Jump to content
iacas

USGA/R&A Distance Insights Project

221 posts / 6985 viewsLast Reply

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, billchao said:

Weren’t people saying that Merion GC was too short to host a US Open back in 2013? Justin Rose won at +1. There are ways to make golf courses challenging that aren’t based solely on distance.

I don't know if that's the best example, because a lot of players complained about how tricked-up Merion was. 

But I find tournament golf to be pretty entertaining on short courses. WGC-Mexico is a lot of fun, and that's a really short course. Pebble was short for the US Open and was fun. There also tends to be a variety of styles winning at shorter courses. Now, scores tend to be pretty low at those courses, but I don't really care about that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I mean I personally find tournament golf boring and that's subjective because I do find too many wedge shots into greens where precise distances are known. I find golf more interesting when there are more chances to miss the green and when the area around the green is more interesting.

I already said it once but my casual wife who isnt into golf at all (she is a landscape architect so likes to see the courses) only "ooooo's" at short game stuff when the ball is rolling over interesting terrain or being flopped/chipped over stuff.

She used to be into baseball too until the three true outcomes happened.

I have no proof of this other than anecdotal reddit stuff but I feel the sentiment is growing about tour golf and baseball becoming boring for similar reasons.

I also buy some of the societal pressures of courses being too big. I'll just say I worked a branch of government and had to deal personally with a newer Winnipeg golf course that moved and already was coming close to failing asthey couldnt pay for the larger property. That's also in a province that is probably too generous when it comes to tax breaks on golf courses already. If my old city of 700,000 had an example I'm sure others exist.

My home course now was also built too big but it's at least not in a city. They stopped maintaining the back tees on almost all the holes.

Edited by cutchemist42

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

20 hours ago, iacas said:

I have a few thoughts on the distance debate in golf. Except for the first, they're in no particular order. I'll try to be brief, but we all know how that tends to go…

1. I don't care about the 0.01% of golfers that this affects. Even if that number is as large as 1%, I don't care. Distance *may be* an issue on the PGA Tour (and other pro tours), and for a few college kids at the best college programs. I am almost fundamentally against changing golf just because of a tiny fraction of golfers.

2. I still believe that 6500 yards is enough (or more than enough) for 95% of golfers, and 7000 is enough (or more) for 99%+. While Rory might hit wedge to a 450-yard hole, for almost everyone else, that's a 6-iron or more. And if the membership at some clubs are chasing distance and expanding their golf course, that's their call. They're spending their own money.

3. I'm tired of hearing about the PGA Tour can't go play these awesome courses. Here are some of the outstanding works of art played in 1990: La Costa, TPC StarPass, Indian Wells, TPC Scottsdale, Waialae, Torrey Pines, Riviera, Doral, TPC Eagle Trace, TPC Sawgrass, Bay Hill, TPC Woodlands, Hattiesburg CC, Harbour Town, Forest Oaks CC, English Turn G&CC, TPC Las Colinas, Muirfield Village, Colonial, Atlanta CC, TPC Avenel, Butler National, Medinah CC, Westchester CC, TPC ConnecticutKingsmill CC, Pleasant Valley CC, St. Andrews, Warwick Hills, TPC Southwind, Shoal Creek, Castle Pines, Valleybrook, Firestone, Tuckaway CC, Oakwood CC… I give up, mostly because I'm tired of typing "TPC." Which of the courses that no longer host PGA Tour events are we truly "missing out on"? When the question is posed about what great courses can no longer host the PGA Tour due *only* to distance (and not the other infrastructure needed, lack of member desire to turn their course over for a month, etc.), the list is always *very, very* short.

4. I really don't care if the British Open can no longer be played at the Old Course some day, or if they continue to play it there and when it's not windy, the winner shoots -30. Will that guy have not done the best job of getting his ball from 72 teeing areas to 72 holes better than anyone else that week? Is the junior tournament my daughter won by shooting 30 on a par-33 course "less than" because most of the holes were par threes or driver-wedge par fours?

5. A universal roll-back WOULD affect the amateurs, especially if it's done with driver head size. If it's done with the ball, across the board, then amateurs are still going to be affected. I've heard people say "oh if you drive it 250 you'll probably drive it 247, but Rory will go from 330 (he doesn't average 330) to 300 maybe. No, that's generally not how this stuff works.

