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Opinion & Analysis

What does GolfTEC understand that most instructors don’t?

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Right now, GolfTEC is dominating the instruction market. Last year, the company had nearly $100 million in sales, and it now controls 25 percent of the golf lesson industry.

A big reason for their success can be explained by their structure:

  1. GolfTEC advertises to golfers online.
  2. Golfers learn about what GolfTEC does on its website.
  3. Golfers schedule and pay for lessons on GolfTEC’s website.

The structure allows GolfTEC instructors to do what they do best — give lessons — while GolfTEC invests into growing its business. 

GolfTEC has proven what works to dominate the market, and there is a lot to be learned for golf instructors who have their own teaching businesses. Even if you don’t see GolfTEC as your competitor, it’s clear that they didn’t become a force in the industry by accident. Implementing GolfTEC’s methods in your business can in many cases help golf instructors accomplish their goals much faster and easier than they might have otherwise. 

The Changing Consumer

the changing consumer

GolfTEC understands where golfers are and how to reach them. The company knows that consumers want to research, schedule lessons and checkout right from their computer or mobile device. And right now, 85 percent of consumers research a business online before committing to any kind purchase. 

Things were far simpler 10 years ago. Instructors didn’t have to worry about having a website that sells, being active on social media, running advertisements, or finding ways to reach more customers online. But now they do, because golfers are going digital, and that’s even if you rely on word of mouth.

In today’s world, being online is seen as a necessity. But before diving into the web, you should ask yourself, “Why does it matter?” Well, because when you do it right, it works.

Picture an online system that gets new customers in the door and allows them to book a lesson online. Wouldn’t that free up more time for you so you can focus on learning and teaching. Sounds great, right?

Don’t see getting online as a chore. Instead, see it as way to dramatically improve how you do business. You’ll spend less time selling, scheduling, and managing, and more time with your clients.

In a Golfer’s Shoes

Let’s think about this from a golfer’s perspective. Let’s say you’re a golfer looking for golf lessons, and you don’t know any instructors. More likely than not, you turn to Google as most of us do anytime we need to find something.

This is exactly what golfers are doing today. In fact, the PGA has seen a 43 percent year-over-year increase of millennials (golfers ages 20-34) searching for golf online. They expect to go to your website, learn about you, read reviews, and schedule a lesson. Surprisingly, very few instructors are taking advantage of this very natural behavior.

Let’s compare what GolfTEC is doing vs. the average golf instructor. Here’s a simple breakdown. 

GolfTEC

  • Shows up across Google for any search terms related to golf lessons.
  • Uses smart, online advertising across the web.
  • Has a website that builds trust and sells its benefits to golfers.
  • Conveniently allows golfers to schedule and pay for lessons on its website.
  • Engages with customers after they book a lesson through email marketing and social media.

Most Golf Instructors

  • Are not visible on Google Search results related to golf lessons.
  • Rely primarily on word of mouth and print advertising.
  • Don’t have a personal website (only 3 percent of instructors do).
  • Are not building trust with potential customers online.
  • Require golfers to pick up the phone or write an email to book a lesson.
  • Accept payment by cash or check.
  • Are not engaging current or past customers online.

Now, we’ve seen what makes the difference. If you are an instructor, the question becomes: what will you do about it? We’re sitting at a turning point for the future success of your golf lesson business. Consumers will continue to move online. The golf instructors that meet them there will thrive.

To learn more about my company that helps golf instructors get online, click here.

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Derek Larson is a student at Northwestern and the co-founder of Dotbound. His goal is to help golf instructors take advantage of the web to run their business more effectively, and recently wrote an eBook about it. Derek is an avid golfer and traveler.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Someone

    May 22, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    This article is garbage. Title misleads thinking that it was going to explain how golftec is somehow better at improving your game over golf pros. Instead it’s about business? This is a GOLF site…not a damn forbes “how we made our millions” business column. I could give two craps about golftecs advertising or how they reach their customers. What I do care about is the service that golftec offers and how good it is compared to other pros and instructors. What a HUGE waste of time…article is worthless to golfers that actually want to know about GOLF, not the “business” of golf. Has GOLFWRX lost its direction? Do they let anyone write now? Geez…where is the quality control…

  2. Jim

    May 22, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I have to admit they were very honest about the commitment needed by the client and the time it would take to make various was longer for some issues than others.

