How to Buy a Driver for Someone You Love

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In an early episode of The Simpsons, Homer gives Marge a bowling ball for her birthday. She seems disappointed, so he says, “Well, if you don’t want it, I know someone who does.” (He’s already had his own name engraved on it.)

In the same spirit, you might consider giving your wife a Mizuno JPX 900 driver. I’ve been playing with one for the past six weeks, and, although I haven’t had my name engraved on it yet, I’m sure that after Christmas it will still be in my golf bag—and not only because my wife doesn’t play golf. It even sounds great when you smack it.

As with many newish drivers, you (or a club-fitter) can make a number of potentially helpful adjustments on a JPX 900: loft, lie, launch angle, hook, fade, etc. A company representative suggested that I settle on the loft first, then fool around with the other variables. I cranked it all the way up, to 11.5 degrees, and since then I’ve been trying the two 8-gram “Fast Track” weights in different positions—currently, right in the middle. To move the weights, you loosen them with the included torque wrench, then slide them into new positions and tighten them until the wrench clicks in a way that makes you think you’ve broken the club.

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And you do have to turn the wrench until it clicks. A couple of weeks ago, Rick began hitting uncharacteristically lousy shots with his own driver, which is several years old. Eventually, he realized that the shaft had come slightly loose. He borrowed a wrench from the golf shop when we made the turn (this was just a friendly round), and resumed booming it down the middle.

Mizuno sells the JPX 900 with a Fujikura Speeder EVO II graphite, in either regular or stiff flex. My clubs have always had stiff shafts (except when I’ve accidentally bought one that didn’t), but I’m getting on in years and decided that it was time to try something more age-appropriate. So my new driver has a regular shaft that has been “tipped” slightly—that is, a little bit of the skinny end was removed before the shaft was installed. That made it stiffer than a regular shaft, but less stiff than a stiff one—a baby step toward the grave.

Addison, conversely, has golf clubs with stiff shafts that have been tipped, making them a little bit stiffer than stiff. But he’s 25.

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