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Golf's Digital Divide

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the pay-to-play dept.

228

theodp writes "Are $50,000 simulators and $4,500 sensor vests driving a wedge between golf's haves and have-nots? That's the question posed by the WSJ, who reports that a new generation of expensive high-tech tools is stoking a costly arms race among golfers looking for an edge in a sport that already has an elitist reputation."

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And lo, the day has come.... (5, Funny)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169746)

CyberSteroids for the men with little balls.

boohoo (0)

AhuraMazda (856057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169933)

Fine!! I'll spend $50000 to put it in the hole... ohh wait!

I just hope the same never happens to... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15170241)

...other poor people's sports, such as yachting and skiing.

No way (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169748)

You mean rich folks have an advantage? Damn. ll my life, there has been equality between the haves and the have nots. Especially in golf. Now, that is falling down like a house of cards.

My life is over. Anyone want my user id before I go to end it all?

Re:No way (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169765)

My life is over. Anyone want my user id before I go to end it all?

No thanks. It's not worth anything.

Re:No way (0)

topham (32406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169829)

Just what everyone wants, a user id with 6 digits in it.

Why?

Mine isn't much better, but at least it's under 32K.

Re:No way (2, Insightful)

dl107227 (632747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169908)

no it's not.

Re:No way (1)

Rectal Prolapse (32159) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169937)

Sure it is! 32K = 32768. ;)

Hmmm, my ID is lower than his.

Re:No way (2, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170002)

With a name like "Rectal Prolapse" we don't need to see your UID to know that you're from a bygone era where goatse pics & links flourished in the forum that is /.

Re:No way (4, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169987)

Some people need to get a hobby. Oh, wait....

There's a saying among photographers: the amateur says "gee, I wish I had better equipment." The professional says "gee, I wish I had more time." The master says "gee, I wish I had better light."

Applies to lots of things, including golf, except you might have to change the light thing. Or maybe not.

Re:No way (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170026)

Applies to lots of things, including golf, except you might have to change the light thing. Or maybe not.
They make contact lenses so you can change "the light thing".

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70154-0.htm l [wired.com]
"The lenses come in amber ..., and grey-green for sports like golf, where the background environment is what's visually important. Both colors filter out a significant amount of overall light, but they also sharpen and improve contrast, so they have a brightening effect, says Alan Reichow, who invented the lenses and is a sports vision consultant for Nike."

There have been sunglasses around for a long time that can do this, but a contact lense provides the most minimal distortion possible.

Re:No way (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170051)

So... you're saying spending $4,500 on an accessory is only for the "rich" and the $50K simulator, they are available at your local golf center to use for a nominal fee.

Buddy... if this is your idea of being "rich", I wonder if you're not serving latte's at Starbucks for a living.

Re:No way (1)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170129)

I was just about to say... pay a few bucks and use one at a golf place nearby.

I am hardly rich and play golf. You don't need a lot of money to play, get a friend to borrow clubs and go out to the driving range for a day. Although spending money on a really nice driver and taking that to the range is a ton of fun. /sucks at golf

Re:No way (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170371)

try being middle class and explaining away a $4500 golf gizmo to the old lady sometime, douchebag.

Running (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170336)

This is why I like to run. Well, one reason, anyway. As hobbies go its pretty good in and of itself - strengthening, restful, and a remarkably social activity. But more than that, its not a financial drain, or at least not a huge one. Its one of the few activites where money doesn't have a direct influence. Theres an indirect one in that rich people can afford to train all the time and not work, but that's going to be true almost everywhere in life.

Clothes - about $50 for an outfit (top/shorts/socks). 1-2 outfits per season will get you by, although you probably want more for convenience so that you're not washing them all the time.

Watches - not really needed, although $350 buys you about the most expensive running watch you can find (heartrate, GPS, computer sync, et cetera).

Shoes - figure on $80 every 350-400 miles or so for most decent mid-weight sets.

So... its not free, but its certainly not expensive. At least not compared to most other sports, from golf to lan party hardware (is that a sport?). There are no "per play" fees other than racking up mileage, but even many serious runners only spend about $10-12 per week on their shoes. Besides, you can run pretty much anywhere and have both a good time and a good workout.