    We were never told to lie or sell quick fixes… quite the contrary, to explain WHY it will probably take 40 weeks or even a full year to make these changes and habe them

    • Jim

      May 22, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      …it ate half the comment…

      And HAVE THEM take hold on the course, which any real instructor knows is true if say a solid 18 decides he wants to do this, and get to a 7 or 8…

      It’s the “quality & experience” of the instructors that’s BS. Sure, folks get better with time, and learn from the more experienced ones at the center they’ll go to, but I had 2 cats in my 10 person GT ‘U’ class that had virtually NO lesson experience AT ALL, and 2 who had done ‘ a few lessons’ or the jr clinic… they don’t care WHAT’s actually taught – as long as they use people’s biomeasurements and get them into ‘positions’…

    • Jim

      May 23, 2017 at 1:59 am

      They were selling franchises – which is what I was interested in. Great national exposure, net presence etc.

      I would’ve MOST DEFINITELY RUN IT MY WAY, and hired & trained my staff personally but they aren’t looking to bounce. They believe, and they have significant $$$ invested.

      They’re just total users, dishonest, and have NO quality control other than occasional ‘peer reviews’ where coaches are periodically supposed to randomly review the lesson recap a client recieves and rate it….

      I’m offended anytime I see any promo for them, as the skeleton is definitely there to actually be really good. And there are indeed good coaches in there…but it is NO WAY honorable, honest or consistent….

      A shame…

    • TeeBone

      May 24, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      GolfTEC’s been around for over 15 years, and last year was their best ever. Pay attention. Your rambling, incoherent posts make no sense. The only consistency is your negativity towards any instruction that doesn’t conform to your schizophrenic system. You’re clearly not a professional instructor, so stop acting as though you you have any idea what the hell you’re talking about.

      • Jim

        Jun 2, 2017 at 10:44 am

        Obviously you can’t read. Nothing to do with disagreeing with any ‘system’. Actually agree with them on the fact there are no quick fixes and they are honest about that.

        Their boiler room complete disregard for their pros and complete lack of any instructional belief ot other than to contort every body type into the same positions. … bite me

        • stephenf

          Jun 2, 2017 at 5:15 pm

          If I understood your earlier comments, you’re a PGA member. Is that right? I’m just getting at the “clearly not a professional instructor” allegation.

          Either way, I don’t see the point in worrying about someone who thinks 15 years in the business and a great year last year are proof of good business practices and good golf instruction. Just dumb.

  3. Chris Cruz

    May 22, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Derek,
    If you are reading the comments to this article, I commend you, your insight, and initiative. I own a small web production and strategy shop, and I think your assessments are correct.

    The only feedback I would give is that the headline is a bit misleading and polarizing. The polarizing part is good to a degree, but not when it misleads the user from content they would expect to see when they click on the article. Or when it stirs up undesired predispositions in the user thats about to view your content. As this headline did.

    Many folks read the headline and the rest of your story didnt matter to them, they were too focused on a headline that reads positively for golf tec instruction which your story doesnt even really talk about.

    Something more accurate to description would be something like “How GolfTec’s Digital efforts attribute to their success and how you (the instructor) can benefit” Obviously thats too long I’m no copywriter. But you get the point, anyway, applaud you for your initiative even as a student, and just trying to provide some constructive feedback for you.

    However, I agree with other WRXers on this thread. Golf wrx doing all this advertorial is kind of a bummer, but i get it. It’s a business and you need revenue, still a bummer.

  4. Kenn

    May 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Okay, after one lesson at GolfTec they isolate several swing faults that must be remedied. What happens next? Simply identifying your swing faults is surely not enough, and then practicing on your own is futile because you don’t know if you are doing the changes correctly. Must you return to GolfTec on a regular basis to check out what’s happening to your swing? How do you eliminate your swing faults after the Golftec session?

  5. Steve S

    May 22, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Basically this is a very nice ad for the author’s company Dotbound. The website states “We help teaching professionals sell more lessons while making life easier.”

    So another ad disguised as a legitimate article. GolfWRX should have charged him for the space.

  6. Judge Smells

    May 22, 2017 at 7:09 am

    The only difference is Golftec has more overhead costs than your local pro

  7. Alex Jackson

    May 21, 2017 at 9:31 am

    All you guys bashing GolfTec obviously didn’t read the article. It has nothing to do with their method/how they teach. The article is about how they market themselves and make it easy for the student to book and pay for lessons.

