I have to admit there is always a concern when a “way of life” with as much history as golf seems to become more and more influenced by new technology and trends. Is this as big a concern as the traditionalists would have us believe? Does technology undermine the challenge that golf presents?

For me personally, the game of golf is the endless pursuit of trying to improve – and I do mean “endless”! Taking up golf in my 30’s I started with the modest goal of breaking 100, now, 12 months later if I dont shoot around 90 I feel the need to harshly scold myself for such a poor performance even though I am still achieving my initial goal. The most teasing thing about the whole process was the time i shot 85, something which I of course I have never been able to replicate – I am sure you all know what I mean!

Overall, I know that a percentage of my improvement can be attrributed to new equipment – I dont think there is a single remaining item from my orginal kit – and of course a large percentage also can be attributed to the hours spent at the driving range and putting in my living room (against all complaints form my wife!). At the end of the day though, I still cant wait to get out there again and find that next part of my game where I can shave another stroke.

So for myself, even in the short time i have played the game technology has changed, yet i am still driven by something which is totally unrelated – the endless pursuit of beating myself. The new clubs and kit are mereley additional weapons in my arsenal which present similar value to thing such as local course knowledge and experience.

If we then translate this to professional golf though, it would seem the benefits of technology start to become more distinct – driving distances even in my own period of observation seem to have been increased by about 25% – balls now travel further and stop faster and enhanced MOI’s (moments of intertia) for drivers provide greater forgiveness for “off-centre” hits (not that would normally be a problem for Pro!!). Overall, professional golfer’s are hitting longer and the opportunites for eagle are a regular occurrence on modern par 5’s. That said, driving accuracy is down – but improved groove technology in irons means a golfer can hit form the rough and stop a ball on a green so the risks of big hitting are not proving as a deterrant to golfers getting the most out of the technology available to them.

So what does this mean? Does this tehnological advantage detract from the game? For mine, i dont think i will ever be unimpressed by a drive being hit more than 300m and landing on a fairway 30m wide – and if the end result is a victory in which the golfer is 12 under par rather than 8 under par is the only difference then i think I can live with it.

I guess the biggest concern from a hack like me who loves to be amazed be abilites of the professional golers is that if they keep adding distance to their drives and courses keep getting lengthened (as has started to happen), then i am going to find it even tougher to ever hit that 85 ever again!