Column: Golf tech helping not only the golfers

Hopefully as you are reading this the Great Ice Age of 2013 is ending and the glaciers are receding to northern Canada where they are supposed to be, so we can finally think golf!

Today our article will be about a couple of the technology advancements that we have seen invade our great sport.

I am by no means a tech expert, but we are starting to see some great advancements that will make golf easier and more enjoyable for golfers of all levels.

Larry Norland, Director of Golf at Green Haven Golf Course
Larry Norland, Director of Golf at Green Haven Golf Course

First of all let’s look at the new drivers. One of the greatest inventions in golf clubs over the last few years is the advent of the adjustable driver. I think these are a huge step forward, but not for the reasons that most people think of. The ability to adjust the loft and face angle is kind of cool, but let’s face it it’s not going to help the average golfer break 70. The great benefit to these drivers is the ability for the local golf shop to fit the driver to the golfer without having the need for 500 different clubs in inventory. A local golf shop that knows their golfers can have a couple of adjustable heads, 5 or 6 of the available shafts and tailor a demo club to fit their swing and give the player the opportunity to try a club on the course.

I know this has happened to a few of you: you go to the golf store, try the club in the net or on a range and hit the ever loving tar out of it. Then you get to the course and it just doesn’t fit your game. Well, now a course has the ability to tailor a club to your swing and turn you loose on the course. I tell all of our golfers to use the club for a few rounds and at some point you are going to know if it is the driver for you or not. If you are spending $300 or more for a driver, shouldn’t the club adjust to you instead of you adjusting to the club?

The second advancement is the proliferation of all the smart phone apps that a golfer can get for free or practically free. If you search golf on the ITunes store you will get over 4,500 apps that are specifically designed for golf. These apps range from GPS apps to apps that will let you record your swing and compare it to one of the PGA Tour pros. Maybe the coolest app I ran across was the app that allowed me to watch the Masters live right on my Iphone, wow! I am sure as we move forward many of the apps will fade away, but the ones that will be left have the ability to positively effect how you learn and play the game.

Finally technology has crept into the local tournament administration. At Green Haven we now have the ability to project PGA Tour type leader boards throughout the clubhouse and directly to the smart phones of our participants. Think about the fun of playing the last few holes of the club championship and being aware that you need to par the last 3 holes to win. Isn’t that the dream we all had in our backyard as kids? Knowing the pressure is on us to perform and coming through with the key shots to win your flight or the event? Fun stuff!

I am sure that technology will give us many silly things over the next few years, but I also think it will give us some great things that will make golf more current to the new players. Check it all out and see you on the course!

One last thing, a testament to the fact that golf is ageless; my 86 year old father got a hole in one this last week. Cool!

Larry Norland is the Director of Golf at Green Haven Golf Course in Anoka.