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Nicklaus suggests a 20% rollback in driving distance - Page 2

post #19 of 223
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

So you're going to punish the long hitters now? Speed is a skill.

 

Yeah, I really wanna watch the guys on my TV bombing it out there 240. Please.

 

I get what you're saying, but the USGA has data that proves that swing speed isn't what caused the increase (if I read it correctly).

https://www.usga.org/news/2006/April/Speed-Vs--Distance--Do-Long-Hitters-Get-An-Unfair-Benefit-/

 

As for viewing enjoyment, I enjoyed watching golf just as much when they were bombing it 240 as I do now, so I don't understand that rationale.

post #20 of 223

I'm not sure I buy the cheaper maintenance costs or faster play arguments.  Most courses are built at about 6500 yards, and simply have one or two extra (very small) tee boxes tucked back into the corners that add 50 yards or so for the bombers.  Likewise, if it takes you 85 shots to get around a 7000-yard course with a juiced ball, it will likely take you the same 85 shots to get around a 6400-yard course with a governed ball.  If you're hitting more 5-irons into greens and fewer 9i/wedges because the ball doesn't fly as far, it might make play slower.

 

I will agree that the old days were a little more fun to watch, though.  Pros hitting unbelievable shots with long irons, shaping the ball all over the place, was neat to watch.  Now it barely matters where guys place it off the tee on most holes because they can hit a 9i a zillion miles in the air into 80% of 4-pars so angle of approach is much less of a factor.

 

Seems like golf was much, much harder in 1995 when I was playing in college (and practicing 15-30 hours per week) than it is now.  I enjoy playing more, but watching on TV--definitely can't say I enjoy it more.  Don't get me wrong--it's still fun to watch, but pro golf seems much less about shotmaking now than it did in the 80s-90s.

post #21 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by k-troop View Post

I'm not sure I buy the cheaper maintenance costs or faster play arguments.  Most courses are built at about 6500 yards, and simply have one or two extra (very small) tee boxes tucked back into the corners that add 50 yards or so for the bombers.  Likewise, if it takes you 85 shots to get around a 7000-yard course with a juiced ball, it will likely take you the same 85 shots to get around a 6400-yard course with a governed ball.  If you're hitting more 5-irons into greens and fewer 9i/wedges because the ball doesn't fly as far, it might make play slower.

 

The costs side of it is as much about new courses, or having to renovate existing courses. 

 

If you look at the longer term, land is going to become more and more scarce as the world's population continues to grow. That's going to make it harder to build new courses, and going to put more pressure on existing courses as if they're not profitable they're going to be redeveloped into housing.

 

There are already plenty of places in the world where golf is only played by the rich because the land required for a course is so expensive. And that's going to become the case in more and more cities over the next 10, 20, 30 years.

 

In regards to the time required to play, you're going to be quicker playing 85 shots around a 6400 yard course than 85 shots around a 7000 yard course by at least the amount of time it takes to walk 600 yards. We're not talking about shaving an hour off a round but it will help.

 

There's also course congestion to consider. By reducing the cost of building courses we can have more courses, which means less congestion which will definitely increase the pace of play. Courses get away with cramming people on because there aren't enough of them. If you want to play golf you might not have a choice, short of joining a private club which isn't an option for some people.

 

I doubt there are many people who are going to hear the suggestion and think that their personal golf experience, this year or next, is going to magically improve by dialling back length via restricting the ball. But if you think about golf as a world game, and how it's going to thrive in the big changes we're going to experience over the next few decades I think a pretty good argument can be made that it would improve the outlook significantly.

 

And I reckon we'd all adjust pretty quickly and the internet standard for an internet 18 handicapper would be a 270 yard drive instead of a 300 yard drive. And we'd still get the same satisfaction from knocking one 20 yards past our playing partners that we do now.

post #22 of 223
I wouldn't be totally opposed to a rollback, even if across board. I didn't enjoy the game any less when I could only drive the ball 200 yards as opposed to 250. Keeping some of the great classic courses relevant, or bringing them out of obselescence for the pros is worthwhile. While the tee it forward campaign is not universally popular, it would likely gain traction if a change like this was made.
Joekelly is right. If Jack Nicklaus believes in this idea, he should put it in play at The Memorial. It's at least worth a try.
post #23 of 223

My 85 year old father does not to lose any more distance.

post #24 of 223

I'm not sure Augusta will ever be obsolete.  There comes a point for the Pros where driver is too much and they pull out a 3W or even iron.  The Older courses can make modifications that remove the driver as the option club or at least give a risk-reward scenario. They do it with the length of the rough and width of the fairway now when the US Open comes to town at a lot of US Open courses.  To me, being creative with design changes can add a lot more challenge and excitement for the Pro game.

post #25 of 223
I really don't see a problem with the distance guys are hitting. The problem is that a lot of new longer courses have huge landing areas with well groomed rough. There is a 6000yrd course I play around here that is only rated 69.7/118. It plays way harder than a 6800 yrd 71.8/136 course for me and most I play with.

