Last weekend I noticed a couple trends while acting as the Starter at the Amateur National Championships.
Held at the Toboggan course, the first hole is a long, blind, sharply downhill, dog leg right (so a righty anhyzer). The course itself is long with steep hills and thick, nasty rough. This was my 8th year with this assignment at this tournament (dang, you would have thought I would have been promoted by now :) ) and I took note of a couple trends.
The first is that a lot more players are driving forehand. As a Starter I stay at #1's teepad all day and don't see the other holes. But for a righty, #1 is a natural forehand shot (or a backhand anhyzer). In the first years the tournament was held only a couple players threw forehand drives on this hole. I kept track in the final round and 20% of the players threw forehand drives.
When I started driving forehand many years ago the only forehand shots I typically witnessed from other players were the lean-out-of-a-bush, desperation forehands. I could go for weeks or months of tournaments without seeing any other player drive off a teepad forehand.
The other trend I noticed was long socks (knee highs). One of my early teachers was Gary Laura and Gary commonly wore long socks on any course with thick rough. I did too, understanding it was a clear violation of fashion rules.
In the Summer I cannot handle long pants due to the heat. I also dislike the feel of long grasses on my lower legs. Long, WET grasses are worse. Brambles and thickets are even worse. Mosquitoes are the very worst and they seem to prefer lower leg meat. So for years I have collected tickets from the Fashion Police as well as ribbing and insults for my choice of hoisery (not that I really care :) ).
I'm not sure if fashion trends are changing and long socks are less of a faux paus or if an increasing number of players are more concerned with conserving the skin on their legs than their appearance.
I didn't count the number of players wearing long socks but Brain Graham (PDGA Executive Director) noted that he was not used to seeing long socks in his part of the country (Georgia).
The other trend I noticed was that Am Nats filled at 144 players and we had to turn a few away. I think that was because of the superior promotional efforts of our new TD, Phil Shelton. I hope the players had a good time and congrats to our new National Champion, Blaine Kinkel of South Carolina.