I’ve watched a lot of golf on TV lately while I waited for a summer cold to die away. I’ve seen some good golf, some bad golf, and an incredible number of ads for gadgets to improve my play. I’d like to have seen an ad for a cure for the common cold, but I had to settle for better golf through technology.
My favorite gadget was a laser range finder. I’ve had a laser for years, but it just tells me the distance to the target. It snaps right on the target, and does the job. I like it fine.
The new one I saw advertised was an advanced model that adjusted for elevation changes. Leaving rule issues aside, that’s no big technological trick these days. But this model was even more advanced—it adjusted the yardage for temperature and atmospheric pressure!
Frankly, it’s never occurred to me to worry about how atmospheric pressure affects how far my 7 iron goes. Uphill or downhill matters and the ball goes farther in hot weather? Sure. We all know that, even if we don’t try to calibrate it exactly. Missing the center of the club face makes all those other adjustments unimportant, so I just try to hit the dang thing solidly with a little guesswork on everything else. I defy anyone to show me a swing that is so perfectly calibrated that atmospheric pressure matters.
I also noticed that an ad for a green reading app had disappeared. I was just waiting for someone to pull out a phone before they putted, so I was a little disappointed. The reaction of the folks I typically play with would have been highly entertaining, to say the least.
I got curious and checked to see if the app was still available. I can’t answer that question because I got distracted by a website advertising a pistol-grip style laser device that you point at the hole and get an aim point for your putt. It was a high-tech version of the feel it with your feet and aim with a few fingers method.
The best part was the instructions. They warned that learning to aim the device properly was a tough skill to master and you should start out by taking a long level to the practice green, lay the level on the hole, and learn to aim the gun at the level. I could imagine doing this in private, but just barely.
Next, they suggested taking a 1-foot level with you out on the course so you wouldn’t attract as much attention as you would with a long level. I want to see it when someone pulls out a level, lays it over the hole, and aims a laser gun down the line of their putt. I don’t want to play with that person, but I’d like to see it.
I can guarantee no one was worrying about atmospheric pressure or laying a level on the green during the recent Wednesday noon game at the Flying L. The players might have been thinking about the heat, but I’m willing to bet that their thoughts weren’t about how the heat affected ball flight. They were wondering about how Texas July heat affected consciousness.
The team of Mike Dexter, Chip Aragones, Rick Swett, and Joe Keifer factored in all the variables and swept to victory on the front and back 9’s with scores of 10 and 8 under par, respectively. Dexter won low gross with 74. Aragones won low net in the first flight and Swett won low net in the second flight when both shot 67. It’s no wonder their team won everything. Larry Henson and Walter Stroman held up the honor of the rest of the field by winning closest to the pin prizes.