Imagine a world without USGA or R&A golf club specs holding back us hackers
I wonder what would happen if golf technology were really, truly left unchecked. Would Tiger Woods be aiming, literally, for the moon? Would I break 80?
I mean, without the USGA and Royal and Ancient butting in, what would the golfing techno-wizards be able to pull off?
I've been to the PGA Merchandise Show. I've seen what the eggheads and slide rule dorks can do, even under harness.
In other words, what would golf be like if there were no rules, technologically speaking?
Would you have club heads the size of bowling balls, made of space-age materials lighter than feathers, but stronger than steel? And if so, how far would I be able to hit it? That's all I really want to know.
Would they be able to make an iron I could hit straight 99 percent of the time? Would they be able to make one I could draw in tight, over a lake, to a pin tucked just behind a gaping bunker, every time I really wanted it, every time I really needed it?
Could they make a putter that could, by itself, overcome my jangled nerves and turn me into Randolph Scott staring down a horse thief, steely-eyed, fearless and imperturbable? Maybe by releasing some sort of chemical nerve-agent through the shaft and into my respiratory system?
I'm having these thoughts, of course, because of the recent rulings of the USGA and Royal Ancient regarding square grooves. When I got the press release from the USGA, I thought I had been enveloped in a time warp.
The square groove controversy dates back about two decades ago. Remember when Ping took the PGA Tour to court after the tour banned square grooves in elite competition?
The case lasted three years and eventually square grooves were essentially grandfathered in. Now, square grooves will be banned in elite competition after Jan. 1, 2009, and the ruling bodies want all manufacturers to cease making clubs that employ square groove technology eventually.
The decision won't affect most of us amateurs, because most of can't afford the type of urethane-covered golf balls the pros use.
Still, doesn't it make you wonder what the scientists could do for your golf game if they didn't have to worry about the stodgy, old fuddy-duds in the ruling bodies? To hell with Jack Nicklaus, I'd play with a hybrid/light saber if it would help me break 80, and never feel a twinge of guilt.
California knows golf resorts. The Golden State practiced relaxation as a religion long before the rest of the country caught on. Plush accommodations, on-call masseuses, fine wines in the cellar and knockout golf courses just outside your door became high-life staples here. For your pampering and golfing pleasure, TravelGolf.com has ranked the best of the best in California golf resorts. There are plenty of surprises, starting with No. 1. It's Pebble Beach, right? Nope.
Of all the marsh golf courses in the Southeast, from Florida north through Myrtle Beach and the Carolinas, the Hampton Club on St. Simons Island, Ga., may be the best, in terms of the views. That's because, at the Hampton Club, the views are from the marsh. Yes, you are literally golfing in the marsh surrounding St. Simons Island, out there with the ospreys, bald eagles, woodpeckers and other marsh critters. It's a unique, unforgettable experience, Tim McDonald writes.
Private-jet travel is still not the stuff of the masses, but it's not exclusive to the John Travolta/Tom Cruise crowd either. Upper-middle-class golfers are taking private jets to their golf vacations, Chris Baldwin reports for TravelGolf.com's Luxury Golfer section. It's still a luxury, mind you - just not a pie-in-the-sky unattainable one anymore.