As the Fed Ex cup comes to an end this week, it got me to thinking how much technology has changed golf. We talk all the time how technology has changed our lives, but in the golf world, technology has drastically changed the landscape. Back in the Nicklaus-Palmer-Player era, they had Woods as in Driver, 3-wood and 5-wood and they had steel shafts. All of the club heads were blades, which means to you and I, that they had a smaller area on the club face to smack the ball. Oh and the ball was wound with rubberbands. Take the courses that they played on back then, a lot of which are still used in tournaments today, and how difficult they are or were then, and you can really appreciate how good those 3 in particular were.
Ok now lets fast forward to 2007. We have entered the hybrid era. Carbon graphite shafts, large club heads, square grooves, screws to change the direction of the ball flight, different lofted clubs, specialty clubs, rescue clubs, utility clubs, hex-dimpled golf balls, soft balls, hard covered balls, plastic spikes, brush tees, Gore-tex clothing, computer video analysis of your swing, 380 yard drives….etc. etc. etc. etc…
OK so you get the point. It’s amazing how much technology has affected golf when one thinks about it. To the extent that a lot of “old school” golf courses with storied pasts, i.e. Augusta National, have opted to alter their once immaculate and pristine and untouchable courses so that todays modern player has to think and work their way around the course like the old guard did.
Technology aside, golf does still come down to how mentally flexible you can be, given the myriad number of shots that you will be presented with in a round. No manner of computer aided whatever is going to help you get up and down out of a pot bunker at St. Andrews. You still have to make contact with the ball in the rough. Your Dry-fit shirt and your soft spikes will keep you cool and comfy and looking good, but you still have to swing the club.
Remember it’s the surgeon, not the surgeons tools and equipment. Technology will continue to alter and change the face of golf, but at the end of the day, when you’re standing over a 7 foot putt to win the hole, the skins and the match, the only thing you can really rely on, is a pure stroke and nothing else.