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What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
If the newer club technology is so good...........why hasnt the national average handicap dropped for decades? Think I'm kidding?.... go look for yourselves. The national average handicap for men hasn't changed since the 1960's.

People get sucked in every year on the newest, latest, greatest, longest, most forgiving,...etc. etc. etc.

The avid golfer needs to wake up and put their time into practice, and learning to get around the course .......... instead of making the club makers rich.

I'll probably get slammed for this post....... but facts are facts.
post #2 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

any self respectable golfer who knows what he's doing should know this by now. Then there's the guy who recently posted up a photo of his bag with brand new Nike gear lol. Or the guy who has to change drivers every year because it "suits his swing better"

However, I do believe in is shaft technology advancements. I think with the way graphite shafts are made now, it's safe to say that the selection of different optimized graphite shafts have made hitting the driver or fairway woods much easier. Atleast my swing agrees after switching from a steel shaft 3wood to a graphite shaft.

What I don't believe is that my old Mizuno TZoid Pro II irons are any shittier than my Callaway X-forged irons.
They both get the job done and I'm not losing any distance or control over it.

but hey, its fun to buy new equipment :)
post #3 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

I think shaft selection matters, ball selection has a bit to do with it as well. And I'm fairly certain amateurs hit it farther than in the 60s. But I think a good swing is a good swing, no matter what decade.
post #4 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

Originally Posted by JWL1957 View Post
If the newer club technology is so good...........why hasnt the national average handicap dropped for decades? Think I'm kidding?.... go look for yourselves. The national average handicap for men hasn't changed since the 1960's.

People get sucked in every year on the newest, latest, greatest, longest, most forgiving,...etc. etc. etc.

The avid golfer needs to wake up and put their time into practice, and learning to get around the course .......... instead of making the club makers rich.

I'll probably get slammed for this post....... but facts are facts.
The average handicap index is dropping, but not by much. For every new golfer, one quits (or dies).

@ golfro - I'd never be accused in 1e6 years of being a swoosh fanboy, but that bag of Nike sticks was simply @#$ beautiful.
post #5 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

Originally Posted by sean_miller View Post
The average handicap index is dropping, but not by much. For every new golfer, one quits (or dies).

@ golfro - I'd never be accused in 1e6 years of being a swoosh fanboy, but that bag of Nike sticks was simply @#$ beautiful.
I agree, its a nice set :)
but it just screams of fan boy to me to buy that much brand new Nike gear. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they really are that great...
I have a friend who cycles through a brand new set almost every year. Titleists one year, then he buys a brand new Mizuno set, brand new Callaway set, Nike, etc etc. He's convinced that each set suits his swing better after being fitted for them. But odd how his handicap doesn't seem to budge in the past 3 years :)

On a related note - I was recently shopping at a nearby Nike outlet store and damn it to hell they had dri-fit golf polo shirts on sale for $29 each. I picked up 3 of them. They are ridiculously comfortable, makes my nipples tingle when a breeze goes by. That along with my Nike shorts and Nike shoes, I'm bordering on looking like a fan boy.
post #6 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

The main reason the handicaps aren't lower today is that the courses have kept up with the changing technology. The courses are much longer and tougher now and it's reflected in the course ratings. As is with pretty much anyone that has played golf for a long period of time, I'm better now than I was ten of fifteen years ago. I only played off and on for 8-10 years after high school and the technology today allows me to hit the ball 10% further. Of course if the place you're playing is 10% longer it's a wash. With the technology today it's easier to play well but you still have to put the time in just as you did 50 years ago.
post #7 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

I don't think it is any big secret. It is standard business. If you build it, they will buy. If people didn't buy a new driver twice a year because they are told it is the latest, greatest thing, then they wouldn't make as many. I fall in the opinion of a good swing can hit anything, as long as the shaft is correct. I love demo days becuase I get to try stuff with different shafts. I don't think the head (irons anyway) has a ton to do with it. I can hit any iron head as long as you put in a DG X100 shaft or a PX 6.0 or 6.5. I agree with the shaft comments. If the shaft fits your swing properly, any club can be hit well.

A club can make some people a little better, probably becuase it matches what they are trying to do better. I have a 15 year old 3-wood, and a 7 year old driver. In the time I have had them, I took a bunch of lessons to retool my swing. I hit both of them further and straighter now than I did when I first got them. It didn't have anything to with the club, just my swing.

