Tell me if you've experienced this commonly deflating experience on the course: new to golf or fresh off of an extended layoff, the golfer finds himself out on the course just trying to keep pace and not embarrass himself. As the round progresses, confidence builds until finally a perfect drive is piped down the middle setting up a reasonably short approach to the green. Brimming with excitement and suddenly sure of swing, the golfer proceeds to chunk the next shot taking out turf that begins a full two inches behind the ball, sending it no further than his divot. At this moment he says to himself "Maybe I'm just not cut out for this sport".
I know the oversize ball was introduced in the 80s/90s with the Top-Flite Magna, but I think the general concept faded out without enough research or a general consumer understanding of what the technology is supposed to achieve. Most importantly the "oversize" Magna was only 1.71" in diameter compared to the minimum allowable (or standard) size of 1.68".
Here is a proposal for a Maximum Game Improvement technology with corresponding attributes:
Anti-Hack golf ball having a diameter of about 1.88 inches. Players with different levels of skill could fit into different ball size categories ranging from slightly oversize to way oversize.
- USGA legal having standard weight through optimized materials.
- Higher MOI promoting reduced sidespin/backspin
- Easier to see and easier to FIND
- Center of Gravity when resting on turf could be as much as one groove higher off the iron, resulting in solid shots that can be executed without requiring perfect turf interaction. Similar to the benefits of low-profile woods, but without the risk of pop-ups.
- Loss of distance off long clubs
- Loss of "bite" off short clubs
- Lower likelihood of falling into the cup for center-line putts traveling too fast
The optimal player to fit into this technology is one we are all familiar with: Distance to burn with a tendency to overswing, thus resulting in poor ballstriking off the turf and massive directional misses off the tee (Hey, I resemble that remark!).
I think it could be more successful than the Magna ball ever was if the consumer understands that they are giving up distance and spin as part of the deal, and most importantly, sees an obvious and tangible difference compared to a conventional ball. This would be mostly borne out with the ability to think "sweep" with the irons and produce good shots that feel solid without necessitating perfect placement of the "bottom" of the swing arc. In short, play like every shot is sitting on a tee!
With mass adoption, suddenly more benefits to the game appear. Courses are no longer rendered "too short" by high-COR drivers and graphite shafts. Fairways are perhaps no longer littered with evidence of 3 chunked shots laying side-by-side courtesy of the "mulligan" crew.
What say you?