- Golfer Benefits
By Steve Derderian
If you could only choose one club in your bag to play with for the rest of your life, which would you choose? When I ask this, I’ve heard everything from pitching wedge, 7- or 8-iron, hybrid, and someone even said one of those chippers that are becoming increasingly popular. (Believe it or not, it’s been done).
When brainstorming ideas for this first-time series, I had one club golf in mind. I had done it at a pitch-and-putt but never on a regulation golf course. I thought I could navigate my way around with a 52-degree wedge and still have some dignity left at the end of the day. But then I came across the most fascinating club I’ve ever seen (that includes the infamous Nike Sasquatch...I’ll never let go).
Enter: The Q Club. With a simple push and twist, this Australian-manufactured golf club can adjust all the way from a 5-degree putter to a 64-degree lob wedge, with settings for hybrid and middle and short iron lofts interpolated on the dial. With a graphite shaft, it was about as light as most clubs in my bag, and it would’ve been perfect for Speed golf.
I reached out to the company, which has a team that has designed clubs for Titleist and TaylorMade, and they were gracious enough to ship me one from over 10,000 miles away and make this barebones golf effort a reality.
On a crisp pre-fall morning, I took a scenic ride down Route 44 to Hillside Country Club in Rehoboth, whose new owners were featured on the cover of MassGolfer Magazine this spring. Believe it or not, this small agricultural community roughly 10 miles east of Providence, RI, houses five active golf courses (nine at its peak).
It was almost comical how little time I spent getting ready. After a quick shoe change, I unzipped the custom Q case with my lone club, jammed the necessities into my pockets, and threw a towel over my shoulder.
Standing on the first tee, I paused and thought how this felt like golf in its most ancient form: One club, one ball, no cart, and a lots of space ahead of me.
I don’t play a hybrid often, but the club had the look and feel of most middle irons in my bag, which I’ll hit when I don’t feel comfortable with a longer club in hand.
You might be asking, where do you grip it? Luckily the club has a custom 14-inch grip with three different positions. You can grip down for wedges and all the way up for tee shots.
The opening stretch at Hillside plays a bit like a roller coaster. The first hole is a long, wide-open straightaway, followed by a steep uphill par 3. which apparently was even more challenging in previous years. By the third tee, you reach the crescendo as you hit into a dogleg right fairway that continuously flows downhill toward the green. A driver is not a necessity at this course, especially with a pair of creeks that cut some holes in half, so hybrid or 7 — even when I hit it thin (often) — was enough to get me in play most times.
As you probably all recognize, whenever you switch out your putter, it takes adjusting. My round, unfortunately, began with a dreaded three-putt, after leaving the first one way short. The voice of my dad saying, “Gotta hit it,” rang in my head.
My next swat left me short left, my second nearly rolled off the back. Setting up my par putt I remembered the advice Q Golf co-founder Jamie Moore sent me: “With putting, press your hands slightly forward of centre to avoid a thin feel.” Taking his advice, my putt rolled true, broke left to right and into the bottom of the cup. Thanks, Jamie.
I’m no stranger to the solo round, especially when it comes to tasks like this. I like being able to fit in a lot of golf in little time, and not having the worry of holding anybody up. What I didn’t realize was just how much more time I saved by not lugging a bag. There was no fishing around, taking multiple clubs with me to my ball, or forgetting about leaving one on the green. (Has anybody found my 9-iron)?’
By hole 4 I bumped into members of the Dighton-Rehoboth golf team who were getting in some pre-season work. Instead of playing through all their groups, I decided to join two of them as we made our own trio. Playing with real competitive golfers is undoubtedly a humbling experience.
I could tell they were a bit confounded seeing a single on the course with nothing but one club. I wouldn’t be surprised if they thought at some point “Is this guy lost?” But when explaining the challenge and giving them a look at the Q Club, it got us all talking.
I found the most success with chipping and putting. On the 6th hole, I used the lob wedge setting to hit a bump-and-run that was tracking for the hole and just checked up short.
Out of a few goals I set for the day, I wanted to make at least one birdie out there, and on the par-5 7th, I thought I had it. Despite the forced layup off the tee, I was able to hit my third right on the edge where the fringe and green meet but below the hole of the potato chip green with the flag tucked to the middle right. My stroke definitely had more tempo than intended but was right on line. *CLINK* I hunched over as my ball deflected off the flag stick and bounced out.
Surprisingly it took me until the 8th hole to make this mistake: use the wrong setting on the club. After clearing a bunker with a “nice comfortable 9-iron” I had a 20-foot straightaway putt that checked up way short. Right then I realized I never changed the dial back to putter. Another three-putt.
On the final hole, I found a bunker for the first time of the day. But I was anxious to see if this club would perform the same without the usual 56 degree in hand. The ball didn’t come out high but had plenty of momentum to roll up onto the green giving me a makable putt (I missed it). But with a find tap-in, the task was complete.
If you want to see how you stack up with others using just one club, I recently learned that Marion Golf Club (aka Little Marion) is hosting its 3rd annual One Club Championship on September 2. I can’t use the Q Club (it’s still a non-conforming club according to the USGA), but anybody who has seen me play golf knows I wouldn’t threaten for the title anyway. Regardless, I highly recommend giving this fun format a try.
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