I am an old school certified golf pro in addition to being a college professor. Ladies and gents, 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 Banner. Golf has changed much since my teens back in the 80’s. 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 make a public statement in here — 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, PA very tough to play in. Golf was an art only mastered by 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 actually. 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’m from the idea that 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 Michelson and others to play with a balata ball only, I must add. 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.
As I said before 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 has 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 in my view and that’s sad.