Wednesday, July 23, 2008

An Ode to Feet – Oh what joy

Think about the amount of money that you spend on a new driver. €300, €400? How often do you replace it? I know a man who always wants the latest ‘big dog’ and no sooner has he received the latest Titleist from America, than the next Callaway is on order from Japan. Has his golf improved? Have a guess.

Yet for €300 you hit the club only about 14 times a round. Do you lavish the same devotion on your putter, a club you’ll be using anywhere from 18 to 40 (or 50) times a round? The answer is probably not. I have some big fancy driver, yet my putter is an old Ping that I pulled out of my dad’s umbrella stand, and while my putting is rubbish I wouldn’t change it for the world.

One of the great characters (and bandits) at Greystones golf club is a gentleman named Aubrey Shaw. His putter is famous, because it gives a ‘ping’ that is unmistakable. He could be four holes away and you’d know it was him from that one sound. I don’t even know if it’s a real putter.

But there is something even more important to your golf game than any club in your bag – and that’s your shoes. Comfort is a serious business and having the wrong shoes can make a four hour round of golf excruciatingly uncomfortable. How often do you sit on the boot lid of your car and find yourself removing your shoes gingerly, or rubbing your feet once the shoes have been removed, or changing your soaking socks because ‘waterproof’ doesn’t actually mean waterproof?

On this particular golfing adventure I have gone through a number of pairs of shoes. I started with two pairs of Adidas, a pair of Hi-Tec and a pair of Footjoys. Considering the amount of use and abuse I put them through, I can tell you this: Footjoys are the best by far. I have worn them EVERY day, with one of the other three pairs being worn for the afternoon round. And yet it was these three other pairs that, quite literally, fell apart on me. The Hi-Tecs were almost new and they were €120. So, a couple of weeks ago, I purchased a new pair of Footjoys. It took all of a day to wear them in. They’re comfortable, waterproof and surprisingly stylish (this is golf after all). The other three pairs were dumped in a bin at Cloverhill Golf Club. With 60 rounds of golf left I’m confident that they’ll cope.

Next time you decide to invest in golf, be sure to include your footwear in the equation. It might be the best €40 to €120 you ever spend – and the most comfortable.

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