Now Trending: Golf Changes We Can Believe In
Written by Daniel M
For a game that’s been around lo these many centuries, golf continues to evolve at a remarkable pace.
Some changes fall under the everything-old-is-new-again category. (Persimmon woods will soon make a comeback – trust us!) Other times golf adopts ideas from the world at large (see golf shoes, below). And some innovations are simply golf-driven attempts to roust the game from its own inertia. (Anyone “Tee It Forward” this summer?)
Change is good – sometimes. Here are a few examples of golf trends we like.
Brown Is Beautiful
Brown is the new green. Golf goes brown.
Write your own catchphrase, but the fact is a number of factors – economic, environmental and artistic – are pushing American courses to reduce treatment on their fairways and greens. The result is a firmer, faster playing surface reminiscent of the British Isles.
Long enthralled with the Augusta National “green is good” aesthetic, U.S. courses pursued the lushest possible conditions. That meant watering, watering everywhere and applying massive doses of fertilizer. But facing shrinking revenues and stricter regulations, many courses have altered maintenance practices to cut costs, water consumption and pollution.
At the same time, a new breed of old-school architects -- like Tom Doak and the team of Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw – have brought the artistry of the ground game to these shores. Most notably, to the Oregon coast and its incomparable Bandon Dunes Resort.
So brush up your bump-and-run, 21st-century golfers. You’re gonna need it.
Shorter, Faster, Easier
Golf courses continue to get longer in an effort to combat the prodigious distance gains made in recent years. Problem is, the average golfer can’t hit it much farther than he did 10 years ago – yet many insist on playing from tees their skill sets can’t manage.
All that does is make the game less enjoyable and more time-consuming than it should be. This summer, the USGA and PGA of America teamed up to introduce the Tee It Forward campaign, encouraging golfers to play one tee box up from where they’d normally hit.
Depending on whom you ask, the initiative has been a roaring success or just another fizzling attempt to make golf faster and more fun. The Weekend Golf Warrior blog weighed in with some interesting thoughts.
There have been other, similar efforts undertaken recently, including Jack “Cayman Ball” Nicklaus’ 12-hole tourneys with 8-inch cups, and the big PowerPlay Golf rollout.
Here’s hoping something sticks.
Taking It to the Street
Ever wish you could skip the shoe change and head to the first tee in what you’re wearing, but didn’t like the idea of sporting sneakers on the course?
Your time has come.
Kick-started by Fred Couple’s 2010 Masters run in Ecco’s uber-casual Street Premiere models, golf shoemakers have gotten hip to the notion of non-formal footwear. Adidas recently hopped on board while new companies including Kikkor and TRUE Linkswear have sprung up to claim a corner of this niche.
The latter has made the biggest strides, thanks to PGA Tour fashion maven Ryan Moore and reams of positive reviews. Like this one from the GolfBlogger.
We haven’t gotten a pair yet ourselves, but we plan to be kickin’ it new school very soon.