WHAT A DAY!!!!!

AuburnWarrior

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Monday 18th October will live long in my memory! It'll go down as one of the best days of my life (excluding getting married and the birth of my children!).

I arrived at The London Club at 11.15am. I was slightly apprehensive as the man on the gate had stated that the Wilson Staff day had already started! I'd checked the e-mail from Jezz that morning so I knew we were due at 11:15 but I still had one of those "Oh no, I've missed the boat" feelings. I met Jezz, Neil (Twire) and Callum in the bar and was immediately made to feel very welcome. We had a coffee and a chat about golf, the universe and everything and then made our way over to the practice ground.

I'll add at this point that certain Wilson Staff customers had been invited from all over Europe to stay at the local Brands Hatch Thistle Hotel. They would stay the night (Sunday) and then play 18 holes on the Monday morning. The top three participants with the most stableford points would then play Padraig over six holes in a skins format. So, in addition to Twire and I there were loads of other golfers involved in the Wilson day. They weren't involved in the custom fit though.

So, myself and Twire set ourselves up on the practice range and started to warm up. We were both hitting some nice shots - a nice start. Originally we were scheduled to meet Phil Bonham (Wilson tour truck) at 12. This became 12:30. No great shakes, we continued hitting balls on the range.

We then walked back to the Wilson tour van and the guys had filled up about five Wilson tour bags with Wilson clubs, etc. The new FG62s were on show. They look beautiful but I don't think that there are many golfers around who could hit them! We chatted to Phil and he said that I'd be fitted for the FG Tour irons, Twire would get the new DC11 irons. We chatted about the tour truck and Padraig and then made our way back to the practice ground where the LaunchMonitor had been set up.

Twire went first - he'll tell you all about that in due course.

I was given a 6 iron to warm up with. What was nice was that I started shanking, thinning and fatting every shot! Nice! I had to step away from the bay and have a stern talking to myself! I could feel my legs shaking! After my 'chat' I started hitting the ball well.

Then it was my turn. I'd tried a couple of different shafts but I'd taken a shine to a Nippon S 950 pro shaft. It made the club head feel very light. Phil added some tape to the sole of the club and I hit some shots. Phil then took a look at the tape and it appeared that I was hitting the 'mat' with the back of the sole. This would explain some of my thin shots. He changed the club to 2 degree upright. This made the 'tape marks' better but Phil wasn't happy. He changed the shaft to an S300 (the same as in my current irons) and I immediately started hitting the ball further. He explained that the rifle shafts, for example, are good for players with a more jerky swing as it creates enough club head spped to get the ball airborne. He said that my swing was very rythmical so I didn't need any help from the shaft. I also like 'heavier' clubs so the lighter shafts don't fill me with confidence. The wierd thing was, the lighter shaft equalled less distance for me. So, we opted for FG Tour irons with S300 shafts and the lofts will be made stronger by 1 degree. This should give me a slightly lower ball flight.

I enjoyed the custom fit immensely. I found out that my club head speed is 90mph and the ball leaves the face at 113mph. My dispersion rate was good and, if I do say so myself, my swing looked good when they played it back to me.

So, now was the time for the big man!

Padraig came over at about 2pm. He had no airs and graces, no ego and was very friendly and courteous. He was given the spec sheet by Phil, read it and said "I can tell that with the spec you've got and your handicap of 10 that your short game isn't very good!" Spot on Padraig!

Now, it's important to note that our group of ten or so people had now swelled to 75+. Not too much pressure then.....

Twire volunteered me to go first - thanks.....

Six iron in hand, 75 people watching, the Wilson tour truck watching, JezzE watching, Tom the photographer watching, Padraig 'I've won three majors, loads of tour events and numerous Ryder Cups) Harrington watching.....

Come on Dave, make it a good one.....




I NAILED IT!

Nice shape, good distance. I was chuffed. Padraig turned to the crowd and said "There's not much I can say about that!"