    • Greg

      May 21, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Exactly, the author (Derek) seems to be a very enterprising young man and I’m impressed with his insight and initiative. His premise of the trend does seem to be true base on the number of instructors we see that are taking advantage of websites, YouTube, online lessons, online memberships, blogs, forums, etc. Think of Shawn Clements, Clay Ballard, Monte, etc…etc. I would agree with Derek, that instructors not expanding their marketing/product to fully use the “internet” run the risk of being marginalized even if they do have a club (private or public). I’m not an instructor, but I fit the golfing consumer profile Derek described.

    • TR1PTIK

      May 22, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Agreed. I don’t care for GolfTec’s instruction (based on reviews, I’ve never been), but I still enjoyed the article and thought it was completely relevant. The author wasn’t trying to sell anyone on anything. To sum it up, the article suggests that teaching pros could learn a thing or two about online presence from GolfTec (i.e. SEO, e-commerce, etc.). After reading, my first thought was to share with my course pro to pick his brain and suggest some new ways for him to generate business at his course.

  8. larry

    May 21, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Anyone going to golf tec is an absolute idiot, find a teaching pro at a private club there always the best.

    • setter02

      May 22, 2017 at 7:10 am

      About as solid a statement as can be said for someone who knows nothing, congrats!!! Very good blanket statement, you should feel proud of how hard it would be to pick this one apart…

    • Judge Smells

      May 22, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      I could not agree more, Golf is played outside on grass not inside on a computer screen

  9. Mat

    May 20, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    GolfTec is only doing one thing right. They are commoditising a business that had been traditionally attached to golf facilities. The rest of it is scale, and they’ve been able to build scale because they are not attached to single facilities.

    It doesn’t make the instruction any better; if anything, it makes it worse.

  10. Billy

    May 20, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I visit golftec once. They got gc2 so I asked if they have hmt. Well.. the instructor didn’t even know what’s hmt

  11. Dat

    May 20, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Golf tec singlehandedly ruined my swing for a month after I went for a free consult I won. Never again.

    • Mat

      May 20, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Yep. They fit you into their one swing, on carpet. Having said that, they’re like half the instructors out there anyhow; they have “the book” on a swing, and try to get you to emulate it. They should be helping you find the most repeatable action for your body, but just as in equipment, distance sells. So the generic lesson gets the yardage number up as the main success metric. Not healthy.

  12. Caleb

    May 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I’d take this a lot more seriously if there wasn’t a GolfTec ad right next to the article.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 20, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Caleb,

      That ad you’re seeing is a third-party ad based on your search history. GolfTEC is not a GolfWRX sponsor.

      • setter02

        May 20, 2017 at 9:54 pm

        And all the ads are ruining the site!

        • The dude

          May 23, 2017 at 4:54 am

          ….another one who doesn’t understand..

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Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Fort Worth Invitational

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Under a new name, but a very familiar setting, the Fort Worth Championship gets underway this week. Colonial Country Club will host, and it’s an event that has attracted some big names to compete in the final stop of the Texas swing. The top two ranked Europeans, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose are in the field, as are Americans Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.

Colonial is a tricky course with narrow tree-lined fairways that are imperative to hit. Distance off the tee holds no real advantage this week with approach play being pivotal. Approach shots will be made more difficult this week than usual by the greens at Colonial, which are some of the smallest on the PGA Tour. Last year, Kevin Kisner held off Spieth, Rahm, and O’Hair to post 10-under par and take the title by a one-stroke margin.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Jordan Spieth 9/1
  • Jon Rahm 14/1
  • Justin Rose 18/1
  • Webb Simpson 18/1
  • Rickie Fowler 20/1
  • Jimmy Walker 28/1
  • Adam Scott 28/1

Last week, Jordan Spieth (9/1, DK Price $11,700) went off at the Byron Nelson as the prohibitive 5/1 favorite. Every man and his dog seemed to be on him, and after Spieth spoke to the media about how he felt he had a distinct advantage at a course where he is a member, it was really no surprise. Comments like this from Spieth at the Byron Nelson are not new. When the event was held at TPC Four Seasons, Spieth often made similar comments. The result? He flopped, just as he did last week at Trinity Forest. Spieth’s best finish at the Byron Nelson in his career is T-16. The reason for this, I believe, is the expectations he has put on himself at this event for years.

