On a recent trip to L.A. to visit our kids and newly arrived grandson, I had a spur of the moment impulse to pay a return visit to the Penmar Municipal in Venice, CA. For the non-resident price of $16, I had a pleasant 9-hole walk with a couple of locals-Big Al and Gary. The course was lush and the weather conditions were idyllic, though the caterpillar pace of play the first six holes was a bit unsettling. Gave us plenty of time to get acquainted.
No clubs on hand, I had to resort to this $5 unmatched rental set
-Callway 10.5 degree 450 CC Driver-unknown shaft and a Jumbo (Sammy Sosa variety)
-Titleist 15 degree 3 Wood-Aldia Voodoo Firm graphite shaft
-Callaway V 19 degree 5 Wood-senior graphite shaft
-Ping Eye 3 4 Iron-standard Ping steel shaft
-Lynx Paralex Cavity Backed 6 Iron-steel men’s regular shaft
-Clone 7,8,9, and PW-Ladies graphite shafts
-Cleveland forged 56 degree sand iron with a super large bounce
-Acushnet Bullseye Bronze Putter circa 1966 (I owned this in my teenage years)
They proved to be a perfect match for the variable requirements of the inventory of clubs I had to work with.
The driver was out of play because I was uncomfortable with a full baseball grip and pine tar that would have been required to handle it. So I worked the Voodoo Magic of the Titleist 3-metal about 210 off the tee on the driving holes to great satisfaction.
The trick was figuring out how to match swing speed with the wide variety of approach clubs that were available. This is how I imagine it must have been to play proficiently with a set of Hickory Shafts back in the day.
Overall the middle of the set performed admirably in that I registered three pars across the nine. One with a flush Lady’s shafted 7 Iron from 125 yards in a cross wind to 18 feet on the Par 3 third. The second was with a slinging draw 5 Metal around and over the trees onto the back fringe, after I bounced the Voodoo 3 Wood off the chain link fence on the seventh hole tee shot. Finally an awesome up-and-in on the tricky 360 yard final hole with the 56 degree Cleveland SW and a channeled 14 year old’s putting stroke from my past with the vintage Bullseye.
What a rush!
All in all it was a nostalgic walk with a couple of new friends on a delightful municipal track in sunny California.