Where is Golf Headed?
The game of golf is hundreds of years old and it has spread around the globe and become immensely popular…
While the game has influenced the world, the world has influenced the game as well.
Equipment has improved, courses changed, and players adapted. With so much change, what does the future hold for the game of golf?
We definitely don’t have a crystal ball or time machine, so the exact future is unknown. However, we can certainly make a few predictions.
Advancements in technology have drastically changed golf equipment. Manufacturing has transitioned from an art, with carving wooden clubs and shafts, to a science with engineering and computer modeling.
The future of golf club design certainly involves Artificial Intelligence (AI). Some manufacturers, such as Callaway, have already employed machine learning algorithms to design aspects of their newest clubs. Engineers are able to specify a set of specific parameters and a computer will try hundreds, thousands, or even millions of tries (learning each time) to create the perfect club. This process is currently exploding throughout the engineering world. Formula 1 race teams are utilizing it extensively. The companies with the resources will be following Callaway’s lead extremely soon.
These advancements in design will be coupled with new breakthroughs in material science. Just as carbon fiber and titanium have taken over the world of golf the past two decades, so will future materials. New alloys, composite, paints, and finishes are constantly being developed. It’s likely you’ll own a club one day that includes materials not even invented yet.
Furthermore, machining processes like CNC mills, and 3D printing will be refined further. As the cost of these processes go down, it’ll open the door to more unique and custom options. Perhaps one day, you’ll be able to order a set of irons with an entirely unique and individual design that is custom fit to you.
In addition, golf balls will advance as well. Cheaper manufacturing could allow for multi layer balls to fall in price. In contrast, tighter tolerances will enable tour level balls to be even more precise and consistent.
Other aspects of golf equipment will improve. Range finders will become more common, more inexpensive, and more feature dense. Golf bags will continue to decrease in weight and increase durability. Golf shoes will fit and feel better. Clothing will increase in flexibility and heat regulation.
Golf equipment is not the only thing changing with time. Golf courses have changed as well. Recently built courses are much longer than old courses. The average player can drive the ball much farther.
More 9 hole courses will be built as well. The percentage of 9 hole rounds played compared to 18 holes is surging in recent years. Many players simply don’t have the time to play an entire 18 in the modern age. Courses are quick to recognize change and we believe new courses will place a much greater emphasis on 9 hole courses compared to years past.
We also predict that a major change in our future will be the continual separation of driving ranges from mainstream golf. Companies like TopGolf have created unique and easily accessible golf ranges. These ranges attract many people who otherwise wouldn’t play the game. As TopGolf spreads throughout the country we predict the number of “golfers” who solely hit on the range will increase.
We’ve covered nearly everything else but how will golfers themselves change? Largely physical and emotional health will have a greater importance than before. The average golfer 100 years ago worried little about their physical fitness. Today it’s known that physical health improves your game and decreases the risk of injury. Likewise, proper emotional control is vital on the course. People are finally taking emotional health seriously and we see this trend continuing.
Finally, we hope that golf is played by a growing number of people around the globe. Golf’s history is littered with chapters of seclusion, rejection, and negativity. Currently many of those chapters are being rewritten as golf becomes a game for anyone and everyone.
If just one of our predictions turns true, then we certainly hope that it’s this one!