To enter a race will cost you between $10-100 depending on the distance and the fanciness, but once you're in you'll be using exactly the same equipment as the elite runners from Kenya. At least, as far as anything you can purchase goes. Very few sports still have that distinction. Besides, unlike golfing where you really need to be on a course, if you're just looking for a nice way to spend 3 hours outside with your buddies you can go for a nice long run on the streets for free. Maybe a buck or two tucked away for some PowerAde but, hey, you'd probably be buying something to drink no matter what you're doing, right?

Swimming can be even cheaper as long as you're not using a wetsuit, assuming that you have access to a community pool. But don't even get me started on biking!

This Just In! (1)

246o1 (914193) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169760)

A game for rich people continues to be dominated by rich people!

Re:This Just In! (2, Funny)

Mathonwy (160184) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169782)

The problem with golf is that it is too subtle about being a "rich people game".

Thus, I propose a NEW sport, which I humbly name "money-ball".

The way it works is, you have a big bonfire. Throwing $20 into the bonfire gives you one point. The game continues until one side forfeits. Whoever has the most points at the end wins!

Fun for hours!

Re:This Just In! (2, Interesting)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169959)

Golf is always stereo typed as a rich white mans sport. While many Private $100,000+ country clubs have the snobby atmosphere, the public courses do not. My friend got into golf after hearing of Tiger Woods. He got me to go to a driving range one day after allot of convincing. Well I enjoyed it, and began to play more often. Im not an avid golfer but I do have a set of cheap second hand clubs for when we go play. We play the local par 3 courses, pitch and putts, driving ranges and even the various mini golf courses to have fun while working on our putt. Its fun but you also see allot of young and diverse people. Once on a pitch and putt course I saw a bunch of the most ghetto black kids you can imagine with their own equipment playing. Golf still has that snobby rich guy image attached to it but overall everyone enjoys the sport, you just do see it portrayted that way in the media.

Re:This Just In! (2, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170181)

everyone enjoys the sport
You're not playing right. If you don't spend at least 40% of your time cursing, you're either really lucky or really high. As it is, my "breaking 80" refers to that percent rather than the score.

Re:This Just In! (2, Insightful)

xavi62028 (877425) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169983)

but do these things actually help golfers that much? They may just be a way to suck money out of rich people who can afford to throw their money down the drain (or hole in this case) There are always things for rich people to try to save a stroke or two on their gamek, but determination will always win out

I am shocked... (4, Funny)

ScaryMonkey (886119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169766)

SHOCKED to hear that technology might be introducing the taint of elitism into the great Everyman's Sport that is golf.

Re:I am shocked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169798)

Is golf really a sport?

Walking around under the sun, not even carrying clubs... oooop, little swing here... exhausting!

Re:I am shocked... (1)

Copid (137416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169860)

As a bowler, I have to respond the same way I respond to that question when asked of my sport: Yes, it's a sport. However, the people who play it are not atheletes. Atheletes don't complain when playing makes them sweat, for example.

Re:I am shocked... (1)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170072)

I am reminded of the person who said, "Baseball is not a sport."

Good point, stamina does not come into play in golf, bowling, or baseball (except pitching). Still, these are valid games. I do enjoy bowling. Last time I bowled, I threw two strikes with a house ball and then started throwing gutterballs just to fit in. Suffice to say I haven't bowled since. Kind of a shame.

Re:I am shocked... (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170179)

It's a sport of skill, not of athleticism. I know all sports need some skill, but other sports balance skill and athleticism. In any sport of skill, you can increase your performance by spending more, whether it's for better equipment or expert coaching. The sensor vest sounds a lot like motion analysis [sportsmotion.com] . You can bet a lot of athletes use motion analysis at the top levels. The difference with golf is that hobbyists and amateurs often have a lot of money to throw at their game.

Depends on how you play it. (1)

Ignominious Cow Herd (540061) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170347)

Walk, carry the damn bag, swing hard. It's a sport. I'm tired and sweaty after 18 holes and ~6600 yards/meters. If you ride in a cart, smoke cigars and drink beer, it's just a game.

Re:I am shocked... (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170368)

Oh my goodness... Can Polo be far behind?

