Do you think any of the modern 'equipment' outside of clubs and balls have a positive effect on your game? I am using a pretty loose definition of equipment to include bag, pull/push cart, shoes, attire, etc. I'm not talking about stuff like range finders or GPS systems. I'm referring to equipment that has been part of the game since practically the beginning of time and the improvements/evolution of those. A lot of younger players will not realize the extent of this evolution, but most older players will (or at least those that have been playing for 15+ years).
I was just thinking the last time I played that I truly think some of this modern equipment has helped make the game easier in one way or another and, at mimimum, more fun. Here's what I personally think about each of the above mentioned pieces of equipment and the evolution of them:
Bag - bags today are much lighter than they used to be. Couple that with the dual straps and walking a course is much easier than it was even 10-15 years ago. Additonally with bag, I think the overall designs of them can make things better simply because they are also easier to access pockets, can store more stuff, and dividers keep clubs seperated at least somewhat, which can help the bag be quieter and even easier to find your club (helping reduce frustrations). And that's not even to mention the way they stand much better so the bag doesn't fall over (and possibly damage clubs).
Pull/Push Cart - First, they are lighter and better designed for the purpose. They glide much easier over the course, sit much better on hillsides and uneven spots, carry the bag in a more secure manner, fold up smaller for better transport (increasing chance players will have it with them), have umbrella holders, drink holders and even divot mix holders. I think all of these benefits encourage more people to use them as well as make it easier to do so. A cart can make walking the course easier on the body and more enjoyable because you are now able to carry everything you need and/or want. Not to mention even the most expensive carts (non-powered) can be paid for by using it instead of riding cart in 10-20 rounds.
Shoes - Golf shoes are so much more comfortable than they were 15 years ago or more. I have a couple pair now that are more comfortable than most other shoes I own. Also, modern golf shoes are lightweight, breathable yet still more waterproof and are now designed by many companies for the purpose of golf - not just shoes that have had spikes stuck on the bottom of them. Comfort can have a big impact on a players game, especially if you're walking. In the old days my feet would start to get sore and uncomfortable later in the round and I would have trouble concentrating on shot and game. While I don't think I've ever noticed how the design of a shoe has helped my swing and game specifically, Most that make golf shoes are now coming up with designs that they claim will improve your game in some way.
Attire - This is similar to the shoes in the sense that it's all about comfort. There have been so many changes and improvements in attire over the years that it's amazing. The majority of these improvements come into play during especially hot, cold, rainy and/or windy weather. New materials in shirts, pants, shorts and even socks and underwear make you feel more comfortable in hot weather or cold weather because of the way they handle moisture. I used to hate wearing a cotton shirt on hot day just because it started to feel like it weighed 10 pounds and was 'sticky' on the body. During cold weather the modern materials really help keep the body much warmer than they used to, while still being very lightweight and a non-hindrence to the movement of the golf swing. And rain outerwear is a huge iimprovement. It used to be that I couldn't play in rain because of the rain wear, now I don't mind rain at all because it's much lighter, breathable, quiet and you can tell it's actually designed to be worn while golfing in rain not just when it's raining. The modern attire keeps me comfortable in almost any weather conditions and allows me to enjoy playing more.
Grips - modern grips are made from better materials that maintain grip longer than older grips. They are also better in terms of being more customized now. There are very soft grips, very firm grips and everything in between. Plus, they can be found in just about any size anyone could ever want. They even make grips that have built in shock absorbtion. I know I could have used that in some of my old blades from when I was younger.
I personally believe these pieces of 'equipment' have helped improve my game and make it more fun. What do others think? Are there other pieces of golf equipment that have improved/evolved to the point they are now an important part of your golf equipment?