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However, for every golfer frustrated with a short game that begins off the tee, a putter that uncomfortably yips at impact, or a ball that doesn’t respect the modern mantra of mental visualisation, a lingering question remains, to what extent do the technology restrictions imposed by the regulators of golf actually protect the fundamental values that lie behind the game? Perhaps more specifically, do the contemporary developments such as the conformance test for the ‘spring-like’ effect off clubheads, or the limitations on the distance that a ball can travel serve to protect the skill level of the game, or simply restrict competition amongst innovative manufacturers whilst at the same time exasperating the legion of players in the game. Has tradition been preserved at the expense of progress? Development and growth in sporting equipment is about innovation, (if not in society), and on a simplistic level restrictions prevent competition amongst companies who must create to sell their product to the consumer. Subject to normal use, golf clubs will last for many years if not decades. To purchase new equipment, the golfer needs to be convinced that the latest contrivance (such as the redirection of the weight in the head of the club; the redesigning of the geometry of the dimples on the golf ball, or the adjustability of the shaft), will see that golfer move imperceptibly closer to the utopian ideal of swing perfection. But the question remains – how can a conventional competition law analysis allow sporting administrators the opportunity to engage the game and its participants with its fundamental values, or does sport (as a fundamental part of Australian society) simply need to mend its way to fit within the competition law ideals promulgated and promoted by governments of all persuasions.


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