Using a Range Finder at a Golf Major!

You heard it here first (okay that was an exaggeration!) I am probably not the first one to parrot the news that the PGA of America has authorized the use of an electronic measuring device, range finder, at the Senior, LPGA, and PGA Major golf tournament they sponsor. Their view is that the use of these devices will some how speed up play. This decision is causing a bit of a discussion in social media for the nay and yea sides. Because of the divergent from the professional golf norm, I thought it might be worth discussing.

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Professional Golfers and Range Finders – Good or Bad Idea?

With the resumption of professional golf, I was wondering if it was time to make drastic changes as to how the professional measure distances on the golf course. Most of us have watch the yardage book and green sheets examined by the player and caddie with intense scrutiny. Obviously, the player is trying to dial in a perfect number to hit too, but would not a range finder make the process faster and more accurate?

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Using My Range Finder Club Selection

I never mentioned that I bought a range finder over the winter. I thought I wrote a review on it, but alas I had not. So, expect on to come in the near future. This is a bit of putting the cart ahead of the horse, but it is the topic I chose to write about today. I have found that my range finder has helped with club selection, especially with blue pin placements.

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Golf Technology – Helping or Hurting

Golfplan International Golf Insurance asks a very interesting question: “What has been the best technology advancement, and what has been the worst in the game in the last 10 years?” They want to know what drives the golf industry and what slows it down. After some considerable thought, discussion, and research, here is what I believe are the best and worst advancements in golf over the past 10 years.

Best Technology Advancement: Distance Finding Devices

Garmin_Approach_G6_M_1

The introduction of GPS distance finding devices to golf are shaping its future!

Not really new to golf, distance finding devices have grown in popularity in the past 10 years. The use of a distance finding device was adopted by the USGA in 2006. Since that time, popularity has grown exponentially. The most popular are the laser range finders because they provide exact line-of-sight measurement. In the past 5 years, the GPS devices such as the GARMIN Approach 6 have started to be “must have” equipment. As technology continues to grow in this area, smart phones, watches, and devices that voice the distance are becoming even more common place. As long as the device does not provide course conditions such as wind and elevation changes, it is legal for use in a tournament.

Distance finding devices are good for golf. They help all golfers, regardless of skill level, with course management, speed of play, and club selection. Of the two categories of devices, the GPS gets my vote as the better of the two. It provides accurate distances on blind shots, significantly helps when playing a course for the first time, and can measure the distance from one point to another. Overall, GPS devices are the way of the future.

Worst Technology Advancement: Innovation

Innovation is an overly used word. It is defined as the act of innovating; introduction of new things or methods. There is no question that golf paradigm shifts have occurred due to innovation. The innovation of steel (then graphite) shafts, metal heads, golf ball design, etc. are innovative changes that have actually shaped the golfing industry. Today, innovation is the most overused word in golf.

When a major manufacturer makes a minor change (which they try to pass off as a technological change) to their club – it is called innovative. New innovative ways to swing a club, lower your score, or fix your golfing woes pop up everyday and disappear just as quick. Even if someone wanted to keep up with all the “so called innovative changes” they could not….unless they were extremely rich and had unlimited time.

It is perfectly understandable that manufacturers continue to try and develop the best equipment for the average golfer, however it is unlikely that new innovative equipment can be developed every six months that will dramatically change the face of golf. The cost of buying new innovative equipment, in my opinion, is hurting the golf industry! There is a point where feeling the need to purchase new equipment will scare off new players, due to the costs involved; the difficulty is determining what that cost is!

What is considered the best and worst advancements in golf in the past 10 years, varies from person to person. It is challenging to pinpoint which are the best and the worst. For me, the best is distance finding devices; the worst is innovation.

What do you think are best and worst golf advancements in the past 10 years?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!