I am an old-school, certified golf pro, in addition to being a college professor. I grew up watching the brilliant golf moves of Ben Hogan, the golf art of Sam Snead and the mental strength of Jack …
I am an old-school, certified golf pro, in addition to being a college professor.
I grew up watching the brilliant golf moves of Ben Hogan, the golf art of Sam Snead and the mental strength of Jack Nicklaus. Golf was a part of most of my youth.
Let me say something here in the Cleveland Daily Banner: Golf has changed much since my teen years back in the 1980s. We now have more technology in a golf bag than at a KISS concert. The evolution of the golf ball, along with golf equipment, is making golf lose its shine.
Let me also suggest this: Modern golf technology is destroying the beauty of the game of golf.
Back in the day, we used to play competitive golf with persimmon drivers and woods, and hit balata golf balls in open tournaments. By the way, a balata ball is a type of golf ball that is made of rubber-like material that didn’t go as far as the 21st century golf ball. A persimmon driver and woods were made of persimmon trees, not any kind of metal.
A skilled golfer would be hitting 285 yards if he was a monster hitter, which made some of America’s most notorious golf courses — e.g., Doral in Florida, Pebble Beach in California and Oakmont in Pittsburgh — very tough to play in. Golf was an art mastered by only a few. Hitting a long drive meant hitting a golf ball in the center of the club. Hitting away from the sweet spot, with any golf club, meant a significant loss in distance and direction in any golf attempt.
I still remember to this day walking on golf courses counting yards before starting the first round of any open tournament. Today, kids have a device that gives them the distance electronically. What a shame, in my opinion.
I’m afraid that the necessary skillsets that a golfer needs in order to fully understand the game of golf is dying because of technology. Today, a player can adjust golf heads in a minute in order to “cure slice” or manipulate a golf club head in order to hit with a power fade. That’s bad. A golfer must conceptually understand why they are slicing the ball rather than simply turn a golf head to appear more hook face to cure that slice.
Let me remind Cleveland again: This is all happening because of technology.
So, you may be asking, “Dr. A, is technology making golfers dumber?” No. Golfers aren’t dumber because of the advances in golf-equipment technology. They are, however, becoming more ignorant about what it takes to swing the golf club well because of advancements in equipment technology which to me is destroying golf from within.
I’m very concerned about the future of golf. Equipment is getting so sophisticated that Cameron Champ can now hit a driver 330 yards on air which makes most of the traditional golf courses in America half obsolete. You can thank technology for that.
I believe we should limit pro golfers from playing with titanium golf clubs and modern golf galls. In fact, having the PGA of America introduce a persimmon-only tour event would be a hot idea, along with limiting Phil Mikelson and others to play with a balata ball only. It would be a dream to me to witness the PGA of America limiting tour events to persimmon and balata balls by 2025. I don’t think it will happen, but it would be awesome to see golfers playing with such equipment.
Let me repeat what I have said many times! Technology is good when used in moderation. This explosion of technology in the golf industry has been silently destroying the game of golf for over a decade.
Nick Faldo once said, “Technology is making the game of golf too easy.” The great Gary Player has stated that technology is destroying golf. Dr. A agrees with Faldo and Player, and proposes a persimmon-only PGA Tour, starting in 2025.
Golf clubs and balls have reached ridiculous levels of technology advancements, which is silently destroying the game. And that’s sad.
(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at luiscalmeida.info.)
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