Golf sucks anyway (3, Insightful)

dbitch (553938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169771)

Someone had to say it first....

Re:Golf sucks anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169929)

Golf is for white trash who think they are middle class.

Doesn't help (4, Informative)

jimmyhat3939 (931746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169776)

The funny thing about this stuff is that, except at the super-elite level, it's not proven to help very much. And, even guys like Tiger Woods don't really use equipment like this all that much. They spend most of their practice time either putting or working on specific shot situations on a real course.

That's not to mention the fact that in golf a fair bit of the skill is in knowing what to do, not just how to do it.

You almost got the main point (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170031)

Sure there's a performance difference between crap gear and reasonable gear. There is far less performance difference between reasonable gear and the best gear. This applies to most sporting equipment. For example my $600 or so Sage fly rod is markedly better than a $50 Chinese bottom end job, but is probably not much better than a $200 rod or much worse than a $2000 rod.

If you're a Tiger woods then perhaps equipment that gives you an extra 1% edge is worth it, but most people would not tell the difference. The biggest success determining factors are ability and practice. Expensive kit does nothing unless you actually use it.

Marketers understand what drives buying for premium spending sports (golf, fly fishing,...). Most of the sportsmen don't have enough time to get out and practice sufficiently and feel a bit guilt about it. Being able to buy the toys helps alleviate that feeling of guilt rather than actually improving the game directly.

Re:You almost got the main point (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170131)

Just take a look at the ridiculously huge driver heads that are available now - guys will spend mega-$$$ to get an extra 15 yards on their drive, but in reality that has little to no benefit to their overall game. As they say, "drive for show, putt for dough."

Re:You almost got the main point (3, Interesting)

nate nice (672391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170262)

True to a point but not always. If you assume you're using your driver on 14 holes, then 15 * 14 = 210 total yards saved. This isn't a whole lot but on an average 5000 yard course, that shortens it by around 4%. Again, it's not a lot but it will maybe save you 2 strokes in that on those par 4's you might be driving the green instead of chipping. But as you pointed out, there are no guarantees.

Also, 15 yards can be the difference between using a 5 iron or a 4 iron. This makes a big difference for some people.

As for putting you're dead on of course. If these same people were really serious about improving their game by 7 strokes or so, they would spend at least an hour every day practicing a routine of puts. Or better yet, spend the money on a putting green for the backyard. It's the best way to improve your game. count how many 10' putts you miss in a game. You would probably be amazed.

Another thing with many of those huge drivers is they have a much larger sweet spot. This will keep you out of the woods a couple times as they are more "forgiving". This is a classic example of equipment improving a score instead of skill, prevalent in bowling as well (all the new cover stocks to improve hooking on oily lanes to create better pocket entry angle resulting in less 10 and 7 pins hanging around, etc).

The most amazing thing is the shafts people buy. So many people buy those ultra flexible shafts but they don't have enough club speed to use them so their hands get too far in front of the ball and they end up decelerating when they make contact resulting in shorter shots.

Gold junkies are known to go nuts and pay way too much for things. I love the game but have never bought anything but balls. Luckily I have a brother who's all too obsessed with the game and passes down decent equipment. He's really good at the game at least.

Re:Doesn't help (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170068)

Having both the time and money to hit the course all the time says something in itself. Perhaps all the digital doodads are for CEOs who know gadgets aren't as good as the real thing, but the best you can do with 20 minutes to practice at the end of a long workday.

O RLY? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169777)

I don't believe this is the tragedy that the submission of this story implies. It is unfortunate that such equipment is inaccessible to everyone, but if nothing else, isn't a sport striving for greatness? I see training as a different sort of advantage than say, steroid use. Ultimately, no tool will replace hard work; a professional golfer, regardless of income, must work for success.

If we draw a line based on income, what else does that set a precedent for? Genetics can also provide an advantage; how should that be resolved? What about in other situations? Do I want my doctor to have inferior training than another, because having access to expensive training tools gives him an 'unfair' competitive edge in the health market?

Re:O RLY? (2, Informative)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170046)

That's one opinion. Other people see sport as a way to escape all that, to take a breather from the rat race that defines humanity in every other realm. That's why these people don't see medicine as a sport.

