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Leaps and bounds of technology in golf

February 3, 2014

For the last decade technology has infiltrated the world of sport, revolutionising the way we play, train for, and interact with them. Golf has not been immune to this evolution and here we look at some of the biggest technological developments that the sport has seen, from GPS to going green:

  • The technology that has had the biggest impact on golf is 'Moment of Inertia' (MOI) technology that measures an object's resistance to a change in rotational direction. A high MOI can lead to a more steady shot off the tee, even if there hasn't been optimum connection. Not only has this led to better performing drivers (and growth in their size) but also the creation of finer and more precise putters.

  • The golf ball itself has become a work of art as engineers strive to create a ball which allows for the cleanest shot while inflicting the least damage upon a golfer's hands. Modern balls are made up of a soft centre surrounded by a hard middle section with a plastic covering on the outside. This layered design means that the ball feels soft when gently hit but hard when connecting with a strong swing. More and more often balls are being tailored for players with a certain swing speed.

  • Tees have also gone under the knife. Today golfers can buy eco-tees that are not only more durable than the wooden ones, but are made from recycled material which lessens the impact of deflection.

  • Other technological advances come at the hands of M2M (machine-to-machine) technology; technology that allows machines to communicate with each other and act independently of human interaction. M2M technology has been developed to both track ball trajectories and record and analyse golf swings, doing away with the need to lug the video camera to the golf course. With instant analysis, players can evaluate and track their swing and the kind of shots each swing produces. M2M technology is the most prolific technology in sport, used extensively in auto racing and athletics. M2M from Deutsche Telekom , as well as exploring technology in sectors such as health and energy, is one company making strides in the world of sport, now offering M2M technology for recreational running, allowing joggers to record their distance and pace in real time.

  • GPS technology is used in skiing to locate injured sportsmen. It has now being used in golf in the form of GPS system for caddies. Gadgets such as the Sky Caddie SG5 can measure the distance to the green, any hazards on the hole and, like goal-line technology and cricket's Third Umpire, may well be the kindling for a future debate on technology in golf. For now though, we are happy to take the personalised balls and eco-tees, and keep on swinging.




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