Golf Technology Can be Fun and Helpful, but Something’s Lost
I could spend the next two hours telling you all the joys of technology, and all the things I appreciate living with in this century, beginning with not having to ride a horse all the time. Closer to golf, I’m more than good with carts, but with our advanced state of technology, it’s getting a little space agey for me. I’m starting to think that tech companies are offering to do for my game what I should do for myself, even if I’m not as good at it as they are. I recently ran across a list of possible golf gifts for Christmas, and the emphasis of the sell concerned me. It wasn’t the crazy stuff like riding to the green on a drone or a mechanized skateboard, but the point of it all still sounded off course.
The first was a 12-pack of Titleist golf balls, which is fine – great ball, even with the $40 price tag. However, it wasn’t about the quality of the ball any more. It was more about how you can buy that 12-pack personalized, making it easier to find, or so they say. Thinking of the era in which I grew up, there were only four players per group. We started with “I’m playing a red Titleist 4” and so on. We never had much trouble. The technology of the actual ball? I have no complaints. That is what’s important.
Next came the Blast Golf Swing Analyzer – the what? Apparently, this nifty piece of technology attaches to your club and tells you all sorts of things, and all for $149. Impressive, but for me, it is more like golf to go take a lesson with a person who plays a lot better than I do. I’m not trying to fly the Millenium Falcon, just get a good swing going. In another metaphor, I don’t want to feel like the Borg, playing with mechanical attachments. And speaking of attachments, what about the JBL Clip 2 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker, clipped to the bag for around $42? I did the music thing for a living, and go to the course partly to not think about that or hear it – not my music, not yours. Talk about bringing work to the golf course. Nature already brought its own music, and that’s all I want to hear.
The Eyeline Golf Putting Alignment Mirror helps you line up better. Even at $27, that’s not fair. Lining up is my responsibility, for good or ill. It further troubles me that this gizmo is accompanied by the phrase, “Never miss a putt again!” Sorry, but the Eyeline would have to be 25th century technology or better in order to make that guarantee, especially in my case. Let’s try out the Bushnell Tour V4 Shift Golf Laser Rangefinder for $385. This seems to create the same problem for me as too much television. How is my brain going to improve itself in depth perception if a gadget does it for me within the accurate range of one yard from the pin? I realize that I still have to swing the club, but I no longer have to have good club selection judgment. Tell me how far, and what club for hitting it – no problem.
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A simpler piece of technology was almost cute in comparison, but it still doesn’t do for me what I would wish. A $25 custom-engraved divot repair tool is nice, but I already know how to fix divots. What I need is this little gadget on a long shaft so I don’t have to bend over all the way to take care of it. The gopher club cover from Caddyshack is fun, and doesn’t scream futuristic technology, but my divots are deep enough, and I don’t need to be reminded by the presence of burrowing creatures. Besides, if I’m going to use mascot club covers, it will probably be an Oregon Duck, like my bag. “The Office” golf balls with the Dunder Mifflin imprint? I don’t get the joke, and am not convinced that the balls are better than Titleist. What’s up with that? However, the Top Golf Gift Card of $48 is a great idea. With that, maybe I could go get a lesson, buy time on the range, a tank of gas to spend the afternoon at the chipping green, or some such primitive thing that I have always done. So, Merry Christmas, golfers far and wide, but don’t sacrifice your golfing life entirely at the altar of technology. Line up that putt, judge the distance to the pin, and listen to those birds and rustling trees while you’re walking to the next shot