How Your Vehicle Corresponds To Your Handicap
There are no scientific studies about how golf handicap corresponds to the vehicles we drive. Certainly such an investigation would be strewn with experimental errors and much controversy. Can the car you drive to the links really make any correlation to your ability on the course?
One might speculate that those with luxury vehicles could have low handicaps, as this might be an indication of their ability to play more rounds, to have more time and resources to perfect their game. Pros and lessons are expensive, yet cars can be rented or leased or repossessed and some of the wealthiest and freest individuals might prefer to ride a bicycle to the course, or walk. Not everybody is concerned with being flashy; property and social position have little influence on ability or capability. The sky is the limit for everyone. It’s all a matter of natural talent and practice over privilege, the ability one is willing to invest (not just financially but more importantly mentally) into the art of perfecting their game.
Yet one aspect of handicap and vehicle can be measured in golf: that being the best technologies that allow golfers with disabilities to play the game. For this we can look at the innovations and latest devices that allow those with disabilities to enjoy the sport. Perhaps those with handicaps do not want to golf, but enjoy the ride in the cart, the camaraderie of an afternoon with family or close friends. Why should a disability hinder the ability to be involved in the experience?
Accessibility is an enormous and sometimes seemingly insurmountable obstacle for the disabled golf lover with the desire to participate in the game. Listening to the stories and memories in the club house are never the same, and anyone who knows what it’s like to have their favorite sport taken away before its time can relate to the yearning to participate again.
Wheelchair accessible golf cart shuttles adhering to ADA regulations offer the opportunity for the disabled to participate. These vehicles are ideal for public courses with large parking lots. Folded ramps offer the ability to maneuver a wheel chair and incorporate the disabled into the game.
Though golf carts for the elderly and immobile offer a great service to the people who deserve it the most, there is no denying that the car industry is the visceral backbone of golf sponsorship. It is the pillar that keeps money lining the pockets of the finest golfers in the world; cars and golf go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Take a closer look at the brands of vehicles and the pervasive influence they play in the golf game:
Ford, Chrysler, Buick, Honda, and Mercedes are five major companies that you’d expect to see at fancy auto shows; but you´ll also find them on the PGA Tour.
In recent years, approximately one third of all PGA Tour events have been sponsored by automakers. It is no coincidence that a car manufacturer was the original corporate sponsor of the PGA Tour. In 1958, the Buick Open was inaugurated by General Motors’ Buick Division at Warwick Hills Country Club to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of General Motors. This "Golden Milestone" set the boulder rolling down the mountain. The now defunct event (2009 was the last year of the Buick Open) was the catalyst for the emergence and domination of the car industry. Ever since the late 50s, it has been merging with the Tour, influencing (or at least attempting to) the purchasing decisions of fans.
In 1958, the financial goal was described by tournament director Ed Titus:
"We want what is referred to in advertising as 'visibility'…we want as many people out as we can get, and we're making it as easy for them to watch a major golf event as possible."
Prior to the beginning of the tournament, E.T. Ragsdale (Buick General Manager) cemented the link between the game and vehicles, saying, "Golfers need transportation; automobiles provide it. It's as simple as that."
The attendance proved that golf and cars were a marriage made in heaven. The rest is history. Though it did not happen overnight; it would not be until 1981 when American Motors sponsored what is known as the Honda Classic. (Honda stepped in the next year and has been at the wheel ever since.)
"I think you get a lot of things" from sponsoring an event on the PGA tour, said Dick Colliver, American Honda's executive vice president in charge of sales and marketing for the Acura and Honda brands.
"The demographics of the viewing audience are exactly what we are looking at to build awareness for the Honda Classic. You get golfers around the world who are watching the tournament and talking about it, and at the same time you're reaching them with messages about your product."
Since then numerous car companies (Isuzu the following year, and Nissan) began sponsorships, initiating a seemingly interminable connection between golf and vehicles. Buick signed Tiger Woods in 1999: a marriage made in heaven? Paying $20 to $25 million for half a decade on Wood’s golf bag, (replacing Titleist) Buick set its sights on attracting the eyes of the world to the planet’s greatest golfer.
Who knows what the future has in store for the link between vehicles and golfing? Most of us are just happy to have a vehicle that can get us to our tee times.