• October 31, 2014


Don’t let the new GPS system in your cart depress you just because you found out those three hundred yard drives you were crushing were actually only two ten. Drive your cart another hundred and look back toward the tee and appreciate that a bunch of skinny guys on all the major tours hit the ball that far on a regular basis. Realize that they are hitting wedges into most holes, and turning par fives into par fours.

Staggering, right? Then why haven’t scores plummeted? Why isn’t sixty the new seventy? Back in the day tour pros hit mid-irons into many par fours. When do we see that today? Par fives were for the most part three shot holes. The greens sucked back then, hairy things that wouldn’t pass for fringe today. Tee boxes were uneven. Fairways were patchy. Guys smoked and hit the bar instead of the barbells.

Are players today really better than the pros of yore? What would Lee Trevino’s scoring average have been if he had hit wedge everywhere? The pros today are not better than the guys who came before them. There are just more of them. Advancements in equipment and agronomy have leveled the playing field and allowed guys with what once would have been considered marginal talent, a ticket to the big show. Does anyone out there remember the anonymous rumblings when Mark Calcavecchia hit the scene in the eighties? Remember the disparaging remarks regarding his talent and how his results were a product of the new fangled perimeter weighted, investment cast PINGS he was playing? Was it fair to dismiss him? Since then there has been a technological sprint for equipment enhancement. Some would say enough is enough.

The modern swing is based on the fool proof construction of the equipment; two levers and swing hard. Timing, though still important, takes a back seat to speed. When once it was imperative to swing in a more flowing, almost elegant motion in order to let the torqued out shafts catch up and fall into place, it is now a wonder that the young players of today can keep their internal organs within their thoracic cavities when they swing.

To the young guys I would recommend going out to their dad’s garage and digging out his old irons from the seventies and swing ‘em. Heads the size of butter knives. Shafts that were for the most part mismatched. Take them out and see what you can do with them. Maybe there is an old MacGregor Tourney ball or two you could play with. That’s what Nicklaus used. Those things were barely round. Hell, those old clubs and balls were a giant leap forward in the technology department compared to what the guys played with thirty years before then.

BTW Byron Nelson averaged 68.06 strokes per round in 1945.

Am I alone in this assessment? Am I correct? Or am I a bitter, reactionary old dinosaur? Go ahead and give it to me one way or the other. Weigh in. I’m waiting.