August 30th, 2013

Sweat vs. tech



There has been a lot of conjecture over the past few years in relation to the advancements in technology and how it’s allowing today’s professionals to make a mockery of golf courses.

Statistics don’t lie, and there’s no debating the fact that soaring driving distance averages are, in part, thanks to modern equipment, but you could also take a look at any of the longest hitters in professional golf today and notice a common theme – athleticism.

Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods, Camilo Villegas, Nicolas Colsearts and Henrik Stenson are six examples of guys are in tremendous shape, having worked extremely hard to gain the most out of their power.Nicholas Colsearts and Henrik Stenson being my golf swing model.

It’s not just golf that is feeling the wrath of today’s hi-tech sports market. The average serve on the ATP tennis circuit has increased by 16 km/ph over the past twenty years since the wooden racquets were tossed into oblivion to make way for the modern graphite models used by today’s wizards.

The arguments in golf have been whether or not it’s in the best interests of our sport to continue with the upward trend of improving our golf equipment.

I’m a tennis tragic but would be lucky to play on a handful of occasions throughout the year. Would I gain more out of playing once a week, or simply going out and buying the latest and greatest Wilson racket? The answer is pretty simple and the same rule applies to the club golfer.

It’s important to remember that every week of every year, professional golfers playing in tournaments across the globe are entertainers. They are a part of the entertainment industry which has always been, and will be, one of the most lucrative industries across the globe.

The fact of the matter is that if I’m a paying member of the public expecting to be entertained by those putting on a show, I want to witness what I could only ever dream of doing.

Watching professional golfers struggle to make pars and be punished on a regular basis doesn’t equate to fun for me. I want to see shootouts, birdie fests and bunched leaderboards.

That’s exciting to watch and leaves me feeling I have gained an appreciation for the quality of play these guys possess.

As a player, I certainly don’t mind playing the odd course where par is your friend, because it definitely sorts the men out from the boys. In fact, I have won tournaments on layouts where there’s been a premium on quality ball striking and par being an asset.

However, the underlying fact is that the depth of today’s professional golfers is simply far greater than those of years prior. The scores are improving, and the ball is travelling further for reasons far beyond ‘technology’. The guys work harder and do everything in their power to gain the most from their ability. There is no stone left unturned in their quest for greatness. In my playing days the 19th hole was our meeting place today's golf players the meeting place is the nearest gym with their trainer and physiotherapist and let’s not forget their golf swing coach and mental coach.

If the average club golfer asked me what my advice was for improving, the answer would be simple – practice, practice, practice!