It seems obvious to state that design is integral to a sport, with so many of the materials and tools players have at their disposal being produced to high specifications. However, the lengths to which designers have gone to push the game forward may surprise you.
Here are just some of the ingenious ways that design has taken the sport of golf to the next level.
Golf clubs and especially drivers have become so good at what they are designed to do that some golf courses and governing bodies have even been quoted as saying that players are, in their opinion, able to drive the ball ‘too far,’ wrecking the intended aesthetic of some courses. This hasn’t been helped by musclebound players like Tiger Woods beating PGA Tour and Major odds, by playing outrageous shots previously impossible with old-style clubs.
That hasn’t stopped club makers from pushing on, employing wind-tunnel technology to reduce drag and increase swing speed. Some top of the range drivers even come with adaptable settings, allowing players to swap out weights which attach to certain areas of the club. Everything from clubs to balls are the subject of intense design processes.
How much technology and design can possibly be crammed into something the size of a golf ball, I hear you ask? Well, quite a lot. Most top-level balls the pros use are comprised of no less than five components, which all work together to give the player maximum propulsion.
Typically, golf balls are white with dimples all over, but this too is being challenged, with manufacturers providing graphics that allow you to locate your ball better as well as line up your next iron shot or putt.
Perhaps the most extensively designed aspect of anything involved in the game of golf are the courses themselves, with players often travelling halfway around the world simply to sample a course created by a designer.
Innovations in this field are developing at a dizzying pace, especially as courses are expected to be more water efficient and environmentally friendly in general.
Although many a golf expert would disagree, it is quite easy to argue that the most improved piece of golfing equipment is the golf shoe. Once upon a time they were so flat you could feel the studs kneading the soles of your feet and if you swung too hard you felt like your ankle might snap.
Thankfully design teams got to work and have incorporated everything from gel cushioned soles to high-grade waterproofing, so your tootsies stay dry and blister free.