Originally Posted by golfro View Post
What I don't believe is that my old Mizuno TZoid Pro II irons are any shittier than my Callaway X-forged irons.
They both get the job done and I'm not losing any distance or control over it.
I loved those Pro II's. Those were great clubs. I used them for several years. Only reason why I got new clubs was becuase the grooves were shot on a few of them.
post #8 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

Originally Posted by Harry SasQuatch View Post
The main reason the handicaps aren't lower today is that the courses have kept up with the changing technology. The courses are much longer and tougher now and it's reflected in the course ratings. As is with pretty much anyone that has played golf for a long period of time, I'm better now than I was ten of fifteen years ago. I only played off and on for 8-10 years after high school and the technology today allows me to hit the ball 10% further. Of course if the place you're playing is 10% longer it's a wash. With the technology today it's easier to play well but you still have to put the time in just as you did 50 years ago.
Good thought. I never really looked at it that way but now that I take a closer look it is true.

It can be reflected by my home course. They are moving back multiple tee boxes and lengthening a few holes.
post #9 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

What the overall average doesn't show is the enjoyment of the game, I don't know if it factors in consistency or scoring variation.

I know I can get a ball today that feels like a tour ball used to feel with the durability of a range ball. Likewise I "could" get clubs today that are a whole lot friendlier to my hands with mis-hits than older (and my current set to some extent) are.

New courses might be developed to play to the newer equipment, but older courses don't rebuild too often. I'm guessing or wondering if the slope/rating is adjusted instead.

Regardless, I'd still like to get new clubs. 8-)
post #10 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

Originally Posted by JWL1957 View Post
If the newer club technology is so good...........why hasnt the national average handicap dropped for decades? Think I'm kidding?.... go look for yourselves. The national average handicap for men hasn't changed since the 1960's.

People get sucked in every year on the newest, latest, greatest, longest, most forgiving,...etc. etc. etc.

The avid golfer needs to wake up and put their time into practice, and learning to get around the course .......... instead of making the club makers rich.

I'll probably get slammed for this post....... but facts are facts.
No, your point is very well taken. The courses have kept up to some degree, but the same egotisticall stupidity still remains. People outright refuse to play what's best for them, and to swing like they have been taught to swing. I would say like 80% of golfers swing the club with their hands and arms, which is the real problem.
post #11 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

Golf does a lot of "back to the future."

During the 1960s and early 1970s, I sometimes carried a 1940-era niblick (9 iron) with a fake wooden shaft on it (wood laminated metal shaft). The clubface was an oval about 4" wide and 3" deep, and was about 1/8 inch thick.

I called it my "ax wedge." You didn't need to see the all the ball in the rough - just know it's location - and you could knock the thing back into play. Leading edge was almost sharp, so you could cut through a half-inch sapling w/o disrupting your swing too much. Great for getting your ball out of iceplant.

Anyway, when the "oversized irons" came out in the late 80s early 90s, I said, that's oversized? I'll show you oversized.

My brother has Burner driver and fairway woods from several years ago with what appears to be varying shaft thickness. I told him to hold fast, in case a company whose initials are TM comes out with ... a ... bubble-shafted driver. (omigosh, what if it happened...)

I'm hoping someone comes out with Classic irons: SW = 56*, PW = 52*, 9i=48* //// This would mean a 24* 3i that someone above 10 HDCP might be able to hit. Cobra beware!
Would be risky for that company, because then no one would need Gap Wedges. Just make a single 60* Lob for those who wanted one.

Also, we could pay people to carry our bag and watch the ball for us as we walked the course, improving golfer health and speed of play. We could call them caddies.
post #12 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

I would venture the key factors that are better today, equipment-wise, are: the ball, metal woods, grass mowers and greens, and shaft technology, with a little nod for better forgings and iron technology. I've read we have increased driving distance about 29 yards on average. So, courses are made longer, irons are made with stronger lofts, and players are in better physical shape... and the result is scores are only marginally better. The game has changed but not changed that much -- except golf balls today don't fly crazily or spin wildly out of control, we carry three or four wedges, and more putts run true. The question remains, is the game itself better or is golf always golf and as challenging today as yester-year. Personally I like today's version of golf, but on a relative basis, I think those with great skills in the past are relatively the same as those with great skills of today -- just different. However, if any of us had a time machine and we could take our equipment (endless ball supply, too) back a half century or more, we would be greatly advantaged.

