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Golf's Digital Divide 228

theodp writes "Are $50,000 simulators and $4,500 sensor vests driving a wedge between golf's haves and have-nots? That's the question posed by the WSJ, who reports that a new generation of expensive high-tech tools is stoking a costly arms race among golfers looking for an edge in a sport that already has an elitist reputation."
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Golf's Digital Divide

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  • Golf sucks anyway (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dbitch ( 553938 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @08:42PM (#15169771)
    Someone had to say it first....
  • O RLY? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20, 2006 @08:43PM (#15169777)
    I don't believe this is the tragedy that the submission of this story implies. It is unfortunate that such equipment is inaccessible to everyone, but if nothing else, isn't a sport striving for greatness? I see training as a different sort of advantage than say, steroid use. Ultimately, no tool will replace hard work; a professional golfer, regardless of income, must work for success.

    If we draw a line based on income, what else does that set a precedent for? Genetics can also provide an advantage; how should that be resolved? What about in other situations? Do I want my doctor to have inferior training than another, because having access to expensive training tools gives him an 'unfair' competitive edge in the health market?

  • Oh boo hoo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Five Bucks! ( 769277 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @08:44PM (#15169784)
    Golfer have-nots?!

    At a cost of $60 for green fees (the lowest around here), the wedge between golfing "Haves" and "Have-nots" begins before you even reach the gilded gates of the course. Add in golf-cart and clubs, plus drinks afterwards, it's easy to drop $120 to go golfing.


  • silly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Quick Sick Nick ( 822060 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @08:48PM (#15169802)
    $50,000 simulators to play golf are no more necessary than a $100,000 swiss watch is necessary to tell the time.
  • As a golfer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @08:50PM (#15169812)
    who fucking cares. who cares if some guy on another hole has some $50,000 machine to practice on. it doens't impact me in the least. i could care less what others play, just my own.
  • Re:No way (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dl107227 ( 632747 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:14PM (#15169908)
    no it's not.
  • Re:This Just In! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xavi62028 ( 877425 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ssor.smailliw'> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:33PM (#15169983)
    but do these things actually help golfers that much? They may just be a way to suck money out of rich people who can afford to throw their money down the drain (or hole in this case) There are always things for rich people to try to save a stroke or two on their gamek, but determination will always win out
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @09:47PM (#15170031)
    Sure there's a performance difference between crap gear and reasonable gear. There is far less performance difference between reasonable gear and the best gear. This applies to most sporting equipment. For example my $600 or so Sage fly rod is markedly better than a $50 Chinese bottom end job, but is probably not much better than a $200 rod or much worse than a $2000 rod.

    If you're a Tiger woods then perhaps equipment that gives you an extra 1% edge is worth it, but most people would not tell the difference. The biggest success determining factors are ability and practice. Expensive kit does nothing unless you actually use it.

    Marketers understand what drives buying for premium spending sports (golf, fly fishing,...). Most of the sportsmen don't have enough time to get out and practice sufficiently and feel a bit guilt about it. Being able to buy the toys helps alleviate that feeling of guilt rather than actually improving the game directly.

  • Old story... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @11:16PM (#15170444)
    If I remember correctly, this is a pretty old story... But what difference does it make? If you meet with some business bigwigs on the golf course to talk business, I think you'll find that they don't use all kinds of weird gadgets. They'd probably be laughed right off the course. Sure, they'll have better clubs and whatnots, but nobody will judge you if you're not good at golf. The business meeting taking place is what they're paying attention to.

    Also, this haves vs. the have-nots thing is a bunch of hogwash. Yes, there are a few extremely rich people who show it off. But most people who have a few million in the bank don't show it. I know a few people like this. One drives a car that's fifteen years old. Another drives a piece of junk. They look like simple people. Their bank account doesn't affect their thinking. But on the other end of the spectrum, there are a ton of people nowadays who feel a need to show off and attract attention. They do so by overextending themselves on their credit cards and multiple refinances of their homes, so they can drive fancy cars and live a high-roller's life. They're generally the ones who buy all those gadgets.

    And like I said, they'll get laughed right off the golf course, because a guy who shows up with $15,000 in electronic golf gadgets is like the nerd kid who shows up on his bicycle with 50 different pieces of safety equipment like pads and gloves because his mom thinks he'll get a scratch otherwise.

  • Re:Oh boo hoo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paeanblack ( 191171 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @11:45PM (#15170573)
    Add in golf-cart and clubs, plus drinks afterwards, it's easy to drop $120 to go golfing.

    I take it you haven't been to a baseball game lately either.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @02:43AM (#15171185) Homepage
    A few days ago, Tiger Woods used two different drivers in one game. Golf equipment manufacturers are now salivating over the opportunity to sell every golfer on having two different drivers handy at all times.

    Silicon Valley started to go downhill when executives started playing golf instead of raquetball and tennis.

  • by Adult film producer ( 866485 ) <van@i2pmail.org> on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:37AM (#15171831)
    Come on mods, that is funny.. lighten up would ya. Golf doesn't need to be expensive but it definitely can be if you so choose to invest money into it. The expensive uber-elite private courses with yearly membership fees of $50K are really the exception. I play every monday & tuesday on a public course with a neighbour (it's only a short 5 minute walk) and it costs $14 to play 9 holes... on the weekends its a bit more expensive but with a group of friends + case of beer, it's worth the money.

    Every year I end up buying a new club of some sort, sometimes I'll drop a few bucks on a putter, couple of hundred a year in total I would guess. Kids probably spend twice as much as I do on their Xbox games and jolt, so it's all relative IMHO. The only time I take the game of golf seriously is when I step up to the ball and do what I can to get it close to the hole...

    If you're interested in golf I would suggest grabbing a bag of clubs from a local garage sale, it doesn't have to be fancy.. just make sure the heads aren't loosening up (that can be repaired for a few dollars at the pro-shop.) Find a public course near you and enjoy walking the course, it's healthy way to get in some mild exercise.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.