From the Sideline with Erick Starkey

Technology is taking over the world, and the sports world is no different, but it can be a good thing.

Recently, I got the pleasure of watching the Highland golf team use their golf simulator during a practice. At first, it got me thinking about how much I could, hopefully, improve my game. Maybe if I regularly used a golf simulator, I could actually get some shots off the ground, but maybe that is just wishful thinking.

After I realized it would take a miracle for my golf game to improve, I started thinking about how technology, something a majority of the world can’t live without, is creeping into the sports world. A golf simulator is the perfect example.

Sure, nothing fine tunes a golf game like a trip around 18 holes; learning the intricacies of reading greens, adjusting for the wind or, in my case, digging my shot out of the ditch or out from behind trees. While that is all good, a golf simulator is using technology for good.

I watched players take shots with several irons, all within a matter of minutes. The carry and total distance were displayed on the screen immediately, so a person could make changes to his or her swing and see the results instantly. It was like a driving range, but better. You don’t have to sweat in the sun, worry about everyone else on the range or worry about hitting the guy driving the cart to pick up the balls.

The technology was rather new to the Highland golf team when I was at practice, so they were still learning how to best use it and it appears the opportunities are endless. With more fine-tuning, the team can see more specifics of each swing like club angle and speed. They can also have target practice or play a round of golf, all from inside the weight room.

I also started thinking about other ways that technology could be implemented in sports. The best idea I had, and I’m sure I’m not the first to think it, was putting a sensor in a football to say whether it hit the turf before a catch or during a fumble, and to also say exactly where the play was stopped, eliminating the need for a referee to use an index card to see if there was a first down or not. Now I’m not saying this stuff is even possible, but it would be cool.

I’m not calling for robots to replace players, fans, coaches or officials by any means. Sports will always need that human element. The unpredictability is why sports are what they are. So humans will always be needed in the field, in the stands and in the locker room, but I’m just saying I’m sure there are ways technology can make the lives of those involved easier.


Erick Starkey: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @MVNStarkey




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