As a little historical note... when I was 8 or 9 years old I got my first set of clubs (hand-me-downs from a neighbor,) and the irons had.... bambo shafts. That's right, the stuff to make huts in the jungle or fishing poles. Bambo was a pretty good shaft material and worked just fine. It was light and stiff and frankly did not hit shots much differently from my first set of Wilson Staffs a couple of years later. But the golf balls were fragile... one little thin shot and you ruined your golf ball. Today is a lot better come to think about it. If any of you had to play the ball that Hogan played (or Nelson, or any of the old greats) you would find it very challenging.
post #13 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

I wish the lofts went back up...

My irons are as follows,

4-i: 21 degrees
5-i: 24 degrees
6-i: 27 degrees
7-i: 31 degrees
8-i: 35 degrees
9-i: 40 degrees
PW: 45 degrees
AW: 50 degrees
SW: 55 degrees
LW: 60 degrees
post #14 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

I know that. When I set out to build my bag of clubs, I started by researching the hot clubs of 3-4 years ago. What I got is listed in my signature, minus the hybrids that I haven't received yet. The driver, hybrids, irons, and wedge were were hot-listed items 3-4 years ago and a couple have since had new models come out. I've gotten almost all of them off eBay for what is likely a total of 1/3 or even 1/4 what I would've paid in '06 or '07 for them. And I bet you it's very unlikely I'd be any better off by paying 3 times as much for the latest and greatest from those product lines.

The MX-19 irons were replaced by the MX-100 irons. Yes, they're a little different. Personally, I didn't see much of a difference in them. They were nice and very forgiving. No way I'd pay 3x as much for the new ones. I got the driver for $60, the MSRP was $500. It was forgiving and seems like a good driver for me to learn with. I couldn't be that much better off by paying $350+ for the latest club. Etc.

I can't think of another sport in which equipment spending is so prevalent. I wonder what would happen if one year the public gives up and sales drop by 40 or 50%.
post #15 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

I guess my theory is there is a LOT more golfers now. More so so golfers applying for a handicap indexs then ever before. (for $35 you can sign up for one, in the past I am pretty sure you had to be a member of country club or a member of a men's club. Means in general better golfers.) Courses might have gotten tougher. (lots of new courses in the last 50 years) I wonder about the slope ratings on older courses (never thought about it until brought up above in a post) have they been dropped?

Bottom line short game technology has not really changed all that much. I am sure with some practice a 50 year old putter would not be that big of a hindrance to me the average golfer.
post #16 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

Originally Posted by JWL1957 View Post

I'll probably get slammed for this post....... but facts are facts.
You are ignoring a few important facts, one of which is that a lot of people like buying giolf clubs. It's their money, so why shouldn't they? Secondly, it's hardly a secret, everyone knows that it's the indian not the arrow, but because people are after a quick fix, they're happy to spend it on clubs, even though it's pretty obvious that they'd be better off buying lessons. But...people have free choice and free will. No one is forcing anyone to buy new gear, and you wouldn't have to probe very deeply for people to admit that they know that new clubs aren't the answer.
I don't take any notice of people's handicaps anyway unless they are competition players who play and score by the rules. I'm sick of reading posts by people who claim to have x handicap, but clearly have never played 18 holes of golf by the rules. The "average national handicap" in the US would be a meaningless and arbitrary number, because so many players manage their own handicaps and are ignorant of the rules, claiming gimmes and mulligans and ignoring stroke and distance rules, etc. If every round was scored fairly, I'd be guessing that the average would be 6 shots higher than it is. At least.
post #17 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

Originally Posted by golfro View Post

On a related note - I was recently shopping at a nearby Nike outlet store and damn it to hell they had dri-fit golf polo shirts on sale for $29 each. I picked up 3 of them. They are ridiculously comfortable, makes my nipples tingle when a breeze goes by. That along with my Nike shorts and Nike shoes, I'm bordering on looking like a fan boy.
LOL I wear Nike Dry-Fit Polo's and get the same nipple tingle LMAO.
I also wear Nike Dry-Fit trousers/shorts but not Nike shoes, I do play 2 Nike clubs though and have a Nike Bag, nowt to do with being a fanboy (love that) the woods were the best I tried, the bag had 14 full length dividers and the clothes as you said are the most comfotable I have played in
post #18 of 55

Re: What the USGA and club manufacturers dont want you to know

Originally Posted by BonoVox View Post
I guess my theory is there is a LOT more golfers now.
In the US between 2000 & 2005, the number of golfers dropped over 10% and the number of golfers that payed 25 rounds or more per year dropped 33%. The attrition rate is larger than the rate of new golfers.
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