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Wait, are golfers getting too much technology information ?


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First of all, don't get me wrong.  I am, a proponent for all the technology to help the golfers better their game.

From a simple thing like golf ball, adjustable hosel ( this is a huge one for me coming from decades of pulling heads in order to change shafts ),  Affordable Launch Monitor , software to quantify the numbers to make sense of the "at moment" analyzing of our game.

Perhaps, it is the generation thing , as I came from a time which I remember the first television set with a screen of inches and the first color television in our house.  The first personal computer, the first Window  which revolutionized the home computer use..... I'm not that ancient.

However, I see more and more younger golfers depending on the technology in the game and totally forgot the other half of the formula, which is the person who will swing the golf club;  after all is fitted to the smallest detail.  We are, not "Iron Byron".   I heard one professional golfer talked about the change of his physical ability each day while he was on the Tour.    The changing physical condition of a human body could be minimized with better physical condition.  Since this is a game of winning or losing by a single stroke, the smallest change in our physical condition could turn out to be a huge issue on the golf course.   All the top players today, are physically fit and most of them could play any other professional sports if they chose to.  We won't see a professional with a beer belly who couldn't dee his own shoes when looking down. 

Even the fittest golfer will have the up days and the down days since no one could stay the same physically and mentally in all 4 days through out the typical tournament.

The expectation of open box solution probably will not work for this game as so many of the modern golfers expect to get fit for their equipment and Walla !  Instant improvement for their golf game.  Like ordering an item from Amazon and delivered to their front door to solve their issues as soon as they open the box.

A big part of the attraction from this game is to keep the golfers looking for the Holly Grail to better their game.  The Ben Hogan's secret.  Which I believed he had disclosed it many times by saying " find it in the dirt".  The fitted driver will not be the best one to put in the bag , soon, after the fitting.  Why ?  We're not as devoted as the professionals who will make their living by playing the game.  Besides the talent, the physical demand ( as well as with all the other sports ), understanding of the human anatomy and it's relationship to swinging a golf club, then, what's left is to practice and play and practice and play.

It's a life time journey for most of us, it's why I say, the public golf courses will not be crowded after the economy opened up for the other options.  It takes a special kind of person to stick with this game.

What is your observation ?  

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There’s always the worry about paralysis by analysis but in the long run having information at your fingertips to make the best decision possible is a good thing.

Not sure what golf courses are near you but around the DC area they are packed every day and getting tee times is still hard. Also there’s still a huge demand for equipment that the companies can’t keep up with so the thought that golf courses wouldn’t be crowded isn’t accurate.

 

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You raise some interesting questions. It appears that we may be of a very similar vintage.

 

IMO there is an ebb and flow to things. Golf is certainly at a high tide and it is likely that a number of people who tried it will stick.  Courses here are packed even as we’ve entered our off season. So I think the game is in a good place.

 

I don’t know that the average player cares much about technological advances. He buys a set off the shelf, puts it in his trunk and uses it for his game with the guys on Saturday morning. 
 

Guys and gals who do it for a living recognize that golf is more than numbers. They use the numbers as a tool. 210, up hill, into a 15 mph at sea level, playing 240, 3 iron, bag, 25 footer for eagle. I was standing next to a young mini tour player who did it that fast not too long ago. 
 

In the old days we used lead tape to help our ball flight, now we have tungsten inserts and more accurate ways to measure the results but it’s still the same thing.

 

As I think through all of this I believe that teachers made the game seem much more complicated when I was a kid than they do today. So perhaps the shift really is from swing thoughts to equipment?

 

Interesting topic, thanks. 

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1 hour ago, revkev said:

You raise some interesting questions. It appears that we may be of a very similar vintage.

 

IMO there is an ebb and flow to things. Golf is certainly at a high tide and it is likely that a number of people who tried it will stick.  Courses here are packed even as we’ve entered our off season. So I think the game is in a good place.

 

I don’t know that the average player cares much about technological advances. He buys a set off the shelf, puts it in his trunk and uses it for his game with the guys on Saturday morning. 
 

Guys and gals who do it for a living recognize that golf is more than numbers. They use the numbers as a tool. 210, up hill, into a 15 mph at sea level, playing 240, 3 iron, bag, 25 footer for eagle. I was standing next to a young mini tour player who did it that fast not too long ago. 
 

In the old days we used lead tape to help our ball flight, now we have tungsten inserts and more accurate ways to measure the results but it’s still the same thing.

