Those of us who rant about slow play on the golf course, and if we’re old enough, wave our canes threateningly at plodding players up ahead, will positively shudder at the first 154 words of a press release that landed in my Inbox the other day:
Cobra Golf has introduced the King F7 and King F7+, continuing to expand the collection of clubs under the company’s familiar King brand name.
The F7 and F7+ are designed to provide golfers with a choice between oversized performance and traditional shaping, while delivering distance, feel and forgiveness.
These models, as well as the King LTD Black, feature the Cobra Connect Powered by Arccos system which features an ultralight sensor that’s embedded in the grip, allowing golfers to automatically track the distance and accuracy of every drive.
Cobra Connect users simply pair their club with the free Arccos Driver smartphone app to receive their performance data, access rangefinder GPS distances for 40,000 courses and compete in the King of the Hole virtual long drive competition.
Players will also be able to access exclusive Cobra content within the Arccos Driver app, including product tech videos and golf tips from Cobra coaches and PGA Tour pros.
Now, I have nothing against Cobra, they’re a fine outfit. And I’m sure their new drivers are the quintessence of technology, style, playability, comfort, and performance. (Not that any of us could ever possibly define the latter four nouns.)
But if I read these words above correctly, then it’s highly possible that next season I’ll be playing behind a man or a woman, or several, who will be standing on tees or fairways, hitting their shots with their new F7 equipment, then casually pulling out their iPhones to check whether their ball went straight or crooked, and how far it went. If this is indeed a possibility, then I would propose that the federal government re-draft our current firearm possession legislation. As in, give me a gun.
First of all, does eyesight alone not give adequate feedback for the direction that the ball chose? Occasionally, when a shot is really, really bad, neither the player nor their playing partners actually see where it went. But surely that’s a good thing. As in “take a mulligan, Larry.” Now, with this Arccos system, presumably you’ll discover on your phone that you actually shanked the bejesus out of the thing and it’s now residing in the forest and you must therefore seek it out. As opposed to shrugging, perhaps swearing, then dropping another ball, striking it, and moving forward.
What I find even more distressing with this, um, advancement in golf technology is that narcissists will now want to measure the distance of each shot they hit. So, in addition to taking the extra 20 seconds of time they now do in measuring the precise distance from resting ball to distant flag – as if that 146 yard measurement will make a difference to their club selection and speed of strike, as opposed to 143 yards – self-absorbed players will now hit the ball, and take, maybe, 30 more seconds to wait for the ball to stop, and measure how far it went. With 90 percent of the players I’ve ever known, that 146-yard shot will have gone somewhere between 9 feet and 172 yards, depending on whether water got in the way. But I swear, with all this technology, the guy who hit it 9 feet will walk those 3 yards, and go through the whole process all over again.
And I’ll be standing back on the tee or the fairway behind, seriously considering what other sports might appeal to me more than golf. Because if that’s what evolves through the advent of the Arccos system, then that will truly be the end of it for me.
I grew up in this province lucky enough to learn to play on a golf course that welcomed children, but also taught children the rudiments of the game in its purest form: that is, hit the ball, advance, hit it again. If the ball went off course – literally – you were permitted to look for it for roughly one minute, then take alternative measures, like, duh, hitting another ball and counting two strokes or stroke and distance, depending on the hazard. But the point was, play your game, efficiently, without undue delay, like the British do. Don’t hold people up behind you, or if you do, wave them forward and let them through.
I fear that those who possess Arccos technology, and its inevitable imitators to follow, will so absorb the growing army of self-possessed golfers, that 18 holes will turn into a dawn-to-dusk pastime, followed by lengthy analysis peering at computer screens in the clubhouse.
And where will I be then?
Probably looking for stray tennis balls in the parking lot at the racquet club. Or taking target practice.