• Gerrit van Rooyen

Golfing Tech Talks - Episode 2

I had a lot of fun learning about some interesting golfing tech last week. So I thought I would do another post on some more things I have found. Last week I mostly looked at ways of improving your game by using simulations etc, but I was thinking, are there things that help your game after you are already beyond the beginner level? I am thinking of something like the shark suit, famously used by Olympic swimmers to make them swim faster by reducing drag, just like the skin of a shark does. Was there a club or something used in golf ever designed with this biomechanical enhancement in mind?


Image from Stanford Medical University showing the areas of consideration in bio-mechanic research for a typical golf swing
















Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately as the shark suit was banned in Olympic sport, it is a bit harder to design something that would suit all players. From what I have read, not all good swings are created equal. Many golfers approach the ball differently and while there is plenty of debate about which kind of stroke is better, it seems even the pros use different styles to good effect. So what can be made more efficiently then?


We have already looked at some simulators last time, but what can be used on the course? Apparently quite a lot. When you think about it, the golfer's entire outfit needs to be considered as it can be quite a long game, so comfort is key. Shoes, gloves, clothes, etc. have all had considerable funding poured into it to make the game more enjoyable. Below are some links to some of the “best” with some explanation of why. I found it quite interesting what was important for golfers when choosing clothing. For example, I would not even have considered spiked shoes, but it makes sense now.


Shoes


Gloves


As you can see from those, nothing too exciting in terms of modern tech, it's more about comfort and whether or not you prefer to use a spiked shoe for your style of play. 

Golf clubs on the other hand…




The last time I genuinely looked at some golf clubs (apart from when I was working on the website for Wellington Golf Tours), they had a very similar look. All the putters looked the same, the wood and iron were the only terms I really knew and they were pretty easy to identify. Today, however, a new club claiming to be the best in its category comes out pretty much monthly! Not to mention the number of hybrid clubs designed as well.


The reason for this is how popular the game has become. It is both fun to play but also has a huge fanbase of people wanting to watch the sport. So the money pours in for the tech to grow. Every little aspect of the club is scrutinized in the lab to make sure everything from drag to weight to contact angle with the ball is exactly perfect. Some designers add grooves to create a specific drag as you swing, while others change the shape of the head to try and create a different contact point, all claiming theirs is the best. It makes me feel a bit sorry for someone who wants to be professional and then has to decide between all these types of clubs. 


But then I remember, I too have my hobbies and sport and I know full well that we spend where we can depending on how much we want to invest in it. In the end, no matter where it is, it is about enjoying what we do and we get enough out of it at the end of the day. Then it is surely worth it!


Golf Anywhere! Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash

I hope you all had a great weekend and keep enjoying this great game I am learning so much about. Regular posts will start again this Friday as I had a bit of a holiday last week and that always messes with my scheduling!


As always, if there is anything specific you would like to read about from my perspective, let me know.