 

As I think through all of this I believe that teachers made the game seem much more complicated when I was a kid than they do today. So perhaps the shift really is from swing thoughts to equipment?

 

Interesting topic, thanks. 

Personally, I really appreciate the information available online these days, instead of researching the old way.  I was never efficient using the library catalog system anyway.

The point was, many of the new golfers really thought getting fit with the equipment and take a lesson or even a series of lessons, that's will put them on the road to be a golfer like they see on the weekend tournament broadcasting ( or should I say streaming ).

This is not a game that can be bought.  By getting the newest equipment which promises extra distance /control.   By taking lessons from the top rated instructors ( I took lessons when I first started the game so, there you go ).  A big part of the charm of this game is the endless chase after the perfection.  Somedays one would think one had gotten close or had seen the light at the tunnel.  But, the golf gods will put one right back to where one belongs the next day.

Tinkering with the equipment and grinding for the fewer strokes on the score card, are the essence of this game.    I just don't believe the "new" golfers who had jumped into this game because it was/is the only outdoor game available during the pandemic.  Pretty sure many of these will go back to their normal activities when things are back to normal.  More than half the golfers I knew had quit the game because of either the health issue ( from aging or golfing or both ) or financial reasons.

One guy told me some years ago, that each time he paid for the green fees he's though about the rib eye roast he could have had instead.  On the flip side, I also know folks who forgo everything else in life, so they could play this game.  Even with upper middle class status without children, the couple had to stay in a less neighborhood than they could have, and save their budget so they could travel to golf destinations instead of dinning out often and the usual things people do when they retired.  It's a decision they had made of how to live their live.

Most of these pandemic golfers will not be golfing in a few years.  Like many had jumped into my profession thinking it's a piece of cake to get certified and money will be rolling into their bank account.  90% of them wouldn't be around in my industry within 3 years.  The golf industry had painted the picture of a dream for those watching the golf channel and network tournament coverage.  The fact is, the game is still one of the best game, ever, even trapped the Kings and the Queens and the rich and famous.  But the 300 yard drive and the dance and back spin on the approach shots are not in every golfer's book.    

One major issue which comes with this game is, injury.  I was a pretty healthy person all of my life.  Came down with quit a few issues brought on after decades of dedicated interest in this game.  No question about whether this game is a sport or not.

Your point of the givers of instruction.  Most are dedicated professionals but some are those who will be looking forward to see the continuation of the lessons to fix the issues they did not fix in the first place.  I agree with you, as the golf lessons in the past seemed to be much simpler than todays video analyzed, vector drawing , trying to fit everyone into the same mold.  In the old days, the best tool without an instructor is two pieces of full length mirrors, placed at an angle so the golfer could see the front and the back of his image.

My golf hero, Ben Hogan had never took a formal golf lesson. So didn't Seve Ballesteros , and a whole bunch of the PGA Hall Of Famers.  What they had, can not be purchased nor happen over night.

 

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Technology, especially launch monitors, is the future of the game. This is just one study from a training academy that showed technology, in this case Trackman, made a measurable difference in improvement. The participants got better and did so faster.

https://blog.trackmangolf.com/effects-trackman-training-development-elite-junior-golfers/

 

Stat measurement is another big piece of the puzzle and thanks to the formulas and technology allowing for strokes gained stats and Shot Link, golfers can really learn where to focus their efforts.

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36 minutes ago, crw said:

Technology, especially launch monitors, is the future of the game. This is just one study from a training academy that showed technology, in this case Trackman, made a measurable difference in improvement. The participants got better and did so faster.

https://blog.trackmangolf.com/effects-trackman-training-development-elite-junior-golfers/

 

Stat measurement is another big piece of the puzzle and thanks to the formulas and technology allowing for strokes gained stats and Shot Link, golfers can really learn where to focus their efforts.

I don’t think release is opposed to those things - if reading him rightly he saying this is not a game that can be purchased. Regardless of how you go about it there’s a certain amount of individuality to it.

 

Am I on to what he’s saying?

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Ping G410 5, 7, 9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 5-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Still on that elusive hunt for a 3 wood that I'm able to hit - I don't know why, I crush the 5 wood and it's really a 4 wood anyway. 

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21 hours ago, release said:

First of all, don't get me wrong.  I am, a proponent for all the technology to help the golfers better their game.

The expectation of open box solution probably will not work for this game as so many of the modern golfers expect to get fit for their equipment and Walla !  Instant improvement for their golf game.  Like ordering an item from Amazon and delivered to their front door to solve their issues as soon as they open the box.

