You are away on vacation or on business (as I was just recently) and all of the sudden you get unexpectedly invited to play golf. You didn’t have any plans before you packed so of course you didn’t bring your trusty old set with you on the plane nor had your bag shipped Fed Ex to your destination to avoid lugging them through the airport or paying excessive baggage fees. What do you do? Well of course you don’t decline if you are a golfer, you do as the Marines do and adapt.
The first thing you will need is a set of clubs to play. Hopefully your host who invited you to play has a backup set or can make arrangements for one. The other option is to call ahead and see if there are any rental sets. You are probably saying to yourself, “Well, the clubs won’t fit me.” or “I am used to larger grips, I play longer clubs, I typical use a certain shaft, and on and on and on…” You have more excuses than a carter has pills.
But chill out, remember you are playing golf – it is supposed to be fun! It is not like you were invited to a professional tournament where you are earning a paycheck and your life is depending upon it. So here are a few little tips when this happens to you.
If you get an opportunity, hit a few balls on the range and on the putting green to at least get a feel for the clubs. Are they going right or left on a regular basis? If so, you may to aim slightly different than you normally do to compensate for your ball flight with that set. It is easier to know that you are going to be playing that feathery fade rather than stepping onto that first tee not having a clue where the ball will go spelling disaster for the rest of the round.
Chances are you didn’t bring your golf shoes either, so you may have to feel like you are swinging with 80% of your strength to maintain good balance, which is good because you will probably end up hitting the ball straighter, albeit with a little less distance. In that case just simply use an extra iron into the green than what you normally do.
Don’t keep score. It is fine if you are playing a team score, but do you want to use the score for handicap purposes using a set that is not your own? I’d rather take home the memories of playing a course I may never have a chance to play again in an environment that unique to what you see every day.
The most important part is having fun and enjoying the company of your host and possibly new found friends. You have all the time in the world when you get back home to play with your gamers. I (the Indian) managed to navigate the ball from tee to green pretty darn well that day, but then again the hodge-podge set was primarily an older set of Caiman’s (arrows) so I knew it was a set I could count on.