basically, what's been guaranteed to me. Where is that at? "Oh, you're going to gain 10 yards, you're going to gain 10 yards." No. That's a bunch of you know what? That is my biggest annoying rant and observation that I see.
Nate: It turned into that. It started off not, did I?
Meredith: You know what? Because I don't want our consumers fooled.
Meredith: I don't want consumers fooled. I don't want them taken to the bank over things that I believe are mistruths.
Nate: So what I'll say, club fitting really became popular probably mid '90s, people started getting clubs fit. Like what you said, I completely agree. Just taking your clubs in to get an annual checkup.
Meredith: Annual checkup.
Nate: Just think about, when you come out of that, you almost feel, golf is a game of confidence. Right?
Nate: So, you get out to the golf course like, "Now I know my clubs are right for me."
Nate: Whether is it or not, in your mind, it's like, "I'm hitting a golf club that fit for me." That does make a difference.
Nate: In your mind. So, like I said, there's probably no other sport that has more things hinge on confidence.
Nate: You can take that club back and you make a good golf swing, you're going to make good contact with it. And to your point, you talked about, if your clubs are five or six years old, you could be a candidate maybe, for new clubs. If you go to myrtlebeachgolftrips.com, we do have a schedule there of TailorMade club fittings that are happening here on the Grand Strand from February to June. So, there's my shameless plug.
Meredith: That's good though. You know what? No, that's great. See I didn't mention it because I'm looking at all the different companies but we do offer that.
Nate: TaylorMade, there's seven golf courses that will have fitting throughout the spring and summer right into June, that you can go check out the TaylorMade equipment and if you're a candidate, don't buy it if you've just got new clubs. But, if you are a candidate and you're looking for new clubs, that's the place to go.
Meredith: I will say this, let's say hypothetically, you're looking to get a new driver. That is the most common purchase in these types of fittings. I used to be a club fitter with TaylorMade, many moons ago.
Nate: I was with PING for years.
Meredith: Oh, okay.
Meredith: I would suggest this. Take the club that you have right now and bring it with you to a fitting and do a side by side comparison on which club is going to be best for you. The club you have right now, may still be better than even the newest equipment which is just really, repackaged every year with one or two modifications.
Nate: There you go.
Meredith: But take the club with you and that way you can get a truly honest appraisal of whether or not you need the new equipment. Trying to save you guys some money here. And again, let our listeners know that you don't necessarily have to have new equipment. I have a student, for example, that I have been teaching for about seven or eight years. He has had the same set of clubs and these clubs are probably 12, 13 years old and he and I have discussed upgrading to some newer equipment. Technology, I will say, this, in 10 years yes, it has changed.
Nate: Steel shaft irons?
Meredith: Steel shaft.
Meredith: But, he hasn't done that yet but what he has done, is taken my advice on the annual club check-up. He gets them regripped, he gets them checked and everything and they're still working really, really well. So, look, golf clubs are kind of like cars. Some cars can go 15, 20 years and run really well and you can 400,000 mile out of them and you're going to find that with some sets of clubs as long as you take good care of them, just like you would a car. Again, you don't have to trade in your new car every year.
Nate: I just want a car that's paid for.
Meredith: Right? Yeah.
Nate: Paid for.
Meredith: The best way to get a car that's paid for, is don't buy any new cars.
Nate: Exactly, yeah.
Meredith: Pay off the ones you have and enjoy it and use them until you just can't anymore.
Nate: Run it into the ground.
Meredith: Run it into the ground. Yes.
Nate: So, we started off, I was sitting closer to Meredith and then when we got to this one, I was like, "Okay, I'm backing up now."
Nate: Backing up.
Meredith: I'm glad that was my number one.
Nate: You got passionate about that. It started off like, "Why is this number one?" And then I found out why.
Meredith: You know why? I just don't want people scammed. I'm not saying, and I want to be careful of this. In defense of these awesome companies-
Nate: We're not going to see a Callaway or TaylorMade sponsorship coming our way on our pod cast. Right? Not after this?
Meredith: Probably not after this. No. It's okay. But no, in their defense, they have done a great job. Look, we do have great technology and yes, technology has changed especially, the last decade. We've had some great changes. No, doubt about that. So, in their defense, they are doing some great things and people are getting more distance. They are designing clubs much better than they used to be. However, I think the reasoning here is, you don't necessarily have to keep changing it-
Meredith: ... year after year. You can give it at least five years. Enjoy what you have for a minimum of five years.
Nate: That's why I really... I went out to Phoenix, went to the club fitting school with PING, toured their facilities and that's why I really liked PING because they came out with one set of golf clubs, they wouldn't come out with another set for years. Now, I don't want to bash on them but now they're coming out with clubs more frequently. You have the Eye 2s, the Zings, they came out in a slow pace, and this is me viewing this at 20,000 feet now because I'm not on the industry side, is that, I feel like, if this is so great, why didn't you come up with this six months ago? It's almost like they're trying to search and find another, "Oh, now it's the heel piece. The heel piece is the most important part."
Nate: They contradict what they've said.
Nate: This is in my mind. Again, this is me, not being laser focused on it anymore. It's like, "Well, we've changed our philosophy on that." So what you're telling me is, "What you sold me six months ago, really is garbage now?"
Meredith: Right. Yes, you see it too.
Nate: As a consumer, I say, "Okay. So you convinced me. I need this new driver. Let me sell my one year old driver, let me put it on, I think there's a bunch of websites, Golf Club Exchange." "Well, we'll give you 30 bucks for it."
Nate: 30 bucks, I paid $300 for this.
Meredith: More like $500, $600.
Nate: Yeah. So, that's my... now you're getting me mad.
Meredith: See, right? Do you see this?
Meredith: Yeah, this has got to stop. Okay.
Meredith: This has got to be changed. But anyway, yes, this is annoying. All six of these things yeah, they annoy me.
Nate: That were supposed to be five?
Meredith: Supposed to be five.
Meredith: I might be having other ideas. I'm like, "Let's take it to 10." No. We're done.
Nate: We're done.
Meredith: Yeah. We're done. We're going to shake all this off and we're going to stay focused on the positive. Right?
Nate: That's right.
Meredith: All right, everyone. Thanks for listening to our rants today here on the Gimme Golf podcast. I hope you enjoyed this podcast. Please subscribe. Hey, we want to hear from you. You guys have an awesome week.
Get ready to hear the 5 things about golf that annoy LPGA Instructor and Myrtle Beach Golf Ambassador Meredith Kirk. Enjoy the Rant!
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