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Could Length Literally Kill Golfers?


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#1 homosap

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 04:53 AM

Here, and elsewhere, I've read many threads on the distance issue and whether courses should be lengthened or toughened. However I've come across a new angle on the debate, or new to me, and wanted to get some reaction/opinion. I have always seen golf as a game of skill first and an athletic sport second(neither of which I possess enough of). There has always been a challenge between youth and strength v age and experience, but it does seem that the balance has swung too far in favour of sheer power. My concern with the idea of just continuously adding length is the longer term effect it could have. Golf will become more and more like other sports where injuries abound and performance drugs start to creep in. Many years ago I watched a documentary on American Football and was horrified by the injuries sustained. It seemed that only the lucky even got through college without multiple operations. The longer term effects were even more devasting with the onset of crippling arthritis at early ages. We all know what the driven will put their bodies through for success but the young just don't listen, or maybe really believe. I have visions of promising golfers crippled, and old before their time, in their 20's. It is not a big leap from now to a golf where supreme talent is supplanted by the super fit, athletic, robotic, mediocrity. Before anyone says it, I know Tiger is both, but you don't get many like him and he has already been under the knife.

Al 

#2 KennyLee

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 07:15 AM

I'll throw in my $.02...... I think your worries are unfounded.  First of all, more distance has always been sought after by players of any era.......this is not a new phenomena.  Jack and Arnie & Company swung just as hard as Phil and Tiger & Company........they were just going at an out-of-round wound ball with a tiny wood head at the end of a steel shaft......versus the technology of all the above that the current players have at their disposal today.  The lengthening of courses is "reactive," if you will, to the huge distance gains that we've seen over the last decade or so.  The guys aren't swinging harder or taxing their bodies any more than they ever have.....they're just banging it further due to modern advances in technology......and in some cases, possibly some improved fitness as well. Another thing is that distance.....and the golf swing in general.....is more about flexibility and timing than brute strength.  I could cite multiple examples of this....but I'm sure you get the point. And I hate to say it......but drawing a comparison to American football?  Football is an extremely violent game by design.  The collisions on every play are brutal......especially at the highest levels where only the strongest, biggest and fastest reside.  But having played both (no football since high school.....thank goodness ;)) I can say there is no.....nor will there ever be any comparison in the types of injuries sustained in golf and football.  There will always be "golf injuries"......Tiger's knee, Furyk's wrist.....Nicklaus had an artificial hip put in a few years ago, which I'm sure was as a result of all those decades of swinging the club quite violently......but never reaching the magnitude of what you're concerned with.
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