That New Driver Won’t Do Any Good

Frank Thomas, former USGA Technical Director isn’t going to make any friends among the equipment manufacturers.

“Golf equipment makers are in the business of selling things,” Thomas writes. “But just as the word new on your toothpaste tube doesn’t mean that your previous brand will make your teeth decay, the presence of a new model club or ball doesn’t mean that the stuff you already own is holding you back.”

Still, amateurs see players going for the green on what were once par-4s of a decent length and think the equipment pros use will help them. Yet, as Thomas points out, amateurs drive the ball an average of 192 yards. Most golfers routinely overestimate how far they drive the ball. Their egos — well, the male ego anyway — keeps many from using cheaper balls and sticking with older equipment that’s good enough.

“I hope I get people thinking a little bit more,” Thomas said in an interview at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando last week. “Guys, let’s be real about ourselves. We drive the ball 192 yards. Don’t tell me you drive it 250.”

In an article in the Globe and Mail, Thomas, an expert on golf equipment, says that equipment is “maxed out.” He also says that the pros’ game has deluded the average golfer into thinking that with top line equipment they can hit the ball much further than they actually can. That in turn leads amateurs to play from the wrong tees, hurting their scores and slowing down the rounds.

Frank’s latest book is Just Hit It, in which he writes about the way the equipment has changed the game.

A great quote: “Standard clubs will do fine until you shoot consistently in the mid to low 70s. Until then, work on improving you instead of your clubs.”

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