'More trial, less error'

Why new technology is changing the face of golf, by Monty's coach Denis Pugh

Bob Warters
Tue, 2 Oct 2007

'More trial, less error'

New golf technology
Denis Pugh - driving the new Mizuno M600

Denis Pugh (right), the popular Sky Sports golf analyst and coach to Scottish legend Colin Montgomerie has revealed to Golfmagic his personal thoughts on how new technology in equipment has been a huge benefit to the higher handicap golfer as well as the pro on Tour but in widely different ways.

He also argues that the stubbornness of some of the world's greatest players not to embrace new technology. has probably cost them extended longevity in their careers.

A coach for 35 years, with some of the world's leading players under his wing, Pugh has joined Mizuno in the last few months as a consultant and yesterday attended a press preview of the latest MX560 and MP600 drivers at Bearwood Lakes, near Reading.

"I'm not saying it has made a coach's job any easier - a handicap golfer still has to learn to swing the club in the right way to rotate the hands [and body] through impact. But the equipment now enables some faults to be sorted out by adjusting the equipment to straighten out a ball tending to go left or right.

"For example, my bad shot is a slight pull to the left. With these new sliding weights on the Mizuno MP600, they can be positioned to give me a higher, straighter, more penetrating ball flight and with a slight draw."

He then demonstrated using Mizuno computer tracking system how, by adjusting the sliding Fast Track weights behind the clubhead he could add also distance to his new found consistent accuracy. The results had him purring with satisfaction.

Pugh, the professional at Wisley, revealed however, that the latest premium golf balls made, with high tech dimple, core and cover engineering, delivered a much straighter ball flight.

"It's far easier for the higher handicapper to keep the ball straight but more difficult for the better player to work the ball (to the left or right)."

golf techn ology
Pugh (right) working with Monty

He said one of the reasons why so many players are now in contention on Tour week after week is that new technology has taken the fear factor out of the game.

"Pros spend a lot of time in the gym building up their core muscles and getting a better understanding how they can use their strength on the golf course.

"With new equipment and the technology that's available to adjust the ball flight and trajectory to the conditions, the Tour player can now just stand up and hit the ball much harder, without fear."

He says the purists claim that the game has changed in that, in simple terms, instead of hitting the ball into position on the fairway to leave a medium iron into a par-4, players are smashing the ball to leave a much easier wedge from the rough or semi-rough.

golf technology
Faldo (right) and Woosnam - 'failed to embrace the new technology'

"I was surprised that players like Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam were not able to take advantage of the upgrade in equipment. They were among the world's best ball strikers, flighters and shapers but new technology seemed to bypass them.

"I suppose one of the reasons is that these great players hit the ball on the down sweep and got it to fizz, yet still had it under control. With new equipment the ball on the tee needs to be hit on the up.

"It's a mystery to me why they didn't make the transfer but probably they were just more stubborn."

Pugh revealed that technology is moving so fast that players on Tour rarely keep the same driver for more than a season.

"The market is very sophisticated now and if a player doesn't find something better he doesn't move on. New equipment has made the average player good and the good player very good," says Pugh, who highly recommends handicap golfers take advantage of the opportunities to get fitted for their equipment.

"It used to be that golfers bought perhaps a dozen different drivers before they found one that worked for them. Today you can go along to a fitting centre and try a dozen drivers and buy the one that fits.

"More trial less error!"

Tell us on the forum how new technology has transformed your game or is it better to invest in lessons with a golf teacher rather than splash out on the latest high tech equipment.