IMO it’s not that technology hasn’t always been a factor, it’s just that (golf) technology has advanced more than the typical player.

And it’s not just “younger” players who believe fittings are a silver bullet. Many middle aged and seniors do as well, if anything more here than in the mainstream. And guess where they got the idea, golf media MGS included!

I’ve known lots of middle and high handicappers who’ve gone for paid fittings and bought all new clubs, and their results improve 2-3 strokes IF at all. There are exceptions, usually better players to begin with, but fittings won’t substantially improve scoring for most players. Anyone who wants to get fit to eliminate misfit equipment as a factor is welcome to do so, but it won’t change results substantially for most. Most of the best “old school” players I know have never had a fitting, many using old irons with no/low tech - I play with a guy with 20 yo old Mizuno blades and he’s better than all of us including my peers with a $5000 Club Champion bag…

Every player has to consistently deliver the head on the right path and face angle and make good contact, regardless of the equipment. That takes lessons and practice.

And Ben Hogan and all the other greats all used the technology available to them. Technology just didn’t have as much to offer to earlier generations. Today’s pros work as hard if not more than any generation of pros.

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43 minutes ago, Middler said:

player has to consistently deliver the head on the right path

Bullseye.  Before all the technology, we did okay.  Besides the technology with the drivers and the golf balls, can't say I have benefitted by the advancement of the new tech.  It seems to me that the golfers were confuse about the cause and the effect.

I love the adjustable hosel simply because I don't have to go through pulling shaft and wait for the epoxy to cure over night.  Often, I'd take a couple of driver heads and a bunch of shafts with adapter to the driving range and have a great time.

I did, think of the effect of the construction of the adjustable hosel .  But the benefit of able to exchange shafts in seconds is a joy for a golf club tinkerer.  I seldom if ever change the setting on the adjustable hosel for loft or angle. 

So sadly, with all the marbles out there, I had only picked up a few for my golf game.  I do, keep an eye on the new golf shafts.  Too bad the newer ones are priced out of a hobbyist's comfort zone.  

I know a few senior who tend to forget things.  They go to the driving range a few times a week and play a few rounds during the week also.  But somehow, they "forget" the basics.  I would se some minor issue like the grip or the alignment, corrected the issue and they had a good time on the driving range, but in a few weeks they'd be back to the same issue and starting to look for a new driver, again.  Keeps them busy and keeps the OEM in business , anyway.

I'm also not quit certain the golfers in general will benefit from all the information available to us.

Too much information will confuse some of us , for sure.

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1 hour ago, Middler said:

I’ve known lots of middle and high handicappers who’ve gone for paid fittings and bought all new clubs, and their results improve 2-3 strokes IF at all. There are exceptions, usually better players to begin with, but fittings won’t substantially improve scoring for most players. Anyone who wants to get fit to eliminate misfit equipment as a factor is welcome to do so, but it won’t change results substantially for most.

Overall, great post, but I wanted to highlight this. Because of the statistics involved in trying to optimize any particular metric through a fitting, I would argue there is precious little chance of one of us being truly optimized in the typical fitting. I would say the best chance is for an incremental improvement based on the experience and knowledge of the fitter, especially for someone like me with a mid-teens HC, and an inconsistent swing.

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There is no doubt that technology is here to stay and has helped the average golfer. Twenty five years ago the average USGA men's handicap was 16.3 and today it is 14.4. Your equipment (clubs and balls) and data analysis is better. How many people were getting video swing analysis over the internet 25 years ago? TrackMan only came out about 18 years ago and it wasn't available to the masses at a $25k price tag and it took a while before everyone bought in on the data analysis. Now personal launch monitors are common place. Truth is in the data. Today you can see if your swing path is off or your club face is not square. You spin rates are to high or to low. Imagine asking a driving range instructor 25 year ago if you spin rate was ok for your driver. 

I appreciate  the technology and truthfully I was a hold out for not wanting the data because I was playing just fine. But after a few free sessions that I got I changed my tune. This process helped me to understand what I was doing and now I really knew what to work on.

The average starting golfer probably won't get into all the technology but whatever he buys off the rack today has technology built in to the clubs. Who knows where technology will take us but look at what it already has given us. 

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On 6/26/2021 at 5:18 PM, MaxEntropy said:

I would argue there is precious little chance of one of us being truly optimized in the typical fitting.

How can we  "optimize " the grossly imperfection ?  Wonder why some of the teaching professional only apply the band aide fix ?  On that, there are/were some interesting golf swings which survived the test of PGA tour.

