Every golfer has at some point throttled the daylights out of that inanimate steel- or graphite-shafted ball-bashing implement in their hands, blaming it for the errant shot they just hit or, more appropriately, mishit. Some, and I’d be willing to wager the vast majority, have gone a step further and chucked that club as far as they humanly could.
If you’re among the hurlers, don’t be ashamed. This transference of aggression is healthy, not to mention a heck of a lot less troublesome than slugging your caddy or playing partner. Take my word for it, writing down a crappy score on your card pales in comparison to being the defendant in a slam-dunk civil lawsuit.
But just for a moment let’s forget about the why’s and where-to-fore’s and focus solely on the act, itself. Some golfers, even those with spectacularly low handicaps (aka sticks) have turned this tantrum-esque spectacle into an art form. And while there are a plethora of varying styles and techniques, it seems that all club-throwers tend to agree on one thing: Distance is the only thing that matters.
According to an old report by the GCSAA (Golf Course Superintendents Association of America), certain clubs will travel farther than others. The so-called experts labeled the driver the shortest throw-able club in the bag and claimed the putter was capable of achieving the greatest distance. Now while the GCSAA is a fine organization, I’ve never been one to accept anyone else’s findings for an experiment I could carry out myself. And so, acting as an emissary of Stick and Hack(quite simply the greatest golf club you can join), I ventured out to the nearest football field—with freshly painted hash-marks, no less— armed with my trusty bag of steel-shafted Cobra metal woods and oversized irons to accurately gauge each club’s chucking distance.
After a few practice tosses of varying techniques with my 7 iron—years ago, a pro I was taking lessons from told me, “When in doubt, use your 7”—I decided to throw all the clubs by the grip using the more common arm extended, full shoulder flinging motion. While I have seen golfers use the overhand javelin method, since I’ve had no training in proper Track & Field techniques, and have also never hunted for a big game using a spear, atlatl, or similar pointy implement, I believed my best results would be achieved via flinging.
Before I reveal the data, let me state for comparative purposes that I stand 5’8” short, weigh 180-pounds, and have a somewhat muscular (pronounced stocky) build with what I’d characterize as above average strength. I’m no Hulk, mind you, but I’m not a daisy, either.
All clubs were thrown on a level surface and, as luck would have it, it had rained the night before, thereby reducing the risk of added yardage from skipping or bouncing. Each club was thrown five times. The longest and shortest tosses were dropped and the remaining three were averaged. Miraculously, none of my clubs were bent, deformed or broken during the tests, which undoubtedly helped to keep the data consistent and accurate. Here are my results (rounded to the nearest quarter-yard):
1-Iron — 54.25 yards
2-Iron — 53.75 yards
3-Iron — 52.50 yards
4-Iron — 51.75 yards
5-Iron — 51.25 yards
6-Iron — 51.00 yards
7-Iron — 50.25 yards
8-Iron — 48.50 yards
9-Iron — 47.25 yards
Sand Wedge — 45.50 yards
Pitching Wedge — 43.75 yards
Putter (steel shaft) — 54.00 yards
Driver — 41.00 yards
3-Wood — 39.75 yards
5-Wood — 38.75 yards
Granted, one could surmise that I was growing more tired as the experiment progressed, but full disclosure, at no time did I experience any fatigue. Sure, the two Red Bulls I sucked midway through the test might have assisted in some degree, but considering Dietrich Mateschitz has turned me down for sponsorship on more than one occasion, I have no intention of giving them any free positive press!
Realizing there was much more to be learned from this experiment, I decided to throw other golf-related items to see how they stacked up.
Tees flew an average of 12 yards. Steel green repair tools averaged 36.50 yards. Golf balls traveled an average of 48 yards before striking the ground. (Tack on an additional 23 yards for the subsequent roll.) And for the record, there were no dramatic differences between 90 and 100 compression balls, or between Surlyn and balata balls. My golf glove averaged 3 yards (open) and 5 yards (crumpled). I attempted to toss a passerby (in lieu of a caddy or playing partner), but he was not keen on the idea and threatened me with serious bodily harm should I attempt it. I’ll try to find a volunteer on a golf forum and keep you posted. Lastly, I attempted to throw an electric golf cart, but just as the rear wheels came off the ground, I felt something rupture in my lower back and nixed the attempt, as immediate medical attention was required.
So, what does all this prove—besides the fact that I have serious issues? In truth, I haven’t the foggiest, but it certainly disproves the theory that the driver is the longest club in your bag!
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