back to article 'Sonic boom' golf club may 'damage hearing'

Golf isn't exactly known as a sport of deafening noises, but a provocative (albeit suspiciously anecdotal) study is making the rounds claiming golfers may risk losing their hearing by using newfangled thin-faced titanium drivers. The latest generation of titanium drivers can apparently produce an ear-shattering "sonic boom" …


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  1. Michael Reed
    Paris Hilton

    This explains everything

    No wonder Doctors never seem to hear what I'm saying!

  2. Tony W

    Not proven

    In this case it is probably the peak level that is significant, and for peaks it is normally reckoned that there is not much risk below 140 dB. There will always be a few people that are unusually susceptible, but in this case the whole story seems to be based on one individual, and it is impossible to prove cause and effect in this way. People do get tinnitus for no obvious reason and it seems possible that it is a coincidence.

    The original article did compare different clubs. However they describe their measurement as "sound impulse (dB)" which doesn't properly specify how the noise was measured. This is vitally important information as it can make a huge difference to the headline figure. If they didn't measure the true peak, the real value could be a lot higher, in which case the sound really could be a risk to hearing. It would not necessarily sound that loud because the sound only lasts for an extremely short time.

  3. Seán

    Ban it

    It's about time these filthy addicts were rounded up and dealt with. They clutter up the countryside with their hideous outlandish clothing, deafening children and the elderly. Shouting their gangsign "four" or whatever and generally destroying a good walk. This golf (apparently a contraction of go lick my foreskin) is nothing but a health hazard and a waste of money and life.

  4. Fluffykins
    Paris Hilton

    Paris, because..........


  5. Anonymous Coward

    My Handicap Is My Clubs

    Looks like a great way when on a work outing to get some time off for injuries caused by this device. I bet I can get my doctor on the NHS to write me a note, no worries ;-)

  6. alzain



  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Balloons and whips

    Balloons (when popped) and the tip of a whip being cracked also make "sonic booms".

    Lets ban them too!

    Hmm, just noticed - putting 'ballons' and 'whips' into this comment is likely to mislead some Google searches....

    Paris, because we all love to whip her balloons.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    New cluebat

    woo hoo I can finally toss away the 4x2 plank and upgrade. Swinging these new clubs at the lusers will certainly give the added effect I have been looking for

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a scam

    Doctors found a way to get paid to play golf. They even got a pro to help with their drive...

  10. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


    There is no limit to what can be done with the clubs themselves to limit the damage. The frequency could be changed as could the period of the stick -which could also incorporate the Helmholtz principle for creating anti-noise. Or just incorporate a sandwich of less transmittable material.

    I await developments with baited.. I don't.

    I couldn't give a toss. (What is the stickie part of a club called?)

  11. Mr Larrington
    Paris Hilton


    Where's the problem?

  12. Tim
    IT Angle

    Why right ear? is his stance and swing wrong?

    Seeing as you should look directly at the ball when hitting it, should he not have suffered the hearing loss in both ears?

    Seems the doctors know more about bullpoo than golf!

    Is golf club engineering enough of an IT angle?

  13. Displacement Activity

    Health warning: reading newspapers can be dangerous

    Oh dear.

    This article appeared in the Christmas edition of the BMJ, along with other seasonal fayre, such as the usage of Coca-Cola vaginal douches for birth control, and a systematic review of the efficacy of Frankincense.

    I'm afraid that it's not a "provocative (albeit suspiciously anecdotal) study". It runs to 1.5 pages, and describes the findings of tinnitus in one patient, which it appeared may have been linked to his golfing. The term "sonic boom" appears once, and is a quote from another golfer, found on the internet. Oddly, the rags decided to use the term "sonic boom" rather than "unusual clanking sound", another quote from the Internet. The authors then got a pro to hit a total of 36 shots on 12 different drivers, and measured the sound produced. They conclude by saying "The study presents anecdotal evidence that caution should be exercised by golfers who play regularly with thin faced titanium drivers to avoid damage to their hearing". End of story.

