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Modern day golf equipment often gets the shaft, pun intended, when it comes to the finger pointing in the distance gains found in the game. While, many would argue its helped to make the game a little more enjoyable to the masses others rue the day titanium was ever introduced into drivers and golf balls migrated to solid core compositions. While it may or may not be a black or white issue, depending on whom you poll outside of Far Hills, NJ, today’s equipment has also given Tour players a few more pay checks.
“I tell people all the time, in the early 80s, my average driving distance was about 252, 253 yards,” said Jay Haas. “And for the last six or eight years, it's been about anywhere from 275 to 278. Yes, it (technology) has helped me.”
The benefit to extending his playing career has also been felt by his contemporaries and it spills over to the Tour itself, he said. “You're seeing a lot of guys in their late 40s still be very competitive on the PGA Tour,” said Haas, “and I think that helps the depth of the Champions Tour when the guys come out.” Tom Lehman who turned 50 last week went on to win in his maiden event on the 50+ circuit proving the point Haas was making. “There are very few people who kept their games intact when they were in their late 40s. There was no Champions Tour to go to, so you had to start looking for another job. So the equipment has allowed us to stretch our careers longer.” And the bank balances too which in today’s day and age isn’t a bad thing.