It has postage stamp greens, narrow fairways, brutally long rough and huge mature trees that block you on any errant shots. They even have an OB stripe painted between 2 parallel holes since one doglegs behind the tee of another to keep people from cutting the corner into the other fairway.

If you hit a 220 yrd drive at the edge of a fairway that angle and extra distance of a 280 drive will put you in deep rough or trees. Look how many times the big hitters are playing from other fairways or the gallery area. Make the driver a true risk/reward club. If you hit it long and exceptionally straight you deserve to be rewarded but if not, you should be penalized.

Lots of people watch those pro long drives with envy but I actually like watching guys tee off with 3 woods or 2i. It teaches viewers course management which we all need to learn. I get so tired of playing with guys bombing it 300yrd while we spend every other hole looking for errant shots while they post in the mid 90s.

Focus the courses on control over distance and make them dial it down or pay the price or reap the reward.
post #26 of 223

I believe that, along with a restricted flight ball, Nicklaus was also talking about balls that spun more. Thats all this game needs: players that are shorter and more crooked. Why don't we all just go back to blade irons with lofts from 1965, wooden woods, bullseye putters, and a canvas sack full of Club Specials. Why does golf have the idea that things need to be harder? Every other sport, most people like to see offense. We like TD's in football, home runs in baseball, goals in hockey, but when highly skilled players hit the ball a long way, and shoot low scores, something is wrong with the game. I know I am bigger and stronger than some pro golfers, and use,roughly, the same gear, but they still hit the ball a lot longer than I do. I am a fairly good player at the club level, but those guys have skills that I don't have.

post #27 of 223

Oh, by the way, Nicklaus shot 17 under at the Masters 1n 1965 using old equipment. Bubba shot -10 last year using new equipment. Augusta National is not outdated.

post #28 of 223
I believe there are requirements as to what makes a ball legal. I say just keep it where it is.
post #29 of 223

When it comes to technology we always seem to debate one peice at a time but in reality it's a combination of things that have led to all golfers hitting it much farther today versus 30 years ago. That being said the USGA could make a single change in the distance equation which would in effect roll back distance.

For example the USGA could get rid of any and all trampaline effect in all clubs and that would go a long way in rolling everybody back but would effect the bigger hitters more as I understand golf club physics. The USGA has put in limitations on this effect in Drivers for a while now but that limitation in fairway woods on down is not in play as I understand it and the manufactuers are building "Monster" 3woods. This offseason I bought a Cobra Amp 3wood on clearance to replace my 8 year old Callaway x-tour. OMG,,,,that thing is stupid long approaching Driver type distance and is going to get a lot of use off the tee this coming season. It's basically a Driver from around 1995 with a little more loft and a whole lot of trampaline effect.

 

Personally I would like to see them hold the distance to where it is right now. Besides, can you imagine that battle. The USGA is in a firefight already over long putters which at my home course only effects about 2% of our members. Changing the ball would effect 100% of all players and at this point in golf evolution I think would absolutely take away a level of enjoyment from the average golfer!

post #30 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post

I'm not sure Augusta will ever be obsolete.  There comes a point for the Pros where driver is too much and they pull out a 3W or even iron.  The Older courses can make modifications that remove the driver as the option club or at least give a risk-reward scenario. They do it with the length of the rough and width of the fairway now when the US Open comes to town at a lot of US Open courses.  To me, being creative with design changes can add a lot more challenge and excitement for the Pro game.

+1 

post #31 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by caniac6 View Post

Oh, by the way, Nicklaus shot 17 under at the Masters 1n 1965 using old equipment. Bubba shot -10 last year using new equipment. Augusta National is not outdated.
Interesting. Kind of makes you wonder what problem they're trying to solve. Certainly the game is different now than it was years age (like every other sport out there). I'd say just leave things as they are (including belly putters). Besides, it's fun to watch the pros bomb it.
post #32 of 223

A 20% rollback in my distance means I wouldn't be breaking 200 yards with my average drive. Wouldn't that be fun, now?

 

When I was growing up, 220 yards was a good drive for an amateur golfer. Long hitters got 240. I'm reaching green in two today that in the old days I couldn't touch with a driver and a 3-wood, and these are long par-4 holes. Is that somehow a problem for the Game of Golf?

