Golf Digest Videos

How Technology Affects Your Golf Game

There has been monumental growth in golf club technology that has shaped the modern game. Three golfers try three different eras of clubs and see how their performance compares. Special thanks to TaylorMade, Play Hickory, Knickerdog and Fairmont Grand del Mar.

Released on 5/1/2019

Transcript

00:00
[upbeat music]
00:01
My name is Bronson Wright, I'm a zero handicap.
00:04
My name's Lee Dupont, I'm a 13.2 handicap
00:07
at this current moment.
00:08
My name's Blake Cooney and my handicap's
00:10
right around an 18.
00:12
[upbeat drum music]
00:24
The improvements in golf equipment technology
00:27
over the last hundred years
00:28
has been nothing short of monumental.
00:30
[ding]
00:31
What's the benefit to everyday golfers?
00:33
It's more distance, more forgiveness, straighter shots.
00:37
[fast paced music]
00:41
Feel like I'll perform all right,
00:42
should be a good day.
00:44
Little weary about putting those old ones in my hand.
00:47
I mean, I think if we get in to some of the older clubs,
00:49
unless we hit it right on the button,
00:51
it's just not gonna be a good result.
00:54
[ding]
00:58
Okay.
01:00
[Mike] Modern drivers of today are
01:01
mostly made from titanium, and many of them
01:04
have composite materials on the crown to make them lighter.
01:07
[Blake] That's new.
01:08
[Mike] One of the great things about today's technology
01:10
is that it's really geared toward the everyday player
01:13
as much as the tour player.
01:15
How far?
01:16
[Cameraman] Yeah.
01:17
I mean, the machine says it ran out of room, so.
01:20
[Cameraman] Oh.
01:21
[Mike] They also have highly springy faces,
01:24
and they put weight in specific areas
01:26
that add forgiveness.
01:27
It's more distance, more forgiveness, straighter shots.
01:30
[Blake] Pop fly to deep center field.
01:34
Number one, we ready?
01:37
[upbeat music]
01:38
[Mike] A lot of the technology in drivers
01:39
has trickled down in to those irons.
01:42
Today there are clubs designed specifically
01:44
for these players.
01:45
Thick bottoms, lots of weight down low,
01:48
and then lightweight shafts to help you generate
01:50
the speed you need.
01:52
Saved the best for last.
01:53
That's like a Selena song or something like that.
02:02
[guitar music]
02:03
[Mike] You know, it's easy to overlook the putter
02:05
when it comes to golf club design.
02:07
A hundred years ago, it was a very thin piece of metal
02:09
on a piece of wood.
02:11
Fast forward to today, you have big mallets
02:14
with lots of momentum of inertia.
02:16
You also have all the ability to put alignment features
02:19
and lines on it.
02:20
What you have today is a monumental leap
02:23
compared to what you had 40 years ago.
02:25
No!
02:30
Putts didn't go so well, didn't drop one in.
02:32
The driver was kinda all over the board,
02:33
but the irons felt the best.
02:35
Just the technology, how good that driver felt
02:37
in my hand, how much forgiveness it had.
02:39
That's gonna have a huge impact on this next round.
02:42
I think they will get much worse
02:44
than what we saw in round one.
02:46
[record rewinding]
02:47
[ding]
02:48
[birds chirping]
02:50
Wow.
02:53
[Lee] I'm ready.
02:54
[Blake] Little brighter than I'm used to.
02:56
[Lee] I was a Calvin Klein underwear model
02:57
back in my day.
02:58
Don't have any white pants, so this is a first
03:00
in the white pant category.
03:04
Really interested to see some numbers on this thing.
03:07
[Mike] You know, 30, 40 years ago in equipment,
03:09
if you hit it on the center of the face,
03:11
you would still get a fairly good result.
03:13
But the miss-hits were punished disproportionately.
03:17
I lost 50 yards and that one felt pretty good.
03:19
[Mike] They're going to be playing a driver
03:21
that's a much smaller head than we have today.
03:23
That means less forgiveness.
03:25
They're also using steel shafts instead of graphite.
03:28
That robs you of swing speed.
03:30
That's gonna equate to about a 10 yard loss.
03:32
Slower and harder to swing.
03:34
Looks like I'm losing about 10 miles per hour.
03:41
[Blake] That's pretty good. Sorry, buddy.
03:46
[exciting music]
03:50
[Mike] Back then, golf equipment design
03:51
was really more art than it was science.
03:54
It's once the science came into play, that the miss-hit
03:57
became very much mitigated.
03:59
That's 25 yards shorter than the other one.
04:02
Pretty much as good as I can hit it, I think.
04:10
Really tells you, this club.
04:11
It really talks to ya.
04:12
Lot of feedback.
04:16
Give myself a fighting chance here.
04:20
[Mike] The clubs of the 1970s and early 1980s,
04:23
the primary thing then is, they were cutting edge.
04:26
Really the first time perimeter weighting was used
04:28
on a putter to add a little forgiveness.
04:31
Was someone moving on my backstroke over here?
04:33
