To say that I have a lot of experience in the golf industry would be an understatement for sure. To give you some sense of how long I have been making my living from this great game “woods” were actually made of wood… irons didn’t have cavity backs… shafts were made from steel… and golf balls had wound centers and balata covers. Now some people would say that I’m old, but I prefer to say deeply experienced.
Technology has certainly changed the game. Golf clubs are much more forgiving with the advent of perimeter weighting for the club heads, lightweight composite materials for the shafts allowing clubs to be lighter and longer to produce more distance, and hybrids take the place of the long irons (which no one could hit anyway) giving golfers more options in their bag. The golf ball has evolved as well. As kids we used to like taking the covers off revealing the rubber band wound insides of the ball and watching it careen around the room as those rubber bands unwound. Now golf balls are essentially solid cores with a variety of cover materials which affect spin.
With all of those advancements on the equipment side we now depend on technology to tell us what club and ball is best for our particular game. Launch monitors have become the norm for capturing data as it pertains to club head speed, squarness of hit, launch angle, and spin rates. This information can tell us what shaft flex, lie angle, set configuration, and even type of golf ball will best fit our game. GPS enabled smart phone apps can tell us how far we are from the pin…or to the hazard. And special accessories that attach to the club can even track your round shot by shot.
When I first started teaching and coaching the game I had to rely on my eyes to tell me everything. I remember when I got my first video camera. It was revolutionary. Being able to show my student what I was seeing and then to record the changes for them to see was amazing. Albeit it was quite cumbersome to haul the equipment to the practice tee for the filming then to take the VHS tape to the VCR to play it back on the monitor. Today I simply take my phone or tablet to the lesson tee and video in real time right there. The app I use allows me to draw lines, compare before and after side by side, and to email the lesson along with comments to my client.
For sure technology has had an impact on my ability to teach the game, and I can’t wait to see what advances are made over the next few years but the one thing that hasn’t changed in all of my years as a coach is the fact that the game is a singular experience. What I mean by that is that each individual approaches the game in their own unique way. What motivates a person to play the game is the key to understanding how to create experiences that will keep them engaged. I say this all the time “golf is simple…the people who play it are complicated” so with all of the technology and the data that it produces we can’t lose sight of the human element of the game. I look forward to sharing how we address the “internal” game through imap and being here as your guide to a better game.