By Adam Drake
When it comes to creating sports, the Scots were not the cleverest people. Indeed, my ancestors’ games usually involved throwing an object from one place to another. Toss a piece of wood – that’s caber tossing. Fling a stone – suddenly we have the shotput. Throw a hammer – and, well, that’s actually just called the hammer throw.
When it came to golf, the Scots got atypically inventive… sort of. The basics were to hit a stone with a stick around a park. Do this in the fewest amount of hits and you win. Literally, that’s golf. That’s it. Or, rather, it would be had the sport not exploded into how we know it today. Sure, the basics are still there, but the actual skill involved in golf is filled with minutia, with delicate balance, with finesse. And the only way to improve these factors – outside of intense training – is through technology.
We’re going to look at some of the best, newest, and our personal favorite golf technologies that are making this “long walk in a park” a bit easier and more fun to play.
My friend Marc likes to loudly call out how many yards it is to the pin on each stroke of a hole. This isn’t because he’s loud, obnoxious (debatable), or given to moments of number-based outbursts. No, he purchased a very expensive GPS watch that came pre-loaded with thousands of golf courses. At each point along the course, he knows exactly how many yards it is to the hole. This isn’t entirely necessary when one can actually see the pin, but it’s actually very helpful when the hole is located behind a dogleg or you’re hitting from the trees. Check out these GPS watches to see how far you need to hit the ball for a hole-in-one.
I’ll be the first to admit that my golf swing is horrible. It’s so bad that my father-in-law not only questions my manhood, but also loudly questions what his daughter is doing with a man who can’t learn the basic movements of a golf swing. The fact is: golf swings are hard to master. Luckily, there are many different swing trainers that can help iron out the issues. From physical tools that help you practice your form, to cameras that analyze data points along your swing, these products are sure to help you get the basics down.
If you can drive a golf cart, you have the physical endurance to play golf. Well, that’s mostly true. I used to agree with that statement, but in my later years I’ve come to discover that arm and shoulder strength allows you to have a more controlled swing. Also, having suffered several bouts of “golf elbow,” I now realize it’s more than just an excuse to head into the clubhouse early for some beers. These fitness aids will not only help to improve your game, but also eliminate some of the pain associated with the game.
The winter can be long and miserable, especially for those of us in the Northeast. Luckily, there’s a way to keep your golf skills from rusting away while playing (virtually) on some of the greatest courses in the world. Golf simulators involve hitting a real golf ball with real clubs into a screen on which is projected a golf course. Once hit, the simulator tracks the ball flight and gives a fairly accurate representation of your hit. Simulator clubs are popping up all over the area, and they’re a fantastic way to keep your golf game in shape during the cold winter months.
Adam Drake is Creative Director for the Sweat Life, a former four-year varsity rower for the University of Miami, and currently rows for the Maritime Rowing Club. He is the co-founder of Kayak for a Cause, a charity event based in Connecticut. As a writer, Adam has developed television shows for Comedy Central, Bad Boy Worldwide, and Sky, written ad campaigns for clients such as Bacardi, Starbucks, Dove Men+Care, and HBO, and was a contributor to the pop culture site YesButNoButYes. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, boating, and working on his tremendous collection of unfinished novels.