It is undeniable that there has been an unprecedented change in the way golf is played over the last 25 years. Driven by the professional game and major manufacturers, we have witnessed a revolution in golf club and ball technology that has irrevocably altered the game.
Much of this change is of great benefit to golf and the golf industry, making the game much more accessible to newcomers without reducing the challenge for the very best golfers. Modern equipment now enables less able golfers to hit good shots, thereby encouraging many to stick with the sport when once they may have given up.
However, a less positive effect of the technological advances has been that many golf clubs now face concerns over the safety of their courses. This is largely due to the fact that golf balls now travel further and are hit at much higher trajectories than previously, causing wayward shots to become more wayward than would have been the case in the past. This has placed course boundaries in danger of breach, with an increased risk of golf balls landing in adjacent properties or thoroughfares and the potential to cause injury or damage.
Swan Golf Designs, through its advisory work with golf clubs, has seen these issues become more prevalent over the past few years, and has carried out five safety audits for client golf clubs within the past twelve months alone.
Whilst making changes in such context is not ideal, it is essential that golf clubs analyse the risks inherent in their golf courses to ensure the safety of both their customers and neighbours alike. In most circumstances a reduction in the identified risks can be achieved by tweaking the design of certain holes, allowing courses to remain safely in play for the enjoyment of future generations.