Course conditions today are very different than what golfers experienced 50-100 years ago. Much of this progress is the result of research and innovation that occurs behind the scenes with very little fanfare. Scientific research is a painstaking process that often requires years of work before any impact can be observed.
Most research never produces a major innovation, but the lessons learned go on to benefit future work. Research may not be a glamorous process, but it has transformed golf for the better. Here are three things every golfer should know about how innovation impacts our game.
New Grasses Create Better Playing Conditions
Turf conditions have advanced tremendously since golf’s earliest days. Turfgrass researchers and plant breeders have played a significant role in this progress, but they don’t often get credit. Developing a new grass takes years of research and investment, and the improvements are not always easy to spot. The impact, however, is very real. Today, there are new grasses that are more resistant to disease, require less water and deliver better playability than their predecessors. This allows us to enjoy better and more consistent playing conditions on the course.
Simple Measurements Have a Major Impact
Playing on firm, smooth and consistent putting greens is something we all enjoy, but achieving these conditions is not easy. In the past, superintendents had to rely heavily on their perceptions as they worked to provide the best possible playing conditions. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving when it comes to course care, so solid data are valuable commodities. Innovations such as the Stimpmeter and portable moisture meters allow today’s superintendents to make objective measurements that help guide their decisions. This leads to more efficient golf course maintenance and better playability.