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USGA/R&A Distance Insights Project

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I just find PGA golf boring as I find even tv doesnt do a good job of making the tee shots exciting TV.

The difference between a 290 and 320 yard drive isnt obvious when watching zoomed in balls landing on the fairway so it's not good tv.

I always judge the entertainment of a sport by what my casual sports fan wife "whoa's" at. 2nd to a putt on an interesting green, she is most thrilled with approach shots. I too find approach shots more interesting, but I'm afraid theres just too many wedge shots in the game.

 

I know I'm in the minority but I both play and follow sports that have neuteured aspects of the sport for entertainment and changing values. I mean, I wasnt thrilled about spending $800 on new goalie pads when the width changed but I think the game is better for it.

F1 cars are slower than they were 20 years ago but the racing is better for the neuteuring.

I dont even want bifurcation.....I want a reduction across the board.

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5 hours ago, iacas said:

Players move across the line all the time in golf. In baseball, the college players that move on to play professional sports don't do so at the highest level intermittently. They play A ball, or AA ball, and have years to continue to grow, develop, adapt, etc.

They don't play a college event one week and then qualify for some major amateur or professional event which requires what would be the golf equivalent of wooden bats the next week, and then go right back to the metal bat equivalent the week after that.

What about lower tours, including Korn Ferry, Web.com, etc.? Are these not the places for a new pro to learn, grow, and adapt?

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The thing is that the pros are hitting wedges from distances I'm hitting a 7 iron. I don't see how rolling back anything is going to make the game more enjoyable for me or many other people. Rolling back the ball and making the driver smaller.... Hitting a 5 iron for a second shot into a green isn't a lot of fun. It will kill the game for some people unless courses adjust and add more tee boxes. I'll have to move up from 5800 to 5200. And courses will have to put in 4400 - 4600 yd tee boxes for even shorter hitters. People should have a reasonable chance of reaching the green in regulation unless they screw up. And the game should be enjoyable, not a struggle.

Also buying new golf equipment isn't something people want to do often. If they have perfectly functional equipment they'll likely keep using it regardless of the rule change. So what will they do? Start making new drivers say in a year, and the USGA says the old drivers can't be used anymore after 2030? Who will buy the new less forgiving drivers until the last minute? Maybe require the new stuff in top level competition and grandfather the older stuff, but then you'd have de facto bifurcation. So you might as well just make a ball that doesn't go quite as far for the PGA tour, leave the amateur game alone, and be done with it. Just my uneducated opinion. 

An example of bifurcation is in basketball with the 3 point line. The pros have a 23.75' 3 pt line above the break. College is 20' 9". And the International 3 point line is 22.15 feet above the break. 

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6 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

What about lower tours, including Korn Ferry, Web.com, etc.? Are these not the places for a new pro to learn, grow, and adapt?

That’s not the same. A college player, for example, isn’t called up for game three of the World Series. The equivalent happens in golf.

Baseball teams also have months off, spring training, winter ball, etc.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

That’s not the same. A college player, for example, isn’t called up for game three of the World Series. The equivalent happens in golf.

Baseball teams also have months off, spring training, winter ball, etc.

I think you are drastically overestimating the amount of time and practice that would be necessary for precessional talent level golfers to adapt to a ball that goes a different distance or is more spinny.  

I mean, the scores at WGC Mexico every year at 7,800 feet of elevation would suggest that pros really have no troubles adapting to these types of changes from 1 week to the next.  

as a matter of fact, playing at 7,800 feet would be more difficult that just changing to a rolled back golf ball because it’s a 10-15% distance difference from sea level, but that percentage actually changes from shot to shot depending on trajectory.    But, shockingly, DJ managed to go out and shoot -21 last year despite playing at sea level the week before.  He also showed no residual affects following adapting to those different distances as he was back at sea level the following week getting 5th place at the Players.

it takes these guys a a couple days to adapt to these distance changes.  Not the weeks or months or years that you are suggesting. 
 

 

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3 minutes ago, lastings said:

I think you are drastically overestimating the amount of time and practice that would be necessary for precessional talent level golfers to adapt to a ball that goes a different distance or is more spinny.  

I am not. Guys often take several months over the off-season to adjust when they switch balls.

How do I know? I’ve seen the work. I’ve seen the testing. I’ve talked with the guys about it. The margins at the top are tiny. A shot here and there adds up fast.

7 minutes ago, lastings said:

I mean, the scores at WGC Mexico every year at 7,800 feet of elevation would suggest that pros really have no troubles adapting to these types of changes from 1 week to the next.