On second thought, I have personally witness some hopeless cases for improvement.  But, most of them are enjoying the game.  So why not ?  Isn't it the goal to get out there and have a good time ?     I remember reading this somewhere in the past - Quote " golf is like sex, one does not have to be good at it to enjoy".  Yes, the level of enjoyment will be quite different, however, I'm just thankful that we could enjoy this game here, like no other place in the world.  Even if the cost of participation had gone up. 

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23 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Who knows where technology will take us but look at what it already has given us

I agree,  But, the other half of the formula had already reached the apex.  Look at the golfers on the professional circuit !  They are not only young, also tall and strong.  Most of them could have participated in other sports, easily.  

Mainly because of the potential financial reward in this sport.  I seriously doubt that Bobby Jones would remain an amateur has the professionals back in the days had the respect the money and the glory we 're having today.  Remember, back then the price money of winning a tournament barely covered the entry and the expenses to keep the winners going .  Hardly any endorsement offered beside to the top ranked golfers.

Even in the 60's through the early 80's, there were not much price money offered for the winner of the "Open".  Ben Hogan, Sam Snead even later with Lee Trevino, not much left after paying off the expenses.

I looked up the average driving distance from the PGA Tournament archives.  Remember something like just over 250 yards in the driving category.  Players could launch their 3/4 woods longer than that today.  Even with their 4 iron (= 2 iron back then ) given the right condition.

Technology had come a long way, but the human capacity is reaching near the Apex.  Don't believe the additional technology could make an impact to the game as in the past 15 years.  I think we're pretty safe. 

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My curent approach is garmin fenix 5x, the grint, laser. Sometimes i feel like i'm getting too much. Typically i'm using the garmin for gps distance and score keeping. The grint for tracking my metrics. If i wait a few holes to enter into the grint its not a big deal. Laser i typically use for <250y and when i'm really going for a pin or when i think the GPS seems odd. The main reason i wont get Arccos or a upgraded rangefinder like the z82 is because of data overload. I wish apps would sync better like garmin>arccos>thegrint.

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These are my two pesos and I hope am on subject:

I don't think we are getting too much technology information, I think more and more people are becoming  too locked into numbers.

Rpm's, launch angle, apex height, ball speed, club speed, Angle of Attack (AOA) smash factors ( what ever that means), have read threads at another site were members talk about nothing but numbers.

Those numbers mean squat if you don't keep the ball on the fairway. I agree with a theory I read at yet another site, you start in the fitting bay and you finish the fitting on the course.

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7 hours ago, MadMex said:

These are my two pesos and I hope am on subject:

I don't think we are getting too much technology information, I think more and more people are becoming  too locked into numbers.

Rpm's, launch angle, apex height, ball speed, club speed, Angle of Attack (AOA) smash factors ( what ever that means), have read threads at another site were members talk about nothing but numbers.

Those numbers mean squat if you don't keep the ball on the fairway. I agree with a theory I read at yet another site, you start in the fitting bay and you finish the fitting on the course.

If those numbers aren’t right you won’t be able to keep the ball in the fairway. You will lose distance even in balls that are in the fairway. You won’t be able to hold greens with irons 

Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

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Technology has been and always will change.  The problem isn’t the technology but how the technology has been applied.  Golfers have always sought the quick fix.  We applied that tip from a magazine,  we then applied that video tip on the CD that was in the magazine,  we got the internet and could search for that one tip,  we bought new clubs because that would fix everything, we tweaked the settings on those clubs.  we filmed our swings, and we bought launch monitors.   The common denominator in the above is the golfer trying to self diagnose their own issues.   Technology advances are primarily for club fitters and instructors and really aren’t something that should be replied on by a golfer to make your came better. The application of technology will also vary based on the skill level of the golfer.  A golfer fighting a 30 yard slice doesn’t need a launch monitor to see what is going on.  An elite player trying to reduce a 10 yard draw to a 5 yard draw probably does need more discrete measurements provided by a launch monitor.  A new golfer learning fundamentals doesn’t need video analysis, a better golfer fighting a toe strike may need video to identify what is happening and to  be able to see what is occurring in the swing.   Adjustable hosels were not designed for the golfer, they were for the fitter and reseller to better fit clubs and reduce the amount of stock that needed to be kept on hand. 
 

the golfer is the problem not the technology.   Applied correctly and in the right amounts technology can aid in decreasing the time it takes to get better.    

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