The next two shots I thinned - which pleased me because that's my bad shot on the course. Straight away Padraig saw that I'd shifted my weight on to my heals and that I was falling away from the ball. He told me that my entire foot should be on the floor rather than the weight at the back. He also showed me an exercise to work on my wrist hinge.

He then worked with Twire. What was good here was that Padraig clearly wasn't going through the motions - he really wanted to help us. Twire plays with a slice and Padraig said that the only way to cure that was to hit ball after ball of a raised plateau. Twire, Padraig and Tom then walked off the practice ground to a mound where Padraig had Twire hitting balls.

Padraig then came back and whispered that he really wanted to do some chipping with me. Get in there thought Dave!

He asked whether they had time - and got a wedge anyway!

So, we're now having a short game lesson from one of the best scramblers in the game!

He didn't disapppoint! He took one look at me and stated that my weight transfer was all wrong. Once again, I was shifting weight onto my right side - thus incurring the thin. He made me put 90% of my weight onto my left foot. He then adopted the same stance (but for a left hander) and made me push against him to ensure I had as much weight on my left side as possible. So, we've got Dave Halliday - hacker pushing up against Padraig Harrington during a chipping masterclass - someone pinch me please! He said that if I ensured that my weight (or anyone else for that matter) had their weight on the left side, they'd never thin another ball.

He said one other thing that was so obvious and yet I'd missed it completely. Twire went through his pre shot routine - a nice set up with a good 'waggle' as Padraig said. But then Twire stopped - for a while - before hitting his shot. Padraig said that he sees this so much in amateurs. We have a good, fluid pre-shot routine in which our practice swings are good. We have a nice waggle and then we stop. Why? All this does is allow you to think - about your bad shots. PH said that a pros swing is three times faster than an amateur and it's because we all stop. He said, take your practice swings, have your waggle and then bang - hit the ball. He reckons it'll reduce the bad shots.

His enthusiasm for the game is infectious. As soon as he was with us, viewing our faults, he was in his element. He was reeling off tip after tip. What a man!

He made us feel very at ease. I forgot that he's one of the most famous golfers on the planet. I forgot that he's won three majors. What I will remember is that he really is a gentleman and a credit to both his profession and himself.

He signed two caps for my son and daughter and signed a cap for Twire. We had loads of photos taken with him. Truly an honour to be in his company.

I'll run through his six hole skins game in another thread as this one is getting on a bit.....
 
T

thecraw

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Yip, I'm jealous!

Sounds like you had a wonderful day, I was really excited at the Ping day and I only met Danny Willet, now no disrespect to Mr Willett who is a great talent who in time will hopefully win majors, but Harrington, three time major champion!

WOW.
 

pokerjoke

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Great review mate,it made me feel i could have been there,sounds like a fantastic day and one you will remember for the rest of your life,well done and congrats
 

kid2

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Dead jealous Dave as im a massive fan of Padraig....Always will be......Chance of a lifetime pal and you didnt let yourself down by the sounds of your post :cool:

You'll have to update your Sig now after the CF....I had the FG Tours and loved them but the were hindering me a small bit....I will one day go back to them though....Lovely bats!
 

AuburnWarrior

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Dead jealous Dave as im a massive fan of Padraig....Always will be......Chance of a lifetime pal and you didnt let yourself down by the sounds of your post :cool:

You'll have to update your Sig now after the CF....I had the FG Tours and loved them but the were hindering me a small bit....I will one day go back to them though....Lovely bats!

I am now a HUGE fan of the man.

The sig will be well and truly updated. I need need to match the Wilson wedges now as my vokeys will have to lofty lofts..... :eek:
 

Tiger

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Sounds like you had an amazing day. Looking forward to Twire's write up. Well deserved treat based on your forum contributions. Hope you get on famously with the irons and that your new found chipping prowess leads to a handicap tumble. Great stuff. Come on Twire!!!!!!
 
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