May 24, 2005

Despite constant innovation, golf scores remain unchanged.: Interesting expose in the NY Times about golfers--pro and amateur--whose relentless pursuit of distance and technology hasn't cumulatively lowered handicaps.

Choice pull quote: "'They watch golf on TV and then they all want to hit it far, like Tiger Woods,' said Dr. Bob Rotella, golf's best-known psychologist and a best-selling author. 'Well, good luck. They should be going to their teacher and saying, "I want to hit it like Fred Funk." Physically, they are much more like him. That would make a lot more sense.' Mr. Funk is a 5-foot-8, 48-year-old PGA Tour pro who ranks first in driving accuracy and 186th in driving distance. He is also seventh on the PGA money list this season with more than $1.9 million in earnings."

posted by werty to golf at 01:14 PM - 6 comments

being a (bad) golfer myself I can attest that I leave at least 10 strokes (some days more!) on or right around the greens. I took lessons...bought some new gear and could hit the ball a good 20-30 yards further and my scoring got worse! I took a little off my swing to straighten it out and I was right back to where I was before (low 90's). If I could putt consistently decent (instead of my generally awful) I could get into the 80's...but even lots of practicing hasn't helped. Putting well is just damn hard. Drive for show...putt for dough.

posted by stofer71 at 04:05 PM on May 24, 2005

From The Golf Channel: Tiger Woods doesnít play the Bank of America Colonial. Hasnít since he tied for fourth in 1997. Heís not too fond of Colonial Country Club. Has indicated that itís outdated and doesnít suit the ďmodern player.Ē Tiger Woods hasn't played at Colonial since he shot 72 in the final round in 1997 to finish T4.Tigerís biggest qualm with Colonial is that it takes driver out of his hand. The layout totals 7,054 yards, but is filled with doglegs and double doglegs, and requires precision off the tee, usually in the form of fairway wood or long iron. Of course, Woods hits less than 57 percent of his fairways and ranks outside of the top 150 on tour in driving accuracy, so the conservative approach isnít the worst option. I think that is exactly what Rotella is talking about. It's not about accuracy or consistency; it's about power. (Gosh, sounds a lot like baseball.) One of the problems is that golf courses are now being designed for the "modern player" as defined by Woods. (Same with newer baseball parks.)

posted by graymatters at 06:05 PM on May 24, 2005

You can have all the modern equipent in the world but it still takes skill to play golf. I'm a mid 80's low 90's player. I played my best round ever with a set of clubs from Wal-Mart. I have Callaway X-16's and still play the same. No matter who you are, you're going to leave strokes on the course by doing something stupid. It's not the equipment. It's the person holding it.

posted by dbt302 at 11:35 PM on May 24, 2005

The thing from the article that was spot-on for me is how can one expect to improve playing just four or five times a year? In my best year I played fewer than ten times. My very first outing I was in the 120's, now I usually break 100 but never have broken 90, never will, and never will really care about it that much. I don't want to become competitive at golf. I want to play a round with friends, hit one really good shot per hole, bury at least 1 putt over ten feet, get two pars and birdie a Par 5, and get filthy drunk and have a good cigar. That's my agenda. Be interesting to hear JJ's take on this. I think it's just simply a point of diminishing returns. Obviously beginners can expect to improve significantly to some point but will ultimately hit a wall that only assiduous practice will overcome.

posted by vito90 at 12:55 AM on May 25, 2005

I was aware that even with all the technology today, the golfers of today are about the same as they were back then. Some scores have been lowered in some PGA events, but mostly it hasn't gone down that much. The scoring avergae went from 69.8 to 69.5 or something to that effect, which is negligible and hardly worth all the money people throw at golf equipment each year! It is all about the swing and not what your swinging. And the most influential piece of technology that has changed golf over the last 25 years or so? The lawnmower! Greens are slicker, so whatever gains were made up in distance are lost on the putting surface!

posted by bluekarma at 01:37 AM on May 25, 2005

how can one expect to improve playing just four or five times a year? ...and never will really care about it that much. excellent points, vito. I suck and I don't care, which keeps the game enjoyable. The minute I start to care the fun goes away...crack a cold beer....have a laugh with a friend. Hey this is fun again!

posted by stofer71 at 07:54 PM on May 25, 2005

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.