Ridiculous comment. Have you watched that event? Guys fly the greens by 20 yards from 160 and have a hard time controlling distances all week. They do what they can because it’s a big payday but they don’t completely adjust. Not even close.

DJ shot -21 because the course played about 6600 yards with a par of 71.

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I am 65, and still hit it pretty well. I don't feel that I have lost much distance, yet. I play a lot, keep my clubs current, and have maintained flexibility and fitness. I know that, at some point, Father Time is going to rear his ugly head, and start to rob me of my distance. I really hate that an organization that I have supported for a long time will do the same.

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8 minutes ago, iacas said:

 

Ridiculous comment. Have you watched that event? Guys fly the greens by 20 yards from 160 and have a hard time controlling distances all week. They do what they can because it’s a big payday but they don’t completely adjust. Not even close.

DJ shot -21 because the course played about 6600 yards with a par of 71.

And yet, the leader board that week looks just like it does every week.  Every year.   Regardless, the best ball strikers win out.  
 

and, again, the players have no troubles adapting back to sea level the following week. 

the only thing that you are suggesting is that a ball change at the professional level creates a bit more of a barrier to entry.  You’ll have a situation where fewer golfers might be able to go directly from college/amateur straight to the PGA tour and earn their card straight away.  They may have to adapt on the Korn Ferry tours or mini tours.  
 

But, of course, all that said, having a ball that is more difficult to score with is going to give an advantage to the better ball strikers.   So, you might just see a situation where the cream of the crop rises to the top faster. 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, lastings said:

And yet, the leader board that week looks just like it does every week.  Every year.   Regardless, the best ball strikers win out.

It's a WGC, so you're not going to find many scrubs on the leaderboard. So, actually, it doesn't look like it does every week. 😛

That's beside the point, though, which is that you're not seeing the players at their best, because they haven't fully adjusted. They're playing with one hand tied behind their backs (metaphorically).

19 minutes ago, lastings said:

and, again, the players have no troubles adapting back to sea level the following week.

They don't "adapt back" - they simply forget what they tried to cram in for one week and go back to what they've known and done and trust.

Saying they have to "adapt back" is like telling someone who has been riding a bicycle for two decades that they have to learn to ride a unicycle for a week, then saying "oh, look how quickly they adapted back to riding a regular bicycle" when the experiment is over. There's no "adapting back" - they just forget what they tried to cram in that week.

17 minutes ago, lastings said:

the only thing that you are suggesting is that a ball change at the professional level creates a bit more of a barrier to entry.

That's not all I've suggested. And the rest of your sentence ignores comments previously made.

Furthermore, even discussing this assumes that there's a problem in need of solving, and you've yet to do a darn thing to convince me of that first step.

17 minutes ago, lastings said:

But, of course, all that said, having a ball that is more difficult to score with is going to give an advantage to the better ball strikers.   So, you might just see a situation where the cream of the crop rises to the top faster. 

Possibly. But I don't think the ball is the way to go about that. If you wanted the better ball strikers to rise to the top, you'd have to have found some way to mandate that everyone play muscle backs or something. The club matters quite a bit more in that equation than the ball.

And, since that's a complete non-starter…

But again, what's the problem with where we are now? I don't agree that there is one, and the conversation starts there.

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1 hour ago, Sandy Divot said:

I am 65, and still hit it pretty well. I don't feel that I have lost much distance, yet. I play a lot, keep my clubs current, and have maintained flexibility and fitness. I know that, at some point, Father Time is going to rear his ugly head, and start to rob me of my distance. I really hate that an organization that I have supported for a long time will do the same.

Kinda like premature old age via the USGA.

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I read though most of the report last night and found it insightful. But from what i gather, bifurcation of the ball is their only remedy to the issues it outlines. Which im sure the equipment manufacturers are going to love. 

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If a slight ball roll back were to take effect per local rule. Would this effect ones handicap? I assume it'd have to.

i keep thinking about what I’d do if something does happen.  I assume PGA of America would follow those local rules for events so I would likely just make the switch and stay there regardless of playing recreationally with friends. Before I was 20yds past them, soon I could be 10yds behind them. Seems really stupid and a bit annoying. 

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24 minutes ago, phillyk said:

If a slight ball roll back were to take effect per local rule. Would this effect ones handicap? I assume it'd have to.

i keep thinking about what I’d do if something does happen.  I assume PGA of America would follow those local rules for events so I would likely just make the switch and stay there regardless of playing recreationally with friends. Before I was 20yds past them, soon I could be 10yds behind them. Seems really stupid and a bit annoying. 

