PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – One my Twitter followers wrote me a message on Sunday: "Dude, I am so envious of you today it's sad. The ClubTest is my Shangri-La."
It's a common reaction. What golfer wouldn't love to spend four mornings on a manicured driving range, like the one at PGA National Resort & Spa, hitting the newest clubs before playing 18 holes with them in the afternoon? (At right are just a few of the clubs on hand for testing.)
But it's not as glamorous as it sounds. Spend a day in the spikes of one of GOLF Magazine's ClubTesters, and you might be whistling a different tune. It's blister-forming work that starts before sunrise.
After trying each driver, iron, hybrid, iron, wedge or putter, testers are asked about the club's best trait, which players would benefit most from the club, and who might want to avoid it.
Words like "nice" or "good" are almost valueless here. Golf Magazine editors Rob Sauerhaft and Michael Chwasky encourage ClubTesters to describe things as vividly as they can.
A quick look at the math will give you a sense of the scale of ClubTest. In 2007, GOLF Magazine estimated that more than 68,000 shots were hit during the data-gathering portion of ClubTest. If you tried to hit one ball every 10 seconds until you reached that number, it would take you about 188 hours, or nearly eight days!
So go ahead and dream about being a ClubTest panelist. But in that dream, be sure to remember the BENGAY.