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Golf balls or golf courses.....which should be altered?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Jack Nicklaus was talking about the revamp of Gleneagles for the 2014 Ryder Cup.  The course has come under scrutiny in the past which set forth changes to some of the holes.   In rebuttal to making course changes, Nicklaus talked about making changes to the golf ball instead as it would be much easier and cheaper.

Quote:
After playing the revamped course on Wednesday, the 18-time Major winner said: "The golf course, first of all, was not meant to be the toughest golf course in the world. It was a golf course for Gleneagles and its hotel and guests.
 
"When I was asked to do the course more than 20 years ago, in those days it was a pretty challenging golf course.
 
"With the equipment and the golf ball and everything going so much further, it needed alterations.
 
"I would prefer golf balls being altered personally but until that happens, alterations need to happen to golf courses.
 
"I don't think it's going to be a golf course that breaks the back, it's not meant to be that.
 
"There are plenty of opportunities for birdies - birdies are exciting in the Ryder Cup - but it also makes you play golf.
 
"It's more about being a good test and a good place to have an event than breaking your back."

 

Quote:
"There are 17,000 golf courses in the States that are obsolete to the professionals," the American said.
 
"Say you brought the golf ball back 10 per cent, you reduce maintenance by 10 per cent, you get shorter golf courses, you get shorter length of play which has been a tremendous issue.
 
"Of those 17,000 courses that are obsolete you could get 10,000 back to tournament level.
 
"It costs very little to adjust the golf ball but you look at what's happening at all these golf courses.
 
"They spent a fortune changing Augusta. The cost to change this golf course for the Ryder Cup was ridiculous.
 
"Developing the Cayman ball - the design of that golf ball cost us 5,000.
 
"It went half the distance. Why not design a golf course then design a ball for that course?
 
"Think of the number of people we could bring into the game. If we make the ball go half the distance we can have golf courses a quarter of the area.
 
"I have no idea how it's going to end."

 

 

Is making a golf ball for particular golf courses the answer?  Should the technology on the golf balls be taken back a notch or two?

post #2 of 30

I think something should be done with the ball as opposed to tearing up and redesigning all of these once great courses. It seems to be the much easier fix of the two, but I think it'd be a hard sell for players to give up the distance they have grown accustomed to. On the other hand, I'm sure there's a fair amount of jobs created by the course work-probably more than would result in reining in the golf ball.

post #3 of 30

I'd like to see driver head sizes rolled back.  Max size of 300cc.

post #4 of 30
Balls.

Personally, I'd like to see the ball rolled back to about 75% of distance, or so, have courses add more forward tees or get shortened up, put even stricter regulations on club design with regard to distance, and let half the manufacturers go out of business. It's supposed to be a sport, not an arms race. I don't see why equipment needs to keep going farther. Why, so that the courses can then be made longer? What's the point?

It won't happen, but in my dream world of "golf made perfect according to me" golf equipment is very tightly regulated and there's little benefit in rolling out new product lines. It's like most other sports, you have a set of standard equipment and everyone produces and uses almost the same thing.
post #5 of 30

I'd like to see a "tournament ball" that goes maybe 10% less.  That would roll the pro drives back to 275-285 for the big hitters. Still plenty of distance but makes  a lot of shorter courses viable options for tournaments.

post #6 of 30

Neither of them, leave everything alone. But outlaw the belly putters.

post #7 of 30

I think that the ball is the way to go.  All that reduced maintenance cost savings could get passed on to the consumer, right?
 

post #8 of 30

Even with all the changes the game is still hard.  I don't have the stats on hand, but for regular amateurs the statistics/scores don't change much with new evolutions of the golf club or ball.  That said the pros play a ridiculous game on ridiculous courses, it's different but I enjoy watching it.  If I got 20 more yards, I'm not sure that my scores would dramatically decrease by the same order of magnitude as the distance gained.

 

Personally, I think more people should invest in lessons to further their hobby.  Club buying and technology is fun but it is a small part of being a better golfer.  25 years ago, I was a better golfer...since then technology has made leaps and bounds according to the marketers but I don't play any better today (I play worse).  But I'm taking lessons and practicing, I buy new sticks periodically, but I don't expect them to dramatically alter my game as much as good instruction followed by practice.

 

Nicklaus argument for tournament play is sound.  It is much easier and cheaper to have a golf ball changed then to change all courses.  It is hard to argue against that, but do we as amateurs want to step back, the golf ball has already been dialed back once when they changed the diameter.  Is it time to do it again?  Maybe, I would still play golf, it would still be fun.  But most people would suffer from the change, most people should be playing shorter holes even with all the technology in their bags.  

 

I think this still comes to a questions of bifurcating the game between a pro game and an amateur game.  Much like the bats used in baseball between the pros and amateurs.  Isn't it great to have a sport where a 17 year old amateur can qualify and play alongside the pros?  Golf is one of the few avenues for that.

post #9 of 30

I'm not sure if I agree of disagree.  For Amatuers, there is no reason to do anything.  Golf is plenty hard as is. 

 

For the pros, length isn't the determinant if courses are hard.  Give players firm greens, hard pins, they aren't going to light it up.  I'd say softer fairways but that is only helping the bombers.  Maybe have courses be more target oriented so they can't hit driver and are forced to hit long approach shots. 

 

Honestly, I like pro golf now.  i like seeing them shot 5 under a day for 4 rounds and also have the really tough test like the US open. 

 

Tiger had a 9 iron into a 520 yard par 4 today...but who cares.  The course is playing fast. 

post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1puttit View Post

I'd like to see a "tournament ball" that goes maybe 10% less.  ...

 

+1.

