I mentioned in a previous article that I play a lot of golf (to be honest, golf and fine wines are my other obsessions besides guitar). While golf and guitar may not really seem very similar, having garnered a bit of skill in both, I can tell you that there are lots of similarities; especially when it comes to gear.
It was an absolutely beautiful spring-like day here in Silicon Valley, CA, so I took a couple of hours to go to the range to practice and what I witnessed at the range today compelled me to write this article. I was about a quarter of the way through my bucket when up walked a guy who kind of made me chuckle. He was decked out in obviously expensive golf clothing: Clean, white and pressed bermuda shorts; white polo shirt with collar upturned; a Fila sweater vest; topping it all off with a Titllest visor advertising his Titlest players clubs (“players” as in low handicap to pro). But even worse was that it was clear that he was looking for a stall to “show off.” What made me laugh was how he was watching people swing. He passed plenty of stalls before he finally picked one two stalls down from me where there were a couple of decent players hitting on either side of him. Talk about Alpha-male syndrome.
Having played for many many years, I’ve noticed that these kinds of players come in two flavors. They’re either REALLY great players (most probably pro), and their clothing is just decorum – though showing off is never a good thing, but at least they have something to show – or they’re total wankers who buy equipment that is far beyond their ability to play effectively because it’s “the best” or most expensive, never thinking that perhaps they should go with gear that will help enjoy the game. Let me tell you, having played with players clubs, you better be able to make great, consistent swings because the sweet spot on those clubs is much smaller than beginner or game improvement clubs.
I watched the guy warm up, and it looked like he had skills. His practice swings had a nice, fluid motion, and his body position at ball address was decent, so I figured he’d be a low handicap player. Then he swung at the ball for real. I had to step away from my own hitting because I started laughing. The guy swung like his torso and limbs were connected to tight rubber bands. It was the jerkiest motion I had ever seen, completely overpowering his club. The net result was that he hit EVERYTHING right and with a huge slice.
I laughed because he reminded me of the “rocker” dudes that go to Guitar Center. They certainly look the part, but then you hear them play. Some are actually pretty good, but most tend to be fairly one-dimensional in their playing, preferring speed over musicality. I suppose that’s okay to just play a single style, but they add insult to injury by cranking up whatever they’re playing, with no regard for the other customers in the store. A lot of times, it’s just not a pretty sight.
I guess I’m just taking exception to the attitude: Hey! Look at me! Forget about how I sound – I sound great, and am a legend in my own mind – but don’t I look great?!!! Well, confidence is one thing, but as Frank Herbert wrote in “The Lazarus Effect,” “No one likes an a@#hole.”