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"Get a Good Gun, and Stick To It"

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Golf has fallen. At least this what I’m reading in newspapers and magazines and hearing as I watch Golf Channel. A recent Boston  Globe article written by Michael Whitmer states there were 1 million fewer golfers last year than in 1990.

Whitmer also quotes Barney Adams (Adams Golf), who likes the idea of scooting up the tees to boost interest in the game. That’s fine, though I’m sticking to the tips.

What golf needs, I think, is lower startup costs. It’s shocking, pompous, to see what golf equipment companies expect for their new clubs. Now, I do like what they are designing, but when it comes to purchasing equipment, I’m following this IDEA (sorry, Barn‘):

The best plan is to profit by the folly of others.

That quote is from Naturalis Historia, written by the Roman known as Pliny The Elder. He never played golf, but he’s a favorite of mine, and mostly regarded to be heroic in his actions during the eruption at Vesuvius in the 1st Century. He’s a character in the historical novel Pompeii written by Robert Harris. Good read. Good stuff.

Through that one quote I’ve been inspired to do my best at learning patience, judgment, humility.

Pliny, a military officer as well as an observer of all things and a writer, is believed to have come about the words during the Empire’s military incursions into Germanic lands (oh, how that quote came back to haunt the Romans). But I’ve found it has applications as I invest in sports wagering: “Does that team really deserve to be supported by the wagering public to the point it’s a 9-point favorite on the road, or are there valid reasons for that to be proven as folly? Can I profit?”

We can all see the applications in the business world as to stocks, real estate, you name it. Great investment opportunities don’t reveal themselves every day. And when they do, and are acted upon successfully, they are no sign that you have everything figured out. Thus -- patience, judgment and humility.

I applied this, finally, when I bought the Titleist 975L-FE driver I still use today. I only bought it after I impatiently did not follow my own judgment.

I went to a Golfsmith location and asked for the used-clubs rack. The salesman pitched me on a new Lynx driver, which the salesman -- at least -- identified as a brand Golfsmith pushed, or owned. I paid more for the new club, and the face cracked in a year.

I went back to the used-club rack and luckily found the Titleist driver. The fellow who handled that consigned club told me “Yeah, a man from Horseshoe Bay (an upscale development in the Texas Hills) bought it new and used it a few rounds and found something else he wanted.” Well, I bet it didn’t take long before that fella from Horseshoe ditched that next driver he bought, or the putter maybe, and went out and got another new one.

That’s folly. And I think I profited from it by spending less than $70 on the club as opposed to $350 (or higher?).

Keep in mind that I still used the forged blades I bought (for $345) about 25 years ago. Besides that mistake of buying the driver the salesman pushed, it’s the last new clubs I’ve bought. And, yes Barn,’ I have a used Adams 3-metal in my bag and love it.

So I close by quoting another wise feller, this from one of the main characters of my next book that will be released in late 2012. Though it’s about target shooting, I’ve found that target shooting and golf are closely related.

“Get a good gun, and stick to it.” -- Ad Topperwein

My blogs can be found in this section of Secret in the Dirt, and if you're interested in more stories you can go to Tim Price Sports Books. My writing also can be followed on Twitter @golflikeurpoor. Enjoy the reading, and your golf, no matter if you're rich or poor.

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So, I see Elk and the "The Big Show" are committed to play in San Antonio for the Champions Tour AT&T Championship. My advice, Elk, is that you beat Calc here, because he got a primo parking spot for his mammoth rig last year. The guys here looked like they were on a tarmac when Calc, caddy and dogs rolled into town.

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