McIlroy Reveals The ‘Three Biggest’ Advancements In Technology Over Last 15 Years

Rory McIlroy says the advancements in driver and golf ball technology are among the three biggest changes made over his career

Rory McIlroy plays a wedge shot during practice for the 2023 US Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even in just the last 15 years technology in golf has been moving forward at a rate of knots with many breakthroughs seeing equipment being transformed – and now Rory McIlroy has revealed what he feels are the three biggest advancements.

Even in the relatively short time McIlroy has been in professional golf, technology has come on leaps and bounds with the ball going further and further.

Manufacturers have come up with all kinds of innovations which mainly have been in the pursuit of distance - and McIlroy has picked out three of those as the biggest changes in golf during his time.

The four-time Major champion was asked about what he thought were the biggest technological advancements in golf ahead of the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

And, unsurprisingly for a player who has become one of the best drivers in golf, the Northern Irishman pointed to changes to the golf ball and the material and adjustability of drivers as the big changes.

"I would say the aerodynamics of the ball, so the dimple pattern of the ball at that point," McIlroy said ahead of the Tour Championship.

"And I would say the use of multi-materials in drivers, so carbon crown, titanium face, carbon face, that I think.

"The arrow of the golf ball combined with the multi-materials being used in the drivers and the adjustability - I think the adjustability of drivers, I think those are the three biggest things."

These changes have, of course, produced much debate about distance in golf with proposals planned to try and limit how far the ball now goes.

Plans were unveiled by the R&A and USGA but the PGA Tour has said that it won't be supporting those plans.

McIlroy, though, backed the plans why they were released, saying it would help the better ball strikers in the professional game.

“I’ve been pretty adamant that I don’t really want the governing bodies to touch the recreational golfer because we need to make this game as not intimidating and as much fun as possible, just to try to keep the participation levels at an all-time high,” McIlroy told No Laying Up.

“So, I’m glad in this new proposal that they haven’t touched the recreational golfer. But for elite level play, I really like it. I really do. I know that’s a really unpopular opinion amongst my peers, but I think it’s going to help identify who the best players are a bit easier. 

"I think you’re gonna see people with more well-rounded games succeed easier than what the game has become, which is a bit bomb and gouge over these last few years."

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.