Golf in Technicolor

Not long ago, there were two things I thought I'd never see in this magazine: electronic rangefinders and neon-colored golf balls. Yet here they both are.

What's going on?Have we, defenders of all that is traditional in golf, surrendered the front lines to the barbarians?

Hardly. But a couple of things have happened. One, rangefinders are now legal... and converts have convinced me that if enough people start using them, they could actually help speed up play. And I (like all traditionalists) am in favor of just about anything that will contribute on that score.

Second, everyone in the golf business knows that the big challenge for us is growing the game—and if playing with lemon-yellow balls makes it more appealing to beginners, then why not?Along the same lines, another great new idea you'll find in this issue is that of the six- or twelve-hole round. By designing courses to be played in three loops of six rather than two loops of nine, developers can take hours off the time required to get in a "proper" game. Purists can still play a full eighteen, but those intimidated by the time or skill required can find friendlier routings.

Look, golf has always evolved. (The Old Course at St. Andrews was originally twenty-two holes, remember?) And so has this magazine. Several issues ago we began to put more emphasis on our destination coverage, starting with the images on the cover. In this issue we're instituting further change: More and better golf-travel coverage, for one thing, beginning with our comprehensive Global Golf section, dedicated to getting you preferred tee times on the best courses everywhere in the world.

And speaking of evolution, I encourage you to spend a few minutes considering the contributions to the game made by Charles Darwin's grandson Bernard ("Darwin's Gift"). If nothing else, it should convince you that there's much about golf that is timeless—and that will never change.