Father's of Invention
Since 1950, new technologies have played key roles in shaping the game we know today
Pope of Slope
After failing in his 1965 tryout as a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, Dean Knuth attended the U.S. Naval Academy. He spent 11 years in the Navy, then studied computer-systems technology and devised a new way of calculating course ratings using degree-of-difficulty factors instead of yardage. That led to an invitation by the USGA in 1978 to join its handicap research team. After adopting his course-rating system, the USGA made Knuth its Director of Handicapping in 1981. Within a year, he had devised the Slope System, with its portable handicap. Its key was the Handicap Index, which is applied to a chart (Course Handicap table) that determines how many strokes are needed on any set of tees at any golf course. Knuth, who later spearheaded the USGA's tournament score-tracking system to sniff out sandbaggers in local competitions, is now a marketing executive in the private sector.