    Except, of course, that it seems to have been reported by various newspapers, including the Daily Mail. "NHS Choices" (what on earth is that?!) also reads the Daily Mail, and saw fit to comment on the Mail's story. The comment is as long as the article and is, to be frank, bollox. It talks about "low level evidence", and says "There was no statistical comparison between the noise generated when using steel drivers compared to titanium ones". There were *3* measurements for each of the 12 drivers, with all 3 shown by pretty pictures of golf balls on a graph - what sort of statistical analysis, exactly, is NHS Choices suggesting should have been carried out?

    The real story here is that you shouldn't believe what you read in the papers, and someone at NHS Choices is spending taxpayer's money to write 1014 words where 20 would have done the job better. What a surprise.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Please think of the little children!

    I expect an immediate ban for this dangerous and anti-social sport. The sonic booms clearly have a link with terrorism in much the same way as a photographer with a tripod does, and there's always the suspicion that because golfers act so innocent, they must really be especially guilty.

    Half a dozen highly motivated terror-golfers armed with these vicious titanium death sticks could easily cause carnage in a crowded shopping centre or nursery school And those gin and tonics they're so fond of; clearly some kind of clever binary liquid explosive!

    They want to destroy our way of life by covering the countryside with their courses, and those bags look just like portable mortars on wheels. Some of them are quite old and I'm sure they own cameras, so they're clearly paedophile terrorist golfers bent on undermining democracy and the british sense of fair play.

    Anyway, everyone knows that green is an Islamic colour, so the fact they play on particularly green grass must mean they have sympathy with Hamas, Hizbollah, Mahmud of Ghazni, the Nation of Islam and that bloke who hangs around speakers corner on Sunday shouting "God is Great". It follows they must be anti-semitic too.

    So won't someone please, PLEASE think of the children (or at least the ones whose parents aren't terrorist golfing Bin Ladenite anti-Jewish kiddy fiddlers) and save our great democracy from these Satanic death stick wielders?

    Paris, cos I bet she doesn't play golf.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Noise annoys

    Can the sound these clubs make when teeing off be any worse than some golftard shouting "GET IN THE HOLE!!!!!" half a second later?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This story reminds me...

    ...I need to buy new ear plugs. 35+db of attenuation? That'll do nicely.

    As for golf - a perfect way to ruin a good walk and destroy vast swathes of countryside too, just to the rich middle-class toss-pots can strut about in naff plaid trousers. Urgh.

    The other dangers of golfing are golfers elbow (which can be pretty nasty), ball/head interface trauma and stress from having to arrive in last year's BMW!

  17. Adrian Jooste

    No joke

    I had a go with my mates driver at a range a couple months back and they are just as loud as these people are suggesting. I've shot some pretty high calibre weapons in the past and his driver easily compares with the decibel output of most of the hunting rifles I've handled.

    Grumpy old men beware!

  18. Mike Groombridge

    more interested in a complete study

    I rarely hit my driver (wouldn't have one if it wasn't a gift) i get similar distance and more control with my 3 wood.(although i'll pass this article on to my dad as he uses his all the time)

    i'd be interested in a study on all clubs and the different type of shafts.

    just to see how deaf my hobby will make me. also maybe they should study a pros hearing over a year as they hit thousands of balls a week on the range and on courses

  19. Matt Sprigg

    But @ what Frequency?

    Frequency plays an important role in this as well as volume.

    130db @ 2khz will hurt like hell but 130db @ say 33hz will give your missus a grin :)

    I used to run a car audio system that would do 157db @ 39hz and I can still hear (just)

  20. Sureo


    if there are any electric transmission lines around, golfers should remember wear their tin foil caps to prevent brain damage.

  21. Gianni Straniero
    Dead Vulture

    Repeated exposure

    "Of course — how "repeated" the exposure of a driver hitting a ball in a game of golf is certainly questionable."

    Whereas at a driving range, it's going to happen a bit more often, isn't it?

  22. Anonymous Coward

    pardon ? what ? did someone say something ?

    (okay it doesn't quite work with text !)

  23. Anonymous Coward

    imagine the pain

    Yes, I can imagine the sonic boom and the pain of being hit in the ear with one of these. Erm, maybe I didn't read all that. Never mind.

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