6. Speaking of driver head size… PGA Tour players go at their 3W pretty hard too. They're not swinging their drivers at 100% and then backing off with their 3W to 80% or something. PGA Tour players are better these days than they were in the 80s, on average. Would we see the occasional wild shot? Yeah, most likely by a guy that's going to miss the cut or who isn't playing on TV on the weekend. I suspect we'd almost fail to notice. When's the last time you saw someone other than Tiger Woods (he did it pretty frequently for being the GOAT) pop up a 3W? Limiting driver head sizes to small sizes would punish amateurs far more than PGA Tour pros.

7. Go find a trajectory optimizer or something and put -20° spin axis tilt and try 2250 RPM of spin and then try 4500, which is more than even balata balls spun during the 90s. Even the 4500 RPM ball won't curve that much. Why? My hunch is actually the aerodynamics. The dimple pattern. It's not simply the increased amount of spin people *think* they'll get from "balata" — it's that we've learned more about the aerodynamics.

8. People talk nostalgically about the "shotmaking" that players had in the 80s and 90s… but it's bullshit. Corey Pavin was a shotmaker, just as Bubba Watson is now. Tiger is a bigger shotmaker than most credit him for, and it serves him well. Lee Trevino? Jack Nicklaus? They pretty much — like modern day players — played one shot shape. Better to be a master of one than a jack of all trades (unless your brain just doesn't work that way, like Bubba, or unless you're so skilled, like Tiger). Billy Casper played a huge draw and won 51 times or whatever. It's nostalgia, and little else, to think that players were "shotmakers" in the past and aren't now. If there was something to be gained by doing it, with the money in the game today, players would do it. They'd figure it out, or a coach or a numbers guy would have.

9. Knowledge — like that it's better to play your one shot shape, with little curve, because it reacts the most consistently — isn't going to go anywhere. Since the 80s or 90s or whenever your "heyday" was, we've learned about optimal launch conditions. We've learned more about how moving the CG of a driver affects things. We've learned more about building shafts, and aerodynamics of dimples, and ball construction. We've learned more about how to swing. We've learned a LOT, and none of that knowledge is going anywhere.

10. On a podcast someone gave this example, and I think it's a lousy one every time it's brought up: "College baseball players use metal bats, and when they get to the pros, they have to switch to wood." This analogy falls flat on its face in several ways. First, the information is old. College metal bats were put under even more regulations in 2011 or so (including COR testing) to ensure that they didn't hit the ball much harder than wooden bats. They're a bit lighter, still, so players can swing faster, but the bats themselves aren't really much "hotter." That was done for player safety. Second, it costs a lot of money to replace a bunch of wooden bats, and they break. Colleges opt for metal or composite so they don't have to incur the ongoing costs of replacing bats. Not every college baseball team has a huge budget. Third, college baseball and the MLB system aren't under the same ruling body. Golf is effectively, around the entire world, governed by one set of rules and two ruling bodies who are in lock step with one another, so effectively one ruling body. Finally, college players making the transition to the pros have months or years to make the adjustment. College baseball players aren't called up to play game five of the World Series, but *we see this in golf every year.* Amateurs qualify for and play in major championships *every year.* If they're playing their "regular ball" or their "metal bats" in college so as not to be at a disadvantage, then they're going to be at one when they have to switch to try to qualify for a U.S. Open.

11. It takes quite awhile for players to adjust to a new ball. Yes, the players will say they've "adjusted" for the Mexico event, but what they're really saying is that they "made adjustments" because they have to, but they're really not 100% certain of anything. Watch the event and you'll see guys mystified at why they flew a green by 20 yards every 30 minutes or so. Attend it and you'll see even more. The course effectively plays 6600 yards at that elevation, so scoring is still relatively good. Guys who switch ball companies will take months over their off-season to truly dial in all of the types of shots they expect to hit, particularly around the greens. Guys in Ryder Cups do their best, and even try to pair with guys who play a similar ball. Guys may "adjust" but there's a big gap between "let's hit a few on Trackman and see how far *the same ball* goes at this altitude" and "this is an entirely new ball." Look at how many guys hit old-model-year golf balls… because they're so reluctant to change. Because they feel it will hurt their game. Because they know it will be difficult to adjust.

12. "Other sports have a common ball, why can't golf?" In all other sports, players are allowed to have their own *personal* equipment. The balls in most other sports are not personal, but shared equipment. Other players use them, too. In tennis, players get to use their own sneakers and rackets. In baseball, bats, helmets, and gloves are personal. In bowling, there's also not one common ball… because it's not shared. It's personal. Golf is the same. The opponents don't have to or get to play with "your" golf ball.