 

Also, let's limit wedge lofts to 56* or less for PGA tournaments. That would add additional challenge.

post #11 of 30

Shortening the ball 10% will not save 10% on maintenance. Fairways will still be just as long, and most of the money spent on maintenance is on the tees and greens, and you're still going to have 18 sets of those, so, where's the savings?

 

You can save 10% (or way more) on maintenance right now if you could just get Americans to accept that it's okay to have a firm, fast, and somewhat brown golf course. Not everything needs to be super lush and green.

post #12 of 30

It's hard to stop technology advancement, especially if it translates to dollars for the manufacturers.  Here in the states we're paying $3.50/gallon for gas, recently was over $4.00 and the US manufacturers (Ford & GM) are developing cars with 600+ HP engines for the masses.  Last time I checked speed limits were 55mph in most areas with some rural areas up to 75, do we really need a car that does 0 - speed limit in 3 seconds?  I guess we must because they keep making cars faster and faster but here in NY it's nice if you can find a road to go over 40mph. 

 

I like that we play by the same rules as the pro's but I think it's time there's a break in the equipment.  While the clubs might be named the same, the Callaway driver I'm playing is not the same as Phil's.  The USGA already created the split with grooves conformance.  New clubs must conform,  we can still use our old non-comforming clubs, but the pro's can't.  I know on the internet we're all supposed to hit 300+ yard drives, but I don't, so I'd prefer to not be forced to use a ball that shortens my club distances. 

 

How important is it for some of these courses to host professional tournaments?  Jack makes it sounds like if they change the ball then these courses would be hosting pro events, which I question along with his maintenance savings.  There's more to a course being able to host a pro event than just length, it needs to be well maintained, have sufficient facilities beyond the course to support a tournament and it has to be in an attractive location to warrant interest to visit and play.  New ball flight restrictions might get some of these courses back into rotation but I believe Jack's exaggerating this point. 

 

I also believe most, if not all of these courses are still sized properly for the average golfer.  I've played golf almost once per week since April, and I've yet to see a guy drive the ball consistently more that 270 - 280 yards, which is still a heck of a drive but not too long for most of the courses he's referring to.  The idea you restrict ball flight by 50% and you can build a course half the size is pretty abstract.  I can't imagine our internet long drivers being happy about playing a course where they they can brag they drove the ball 150 yards.   Maybe in areas where land is limited (Japan) or too expensive to develop a full sized course it might be a good option to build a full course using a restricted ball versus an executive Par 3 course but as an overall go forward strategy I'm having a tough time seeing golfers buying into it.     

post #13 of 30
Neither. One of the great things about golf is that amateurs get to play the same game as the pros, notwithstanding the difference in course setups for tourneys.

Instead, if it's decided that a shorter course should be brought back into the rotation, make the risk for trying to bomb it seriously penal. That doesn't take redesign, they just have to grow some grass. I don't care how good a player is, hitting out of 3-4" thick grass and into hourglass fairways will slow them down.
post #14 of 30

Neither. Why didn't they argue this in the 70s when they weren't putting 1" greens? Or argue it back in the early 1900s when they weren't using sticks and stones tied together?

post #15 of 30

I guess we should go back to hickory shafts, non-perimeter weighted irons. persimmon woods and balata balls. All these things contribute to the so called demise of the older courses.

 

I don't remember anyone complaining when Jack was in his prime and busting 330 yard drives.

The real problem is that when someone wants to build a new course, the cost for 7000 square foot greens and 7200 yard lengths is prohibitive.There are only about 100 courses in the U.S. that do or will hold a pro event in a year. The other courses may or may not get a little pro play, but most of these courses are very adequate. Check out the course record on any course you play, and I'll bet the record has stood for a long time.

 

I play on a course that maxs out at 6800 yards. The course record has been 64 for the 18 years I've been playing there. And we do get some very high quality amateur play on the course.

 

As far as the equipment is concerned, it won't change. There is too much BIG money behind the equipment manufacturers. They are the ones that pay the tab for most of the PGA and other integral organizations in the game. It's not the sponsors of the events that keeps the sport on TV. The sponsors are vital to the pro game, but that is not where the manufacturers make a living. Without the guys and gals like us, the sport would go back to being very elitist. IF they ever outlaw the long putter, it will be so they can say they are making an attempt to keep the game pure. That's a lot of political bull. 
 

post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Shortening the ball 10% will not save 10% on maintenance. Fairways will still be just as long, and most of the money spent on maintenance is on the tees and greens, and you're still going to have 18 sets of those, so, where's the savings?

 

You can save 10% (or way more) on maintenance right now if you could just get Americans to accept that it's okay to have a firm, fast, and somewhat brown golf course. Not everything needs to be super lush and green.


I'd say the expense is probably coming from doing major course changes, and just the fact that a longer course takes a bigger plot of land = more money. Maybe?

 

I kind of like where everything is right now. I feel like there should eventually be limits. Maybe physics will just take care of it. Personally I like hitting the ball a long ****in ways though and don't want a ball that doesn't go as far.

post #17 of 30
There is almost no expense involved for ALL the major ball producers to bring out a USGA approved "Tour Ball". The technology is basically in the cores and dimples. The % of dimple coverage is up to some ridiculous amount these days, when just a few years ago it was about 85-90% that produced more drag and less distance. The companies could go back to their records, pull out a particular formula from say, 1990 or whatever and ramp up a production line in about an day. They have all the die's, formulas for the core and covers so it shouldn't be a problem. And to be honest- they would sell plenty to 'average consumers' who would want to prove how they 'match up' with the pros using the same ball.

The major things that all the companies would need to match is dimple percentage and the ball's launch characteristics. dimple shape and durometer would be up to the manufacturer.
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0ldblu3 View Post

I think that the ball is the way to go.  All that reduced maintenance cost savings could get passed on to the consumer, right?
 

LOL.

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