Golf’s future isn’t just in the hands of Tour newbies like Joaquin Niemann, Sam Burns and Cameron Champ. This season —and for seasons to come — the sport is going to look, feel and play different. Here are our picks for the best and brightest players, personalities and technology to look forward to in 2019 and beyond.
NEXT BEST THING: The death of the yardage book
Just as you once said goodbye to balata, you’ll soon by bidding farewell to the yardage book. In tomorrow’s brave new world, every drive you strike and every pin you seek will depend on data gleaned from Jetson-like devices that will offer not just distances but also club suggestions, based on wind and weather and elevation changes. Ask them nicely and they’ll read your putts.
Already, apps like Golf Logix and 18Birdies and AI platforms such as Arccos Caddie contain detailed renderings of some 40,000 courses, an ever-growing archive for a fast-expanding audience. In a recent National Golf Foundation survey, more than half of respondents said they’d downloaded a golf-related app (up from 37 percent in 2011), and 41 percent said they used those apps for yardages. So take that booklet you picked up in the pro shop and reserve it for posterity — a dog-eared relic from a distant past.