"Digital Divide" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169778)

So what if there's a divide? You make it sound like this a bad thing. Golf has never been a game for poor people or for those who don't live near courses.

Those people that can't afford these gizmos can just play basketball instead. Why should everyone have the privilege to play golf? Personally, I like going to the course and not having to bother with all the riff-raff who don't dress appropriately, or don't know the etiquette or rules. I don't need to hear "Wassup homie" or "hey biatch" with my son.

Golf is a refined game for refined people. This divide has actually been a good thing for us like this game being for the elite.

Eh... I have perfect emulator (0)

saikou (211301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169780)

It's my computer ;) I can play against Tiger Woods any time, and 5 kilobucks computer can do way more than track golf balls :)

Oh boo hoo! (4, Insightful)

Five Bucks! (769277) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169784)

Golfer have-nots?!

At a cost of $60 for green fees (the lowest around here), the wedge between golfing "Haves" and "Have-nots" begins before you even reach the gilded gates of the course. Add in golf-cart and clubs, plus drinks afterwards, it's easy to drop $120 to go golfing.

Phooey...

Re:Oh boo hoo! (1)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169872)


Green fees here are still quite reasonable but I quit playing way back when Tiger Woods was getting popular. It was relaxing to go out to the course, smack a few balls, try to break my best score, etc. Then golf became popular thanks to the young Mr. Woods. Lineups at the tee box, asshole marshalls telling you to hurry up, people queued up all along the courses.

Golf was no longer relaxing so I just quit.

Re:Oh boo hoo! (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170364)

I agree. I golf still but I've learned to pick my times. Basically, never go out on a weekend if it's remotely nice out. The public courses are way over booked. I can't stand waiting at every tee box for 2 groups to play. And so many of these people play so slow it's just annoying. They have a poor shot, they approach their ball and take 5 practice swings, they address their ball, take a swing and top it, moving the ball maybe 20 yards and repeat.

I've found the best times to go out are at the ass crack of dawn or around 4 in the evening.

As an aside, I think modern golf is like bowling in the 50's and 60's. Bowling was insanely popular and bowling alleys went up all over. The "fad" died down by the 80's and bowling alleys closed all over.

You're seeing many new golf courses now days but I think in 10 to 20 years when the fad has gone away, these courses will be developed into subdivisions as the urban sprawl consumes all.

Re:Oh boo hoo! (1)

fastgood (714723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169898)

PGA Golf Tour 2009 on the Nokia-6GH will have more power than today's $50000 units.
But why are we talking about a simulation of an almost-sport in the first place?

--
You don't carry enough money to be my caddy.

Re:Oh boo hoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169951)

And you absolutely must have a golf cart of course. No real american could ever dream of walking. after all, they could lose a bit of flab.

Re:Oh boo hoo! (1)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170021)

$120?????????????????

Thanks, I'll do something that involves girls.

Re:Oh boo hoo! (1)

elynnia (815633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170180)

I don't know where you live, but here in Sydney, Australia I can go to a local public course and have a round for less than $20. On top of that, it's not unusual to see a true amateur in jeans and a well-used set of clubs playing with their mates just for fun. Sure, the elite golfing is for the elite - but casual golf seems to me like everyone's game, especially with the availability of cheap used clubs and/or a set lying in the family attic.

elynnia

Golf isn't a sport (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169791)

EOM

New Gold overlords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169794)

So the oldies are worried that noobs are going to take over their last bation of old-rich-golfplaying-bastard-ness? Amen.

OT Story (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169800)

I used to race bicycles and got myself to England to "really" race.

I had some nice equipment and good fitness (180 miles/week) at the time and consistently got my head handed to me by guys much older than me on what would be considered "ordinary" kit for an American bike racer.

Practice is the great equalizer. I have a hard time believing it's that different in golf.

Re:OT Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169967)

Well geez, that's not surprising you were eating dust. There was a time when I regularly bicycled 150 miles/week. Not training for anything; I was simply commuting to work, on a mountain bike, wearing a light pack.

silly (2, Insightful)

Quick Sick Nick (822060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169802)

$50,000 simulators to play golf are no more necessary than a $100,000 swiss watch is necessary to tell the time.

