Can technology actually improve your golf game? YES
Our debate this month centers around the technology that has gone into golf equipment over the years. Have all these advancements in equipment, both in golf balls and clubs and other paraphernalia made any kind of a positive impact in the quality of play for the average player?
Secondly, as an addendum, has technology made many of the classic courses obsolete?
As for the first question, I would have to say absolutely, but certainly not to the extent as one would hope, considering how overpriced golf equipment is, which is one of the reasons I believe that fewer people are playing these days.
As for making courses obsolete I know most people think it has, but I disagree.
The U.S. Open is still often contested at some of the classic courses that don’t require players to hit the ball 350 yards off the tee. A golf course doesn’t need ridiculous length to be a true test for the best players in the world.
Design, the rough and the conditions of the greens can more than offset a bunch of bombers. And of course, no matter how far you hit it, you still have to put the ball into that teeny weeny hole in the ground.
Each year the best amateurs in the world play the Northeast Amateur at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I., and seldom are there more than a couple in the field who end up under par on what is considered a relatively short course by today’s standards.
The new technology in balls and clubs, particularly drivers and hybrids, have allowed the more gifted among us to hit the ball longer and straighter.
Tom Gorman, who buys every new club that comes along, likes to think the advances do not help the ordinary player, but I disagree. While I can not hit the ball nearly as far as I could years ago, when the balls were balata, the woods were really made of wood and irons did not have cavity backs, I am still able to perform at a much higher level that I would with the old clubs.
And to prove this I went out recently with my old Royal clubs and could do next to nothing. And that was WITH a Pro V1 instead of the old Blue Max or Club Special.
Technology, in the form of graphite shafts have been a god send for those who have arthritis in their hands. Before many had to give up the game, but the graphite shafts absorb much of the shock of a club striking the ball and the ground.
There are other technological advances that have helped the ordinary golfer.
GPS devices and laser range finders have been wonderful tools for the regular golfer.
Pros have caddys who get the yardages for them. Everything is written down.
The weekend golfer doesn’t have this provided, so the electronic marvels allow us to get our yardages without looking for sprinkler heads that may or may not have the yardages posted.
Why is this important? Pace of play. One of the main problems with golf is how long it takes to play a round. Technology, if used properly, will help pick up the pace and that’s good for everyone.
Now players like Gorman, who only need a sharp pencil with an eraser to excel in golf, might not need technological advances to enjoy the game more.
As for most of use, bring it on… but try and keep the price reasonable.
Tim Geary is a R.I. based freelance writer. He’s always on the lookout for anything that will lower his handicap