Switch to Colonial, and the difference is considerable. Spieth’s worst finish here is T-14. In his last three visits, he has finished second, first and second. While Spieth may believe that he should win the Byron Nelson whenever he tees it up there, the evidence suggests that his love affair is with Colonial. The statistic that truly emphasizes his prowess at Colonial, though, is his Strokes Gained-Total at the course. Since 2013, Spieth has a ridiculous Strokes Gained-Total of more than +55 on the course, almost double that of Kisner in second place.

Spieth’s long game all year has been consistently good. Over his previous 24 rounds, he ranks first in this field for Strokes Gained-Tee to Green, second for Ball Striking, and first for Strokes Gained-Total. On the other hand, his putting is awful at the moment. He had yet another dreadful performance on the greens at Trinity Forest, but he was also putting nowhere near his best coming into Colonial last year. In 2017, he had dropped strokes on the greens in his previous two events, missing the cut on both occasions, yet he finished seventh in Strokes Gained-Putting at Colonial on his way to a runner-up finish. His record is too good at this course for Spieth to be 9/1, and he can ignite his 2018 season in his home state this week.

Emiliano Grillo’s (50/1, DK Price $8,600) only missed cut in 2018 came at the team event in New Orleans, and he arrives this week at a course ideally suited to the Argentine’s game. Grillo performed well here in 2017, recording a top-25 finish. His form in 2018 leads me to believe he can improve on that this year.

As a second-shot golf course, Colonial sets up beautifully for the strengths of Grillo’s game. Over his previous 12 rounds, Grillo ranks first in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, second in Ball Striking, third in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green and eighth in Strokes Gained-Total. The Argentine also plays short golf courses excellently. Over his last 50 rounds, Grillo is ranked ninth for Strokes Gained-Total on courses measuring 7,200 yards or less. Colonial is right on that number, and Grillo looks undervalued to continue his consistent season on a course that suits him very well.

Another man enjoying a consistent 2018 is Adam Hadwin (66/1, DK Price $7,600), who has yet to miss a cut this season. The Canadian is enjoying an excellent run of form with five top-25 finishes from his last six stroke-play events. Hadwin is another man whose game is tailor made for Colonial. His accurate iron play and solid putting is a recipe for success here, and he has proven that by making the cut in all three of his starts at Colonial, finishing in the top-25 twice.

Hadwin is coming off his worst performance of 2018 at The Players Championship, but it was an anomaly you can chalk up to a rare poor week around the greens (he was seventh-to-last in Strokes Gained-Around the Green for the week). In his previous seven starts, Hadwin had a positive strokes gained total in this category each time. Over his last 24 rounds, Hadwin ranks seventh in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, 15th in Ball Striking, and ninth in Strokes Gained-Putting. He looks to have an excellent opportunity to improve on his solid record at Colonial this week.

Finally, as far as outsiders go, I like the look of Sean O’Hair (175/1, DK Price $7,100) at what is a juicy price. One of last year’s runners-up, his number is far too big this week. He has had some excellent performances so far in 2018. In fact, in his previous six starts, O’Hair has made five cuts and has notched three top-15 finishes, including his runner-up finish at the Valero Texas Open. The Texan has made three of his last four cuts at Colonial, and he looks to be an excellent pick on DraftKings at a low price.

Recommended Plays

  • Jordan Spieth 9/1, DK Price $11,700
  • Emiliano Grillo 50/1, DK Price $8.600
  • Adam Hadwin 66/1, DK Price $7,600
  • Sean O’Hair 175/1, DK Price  $7,100
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Opinion & Analysis

Pick three golfers to build the ultimate scramble team. Who you got?

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It’s officially scramble season. Whether it’s a corporate outing or charity event, surely you’ve either been invited to play in or have already played in a scramble this year.

If you don’t know the rules of the scramble format, here’s how it works: All four golfers hit their drives, then the group elects the best shot. From there, all four golfers hit the shot, and the best of the bunch is chosen once again. The hole continues in this fashion until the golf ball is holed.

The best scramble players are those who hit the ball really far and/or stick it close with the irons and/or hole a lot of putts. The point is to make as many birdies and eagles as possible.