Re:silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169858)

...no more necessary than a $100,000 swiss watch is necessary to tell the time.

So how many hours a week do you practice learning how to tell time?

As a golfer (3, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169812)

who fucking cares. who cares if some guy on another hole has some $50,000 machine to practice on. it doens't impact me in the least. i could care less what others play, just my own.

Re:As a golfer (-1, Flamebait)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169865)

I'll impact your rectum, faggot.

Re:As a golfer (-1, Flamebait)

hsmith (818216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170246)

get AIDS, faggot

Re:As a golfer (1)

G-funk (22712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170148)

Ssssh! Quiet! That sort of thinking doesn't sell Porsches or $50k golf simulators!

pain in the ass (0, Offtopic)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169826)

It bugs me when I'm reading slashdot and there's a link to an article from the Wall Street Journal because I read the WSJ nearly daily. The fact that they link to it doesn't bother me so much as the fact that because not as much of the Wall Street Journal is online as say, the New York Times, the articles are generally posted at least a week after I've already read them. I wish there were a way for me to filter items on slashdot that are links to WSJ articles because it would save me a lot of time.

On another note, is it just me or does it seem like the hyperlink to the actual article is placed rather randomly amongst the article summary? Not that this is atypical of Slashdot (or many sites on the web) but wouldn't it make more sense to have the link be a phrase like "the question posed by the WSJ"?

And by the way, yes, I would like some cheese with my whine.

Re:pain in the ass (1)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169970)

I would assume the random placement of the links would be because the submitter works for the WSJ, or perhaps copied the text exactly from somewhere else that had it linked like that. It makes sense for the search engines, since many of them weight the linked words slightly more than the surrounding words. You'll notice that the words that are linked are a lot more unique than the rest of the summary.

Re:pain in the ass (1)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169997)

It seems fairly easy to reconstruct the front page of slashdot using regexps and form handling. Not that I've done it, but I've done other things. One of the entry-level tasks for a web firm I worked for was to scan 3 online bookstores for price info about a certain book and table the results. The web is not designed to be regexp-friendly but you can still do amazing things with it.

 

Re:pain in the ass (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170006)

"The fact that they link to it doesn't bother me so much as the fact that because not as much of the Wall Street Journal is online as say, the New York Times, the articles are generally posted at least a week after I've already read them."

To be fair, consider how Slashdot gets its news. I'm a Nintendo fan boy. I run around finding all kinds of Nintendo related news. Often times, I find those news here on Slashdot as well. Doesn't bother me for the simple reason that I know how Slashdot gets its stories. Slashdot is more like VH1's "Best Week Ever" than CNN.

The Middle Class Brat Experience (4, Interesting)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169839)

I had 3 years of pro lessons from the age of 5. The pro who taught me was English and very much given to a classical swing. The trick of a great swing and/or putting is like the secret of enlightenment... there is no secret to enlightenment. It's just if you're looking for the answer... you don't have it, and, once you do, you're no longer looking for it, but it's unlikely you know exactly the steps you took to get it.

I golfed for 18 years. It's a great head game, really almost zen like, but championship calibre play doesn't come from expensive toys. Expensive toys can hone natural talent but that's about it. For all that, expensive toys can ruin natural talent.

Micheal Jordan was touted a a "physical genius", whatever that is. When Jordan turned to baseball it was said his physical genius would allow him to achieve the same greatness in baseball as he did in B ball. Did not happen, and it's likely Jordan had access to every toy available.

The X factor will always be part of championship play and all the toys for all the boys won't replace it.

perfect golf ball (2, Informative)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169841)

I saw a report on TV a few years back about a golf ball that has 2 rows of dots, kinda like a baseball, instead of all over, and it doesn't slice at all.

So good it was immediately outlawed. Which is fine but, you have to admit, golf is a pretty artificial sport.

Re:perfect golf ball (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169932)

Which is really funny, because originally, the balls had not "dots" (dimples) at all. Then they realized that the more they hit it, and the more dents it got, the further it went, so they started making them with the dots built in. Now all the balls have different patterns of dots, trying to make them fly the best. Now they starting complaining because people are putting the dimples in a certain pattern? How deep do the dimples have to be? Would putting shallow dimples all over except 2 deep rows have the same effect?