13. Going back a step, others have said "if the Masters puts out a tournament ball, you can bet they'd all play it." Sure, everyone *might* still show up and play it… I don't think many would actually boycott the Masters… but there'd be a helluva lot of grumbling about it. Such a tournament should have an asterisk, as we'd see virtually nobody playing at their best. The players who happened to adjust the fastest, or be given a ball that's already closest to their current ball in terms of short game spin and other things, would have the "advantage" that week over players who had the toughest time adjusting or whose ball was most different from the "Masters ball." At any rate, it would be a compromised tournament — we would *not* be seeing the players at their best.

14. Finally, "tournament golf is so boring?" Give me a break, that's because of distance? We know for a fact that if players have to hit a 6-iron to a green, that it's not going to get as close, on average, as when they have to hit a 9I. So what's more exciting: a player hitting a shot to 35 feet or a player hitting a shot to 12 feet? Sure, hitting a 6I to 20 feet might take more skill than hitting a shot to 12 feet with a 9I, but what do we see on TV? We see a guy, he hits the ball, we see it in the air, we see it landing on the green. If someone told you it was a 6-iron instead of a 9-iron, but the visuals were exactly the same… how would that make golf more exciting? If the same exact shots were hit? No. And if worse shots were hit, as they would be if they *actually* had to hit three clubs more? It'd be even less exciting. Go back and watch events from the 80s and 90s. They weren't all that exciting either… and most of what's changed, I think, is simply the coverage. We see too many putts, too many ad reads, too much pre-shot routine, too many tap-ins, etc. Golf coverage isn't boring because the ball goes too far. The two are almost entirely unlinked, and where they do meet, distance might lead to more excitement. Eagles are exciting. Birdies are exciting. Guys not being able to reach par fives… is more entertaining?

Okay, that's all I've got for now.

Wow!  Well stated.

I agree with most of what you said.

Changing  the club or ball would be a disaster. 

Change is progress . Lets keep moving 

forward.  Going backwards is not even 

in my vocabulary.

Wait! i just got a call on my land lock

phone plugged into the wall. Yikes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Changing the ball or equipment will do nothing as distance isn’t a problem worth addressing. The only real reason Jack favors it is his old stubborn last effort to do whatever he can to make his records (record) harder to beat. The courses are fine as Erik stated. I don’t see any tournaments becoming circus events where everyone is firing 59 and making a a course ‘obsolete.’ It’s nonsense. Period. Leave golf alone. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

The only real reason Jack favors it is his old stubborn last effort to do whatever he can to make his records (record) harder to beat.

I think a rolled back ball, or one that curved more, or a spinnier ball, etc. would make it easier for Tiger to win majors. The "worse" equipment is the more it favors the actual better players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

2 minutes ago, iacas said:

I think a rolled back ball, or one that curved more, or a spinnier ball, etc. would make it easier for Tiger to win majors. The "worse" equipment is the more it favors the actual better players

Totally agree!

Anyone that does not have the shots will have a harder time.  I recall Hank Haney talking about Tiger having all 9 shots at one time or another.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, iacas said:

The "worse" equipment is the more it favors the actual better players.

I can’t remember where I read it, but tour players used to remark on the advantage Tiger had in how high he could hit his long irons and get them to hold greens. Now if a guy can’t launch a 3i, he can put a hybrid in the bag.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

7 hours ago, iacas said:

I think a rolled back ball, or one that curved more, or a spinnier ball, etc. would make it easier for Tiger to win majors. The "worse" equipment is the more it favors the actual better players.

I remember in the Jack vs Tiger thread Jack mentioned how the improved equipment favored helping the lesser players narrow the gap to the strong players. But IIRC Jack recently thought the equipment/ball was making it easier for players to score low. I think it’s more based on the players just being considerably better than his days which he doesn’t want to admit. I may be wrong but I think I’ve heard him both praise the young guns while at the same time insinuating it’s the equipment more than the players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On 2/12/2020 at 10:45 AM, iacas said:

I have a few thoughts on the distance debate in golf. Except for the first, they're in no particular order. I'll try to be brief, but we all know how that tends to go…

1. I don't care about the 0.01% of golfers that this affects. Even if that number is as large as 1%, I don't care. Distance *may be* an issue on the PGA Tour (and other pro tours), and for a few college kids at the best college programs. I am almost fundamentally against changing golf just because of a tiny fraction of golfers.