I feel like somebody moved a little bit.
04:43
I think a lot of that was luck,
04:45
because the club was not helping me.
04:49
The forgiveness on the newer drivers
04:50
versus this thing here, night and day.
04:52
It really showed your weaknesses.
04:54
If you miss-hit it, it really showed.
04:55
I feel like this next round, he's probably gonna break
04:58
one of those persimmon clubs or something, with how hard he,
05:00
or he swings hard, thump it in the ground.
05:02
[Bronson laughing]
05:03
I would back everyone with cameras back a little bit,
05:06
'cause my ball's gonna go anywhere, I don't know.
05:08
[rewinding record]
05:10
[ding]
05:11
[birds chirping]
05:14
[jazzy music]
05:19
They say I'm an old soul, so I kinda feel right at home.
05:22
They're a little tight in some spots,
05:24
and loose in others.
05:26
I look like a polished turd, maybe.
05:31
[samba music]
05:35
That was a really good shot by me.
05:36
The club felt terrible, though.
05:38
Kinda hurt a little bit.
05:42
[Bronson] The feel is terrible, and no forgiveness.
05:45
They must've chewed bubble gum
05:47
and then licked this thing, too,
05:48
'cause my hands are all sticky.
05:50
Oh my goodness.
05:52
You guys serious?
05:53
This is what they played with?
05:57
More weight in the shaft.
05:59
The grip is almost twice the size of a normal grip,
06:01
it feels like.
06:06
It's cool.
06:07
Big appreciation to the guys who hit it well.
06:12
Well, here we go.
06:15
For starters, I really don't know how they hit
06:18
those persimmon woods with hickory shafts.
06:23
How far they used to hit this back in the day?
06:25
No!
06:26
Come on!
06:27
Break my heart.
06:28
[Mike] Heads were really small.
06:30
And then you have absolutely no spring-like effect
06:33
off of the club.
06:34
The feel and the result were definitely not the same.
06:38
[Mike] A big hunk of wood, you're not gonna get
06:40
any flex at all.
06:41
By the time the club gets to the ball,
06:42
it feels different than the modern club.
06:46
Did you put lotion on before you used this?
06:48
Geez.
06:49
[Mike] Well the irons from a hundred years ago
06:51
were designs that looked something like a spatula.
06:55
Do you have a close-up of this thing?
06:56
It's like a gardening tool.
07:00
[Blake] I might get there, though.
07:01
And they kept coming back the next day,
07:03
with that sound.
07:04
Holy moly.
07:07
I don't know really what this is,
07:08
so I have no way to measure how far it's going.
07:11
Hopefully it's like a wedge.
07:13
And you really had to have a sweeping swing
07:15
to make those effective at all.
07:17
I mean, it's hitting face, pretty close to center.
07:20
Just feels like garbage.
07:21
[Mike] Playing with clubs like
07:22
that was pretty much a miracle.
07:24
[Blake] That really doesn't feel good.
07:25
I'm done with that.
07:26
I never wanna see this again.
07:28
Keep this thing?
07:29
I do need firewood tonight, so this will keep me warm.
07:34
How did we pick this spot?
07:38
You better pan over and watch their faces
07:40
just drowned out, as I put all five of these in
07:43
right now with this.
07:46
[Cameraman] Too much gas on it.
07:47
I just can't see where the face is a square.
07:53
Oh, boys.
07:54
Did you guys move the spot on that?
07:57
[Cameraman] That's it right there.
07:59
Now we know.
08:00
He's not moving.
08:01
I'm not moving.
08:02
I'm keeping my legs buckled like this.
08:04
I'm hunching over.
08:05
Maybe this is why they did that, huh?
08:11
Catch the edge, you dirty rat.
08:12
Oh, I'm happy I don't have to hit that ever again.
08:15
To me, I can't see where it's square.
08:17
Look at that.
08:23
I was glad I was born in this century, first of all.
08:25
That iron was like a gardening tool.
08:27
I really did not know what I was doing with it.
08:30
The driver was kinda fun to hit.
08:32
To me, these were crazy.
08:33
They were just a fraction of a second behind on all of 'em,
08:35
even the putter.
08:36
Technology is your friend, for sure.
08:39
I mean, I couldn't believe the difference
08:40
hitting one club to the next.
08:42
The technology in the misses is just so polarizing
08:45
on these older clubs that there's just
08:47
a zero margin for error.
08:48
To see those guys post the scores they did
08:50
back in the day with these things,
08:52
kudos to those guys.
08:53
Those guys were, imagine what they would've done today
08:55
with the equipment they have now.
08:57
It would've been crazy.
09:00
[Blake] Well that was fun.
09:00
What did you think of the hickory sticks?
09:01
[Bronson] Never again.
09:02
[Blake] Off to the bar?
09:04
[Lee] Never, ever.
09:05
[Blake] Who owes you money?
09:06
Who won that putting game?
09:06
[Bronson] I think we know who won the putting game.
09:08
[Blake] I don't think it was me.
09:09
[Bronson] Four for five.
09:12
[upbeat music]
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