With this in mind, inside GolfWRX Headquarters, we got to discussing who would be on the ultimate scramble team. Obviously, Tiger-Jack-Daly was brought up immediately, so there needed to be a caveat to make it more challenging.

Thus, the following hypothetical was born. We assigned each golfer below a dollar value, and said that we had to build a three player scramble team (plus yourself) for $8 or less.

Here are the answers from the content team here at GolfWRX:

Ben Alberstadt

Tiger Woods ($5): This is obvious. From a scramble standpoint, Tiger gives you everything you want: Long, accurate, and strategic off the tee (in his prime). Woods, sets the team up for optimal approach shots (he was pretty good at those too)…and of course, arguably the greatest pressure putter of all time.

David Duval ($2): I’m thinking of Double D’s machine-like approach play in his prime. Tour-leader in GIR in 1999, and 26th in driving accuracy that year, Duval ought to stick second shots when TW doesn’t and is an asset off the tee.

Corey Pavin ($1): A superb putter and dogged competitor, Pavin’s a great value at $1. Ryder Cup moxy. Plus, he’ll always give you a ball in the fairway off the tee (albeit a short one), much needed in scramble play.

Brian Knudson

Rory McIlroy ($4): I am willing to bet their are only a handful of par 5’s in the world that he can’t hit in in two shots. You need a guy who can flat out overpower a course and put you in short iron situations on every hole. His iron play is a thing of beauty, with a high trajectory that makes going after any sucker pin a possibility.

Jordan Spieth ($3): Was there a guy who putted from mid-range better than him just a couple years ago? If there was, he isn’t on this list. Scrambles need a guy who can drain everything on the green and after watching 3 putts to get the read, he won’t miss. His solid wedge game will also help us get up and down from those short yardages on the Par 4’s.

Corey Pavin ($1): Fear the STACHE!! The former Ryder Cup captain will keep the whole team playing their best and motivated to make birdies and eagles. If we have 228 yards to the flag we know he is pulling that 4 wood out and giving us a short putt for birdie. He will of course be our safety net, hitting the “safe shot,” allowing the rest of us to get aggressive!

Ronald Montesano

Dustin Johnson ($4) – Bombmeister!!!

Lee Trevino ($2) — Funny as hell (and I speak Mexican).

Sergio Garcia ($1) – The greatest iron player (I speak Spanish, too).

Tom Stickney

Dustin Johnson ($4)
Seve Ballesteros ($2)
Lee Trevino ($2)

DJ is longer than I-10, Seve can dig it out of the woods, and Trevino can shape it into any pin.

Andrew Tursky

Dustin Johnson ($4)
Jordan Spieth ($2)
Anthony Kim ($1)

Are all the old timers gonna be mad at me for taking young guys? Doesn’t matter. DJ has to be the best driver ever, as long as he’s hitting that butter cut. With Jordan, it’s hard to tell whether he’s better with his irons or with his putter — remember, we’re talking Jordan in his prime, not the guy who misses putts from 8 inches. Then, Anthony Kim has to be on the team in case the alcohol gets going since, you know, it’s a scramble; remember when he was out all night (allegedly) before the Presidents Cup and still won his match? I need that kind of ability on my squad. Plus AK will get us in the fairway when me, DJ and Spieth each inevitably hit it sideways.

Michael Williams

Tiger Woods ($5)
Seve Ballesteros ($2)
Corey Pavin ($1)

Tiger is a no-brainer. Seve is maybe the most creative player ever and would enjoy playing HORSE with Tiger. Pavin is the only $1 player who wouldn’t be scared stiff to be paired with the first two.

Johnny Wunder

Tiger Woods ($5): His Mind/Overall Game

Seve Ballesteros ($2): His creativity/fire in a team format/inside 100

Anthony Kim ($1): Team swagger/he’s streaky/will hit fairways under the gun.

A scramble requires 3 things: Power, Putting and Momentum. These 3 guys as a team complete the whole package. Tiger is a one man scramble team but will get himself in trouble, which is where Seve comes in. In the case where the momentum is going forward like a freight train, nobody rattles a cage into the zone better than AK. It’s the perfect team and the team I’d want out there if my life was on the line. I’d trust my kids with this team.

Who would you pick on your team, and why? See what GolfWRX Members are saying in the forums.

