So far the Coronavirus has ruined just about everything this spring. Besides filling my brain with terribly sad and depressing news it has made me irritable, made me fearful of bizarre conspiracies (we all know either Ted Charmin or Ron HydroChloroquine is behind this), made me work from home, made me have to document my work activities on a terrible SalesForce CRM substitute and eliminated my ability to sneak off to the range to hit golf balls for hours. Lets see, what else… It has made my wife a grumpy stressed out home school teacher that is even more uninterested in conjugal relations (with me), has made my kids more irritating, has made me eat bags of snack chips at a uncomfortably rapid rate, and made me stop showering and generally have no use for personal hygiene. The capper is that for every dump I don’t take at work I’m forced to use my own supply of TP and literally flush thousands of hard earned after-tax dollars down the drain (I take A LOT of dumps). I’ve become a broken middle aged man who drinks Bud Light Lime and watches old James Bond movies on the Pluto TV channel deep into the night.
One thing that Coronavirus hasn’t destroyed is my love of golf and desire to bang balls. With all public golf courses in NY state currently closed (more reason to hate those bastard private club Underhill stiffs) my only option has been to whack it off on my beloved mat (hitting mat, not my Swedish pal Mat). Hitting into a net without a simulator isn’t all bad; it certainly makes a valiant effort to scratch the itch but without seeing something in flight it’s a little like eating a Friendly’s Jim Dandy sundae with fat free ice cream or attending a rave party on Zoom. By the way, what’s the deal with virtual Senior Proms? Do creepy teachers still monitor and break up the inappropriate twerking? Can Skeezy Jay still spike the punch? Will kids slow dance and french kiss to Harry Styles songs virtually? In my mind it would be a high school version of the Whoopi/Swayze pottery scene from Ghost. But I digress… Through all this angst I’ve been racking my brain for a cost effective way to get me closer to working on my game and being on a course. Enter the BirdieBall!
I became aware of the BirdieBall years ago in searching for the perfect putting mat. I settled on the Big Moss “Augusta” but one of the finalists was the BirdieBall offering that seemed to be pretty good and very affordable. Of course putting mats are not what gave the company their name, for that creation was the magical BirdieBall. BirdieBalls are a limited flight golf-ball-substitute that when struck sort of fly and feel like a golf ball would, but without the need for a 300 yard long back yard. You can see from the picture, but it’s like a 2” polished piece of PVC tubing.
Their videos on YouTube give off that lame-in-a-white-bread sort of way but had me rather entranced. I found them so compelling and so affordable that I decided to forgo my usual obsess-for-months-before-buying purchase cycle! A miracle in itself!!
Initially I was going to buy off Amazon, but believe it or not the shipping was going to take 3-4 weeks so I figured I would go direct to the BirdieBall website and see if they could do better. I was delighted to discover I could buy 20 defective “balls” (bad paint jobs, nothing else) for $30. For another $7-8 could have a tee system that’s really just a triangle of semi-firm foam.
This was a better deal than I found on Amazon, which sells a dozen perfect condition balls without a tee for $39.99. I had to pay for shipping going direct but I thought the extra $5 was worth getting 8 more balls and a way to use them with my driver. I took the plunge and 10 days later had my ammo.
You can see from the videos above they sound great at impact and fly pretty well. With a PW I was hitting them about 40-45 yards, and with a driver maybe 60-65. The driver impact seemed a little much for the BirdieBall so I’d really only recommend using irons. I hit maybe 4 shots with the driver and when I looked at them afterwards they looked to be a touch deformed. No issues whatsoever with the other ones I hit. The only weird part with BirdieBalls is they seem to hold their line very well, almost too well. It’s possible I have been persistently on fire hitting with them, but that seems unlikely. Theoretically you can hit draws and fades but you do have to use your imagination a bit to “see” the curve and be careful that a gentle fade isn’t in reality more of a vicious slice.
To be clear, I love the BirdieBalls very much and will continue to use them; I just hope they aren’t instilling a false sense of confidence. You probably just have to use them with a bit of perspective and not expect to get an exact golf ball experience. Like wind seems to affect them more than one would like, so working on distance control is probably foolish. That said, it’s a lot of fun to go at a BirdieBall and not worry about blasting a real ball through your net or shanking one through a window. Listening to them spin in through the air is very satisfying as well.
VERDICT: 9 out of 10. Highly recommend, but still beg NY State to re-open public golf courses and outdoor ranges. Would also still make a plea to Mitch Chemtrail to stop with the fucking shit weather he is dumping on Syracuse. It’s one thing to make us docile good citizens but quite another to keep the goddamn courses from drying out.
NOTE: All shots were hit with dark socks and Teva brand sandals.