7 Emerging Trends That Will Take Hold In 2015
December 31, 2014
More pros will ditch the anchored putter
Keegan Bradley was the first big-name anchorer to switch putters last year when he did so at the Hero World Challenge, but he won't be the last -- the USGA will see to that. With its ban due to go into effect early next year, expect more people to follow Bradley's lead and switch sooner rather than later.
Counter balance putters will become more popular
. . . and as pros start preparing for life after the anchor ban, look for counterbalanced putters to be their new weapon of choice. That's what Keegan Bradley used when he ditched his belly putter, and Jason Dufner switched to a counterbalanced Futura X before his injury. Counterbalanced putters feature more weight at both ends of the club that -- the theory goes -- helps stabilize the arms throughout the stroke. With manufactures producing more of them and average golfers eager to learn more, look for them to feature prominently in 2015.
More nondescript tidbits about the Ryder Cup task force
The much-anticipated Ryder Cup task force assembled for the first time to discuss, in their words, "some of the areas that we feel like need to be changed." Who knows what that means. Maybe the task force will actually make some substantive progress, but it'll be tough to know until the next Ryder Cup rolls around. In the meantime, expect more positive, non-descript nuggets like this in the future.
More amateurs will turn pro earlier
This trend has accelerated in recent years. With a growing number of success stories from amateurs who have secured their tour cards by turning pro early, it's enticing more high-profile amateurs to do the same. Expect more amateurs to follow that route this year rather than opt to play in the Walker Cup or fulfill their amateur exemptions into the majors -- events players have, traditionally, stayed amateur for.
Wearable tech will continue its rise
Pros won't be wearing Google Glass on the course anytime soon, but more golfers in 2015 will discover how wearable technology can actually help their game. Especially amateur golfers. GAME golf and Arccos are two popular stat-tracking devices that users clip into the butt-end of their club. Zepp Golf, a computer about the size of a cracker that you clip onto your glove, analyzes your swing for you and is also growing in popularity.
More courses will offer alternate hole rates
As the golf industry continues to find new ways to reinvent itself, one notion people have coalesced around is the idea of offering 6-, 9- and 12-hole rates. It's an appealing prospect to the many golfers who don't want to spend the time or money on a more than four-hour expedition. Streamsong is perhaps the most notable resort to start offering such rates, and expect more to follow suit in the coming year.
The PGA Tour will get a lot more statistical
Towards the end of last season, the PGA Tour released its Mark Broadie-inspired Strokes Gained/tee-to-green statistic. That's the first of many new stats that will soon grace the tour's online database. As the tour continues to roll out a series of new statistics, golf fans will be able to see, for example, exactly how many strokes a pro has gained off the tee, or from their approach shots into greens.