At the end of the day, someone like DJ with his 120+ SS is going to hit the ball further than someone like Kuchar with his 108 SS. IMO, lengthening the courses are nothing more than a knee-jerk response, and like Iacas wrote, an unimaginitive one, to combat the length that some of the stronger players are capable of. There's so many other things courses could do. For instance, grow that rough up to 6" and over-seed that sucker. I remember some of the past US Opens from decades ago. Even the strongest players had to hit SW just to get it out of there. Deepen the fairway bunkers. Give them a 5' lip with really soft sand. Narrow the fairways, plant some trees and make the greens firmer.
Originally Posted by uttexas
Technology has had significant impacts, some detrimental (ex: Augusta National course layout)
The R&A should follow a similar precedent established by The International Tennis Federation.
In the late 90s, the big servers were dominating the game, notably Wimbledon. Tennis matches were full of aces and rallies were shorter.
In 2001, the ITF voted for three different tennis balls depending on surface.
Ball type 1- Clay, a smaller, faster, low bounce
Ball type 2- Hardcourt, A normal sized, medium bounce.
Ball type 3- Grass, oversized ball, slow,high bounce.
The balls used at Wimbledon are 6% larger in diameter that what the recreational player typically uses.
Due to it's "independent" nature, I feel Augusta would be the perfect place to have a uniform "less hot" ball played by all. Because there is so much money in golf balls, I'd say each manufacturer could stamp their name on the ball depending on player's contract, but everyone plays the same "less hot" ball for The Masters----really don't want to see the course design butchered again.
I think there's some merit to what the ITF did and I think it's applicable to the PGA Tour. Rather than make a wholesale change-over to a specialized Tour-Only ball, they come up with a different guideline for a secondary ball. Call the "original" ball, type A and call the secondary ball type B. Type B will have a limited flight attribute which would bring back some great older courses into the Tour rotation. Tournament hosts could meet with the USGA to determine which ball to approve for their respective tournaments. There's an abundance of courses that have already had extensive revsions in light of the distance gains during the past decade. Given the economic times, it would be difficult for them to redo their courses. By having two types of balls, more courses could vie to host tournaments because they wouldn't have to do major renovations to make it "Tour caliber".
Also, I don't think it would be prudent to have a single-manufacturer "spec" ball on tour. Manufacturers spend a boatload of money "pimping" their goods. Take that away, the brand identity that is, and you remove a huge revenue stream for them because the masses tend to mimic what their favorite pro is playing. You know the adage, "What wins on Sunday sells on Monday". Also, IME, golfers tend to relish the comparisons between themselves and pros. I think part of this is because golf courses are non-standard in size and layout and many are are accessable to the public unlike a lot of other professional sports. Not too many of us are going to have to opportunity to play in Fenway Park, but any of us can play Pebble Beach--well, providing you have $500 handy. Because we have the opportunity to play where the pros play, many seem to want to play what the pros play, equipment-wise. So, by keeping the current ball "valid", it tends to take away the misgivings that we mere mortal golfers aren't playing the same game the pros are.