Let's dispel some myths and fallacies the media has propagated about PED's. PED's aren't magic, you don't swallow a pill and wake up the next day looking like the Hulk.
Most PED's are taken because they enable athletes to workout harder and recover faster. The key term is "workout", you have to go to the gym and bust your butt to see any real results. You might work with someone on PED's or TRT and not even know they are because they aren't working out and eating to gain size, A-Rod would be a prime example of someone using PED's but doesn't look it..
To get the massive gains you see in professional body builders you'd have to stack a number of steroids with HGH, eat about 5000+ calories of lean food (protein) and spend about 3-5 hours in a gym. I've trained guys in gyms that are clean and juiced, don't let the media fool you, juiced guys kill it in the gym, they aren't just swallowing a pill. Don't underestimate the value of top notch trainers and a high quality lean diet as there are a number of clean bodybuilders and weight lifters that could hold their own and out lift guys on PED's.
The point is the media has gotten on the PED's soapbox and everyone is believing what the talking heads say. The reality is most PED's are worthless, about 80% of what's on the IOC banned list fits into the worthless category. Proper training and nutrition are 100% required to become a pro athlete and that doesn't come cheap. As I said earlier, alcohol, aspirin and nicotine are more of a PED than deer antler spray and most other products on the banned list.
PEDS testing is a feel good to make everyone believe there's some equal ground in sports but it's an illusion.
When I refer to PED's, I'm not just referring to those that build muscle mass. I never wanted to imply that you can swallow a pill and end up looking like the hulk. What I said was that you can take a pill as a substitute for exercise, and you can. While your entire argument focuses on only one class of PED's (hormones that, with the aid of exercise, increase the rate of muscle growth), my argument considers ALL classes of PED's. While you may have significant experience that I do not (I've never assisted with anyone's training using PED's) I rely on my medical background. With that, I can assure you that many of the drugs on the banned list do, in fact, provide immediate improvement that would only be gained with regular exercise. Let's look at a few of them.
Erythropoietin is secreted by the kidneys. It stimulates the stem cells in marrow causing them to increase red blood cell (RBC) production. Increased RBCs lead to an increased ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles, thereby increasing endurance and minimizing fatigue. It requires no additional exercise, yet gives a person the same endurance boost they would have received had they been on a regimen of regular aerobic conditioning.
Stimulants are also banned, but you don't mention them in your argument, probably because you can, in fact, get immediate benefit from them.
Beta Blockers are also banned, but you don't mention them in your argument, probably because you can also get immediate benefit from them.
Generalization is a dangerous tool if you're going to make a logical argument. While it's true that the media has focused more of the PED stories on steroids and muscle-building drugs, you know better than to fall into their trap when discussing PED's. I will agree that the drugs alone don't just build muscle. But they are a substitute for MORE time in the gym. You gave an example of clean bodybuilders who could hold their own against athletes on PEDs, but I'd bet that clean bodybuilder spends a lot more time in the gym than the guy on PEDs does. No?
You keep talking about how having a personal trainer gives an unfair advantage, as though the trainer can simply wave a wand and improve your game. Trainers can only instruct. They can't do the work for you. Some PED's on the other hand actually do a lot of the work themselves with little or no effort on your part. As for the expense involved (I guess we're going to argue now about how richer players have an unfair advantage?) there are plenty of "rich" people in this forum who have spent plenty of money on individualized instruction who aren't on the tour. I'm sure they wish it were only a matter of spending enough money to get the "right instructor" to turn them into a pro. Next we'll be arguing about how being able to pay for the best caddies in the game somehow gives an unfair advantage.
Let's be realistic...there's no way to have an absolutely level playing field because even weather can cause inconsistencies. But the way you talk, you'd rather just let people do whatever they want because since we can't have a perfectly level playing field, we might as well not even try. Kind of a weak, defeatist attitude isn't it? I'm thankful the USGA doesn't just give up like that.
I'm honestly trying to figure out why someone who thinks every sport was invented for the purpose of making money would let themselves be a pawn in the game. If it wasn't about competing under common conditions, why do you suppose we have standards on equipment, golf course layout, etc?