Again, in the words of famed futurist, Jim Murray, ...the
panel thinks the game itself has to be rescued from its technology.
What happens when a Woods is handed a bag full of instruments that
turn a 600-yard hole into a 3-wood and a wedge? Two- and 3-irons
already are obsolete. Will they be followed by 4-, 5-, 6- and 7-irons?
Thirty-five years ago only half a dozen golfers could
hit tee shots 250 yards. Today, the tour average is over 280. There
are more than a dozen golfers who regularly hit it out there 315
yards or more.
Where will they find the real estate to host the game
when technology mandates 450-yard drives, balls that seek the hole
and compensate for breaks in the green on their own?
We have extensively quoted the predictions of these sports seers,
as an echo of this six year old clarion call. The danger that super
technology poses to the sport of golf is more omnipresent than ever
before. Like the rampage of a Terminator on tour, you see signs
of it from the clubhouse, through the fairways to the greens.
The future is now more than ever
If you thought sports writers with conscience were just crying
wolf back in 1998, here's proof to the contrary. In August 2001
the powers in charge of the Masters announced that Augusta National
was in the process of radical landscape change. "They've lengthened
seven par 4s and two par 5s, added new tees and increased potential
yardage by a little more than 300 yards." Leonard Shapiro writes
in "The Lords of Golf will go to any length," Washington Post, August
15, 2001. He quotes Davis Love III as saying, "They're not lengthening
them a little bit, they're lengthening them by a lot...That just
means we're going to have to push the limits of technology and we're
going to have to get stronger and learn to hit it even farther."
He suggests that a kid learning golf today should not do anything
but focus on the power hits. Makes one wonder, when will all this
Distance in Golf Doesn't Matter:
A Special Commentary by Michael Logsdon -
...today I wasn't up for doing anything active,
and what could be less active than watching golf on TV. There
were a couple things that bothered me about the advertising.
Most noticeably, Tiger Woods was in about half of the ads,
which seemed a little excessive, but what do I know. Most
of the rest of the ads had pros saying, "I use this club,"
and that's supposed to make me think, "If Ernie Els uses that
club, then maybe I should too." Unfortunately, there is a
horrible logical flaw in that advertising scheme: to need
clubs similar to what the pros use, I would have to be at
the same ability level as the pros. Your average weekend hack
really doesn't need to buy extra-stiff shaft blades and balata
But the main theme in the ads was distance. Distance,
distance, distance. This club ads ten yards to your drives,
this ball goes five yards farther than other balls, this golf
glove magically improves distance. The main problem with this
obsession on distance is that distance on your drive doesn't
matter much. A 260 yard drive isn't that much better than
a 220 yard drive: it all comes down to iron play, chipping,
and putting.- Michael
Logsdon, Distance in Golf Doesn't Matter (May 23, 2004)
Past, present and future of Pasture Golf
What the panel of seers did not see in that crystal ball, was that
if golf is to be saved, it is up to an underground army of Pasture
Golfers. We are the ones moved by the fact that Bobby Jones would
not recognize the Augusta course he loved if he saw it today. We
are the ones who are tired of the trend of manicured courses, high
priced greens fees and the insult of super technological golf clubs
and balls that lower your score while stealing away the essence
of the game along with your life savings. Like Henry
David Thoreau who lived and wrote at Walden Pond, or Paul
Gauguin who left civilization to follow his muse and paint in Tahiti,
we live and play the natural game of golf, a return to golf's grassroots
which is pasture golf. Just as the writings of Thoreau and paintings
of Gauguin have survived to enlighten our age, the glory of the
game of golf will continue into the 21st Century and beyond. Thanks
to the great sports writers and thinkers of the 20th Century and
the Pasture Golfers of today.