For golfers of a certain age, we have become quite comfortable with the technology that fills our carry bags and the cutting-edge equipment we now use to play our games. But that’s because it requires us to do little more than pull a club and then swing it, letting the graphite, tungsten and titanium that one-time aerospace engineers have fashioned in our woods and irons do the rest.
But as the application of scientific knowledge grows, especially with regards to smartphones, those of us who play the royal and ancient game have found it necessary to digest the increasing bits of technology being thrust upon us as we also try to learn how to use it with some degree of dexterity.
I was reminded of that as I competed recently in a tournament not far from my Connecticut home.
I prefer to be present in the midst of my rounds and concern myself about scores and strokes and how I am faring once I have holed my last putt.
Start with keeping track of my pars and bogeys (and the increasingly rare birdie). Rather than filling out the paper scorecard which I traditionally keep in a leather folder in my back pocket, I had to remember instead to access the Golf Genius app on my iPhone at the end of each hole – and make sure I donned my reading glasses when doing so.
Now, I appreciate how effective and efficient Golf Genius is and the many ways it helps the organizers of an event with multiple golfers getting different strokes on different holes. And I understand how some people enjoy the live-scoring feature so they may keep track of how they are doing against the field.
But I prefer to be present in the midst of my rounds and concern myself about scores and strokes and how I am faring once I have holed my last putt.
I also abhor having to remember my password or figure out the Golf Genius ID for the day and then enter it, largely because that sort of data has come to dominate my life in ways that make me pine for simpler times.
Then, there is Venmo. My daughters love the convenience of that app, and I see young people using it all the time. But the last thing I want to do when it is time to pay a caddie or settle a golf bet is to once again reach for my iPhone and eyeglasses and start entering my login information. It’s better just to reach into the left pocket of my pants or shorts for my money clip and hand out cold, hard cash.
Perhaps my biggest problem with the advances in technology is that they often compel me to bring my iPhone onto the course rather than leaving it in my car, which has long been my practice so I could truly retreat during my rounds.
But these days, there doesn’t seem to be any getting away.
Top: JOHN STEINBREDER, GGP