He's back. I'm telling you these former golfing gods just can't let it go. He said it back in May and in an article earlier this week, Gary Player states again that governing bodies need to pull back modern clubs and balls and that they are making a mockery of the sport. "What they have to do, and it's unanimous among the pros that play golf and understand the game, is they have to cut the ball back."
Now I respect Gary Player. Not many have accomplished what he has, but all I know is that equipment, especially the ball, is not the only thing to blame here. Conditions of the course are totally different. Fairways are firm and fast. They are pretty much cutting fairways at heights that the putting surfaces were back in our buddy Gary's heyday. Does he mention that at all? Nope. Tiger's 397 yard drive he gasps about probably had over 100 yards of roll. Also, speaking of Tiger, I don't think you saw many physical specimens like him or other workout warriors on tour over 20 years or more ago. Oh, but it gets better from Mr. Player. Let me go on.
He also says that there are three different types of golf. No, he isn't saying that Putt-Putt and Par 3 golf are the other two. Gary seems to think that there is amateur golf, pro golf and tournament golf. The first two can use any equipment at all, but the last… well, we have to make sure that the ball is pulled back and that "they stop all these grooves on the clubs." Pardon me? Stop all these grooves? So now you're telling me that if I'm a pro I can use one set of clubs for "pro golf" and a totally different set for "tournament golf?" That will make things easy. I'll go from hitting a 7 iron 165 yards one day to 145 the next. Never mind that the ball will be changed too and that will feel different on the greens. Should we outlaw Odyssey putters because they are too easy to line up Gary?
(Pause for deep breath)
Ok. At least there is a semi-sane person in this article. Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, sympathizes but believes that golf is and always will be in a state of development. His statement that "Gary's very firmly of this view, as are a number of players of his generation" is spot on. Jack is just one of the other obvious mis-informers of that generation. Peter closes with the below and answers my above questions about switching equipment:
"One thing I do completely disagree with Gary on is that there should be any special equipment for elite players or professionals that is different to the equipment amateurs play with. That connection between the average man's game and the elite game is a very strong thing in golf and keeps anticipation at the high levels they are at."
Well said. People want to play with the equipment of the pros. I know I do. I love playing the same courses with the same equipment to see where I stack up. How is that possible when the bond is broken?
Please Gary, just let the game evolve. It has done so for hundreds of years and will continue to do so. Once someone shoots consecutive 59's, then we'll talk… and bring Jack too.