Steve Hummer penned this piece on technology and the LPGA Tour, with a few noteworthy quotes and anecdotes.
LPGA rookie Brittany Lang is in love. And it shows in that little extra bounce in her step as she hikes it down the fairway. Way down the fairway.
"The new technology is hot," she said.Oh I don't know, maybe it was the agronomy that changed. You know, faster fairways. No? I agree.
Speaking early in the season, during the Florida's Natural Charity Championship at Eagle's Landing, Lang was just getting adjusted to professional life and some of the new toys at her disposal. Currently sixth in the LPGA in average driving distance (271.9 yards), she is part of a new generation combining greater strength and the latest supercharging of club and ball to add oomph to the women's game.
"By the time Q [qualifying] school ended and the time I started playing on the Tour this year, which was like three months, I worked on my swing. But I switched equipment to the newer stuff, and I was hitting my driver 15 to 20 yards farther."
The impact of technology on women's golf is largely superficial, though. Because women's tees are set ahead of the men's, they are easily adjusted as players add length without altering the character of a course. Unlike the men's tour, no one is worried about these players rendering classic old tracks obsolete.Tell that to Peter Kostis!
The debate over how the new club and ball designs are fundamentally altering the soul of golf remains pretty much the property of the PGA Tour. Today's golf clubs are bigger, lighter and made of materials --- such as titanium --- that cause the ball to go farther. Vast improvements have also been made with the ball, increasing its distance and playability.
"I think that technology has helped the top male pro more than it has anybody in the game," said Karrie Webb, a 31-time LPGA winner. "It's supposed to be helping the average amateur golfer. I don't think they are getting the benefit out of the knowledge. They are just buying it all."
Karrie, Karrie...we need to get you some talking points!
The average distance of the top 10 drivers on the LPGA Tour has climbed steadily over the past 10 years, from 252.7 yards in 1996 to 274.7 this season. That is part of the package of younger players and the increased excitement around the Tour.
Well, and the branding intiatives that have brought it all together.