I really wonder who, if anyone, would actually adopt the local rule under discussion.  I'd be really surprised if the PGA Tour would, they've been marketing big hitters for a long time.  They players make a boatload of money from equipment manufacturers, who want to sell me the same club that the tour pro uses, adoption of the local rule would certainly change that.  Would the USGA or R&A utilize the local rule for the very few events it runs?  Possibly, if the manufacturers decided to produce the stuff even though the market would be really small.  Has the PGA of America made any response to the report yet?  That might give you an idea of what could happen.  The PGA Tour's response said, as I read it and will paraphrase, "We'll cooperate in discussions, but don't expect our tour or our players to make any sacrifices, that's not happening."

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

They don't "adapt back" - they simply forget what they tried to cram in for one week and go back to what they've known and done and trust.

Saying they have to "adapt back" is like telling someone who has been riding a bicycle for two decades that they have to learn to ride a unicycle for a week, then saying "oh, look how quickly they adapted back to riding a regular bicycle" when the experiment is over. There's no "adapting back" - they just forget what they tried to cram in that week.

Ok.  I guess all i'm suggesting is that the back and forth isn't exactly killing them out there.   And using that as a a reference point to suggest that quite possibly, it might be a bit less difficult than you are suggesting for the miniscule % of the golf population that are playing in both amateur tournaments and professional tournaments to learn two balls.  

2 hours ago, iacas said:

Furthermore, even discussing this assumes that there's a problem in need of solving, and you've yet to do a darn thing to convince me of that first step.

 

2 hours ago, iacas said:

But again, what's the problem with where we are now? I don't agree that there is one, and the conversation starts there.

I didn't think it was really my place in this conversation thread to prove to you that there is an issue now.    The USGA did the research and concluded that the growing distance at the professional level is a detriment to the long term health of the game.   I'm willing to accept their researched conclusion and move the conversation to the obvious next step, which is weather is it possible halt and/or regress distance gains.  

 

27 minutes ago, phillyk said:

i keep thinking about what I’d do if something does happen.  I assume PGA of America would follow those local rules for events so I would likely just make the switch and stay there regardless of playing recreationally with friends. Before I was 20yds past them, soon I could be 10yds behind them. Seems really stupid and a bit annoying. 

My assumption is that bifurcation would only be implemented in situations where there a professional consequences.   Professional tournaments and Open qualifiers and such.  
I don't really know exactly where the line would be, but I'm sure it would be somewhere that really only affects players with professional aspirations and doesn't affect the majority of recreational players. Maybe at the Q-School pre-qualifying stage or something.  

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17 hours ago, iacas said:

There is none.

This was a thing awhile back: https://thesandtrap.com/b/swing_thoughts/the_mythical_ball_boost.

Thanks. It looks like the USGA took down that study, though. It's a dead link, and I couldn't find it via a google search.

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15 hours ago, cutchemist42 said:

I dont even want bifurcation.....I want a reduction across the board.

I'm fine with this.  The expansion of golf courses and the extra watering, maintenance, etc. required to run some of these courses is likely a lot.  I suppose the easiest way to do it would be a ball rollback.  Let ppl keep their clubs they play--just dial the ball back for everyone across the board.

1 hour ago, Groucho Valentine said:

Which im sure the equipment manufacturers are going to love. 

And consumers.  It's a lot cheaper to replace golf balls than it is to go and buy new conforming clubs.

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14 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I really wonder who, if anyone, would actually adopt the local rule under discussion.  I'd be really surprised if the PGA Tour would, they've been marketing big hitters for a long time.  They players make a boatload of money from equipment manufacturers, who want to sell me the same club that the tour pro uses, adoption of the local rule would certainly change that.  Would the USGA or R&A utilize the local rule for the very few events it runs?  Possibly, if the manufacturers decided to produce the stuff even though the market would be really small.  Has the PGA of America made any response to the report yet?  That might give you an idea of what could happen.  The PGA Tour's response said, as I read it and will paraphrase, "We'll cooperate in discussions, but don't expect our tour or our players to make any sacrifices, that's not happening."

Here's a link to the PGA Tour's statement: 

pgatourflag-847-benjared.jpg

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Golfers at all levels keep hitting the ball farther, and the game's governing bodies plan to do something about it by going after the one area they can control -- equipment.

Relevant quote:

The PGA TOUR is committed to ensuring any future solutions identified benefit the game as a whole without negatively impacting the TOUR, its players or our fans’ enjoyment of our sport.

 

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