"Technology helps golfers, changes game"

Go to a driving range or golf course, and one noise will stand out above the rest: the unmistakable ping that today's advanced drivers make.


From drivers to wedges, putters and even golf balls, today's equipment gives players an undeniable advantage over their counterparts of 20, 10, or even five years ago.


Golf is changing, and as long as technology keeps improving, so will the equipment used by the players around the world — professionals and weekend hackers alike.


""Everything's changing … I guess the world is changing in that respect. Golf is adapting to that … everything is advancing technology-wise,"" said UA golfer Tarquin MacManus. ""Golf is just keeping up with the rest of the world.""


Even the club heads on drivers and woods are adjustable now, so players can open or close them to create a fade or draw.


""(The) driver for me is the one thing that's changed a lot,"" said junior Rich Saferian, who was recently named the Pacific 10 Conference Golfer of the Month for February. ""I have it set up a little open to help with a little cut. That's really the only thing that's changed for me since I've come here, but technology is always getting better.""


To keep up with some of the technological advancements, the United States Golf Association — the governing body for golf in the U.S. — has implemented rules to restrict the width and depth on the grooves found on the face of clubs, which affect ball spin and control.


Although these new rules only apply to professionals for the time being, they will affect amateur golfers no later than the year 2014, and UA assistant coach Andy Barnes is already preparing for the effect the rule will have.


""They're trying to reel the game back in a little bit. They want to scale back the power and bring control back into the game. You used to be able to blast it anywhere and it wouldn't matter, because your grooves and clubs were good enough,"" Barnes said.


""I kind of like it … I like what they're trying to do,"" he added. ""Do I think that the way they're going about doing it is the right way to do it? Maybe not … it's tough to keep up at the college level, because the pros come first, and rightfully so.""


Because of the new rules, colleges and universities now face a new challenge: preparing their golfers to use the new wedges even though the old ones are still allowed for use by amateurs according to the Golf Association.


""We have kids who are eventually going to transition from this amateur college game to the professional ranks,"" Barnes said. ""It would be nice to get them the equipment ahead of time just to prepare them. That's what our job is at the university level … just to prepare them whether it be for golf or life.""


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