For all that we’ve gained through technology in golf the past three decades we have also given some things up.
Everything is ‘better’ now. The clubs and balls we play with and the shoes and gloves we wear. All are demonstrably better – if the measure is efficiency and performance.
But to get these gains what have we given up? What are the things about golf that are lost when results alone are the measure of value?
For the most part they are intangibles, things that can stir the soul and help golf make the leap from mere hobby or recreation to genuine passion.
At the NSW Open this past week an exchange a year in the making brought these questions to the fore.
With so few tournaments on the Australian schedule the opportunities to reacquaint oneself with media colleagues are limited.
At this event last year, former Tour player and PGA Member turned columnist and radio broadcaster Larry Canning discovered my affection for vintage golf clubs.
"In the past, players would search for years to find a club that felt just right then keep said club until it physically broke. That process sometimes took decades."
Generously, Larry offered to pass on some old woods from his Tour days that he had at home and on Friday at Twin Creeks he made good on his promise.
Though personally chuffed to receive the booty, more interesting was the reaction the MacGregor Eye-O-Matic and Cleveland Classic drivers created in the media centre.
Barely a person seemed able to walk past the clubs without picking them up and giving them a waggle.
Groups of grown men gathered around them and fawned over them like small children in a lolly shop.
It would be easy to dismiss the obvious affection all had for these relics of a bygone era as simply nostalgia.
And there was undoubtedly an element of that in the same way a Nokia 3310 would create a stir at a table of iPhone X users.
But there was something else at play also, something difficult to put voice to.
More than just golf clubs the old persimmon woods were works of craftsmanship, almost art.
In the past, players would search for years to find a club that felt just right then keep said club until it physically broke. That process sometimes took decades.
That’s not necessary with new equipment, obviously, because modern clubs continue to constantly evolve and improve.
They make our scores better and the game easier and for that every golfer is thankful.
But when one stumbles across some equipment of the past, it’s hard not to remember that while we’re better off with modern gear, we’ve also given something up.
So thanks Larry Canning for helping to remind me. And thanks from everybody else at Twin Creeks, too.
Rod Morri is founder of the TalkinGolf Podcast Network, home of the State of the Game, Good Good, TalkinGolf History and Feed The Ball podcasts.
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