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Opinion & Analysis

Is equipment really to blame for the distance problem in golf?

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It’s 2018, we’re more than a quarter of the way through Major Season, and there are 58 players on the PGA Tour averaging over 300 yards off the tee. Trey Mullinax is leading the PGA Tour through the Wells Fargo Championship with an average driving distance of 320 yards. Much discussion has been had about the difficulty such averages are placing on the golf courses across the country. Sewn into the fabric of the distance discussion are suggestions by current and past giants of the game to roll back the golf ball.

In a single segment on an episode of Live From The Masters, Brandel Chamblee said, “There’s a correlation from when the ProV1 was introduced and driving distance spiked,” followed a few minutes later by this: “The equipment isn’t the source of the distance, it’s the athletes.”

So which is it? Does it have to be one or the other? Is there a problem at all?

Several things of interest happened on the PGA Tour in the early 2000s, most of which were entirely driven by the single most dominant athlete of the last 30. First, we saw Tiger Woods win four consecutive majors, the first and only person to do that in the modern era of what are now considered the majors. Second, that same athlete drew enough eyeballs so that Tim Finchem could exponentially increase the prize money golfers were playing for each week. Third, but often the most overlooked, Tiger Woods ushered in fitness to the mainstream of golf. Tiger took what Gary Player and Greg Norman had preached their whole careers and amped it up like he did everything else.

In 1980, Dan Pohl was the longest player on the PGA Tour. He averaged 274 yards off the tee with a 5-foot, 11-inch and 175-pound frame. By 2000, the average distance for all players on the PGA Tour was 274 yards. The leader of the pack that year was John Daly, who was the only man to average over 300 yards. Tiger Woods came in right behind him at 298 yards.

Analysis of the driving distance stats on the PGA Tour since 1980 show a few important statistics: Over the last 38 seasons, the average driving distance for all players on the PGA Tour has increased an average of 1.1 yards per year. When depicted on a graph, it looks like this:

The disparity between the shortest and the longest hitter on the PGA Tour has increased 0.53 yards per year, which means the longest hitters are increasing the gap between themselves and the shortest hitters. The disparity chart fluctuates considerably more than the average distance chart, but the increase from 1980 to 2018 is staggering.

In 1980, there was 35.6 yards between Dan Pohl (longest) and Michael Brannan (shortest – driving distance 238.7 yards). In 2018, the difference between Trey Mullinax and Ken Duke is 55.9 yards. Another point to consider is that in 1980, Michael Brannan was 25. Ken Duke is currently 49 years of age.

The question has not been, “Is there a distance problem?” It’s been, “How do we solve the distance problem?” The data is clear that distance has increased — not so much at an exponential rate, but at a consistent clip over the last four decades — and also that equipment is only a fraction of the equation.

Jack Nicklaus was over-the-hill in 1986 when he won the Masters. It came completely out of nowhere. Players in past decades didn’t hit their prime until they were in their early thirties, and then it was gone by their early forties. Today, it’s routine for players to continue playing until they are over 50 on the PGA Tour. In 2017, Steve Stricker joined the PGA Tour Champions. In 2016, he averaged 278 yards off the tee on the PGA Tour. With that number, he’d have topped the charts in 1980 by nearly four yards.

If equipment was the only reason distance had increased, then the disparity between the longest and shortest hitters would have decreased. If it was all equipment, then Ken Duke should be averaging something more like 280 yards instead of 266.

There are several things at play. First and foremost, golfers are simply better athletes these days. That’s not to say that the players of yesteryear weren’t good athletes, but the best athletes on the planet forty years ago didn’t play golf; they played football and basketball and baseball. Equipment definitely helped those super athletes hit the ball straighter, but the power is organic.

The other thing to consider is that the total tournament purse for the 1980 Tour Championship was $440,000 ($1,370,833 in today’s dollars). The winner’s share for an opposite-field event, such as the one played in Puerto Rico this year, is over $1 million. Along with the fitness era, Tiger Woods ushered in the era of huge paydays for golfers. This year, the U.S. Open prize purse will be $12 milion with $2.1 million of that going to the winner. If you’re a super athlete with the skills to be a golfer, it makes good business sense to go into golf these days. That wasn’t the case four decades ago.

Sure, equipment has something to do with the distance boom, but the core of the increase is about the athletes themselves. Let’s start giving credit where credit is due.

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