Frank Pichler of Lincoln Laboratory is offering his beloved King Cobra driver for sale for an excellent reason: he wants to buy his wife a super Christmas present.
Mr. Pichler, a radar engineer, priced the Titanium golf club at $225 (or best offer) in a classified ad in last week's MIT Tech Talk. But he began to have second thoughts almost immediately.
"I really do love that club," he said.
Mr. Pichler received the Cobra-popularized by tour pros Greg Norman and Hale Irwin-as a birthday present from his wife, Brenda, in the fall. He used it for several rounds and the club performed as promised, delivering the occasional 300-plus yard drive, with significant improvement in accuracy.
Mr. Pichler plays regularly, weather permitting, with his brother Mark, a psychiatrist, on public courses from Cape Cod to New Hampshire. He said they refrain from keeping score to maintain the purity of the experience as well as their sanity. "One great shot per hole makes it, and keeps us coming back," he said. Both brothers think their handicaps would be in the low teens if they counted strokes. Mark also loves the King Cobra but is a confirmed "Big Bertha" disciple.
Purity aside, longer and straighter tee shots are the way to a golfer's heart. But Mr. Pichler had already treated himself to a full set of custom-made clubs that included an expensive driver in the spring, and he felt that keeping both would be an extravagance.
Nonetheless, he is considering rotating the Cobra with his custom-made driver, using it every other round. "If I do," he said, "my wife will have to settle for a lesser present."
O. Henry would never let it end that way.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 11, 1996.