Although this blog is not intended to be exclusively about golf, I decided to dedicate my first post to the site’s eponymous Open champion.
At some point in the future, I will undoubtedly propound my views on the unfortunate effects of modern golf club design on the grand game. Today, however, not wishing to drive away readers before actually having any, I wish merely to submit a humble request to club manufacturers and golfers alike, that they desist in their regrettable use of the term “metal woods.” This ungainly turn of phrase, used without apparent ironic intent, is used to differentiate one type of implement from another type long referred to as “irons.” Since it is evident even to those of us unschooled in the finer points of metallurgy that iron, steel, and titanium are all types of metals, it seems that no useful purpose is served any longer by the classification of golf clubs in terms of the substances used in their manufacture.
I therefore propose that club makers and club wielders alike embrace the unwisely discarded terms from the era of Wodehouse. The term “driver,” having never been displaced by something as awful as “one-wood,” can serve as the bridge from the present to the useful past in referring to clubs with large heads and the lowest range of lofts. The “brassie” can be restored to its rightful place as the club with slightly greater loft and slightly lesser size than the driver. And of course the marvelous name “spoon” can reenter our lexicon, suffocating the usurpatious and inelegant “3-wood” forever more. Best of all, this development would bring into widespread use the glorious “baffing spoon” in those situations that now call for the 4 or any other high-lofted “wood.”
The terminological distinction between “woods” and “irons,” and their accompanying numbering system, may once have seemed the final victory of rationality and simplicity over an antique system of gibberish. But we are in the postmodern golf era, wherein the once-triumphant minimalist approach to nomenclature has seen its weaknesses exposed. The system of club naming that once was rational is now utterly irrational.
So, out wyth the newe, and in wyth the auld! And caddie, please hand me a niblick.