Certain elements of the game of golf have gotten easier from when I was learning the game as a young kid. Equipment has gotten better, and golf balls now travel farther than ever. However, neither of these comes to mind when I think about the difference in golf today versus the days of my youth.
What I think about is the power of the range finder.
Range finders have dummied up the game of golf. I remember growing up with three yardage markers available on every hole. We had a red plate in the middle of the fairway representing 100 yards, and a blue plate representing 200 yards.
My favorite though was the 150-yard bush on the side of each fairway. That’s right — a bush.
These markers were somewhat helpful when you hit a solid shot down your fairway. But, once you hit a stray shot into an adjacent fairway, you were in for a heck of a good time trying to figure out your distance to the hole.
I remember standing outside of my fairway with both arms raised to my side attempting to determine the yardage distance based on my angle from the fairway. It was basically a geometry equation, which I was never great at.
As crazy as it may sound, I miss playing golf that way. Back then, we had to use our arms and our eyes to gauge distance. Nowadays, your exact distance to the hole requires nothing more than the push of a button on your range finder.
Just writing this article makes me feel like a grumpy old man when it comes to golf. \
I love technology, and I recognize that today’s players are greater because of the tools at their disposal. However, it drives me absolutely crazy when I watch a player miss their fairway by 50 yards, only to ultimately learn the exact yardage for their approach shot into the green.
Where’s the math? Where is the guessing? It no longer exists.
Most tournaments these days allow players to use range finders during the round. One positive aspect of this is that the pace of play is vastly improved as a result of these range finders. What I would like to see is a rule that prohibits the use of range finders if you are outside of your own fairway.
This would place a greater emphasis on hitting accurate shots, and a good shot would be rewarded as a result. I know this will never happen, but I think it would be a good idea.
If you do rely on a range finder to learn your exact yardage while on the golf course, I would strongly suggest picking up a geometry book and studying numbers as they relate to certain angles.
After all, you never know when your range finder batteries might burn out midway through your round.