Monday, February 29, 2016

Is Technology Ruining Golf?


clubs I'll use this season


 Of course we have to look at this subject with a balanced point of view. Some technological advances have been a good thing in the game of golf, such as steel shafts and a more durable ball, but at what point is technology ruining golf?

I would say we're now past that point where the advancing technology (involved in making golf balls and clubs) is ruining the game of golf. I'm especially talking about professional golf, where the players have become billboards for advertisements (literally). Let's discuss this topic a little further, as this opinion is almost completely unheard nowadays.

Why Technology in Golf isn't Being Restricted:


Of course technology isn't being restricted, because of the money these golf equipment companies are making off of regular 15-30 handicappers: trying their hardest to look like their favorite pro golfer. And of course, their favorite pro golfer has the latest and “best” equipment in their big bulky bag, which has their name on it. So, we can conclude that it's money that's driving this un-checked advance in technology. Yet, what is this doing to the game of golf?

The Solution Starts With Us:


In the picture above, is some of the clubs which I'm going to use this year as I play my amateur tournaments in Oregon. Ben Hogan irons and woods (with a MacGregor 1-Wood as well). The old beautiful persimmon golf woods! Yes indeed, and the Hogan blades from the 60's or 70's(?). I have the entire set of irons from the 2-9 iron. I'll have to use a few more modern clubs for my wedges and putter, but I'm excited to get these re-griped and ready for play. Wait til they get a hold of me...

I wonder how I'll play with these compared to my more modern clubs, which are about 15 years out of date anyway? I have a feeling I'll play even better, and oh how pure my hits will feel!

Let's Compare the Golf of Old to Modern Golf:


Anyway, back to the question. Let's look at professional golfers from the 60s to now: 2016. What's happened is the technology has created these golfers now who're averaging well over 300 yards per drive! And when will it stop? 

What this is doing, is making these mammoth courses that honestly aren't even fun to play. Playing a course like Chambers Bay is more like hiking up and down a mountain, and so is Bethpage Black. Then look at the new Pinehurst layouts with their upside down bowl greens, what fun is this?

What the technology is doing is making the courses longer, more sloped, and with greens that are brutally unfair – and we can all say simply not fun anymore to watch or play. The reason why we love golf is because it's a pleasant walk in beautiful surroundings with a challenging task at hand – not equivalent to hiking Mt. Everest and putting on top of a dome stadium!

We can't even compare the old players now with the new because their clubs are so different. Tom Watson, Gary Player and the other greats of the past used the type of woods and irons in the picture, now the players use basically a driver that is 6 times the size... How can we compare the players of old with the new players when the technology is so different, and they have to keep making the classic courses longer and longer?

The courses professionals play on now, are simply making the par 5s into par 4s, and even the par 4s into 3s sometimes. I think most of us golf lovers are getting a bit sick of this “improving”. We know the players now aren't any better than the greats of the past, but we can't really compare their stats because of the technologies that are ruining the game. And we have to wonder: when will it stop?

Conclusion


If there was one player who used Persimmon woods with blade irons, that player would ignite the hearts of golfers around the world – especially if he/she was in contention in a professional event at the highest stage. What a wonderful thing this would do for golf! Golf needs some authenticity in it anymore, as it's become a big corporate wonderland: full of hype and splendor and delivering uninspired winners with the biggest stick...

Didn't we all love Bubba Watson when he shaped that shot at the Masters to win? Bubba is a player who can shape the ball and defies the norm with his unique swing, but can he put down his pink graphite driver and play with authentic clubs that require more ability to hit sweetly? Can any of the pros revert back to the pure clubs and compete? I believe they could.

The golfers today, playing with the clubs of the 70s wouldn't be able to hit the ball any further than the big hitters of the past. And playing with clubs that require more skill actually means the best golfer that week always wins – not so anymore with such a forgiving sweet spot. Now, a player can mishit his club many times in a round and get away with it and go on to win.

Putting has turned into a fun-house scene in the pros, and honestly this isn't fair for the modern players. How can they compare their stats with those in the past when the greens are becoming more impossible? Modern technology can't improve putting, and so they are designing these impossible greens to make up for the long distance players are getting with their “woods” and irons.

Honestly, golf is getting more and more boring the more technology there is with the clubs. I'm only 36 years old, but I spend most of my time watching the old tournaments in the 70s and 80s before technology became out of balance with the classic Par 72 golf courses.


Technology should be restricted back to the clubs of about 1980, but this won't happen as long as golf is run by corporations instead of people who love the game. As for me, I'm going to have great fun playing with my Ben Hogan woods and irons this year – and watch: this be my best year yet! I know at least one thing, I'll play inspired golf for once.  


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