I have to hedge my answer a bit here, because truthfully I cannot say that the new technology that has come to golf over the past several years has actually improved my drive.
I used to carry a 5-handicap and for most of my golfing life I was a single digit player, using wooden headed drivers that were not the size of Colorado and irons on which an F16 could land.
Today my handicap is a very unlucky 13 and I don’t hit the ball nearly as far as I did in my younger days.
That being said, without the new technology, without carbon steel shafts, oversized clubs made out of space age materials and balls that you no longer have to replace after just three holes of use, my game would probably be much worse.
I believe that technology has allowed a person of my diminishing physical skills to at least tread water. I think it has really changed the game for the elite players and not necessarily for the better because it has made so many of the great, classic courses, obsolete.
But golf does not exist for the professionals or even the excellent amateurs. It exists because of and for the rest of us, who enjoy getting out with our friends and having a good time.
Hopefully we’ll hit enough good shots to keep us coming back.
That is the essence and the reason for technological advances… that and making oodles of moola for the golf manufacturing industry.
Now Tom Gorman has taken the position that technology has not helped his game.
For once he and I are in complete agreement. Nothing short of military grade targeting systems could help Gorman.
And for now the USGA and the Royal & Ancient do not allow bazookas to launch drives from the tee, laser-guided mortars to drop approach shots onto greens and nobody but Rodney Dangerfield has ever used a putter with a scope that reads, “no, no…. YES”.
That kind of technology would probably help old Tom, who despite his argument that technology cannot help, has spent half of his life’s earnings on a variety of clubs and putters in search of something resembling a golf game.
He has used the long putter and the belly putter. He visits the PGA Show in Orlando almost every year in search of a golf game. Nothing helps, so you can understand his stance.
The truth is that no matter what advances are made in the equipment, it still takes a good, solid, repetitive swing to produce good shots on a consistent basis. Same is true in putting. If you can putt well, you can put the ball in the hole with a hockey stick as well as a putter made of 24 karat gold.
Most amateurs do not have those swings, but without those players (the average USGA handicap is somewhere around 17) the game would certainly die.
The average weekend player wants to be able to hit the ball a reasonable distance. They want clubs that are forgiving because the sweet spot and their golf ball seldom become acquainted.
I have used forged blades and admit that when you strike a ball on the sweet spot the ball reacts much more positively than it does on most cavity backed irons. The problem is I don’t hit that sweet spot often enough. I need the forgiveness of cavity backed irons.
So does Gorman, even if he won’t admit it.
(Tim Geary is a R.I. based freelance writer. His first golfing experience involved a Louisville Slugger baseball bat).WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?