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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

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Author: Mike Wyman Article source: Used with author's permission.

New Golf Equipment An

Unfair Advantage?

There's been a lot of talk this year about some of the recent technological advancements in golf equipment. A few have suggested that the new clubs and balls make up for a lack of skill by many golfers. I disagree and here is why. The main people affected by the new technologies are the professional golfers themselves. As a recreational golfer, I more than welcome any advancement that allows me to keep my ball out of the woods. Throw in a ball that I can hit even farther and I'm quite pleased. The problem, some say, is the professionals. The courses are tamed much easier than in the past and the equipment makes up for some lack of skill. The truth is that as we move forward and make improvements on past products, we all move forward. Tiger Woods has access to the very same equipment that you or I can use as long as we want to pay for it. That levels the playing field in such a way as to eliminate any perceived unfair advantage Tiger has. The real show of skill is the ability to consistently play well, day after day, year after year using the same or similar equipment as everyone else. With respect to the length of the golf courses themselves, it again comes down the fact that when a competition is being held, all the golfers are playing the same venue. So, if in fact one golfer can reach the green on a Par 4 in one shot, so be it. That just shows he can hit the ball farther with more accuracy than his competitors using similar equipment. It is likely that a more unfair advantage is allowed when drastic weather changes affect a tournament than equipment. Sometimes a 7am tee time is much better due to lack of wind than one at 3 in the afternoon. Is it fair that the guy or gal teeing off at 3pm is forced to contend with a much stiffer wind? As with everything, there is a limit and an extreme that will eventually come to a head. It wouldn't be very enjoyable if the equipment gets so good that every professional golfer can consistently drive the ball onto a green 400 yards away. I agree there should be some limits but we haven't reached them yet and are a ways off from doing so. All in all, I think the new advances are great for the recreational golfer. As a spectator, it is really something to watch a professional hit the ball so far. As a golfer, it is even more special to smack the ball 250 yards down the middle ourselves.
Mike Wyman is co-owner of and


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