Re:perfect golf ball (1)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169971)

Probably yeah. I think it's a gyroscopic effect. Thanks for the historical info.

perfect golf ball-Imperfect divet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169979)

"So good it was immediately outlawed. Which is fine but, you have to admit, golf is a pretty artificial sport."

So what exactly is a "natural" sport then?

Natural "sport" - Sex (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170041)

Of course. (no pun intended, tee hee)

Re:perfect golf ball (1)

raoul666 (870362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170322)

So good it was immediately outlawed. Which is fine but, you have to admit, golf is a pretty artificial sport.

And there are sports that are more "real"? The very nature of sport is artifical.

Have's and Have Nots? In Sports? (1)

linuxrunner (225041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169859)

Who the HELL is going to be using a $50,000 simulator and vests in golf, unless your are a professional on a circuit, and winning money and/or being sponsored!!

I'm not going to be using it. Does that make me a have not?

They're professional. And if an amateur can afford such a luxury, then all the power to them. Just like some can afford top of the line golf clubs and balls, and others can not.

Just like Lance Armstrong is able to have bikes custom made, helmets custom made, practice with out having a day job, and spend time in a wind tunnel with high tech gear and finding ways to lessen drag.

And guess what? I CAN'T DO THAT. Imagine that.

That's professional... on the individual level. Just go out and have fun. Isn't that what it is all about? If you're trying to break into professional, then you'll work your way up the ladder to your 50K simulator. If not, then get out your grandfathers clubs, and who cares. Have fun.

Every sport is like this.. get over it. Some people will have money, and others will not.

Final word: I don't think Tiger Woods started off with a $50,000 simulator... He worked his way up to the top, now I bet he's stepped into one to help keep him there, but he wasn't using one when he started, and it didn't stop him.

Re:Have's and Have Nots? In Sports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169955)

I doubt tour pros will even be using this stuff, except maybe if they've just lost their card and are grasping for straws. This is a toy for CEOs and investment bankers who have millions of dollars burning a hole in their bank accounts. They won't necessarily do any better than the rest of us who spend our time on the course and on the driving range.

Elitist Golfers (1)

Capitalist1 (127579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169861)

I'm not so worried about whether or not the guy next to me has a $50,000 simulator and $10,000 practice vest at home. As long as I get a tall club and he doesn't pick the same ball color, everything will work out over video games and a burger back at the club house.

OT: Golf Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169875)

Q: How did golf get its name?
A: All of the other four-letter words were already taken.

Re:OT: Golf Joke (1)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170253)

Q: Why did the scots invent scotch?
A: Because they'd already invented golf and curling

New Poll (2, Funny)

sharkey (16670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169884)

Who has the biggest snobs?
  • Linux
  • Apple
  • Golf
  • CowboyNeal

Re:New Poll (0)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169915)

Sorry, we already have the poll for this quarter. Perhaps you could resubmit your idea in August.

(Oh, and the answer is Apple, just in case you were curious)

its not the equipment (1)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169891)

I play hockey with a guy that has a new pair of $500 skates and a $150 composite stick, he still is never in the right position defensively and his shot accuracy makes the goalies breathe a sigh of relief

Re:its not the equipment (1)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169996)

HAHA.....I've played with guys like that....

I've always hated the sticks that weren't all wood. Aluminum was the rage when I was really playing, and they have moved up to composite. I never felt I could feel the puck well on the stick with anything but wood.

And the blade will fall off my skates before I get another pair. My Tacks are the perfect shape of my feet. Hell, when the blade falls off, I'll have them rivet another blade on there.

What's new? (5, Funny)

labratuk (204918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169935)

Are $50,000 simulators and $4,500 sensor vests driving a wedge between golf's haves and have-nots?
I thought the whole point of golf was to drive a wedge between the haves and have nots.

Re:What's new? (4, Funny)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170183)

"I thought the whole point of golf was to drive a wedge between the haves and have nots."

No that's the whole point of the wall street journal.

Re:What's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15170233)

I thought the whole point of golf was to drive a wedge between the haves and have nots.

