By Foursum Golf’s Matt Eldridge
The Evolution of Equipment to Improve Your Golf Game
Over the past couple of centuries, much of the equipment used for golfing has changed significantly. From the very earliest golf clubs made of wood to the updated dimpled ball. We have seen tweaks and adjustments to help improve our game and standardize golf equipment.
With the refinement of so much of the equipment, there is one area that was relatively untouched until recently. Let’s look at how all these shifts have shaped the way the game is played today and which area is changing the most now.
The Golf Ball
Original golf balls were made of wood and beginning between the 14th and 16th centuries, more expensive golf balls were made of a leather skin stuffed with down feathers. Around the mid-1800s, a natural latex material started to be used to create more inexpensive golf balls.
The dimples we recognize in golf balls today were patented in 1910, but didn’t become popular until the 1940s after the patents expired opening distribution up to more manufacturers.
The method of construction and materials used greatly affect the ball’s playing characteristics such as distance, trajectory, spin and feel. Harder materials, such as Surlyn, usually result in the ball’s traveling longer distances, while softer covers, such as Urethane, tend to generate higher spin, more “feel” and greater stopping potential.
The Golf Club
The first golf clubs are very different from those we’re familiar with today. The earliest clubs were made of wood that was readily available in the area. As the golf ball evolved and developed, so did the clubs along with it. As the golf ball became more durable so did the clubs, which brought along the introduction of iron headed clubs.
Golf clubs were not only adapted with changes in the game and to the ball itself, but also to keep up with social demands. When the Church of Scotland banned golf on Sundays, golfers who weren’t willing to take a day off developed Sabbath Sticks. The clubs were designed to look like walking sticks, with the club head fitting into the golfer’s palm, ready to be reversed for a few quick strokes when the coast was clear.
While golf clubs and balls evolved at relatively the same speed there is one piece of golf equipment that hasn’t changed much at all until recently. The scorecard has remained relatively untouched, with many golfers still using the pencil and paper approach. While we can argue that this is not a piece of golf “equipment” it is certainly an important part of each game.
The Score Card
Golf clubs and balls have undergone changes to keep up with the social and technical changes to the game. In recent years, the scorecard has received an overhaul as well. The growing use of smartphones and tablets allows players to have options to keep score electronically.
Apps such as Foursum are completely changing the game by enabling golfers to easily record, archive and analyze a wide array of statistics. This allows for instant handicap calculations, easier identification of strengths and weaknesses and so much more. Golfers from coast to coast can quickly compare stats and compete on thousands of North American courses.
How have you changed the equipment you use in your golf game as your ability and skill have changed? In what areas can you continue to improve your game? To learn more about how you can enhance your golf experience, download the Foursum app in the iTunes store now.