 

If the pros are making the old courses obsolete, that's evolution. They can play on any of a few hundred or so golf courses built for the current professional game. The golf powers have this strange mind set that golf is professional golf and the rest of us are just tagging along. Actually, we are golf. The pros are the exception.

post #33 of 223

If I was to lose between 50-70 yards off my tee shot, through no fault of my own, I would quit. As I age, I know I'll lose distance, but if someone else decides I hit the ball too far, I'll spend my time and money doing something else.

post #34 of 223

Some folks here apparently can't even see an issue worth debating.  I disagree--I think there is an issue here.  More than in any other sport, tech evolution in one piece of equipment--the ball--has drastically changed the game.

 

For starters, it's the ball, not the clubs, that accounts for 90% of the effect on the the pro game.  Lighter shafts are nice, but pros have always had speed.  Cavity back is great, but these guys are hitting the sweet spot pretty consistently.  Hybrids might be the golf club tech that's had the most impact for pros, but it's a very specific and limited impact:  hitting long irons that take off with a 20* launch angle instead of 16* is only going to affect a couple shots per round.

 

Likewise, tech has evolved all sports, but not to the extent the ball has changed golf.  Football players are bigger, stronger, and more muscular due to science in nutrition, training, etc.  But it's not like runningbacks are going from 5.5 second 40s to 4-flat.  They're picking up a tenth or two, and there are more athletes in the pool that can attain 4.2 or 4.3.  But the 4.2 hasn't gotten any faster.  Likewise, baseball parks are the same size.  The ball is the same ball.  Wood is still wood.  Lighter cleats and compression shorts aren't creating footballers that can suddenly run 10-straight sub 10-second 100 yard dashes.  We're not seeing field goals from 80 yards.

 

Tech--specifically the ball--has drastically changed golf, though.  Drives are about 25% longer.  The club of choice from 180 yards has gone from 4/5-iron to 7/8/9-iron.  The modern ball launches high, with relatively little spin, and is minimally affected by wind (compared to the balata ball).  That changes the way pros tackle a golf course.  A 440-yard par-4 used to require some thought:  a 280-yard drive (huge in 1985) would still leave you 160 to the hole, which was 6/7 iron for most pros.  If you missed the fairway, you're left with a 6-iron from the rough which is daunting.  If you hit 3-wood or 2-iron off the tee, you're looking at 3/4-iron to the green, which means you have to carefully choose your angle of attack into the flag.  Position on the fairway matters.  The modern equivalent of the 440-yard 4-par is about 485 yards.  For the top-1/3rd of guys on tour, this is a driver 8-iron or 9-iron.  Who cares if you put it in the rough, because you'll be hitting 9-iron into the green anyway?  Even if you lay back off the tee with your well-placed 280-yard 3-wood, you've still got 205 to the flag.  That's a stock 6-iron, which launches plenty high and lands soft enough that placement off of the tee is basically irrelevant unless you're hitting into US Open greens.

 

So, to make a course difficult, the tournament committee has to bake the greens, grow calf-deep rough, and put the pins on 10* grades.  Guys either try to throw a dart (where they might achieve triumphant success or crushing failure) or they aim away from the hole and you spend most of the day watching guys read 40-foot putts.  I think some of the artistry is gone from the professional game because of the ball.

 

That's not to say that limiting the ball is the answer.  The professional game is, as Recreational Golfer noted above, a very, very small part of the game.  I've played with a few older guys who couldn't lift 25 pounds, but they can make their perfect-tempo swings with their 47-inch drivers and pound their perfectly-fitted ball out about 240.  These guys would probably be miserable hitting a 170-yard slice with a Titleist Tour-90 and might quit the game.  I, for one, have a lot more fun playing now than I did 20 years ago when I was playing competitive golf at the high school and college level.  Shots are easier.  Eagle putts are frequent.  I can still hit great shots without practicing, because the sweet spot is only a guideline.  (My short game blows, but that's a different story.) 

 

I'm not sure that limiting the ball is the answer, and I'm certainly not sure that 2 different balls (pros vs. ams) is the answer.  But those who think there isn't a question are missing a lot, I think.

post #35 of 223

I tried to look it up, but I couldn't find the info. Anyway I would be interested to know how the increase in the distance the ball goes has affected the handicaps of recreational golfers. I would bet over the last 20 years it has come down, but not by much.

post #36 of 223
Can I say again? Pause button. Not rollback.

It is what it is now. Players at all levels would throw a shitfit if thier distance was 'taken' from them. Regardless of the fact that it was, to a degree 'given' to them.

Smartest, least traumatic move, IMO is to verify and make slightly more specific as necessary, the limits we currently have on the ball.
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