Tees are being pushed back to the course perimeter. Holes are being tricked up with more hazards. Women’s tournaments are being played off the men’s tees.
The game has changed; all because players are hitting the ball at least 50 metres farther.
There are different contributing factors as to why professional golfers now get more distance in their game. These include technology advances (in balls and equipment), technique improvements (due to a more educated insight on what swing-change subtleties yield extra distance) and, of course, golfers are now fitter and stronger.
The perception of the game has changed; players now face the reality that if they want to excel in the modern game they have to hit the ball long. Therefore aspiring golfers are conditioning their bodies from a young age. There is no longer such a strong focus on rhythm and finesse in junior golfers as the emphasis is on speed. Swing the club as hard as you can. As fast as you can. Sprint as fast as you can. Why? Because this is the age window in which humans develop this category of athletic proficiency. If you miss the window it is very difficult to become a speedy and explosively moving athlete later in life.
Young golfers are also being exposed to lots of sports to improve their overall athleticism. It is no longer the case that golfers are the kids that ‘can’t throw, catch or run’. The more sports one can play, the more athletically well-rounded athlete they will become. This is evident when you look at top touring professionals and their proficient background in other sports; Dustin Johnson has basketball in his blood and Sergio Garcia played lots of soccer in his younger developmental years.
Mature golfers are also now strength and power training regularly to get more distance in their game. Not only do they go to the gym to increase and maintain their ball carry distances, they also engage in an exercise regime to ensure that their bodies are strong enough to consistently endure these high swing speeds. If we rewind the clock, swing speeds were slower. Even if a golfer were to try to increase their swing speed, chances are they would not be able to maintain their new level of power for too long without developing an injury. So players now are also covering all bases in their ‘prehabilitation’ (physically conditioning oneself to a sport purely to avoid injury) to ensure their bodies are fit to swing explosively consistently.
It is critical for aspiring golfers to keep up with the necessary gym training to grant them a place in the field of the modern game.