Golf has come a long way since it was first developed in the 1800s. The game has become more sophisticated over the years, with courses becoming tougher and technologies becoming more advanced. At the same time, more people are getting engaged in the game and competitions are becoming better and stronger. One of the things that sped up the evolution of the game of golf is the technology involved in the equipment. One piece of equipment in particular that benefited from technological advances are golf clubs. This article will put this evolution to perspective.
The real origins of golf are being disputed by a number of historians. The earliest signs of the game are traced in China. In the game of Chui wan, balls are hit into holes using clubs that are bejeweled. Clubs being excavated are believed to have been developed anywhere between the 9th and 12th centuries. The first evidence of modern golf is seen in Europe in the 14th century. While evidences of the game can also be seen in the Netherlands, it is Scotland that is credited for creating golf as we know it. As for the clubs, the material of choice back in the day is wood.
When golf made its way to the United States in the 1800s, the game was developed further. Together with this development, the sophistication of golf clubs also significantly increased. During this time, the most common wood used to construct these clubs is wood from hickory trees. In the same century, golfers also recognized that the head, the part that strikes the ball, should be made of a harder material both for propelling the ball far and for longer durability. Because of this, persimmon, a harder, denser kind of wood, is used for creating the heads.
It won’t be long before steel, the most basic material used for making golf clubs nowadays, is incorporated into the construction. It first started with the heads with the development of drop forging technology. With drop forging, mass produced steel heads became possible. It won’t be long until steel actually makes it as a component in shafts. In 1931, Billy Burke won the US Open while using steel-shafted clubs that are painted to resemble wood. It has given him a major advantage as steel is more durable and relays force to the ball more efficiently.
By 1939, it has been mandated that golfers can only carry up to 14 clubs with him/her in a single round. This is considered a huge shift at the time, as a number of golfers use up to 30 different kinds of clubs back in the day. This development’s direct benefit is that the contents of a golfer’s bag are drastically reduced. At the same time, it forced the makers to create a standard in which clubs are made. This is the time when particular parameters for the crafting of drivers, irons, wedges, and putters have been established. It also paved the way for the creation of hybrid clubs.
Since the 1950s, golf club makers have dabbled with the technology of golf clubs with the aim of improving its performance. Thru various adjustments, they allowed golfers to strike the ball with higher strength and accuracy. Lightweight components such as aluminum and graphite became feasible alternatives for steel, especially for women and the elderly. Later on, advanced materials such as carbon fiber and composite resin made it to the construction of golf clubs. Even the weight distribution of the club construction has been tinkered to help the golfer hit his/her target straight. Nowadays, clubs that have adaptable heads are currently being developed.
With people’s knowledge of the game and technology expanding, there are more technologies that are expected to come in the horizon. In the aim to be the best, club makers would put all the stops to ensure theirs are the best golf clubs on the market. Of course, the biggest winners of this continuing evolution are the players.