In the past 50 years, golf equipment has improved tremendously. Yet despite clubs that hit the ball farther and straighter, despite the explosion of swing coaches, videos, and better training methods, the average score for a round of golf remains at around 100, where it has sat for decades.
The average player’s driver is capable of hitting the ball 60-70 yards farther today. Irons are more forgiving, no matter where impact is made on the clubface. Golf balls go farther with no loss of feel or spin.
My favorite advance is GPS. From this, you get the exact distance to the hole, and to the hazards. How has it helped us? Well, it helps some players remember which hole they’re playing after the beer cart has made one too many visits.
Some pros do very well by pushing the equipment rules to their limits. Unknown Matt Every began this year with a putter that resembled a black metal railway tie. Turns out the “Black Swan” putter has some pretty advanced engineering built in: the highest “putter momentum of inertia in putter history,” and a “sweet spot three balls wide”! Every led the Sony Open going into the final round, but fell back a bit, settling for a tie for sixth, and $178,062.50. A bit better than my $62.50 in lifetime golf earnings….