No, you drive with a wood, chip with a wedge.

None of this matters... (4, Informative)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169943)

All of this is just to get money from people that already have too much of it.

The only things you need for golf are a swing you can repeat, and knowing how to putt. Neither require anything more than a normal set of clubs, and some practice.

Ben Hogan said it best that there is no reason the average person can't break 70. And there was no tricks, no $50k electric vests, no goofy clubs that collapse when you swing the wrong way, or anything else. It's just having a swing that repeats, and includes the fundamental things you need to have that all great golfers do.

Best thing to be a better golf game is get the Ben Hogan book about the 5 fundamentals. About $5-$10 at any bookstore. Ben Crenshaw has a video on putting that's also good, and it's about the same price if you can find it.

Re:None of this matters... (1)

rootmonkey (457887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170065)

I couldn't agree more. Fundamentals and patience are worth much more than fancy gizmos. Hogan's book is as relavent today as it was when it was written. I've been working off his book for the past year and have went from upper 90s to almost breaking 80.

Re:None of this matters... (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170301)

Beware however, the pictures of the "single plane" swing are wrong and he doesn't actually use a single plane.

Other than that it's a great book.

Grip the club right. Stand at address properly. Keep your lower body still in your back swing. Make sure your shoulders turn so your left shoulder near your chin during the back swing. Follow through by not hitting the ball but swinging through it and release all the while keeping your lower body still.

Cinderella story..... (2, Funny)

ralfg33k (646670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169945)

But does that simulator include using flowers for driving practice? Oh, I think not.

Besides, most of the folks I know golf because it's a good excuse to swill something from the beverage cart, enjoy being outside instead of in their offices/cubicles, and fire off jokes that would otherwise score them a 30 minute meeting with their manager and an HR rep.

Snob (0)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169958)

Hey, my butler and limo driver can play golf as good as anyone.

Obligatory (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15169968)

driving a wedge

So which wedge are we talking about here: pitch, sand, lob? Inquiring minds want to know.

Oh, and overall, golf is a very very expensive game, both because of the cost of maintaining the course and the amount of stuff designed for rich people who think their problem is with their equipment and not their skill at the game. This fits neatly in the second category.

You Uncaring Bastards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15169994)

Stop knocking golf. Where else can WASPs get a release for the urge to dress like pimps?

Wha? (2, Funny)

gearmonger (672422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170012)

What is this 'golf' of which you speak?

Or did you mean "Gorf"?

Re:Wha? (1)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170090)

Gorf on Intellivision was the only reason to put up with my schizophrenic aunt. That, and my blonde cousin and the game AD&D for the same platform.

delusional (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170032)

The thing is that people who have much more than enough tend to be delusional about those who don't. The WSJ is a classic example. They do not have ads for people looking for a home. They have ads for people looking for yet another vacation home, with prices starting in the low millions.

Very few of the have nots can even afford to buy the clubs and balls, much less the green fees, necesary for a good game of golf. Therefore, the have not, in the classic sense, are not even an issue. What we are talking about here is the fact that the comfortably wealthy middle class, the have nots in the sense that they perhaps only have a second home, cannot afford these things. And, when you get done to it, in the US we are increasingly divided into the working class, with little expendable income, the wealthy middle class, and the insanely rich upper class. Only the later two matter in terms of political and economic power. Everyone in the former shops at Wal*Mart and votes along religious lines.

Keeping up with the Wilshires. (2, Interesting)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170036)

...a new generation of expensive high-tech tools is stoking a costly arms race among golfers looking for an edge in a sport that already has an elitist reputation.

The expensive tools aren't about "having an edge" on the green. It's a way of trying to create a new layer of socio-economic separation in the group of players. Golf has been a pasttime of the affluent and powerful for awhile. And it used to be a game that stayed in that domain. But the more people have been shouldering up the cost of equipment to get started (partially as part of corporate ass-kissing to try to get a leg up in office politics) and with more and more public golf courses springing up the game just isn't "exculsive" enough for the Good Ol' Boys anymore.

So they take it up a notch. How hardcore a golfer are you? "Oh, well I spent $1000 on this space age driver." "Oh well, I have a $4500 simulator."

