Pasture golf is a return to Scottish links style courses. Technique over technology, it makes golf both fun and affordable to play. Pasture Golf - The Future of the Game

Tired of super manicured courses, ridiculously priced greens fees, spendy clubs and fancy clothes? You'll love the back to basics play of pasture golf!

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The Future of Golf

In 1998 an esteemed panel of sports writers met in Arizona to discuss the future of sports in the 21st Century. Jim Murray of the L.A. Times was there along with his cohorts including Blackie Sherrod (Dallas Morning News), Edwin Pope (Miami Herald), Furman Bisher (Atlanta Journal and Constitution), Dan Foster (Greenville News), Dan Cook (San Antonio Express-News) and last but certainly not least, Bill Millsaps (Richmond Times-Dispatch). As futurists gazing into the cloudy crystal, they saw the permutations of Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, Football, even Horse Racing, but of most interest to us, was their vision of the coming age of Golf.

In his sports column in the L.A. Times titled "Gen-Xers need not apply" (April 22, 1998), Jim Murray summarized the contention of the panel that: “Sports needs saviors, larger-than-life performers, glamour figures.” The panel agreed that for golf that would be Tiger Woods. However, the future of golf isn't entirely rosy. This brilliant panel of sports futurists saw a grave danger on the horizon of the 21st Century golf scene. It is nothing less than super technology that poses the most imminent danger to the future of the game.

More about distance, distance, distance...

This being the age of torque ratios, Bubble shafts, and club designs more complex than DNA sampling, it’s no wonder guys on the tour...hit tee shots that go further than most people go on vacation. - Ron Green Jr., Golf magazine (1996)

Super technology poses a threat to golf in the 21st Century

Again, in the words of famed futurist, Jim Murray, “...the panel thinks the game itself has to be rescued from its technology. What happens when a Woods is handed a bag full of instruments that turn a 600-yard hole into a 3-wood and a wedge? Two- and 3-irons already are obsolete. Will they be followed by 4-, 5-, 6- and 7-irons?”

“Thirty-five years ago only half a dozen golfers could hit tee shots 250 yards. Today, the tour average is over 280. There are more than a dozen golfers who regularly hit it out there 315 yards or more.”

“Where will they find the real estate to host the game when technology mandates 450-yard drives, balls that seek the hole and compensate for breaks in the green on their own?”

We have extensively quoted the predictions of these sports seers, as an echo of this six year old clarion call. The danger that super technology poses to the sport of golf is more omnipresent than ever before. Like the rampage of a Terminator on tour, you see signs of it from the clubhouse, through the fairways to the greens.

The future is now more than ever

If you thought sports writers with conscience were just crying wolf back in 1998, here's proof to the contrary. In August 2001 the powers in charge of the Masters announced that Augusta National was in the process of radical landscape change. "They've lengthened seven par 4s and two par 5s, added new tees and increased potential yardage by a little more than 300 yards." Leonard Shapiro writes in "The Lords of Golf will go to any length," Washington Post, August 15, 2001. He quotes Davis Love III as saying, "They're not lengthening them a little bit, they're lengthening them by a lot...That just means we're going to have to push the limits of technology and we're going to have to get stronger and learn to hit it even farther." He suggests that a kid learning golf today should not do anything but focus on the power hits. Makes one wonder, when will all this madness end?

Distance in Golf Doesn't Matter: A Special Commentary by Michael Logsdon -

“...today I wasn't up for doing anything active, and what could be less active than watching golf on TV. There were a couple things that bothered me about the advertising. Most noticeably, Tiger Woods was in about half of the ads, which seemed a little excessive, but what do I know. Most of the rest of the ads had pros saying, "I use this club," and that's supposed to make me think, "If Ernie Els uses that club, then maybe I should too." Unfortunately, there is a horrible logical flaw in that advertising scheme: to need clubs similar to what the pros use, I would have to be at the same ability level as the pros. Your average weekend hack really doesn't need to buy extra-stiff shaft blades and balata balls.

“But the main theme in the ads was distance. Distance, distance, distance. This club ads ten yards to your drives, this ball goes five yards farther than other balls, this golf glove magically improves distance. The main problem with this obsession on distance is that distance on your drive doesn't matter much. A 260 yard drive isn't that much better than a 220 yard drive: it all comes down to iron play, chipping, and putting.”- Michael Logsdon, Distance in Golf Doesn't Matter (May 23, 2004)

Past, present and future of Pasture Golf

What the panel of seers did not see in that crystal ball, was that if golf is to be saved, it is up to an underground army of Pasture Golfers. We are the ones moved by the fact that Bobby Jones would not recognize the Augusta course he loved if he saw it today. We are the ones who are tired of the trend of manicured courses, high priced greens fees and the insult of super technological golf clubs and balls that lower your score while stealing away the essence of the game along with your life savings. Like Henry David Thoreau who lived and wrote at Walden Pond, or Paul Gauguin who left civilization to follow his muse and paint in Tahiti, we live and play the natural game of golf, a return to golf's grassroots which is pasture golf. Just as the writings of Thoreau and paintings of Gauguin have survived to enlighten our age, the glory of the game of golf will continue into the 21st Century and beyond. Thanks to the great sports writers and thinkers of the 20th Century and the Pasture Golfers of today.

Enough of the future, take a look at the past, in our pictorial archive of PastureGolf Range scenes!

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This Page Updated: June 27, 2005

Copyright © 1999-2012 Bruce Manclark & Cory Eberhart