Of all the sports enjoyed by professionals and amateurs, technology has had the greatest impact on golf. What was once a decidedly low-tech game is now boasting all sorts of high-tech advancements to clubs, balls and devices. These advancements have made the game easier for novices to enjoy. Professionals are reaping the rewards of the new developments too.
Improvements to the Golf Ball
Believe it or not, the earliest golf balls were leather sacks filled with feathers. Wooden and rubber balls soon followed because they made the game easier and more fun. Nowadays, golf balls must be a specific size and weight. The main differences between the balls made by different manufacturers are design, materials and construction. At one point, golf balls had centers made of steel, lead, glycerin and even water. More recently, the core was surrounded with rubber thread and a Balata cover. Modern balls are two-pieces that are covered in Syrlin. Amateurs gravitate toward the Syrlin balls. Professionals prefer the older Balata balls. Needless to say, the multi-million dollar golf ball industry invites plenty of research for the next big thing.
It’s All in the Swing
Golf clubs have also changed dramatically through the years. They were originally made entirely from wood. Then, the shafts were switched to metal for its stiffness. Graphite shafts soon followed. The graphite gave the club an extra level of strength and flexibility. Metal alloys have now made it possible to manufacture driver heads that are far larger, but still within the permitted mass. Hybrid clubs have adjustable weight and loft. They are very forgiving and have become favorites among weekend warriors and pros. Irons and wedges have longer shafts for extra force. Putters have a wide range of heads and shafts. Belly putters have been used by several recent tournament champions, which attests to their effectiveness. The USGA has taken a dim view of belly putters and as of 2016, they’ll be outlawed for professional tournaments.
Most golfers spend more time working on their swing than actually playing golf. They buy all sorts of gadgets to help them perfect it. Most golf shops now offer some form of video analysis. Resident professionals can examine your swing video with you to point out the strengths and flaws. You can also buy collapsing clubs that will fall apart if you swing incorrectly.
Out on the course, you no longer have to rely on your caddy’s sense of distance. There are numerous devices that can tell you exactly how far it is to the hole. Some of them use GPS technology to determine the distance to the cup. Do you think the first golfers could have envisioned satellite technology being applied to the simple game of knocking a ball into a hole in the ground? Here at Golf Headquarters, we’ll make sure you have everything your need (and want!) for your next game of golf.