It's just a new game of keeping up with the Jones's with an entry price set high enough to keep the riff-raff out.

No faking a good score (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170044)

Are $50,000 simulators and $4,500 sensor vests driving a wedge between golf's haves and have-nots? That's the question posed by the WSJ, who reports that a new generation of expensive high-tech tools is stoking a costly arms race among golfers looking for an edge in a sport that already has an elitist reputation.

If you play golf regularly you see how ridiculous this notion is. Golf is the most honest test of skill in all of sports. There is no faking a good score or hiding a bad one. The advantage of the new balls and drivers doesn't mean much to anyone but a low handicapper. It'll make a +3 a scratch. Thats it. If you don't understand the swing no technical gizmos will understand it for you. The idiots that layout 10K on equipment and lessons are invariably high handicappers. Put them in a competative situation and they forget their lessons and still shoot 90. Good players with lesser equipment will laugh rather than be jealous. That said hyped up equipment are wrecking the game at the higher level because some of the best classic courses are too short for competition. You will see a deadened standard ball in major golf within 5 years.

This only matters if you care. (1)

gearmonger (672422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170077)

Golf is best played as a social activity, where one's score is used only to compare the golfer with himself.

If you're so competitive that you have to "beat" other golfers (let alone spending thousands of dollars to do so), it's time for you to take up an actual sport. You know, where you break a sweat...or at least have to walk from one point on the playing surface to another.

redneck equivalent (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15170210)

Here in bubbaland, they don't drop ridiculous sums of money on a sissy game like golf, we have BASSBOATS that cost more than most peoples houses and will outrun most coast guard cutters because of the QUAD mercurys on them. Them dang fish are FAST, doncha know, got to "git out there" quick like, they might disappear on ya! Then you need a fish finder sonar your cousin "borrowed" from the navy during his stint, then a tacklebox with 10 grand of basically the same looking lures that you attach plastic worm crankbait to.

Now that is a MANLY MAN sport. Oh ya, you need a new ford extravagant pickup to haul the boat...another 100 grand or so.. Then, you just catch the bass and let them go! You stop and buy hamburgers in a sack on the way home, but TRIPLE POUNDERS with cheese and bacon from all the calories exerted taking your credit cards in and out of your wallet.

snobs, eh, pikers!

Who cares? (1)

azakem (924479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170268)

Golf is the saddest excuse for a sport currently in existence. Hell, I would rather watch curling than watch golf.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15170314)

It's not a sport, it's a game, like tiddly winks.

Re:Who cares? (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170373)

Golf isn't so much a sport as it is a skill. Much like datrs, pool and bowling.

I can't stand the "get in the hole!" guys at the PGA, myself.

So uhm, let me get this straight. (1)

Chr0nik (928538) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170317)

Rich golfers are spending stupid amounts of money on crap they don't need? *Gasp* *Shock* how is this news worthy?

Won't someone think of the millionaires?! (1)

Garse Janacek (554329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170353)

Is increasingly advanced nautical technology creating a rift between yachting haves and have-nots? A new study shows that many lowly millionaires are unable to afford the latest accessories. Film at 11.

computer needed to make tee times (2, Interesting)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170357)

I honestly thought this article would be about how you need a computer and internet connection to make tee times.

It used to be done over the phone, but now my godparents had to buy a computer and internet access exclusively to reserve tee times at their local course.

It can be pretty rough if you have never used a computer before...

More high tech tools... (1)

etzel (861288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170367)

someone should invent a gadget that simulates browsing through slashdot and... oh wait, sorry. Back to the lab.

Then and Now (5, Interesting)

Hootenanny (966459) | more than 8 years ago | (#15170372)

There was a time when we used to play golf with:

1. persimmon woods
2. hickory shafts
3. blade irons
4. something called a "mashie niblick" (look it up, for a trip down memory lane)
5. leather balls stuffed with feathers

Now, thanks to new technology we play with:

1. oversized titanium drivers
2. graphite shafts
3. cavity back irons
4. 60-degree wedges
5. four layer solid-core distance balls

Now for the kicker - according to the USGA, the average handicap hasn't dropped significantly. What does that tell us?
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