The Long and Short of technology

Advancements in technology have proven to be both a boon and burden in golf (and life). For every shiny, new gadget that aims to improve our lives, there is often a lurking obstacle or glitch hidden within.

This has become no more apparent than via some recent news pieces (which you would have likely missed if you rely on Facebook for your news).

The first bit was an enlightening report by the USGA (Mapping the Past, Present and Future of Golf Courses: https://bit.ly/3u80HL0) which found that courses built in the last three decades are a whopping 64 acres larger than courses designed in the past. Wow!

The increase in footprint is no doubt due (in part, at least) to architects’ and course owners’ attempts to counter huge increases in driving distance as a result of advances in ball and club technology. So, while hitting massive 300m+ drives is definitely fun, it has unfortunately led to longer courses and thus longer round times, increased difficulty and a resultant perceived decline (by some) in golf’s “fun” factor.

And while the USGA and R&A have vehemently denied that distance is an issue, they did recently release (probably begrudgingly) a set of research topics in “specific Areas of Interest to help mitigate continuing distance increases.” (Read here).

Courses have become so long that it leads one to wonder if distance was a factor in the PGA of America announcing last month that it would allow the use of distance-measuring devices at three of its major championships this year? (Probably just a coincidence, but still…).

There are arguments both “For” and “Against” technology: New-age golfers want all the bells and whistles to take the game into the future. Purists, however, believe that technology often reduces the essential skills of our historic game.

So which way do you lean? I’d love to hear your arguments around technology. Is it good? Or bad? Email me!

See you (from a distance) on the fairways

Richard Fellner

(Story originally appeared in Inside Golf)

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