2. I still believe that 6500 yards is enough (or more than enough) for 95% of golfers, and 7000 is enough (or more) for 99%+. While Rory might hit wedge to a 450-yard hole, for almost everyone else, that's a 6-iron or more. And if the membership at some clubs are chasing distance and expanding their golf course, that's their call. They're spending their own money.

3. I'm tired of hearing about the PGA Tour can't go play these awesome courses. Here are some of the outstanding works of art played in 1990: La Costa, TPC StarPass, Indian Wells, TPC Scottsdale, Waialae, Torrey Pines, Riviera, Doral, TPC Eagle Trace, TPC Sawgrass, Bay Hill, TPC Woodlands, Hattiesburg CC, Harbour Town, Forest Oaks CC, English Turn G&CC, TPC Las Colinas, Muirfield Village, Colonial, Atlanta CC, TPC Avenel, Butler National, Medinah CC, Westchester CC, TPC ConnecticutKingsmill CC, Pleasant Valley CC, St. Andrews, Warwick Hills, TPC Southwind, Shoal Creek, Castle Pines, Valleybrook, Firestone, Tuckaway CC, Oakwood CC… I give up, mostly because I'm tired of typing "TPC." Which of the courses that no longer host PGA Tour events are we truly "missing out on"? When the question is posed about what great courses can no longer host the PGA Tour due *only* to distance (and not the other infrastructure needed, lack of member desire to turn their course over for a month, etc.), the list is always *very, very* short.

4. I really don't care if the British Open can no longer be played at the Old Course some day, or if they continue to play it there and when it's not windy, the winner shoots -30. Will that guy have not done the best job of getting his ball from 72 teeing areas to 72 holes better than anyone else that week? Is the junior tournament my daughter won by shooting 30 on a par-33 course "less than" because most of the holes were par threes or driver-wedge par fours?

5. A universal roll-back WOULD affect the amateurs, especially if it's done with driver head size. If it's done with the ball, across the board, then amateurs are still going to be affected. I've heard people say "oh if you drive it 250 you'll probably drive it 247, but Rory will go from 330 (he doesn't average 330) to 300 maybe. No, that's generally not how this stuff works.

6. Speaking of driver head size… PGA Tour players go at their 3W pretty hard too. They're not swinging their drivers at 100% and then backing off with their 3W to 80% or something. PGA Tour players are better these days than they were in the 80s, on average. Would we see the occasional wild shot? Yeah, most likely by a guy that's going to miss the cut or who isn't playing on TV on the weekend. I suspect we'd almost fail to notice. When's the last time you saw someone other than Tiger Woods (he did it pretty frequently for being the GOAT) pop up a 3W? Limiting driver head sizes to small sizes would punish amateurs far more than PGA Tour pros.

7. Go find a trajectory optimizer or something and put -20° spin axis tilt and try 2250 RPM of spin and then try 4500, which is more than even balata balls spun during the 90s. Even the 4500 RPM ball won't curve that much. Why? My hunch is actually the aerodynamics. The dimple pattern. It's not simply the increased amount of spin people *think* they'll get from "balata" — it's that we've learned more about the aerodynamics.

8. People talk nostalgically about the "shotmaking" that players had in the 80s and 90s… but it's bullshit. Corey Pavin was a shotmaker, just as Bubba Watson is now. Tiger is a bigger shotmaker than most credit him for, and it serves him well. Lee Trevino? Jack Nicklaus? They pretty much — like modern day players — played one shot shape. Better to be a master of one than a jack of all trades (unless your brain just doesn't work that way, like Bubba, or unless you're so skilled, like Tiger). Billy Casper played a huge draw and won 51 times or whatever. It's nostalgia, and little else, to think that players were "shotmakers" in the past and aren't now. If there was something to be gained by doing it, with the money in the game today, players would do it. They'd figure it out, or a coach or a numbers guy would have.

9. Knowledge — like that it's better to play your one shot shape, with little curve, because it reacts the most consistently — isn't going to go anywhere. Since the 80s or 90s or whenever your "heyday" was, we've learned about optimal launch conditions. We've learned more about how moving the CG of a driver affects things. We've learned more about building shafts, and aerodynamics of dimples, and ball construction. We've learned more about how to swing. We've learned a LOT, and none of that knowledge is going anywhere.

10. On a podcast someone gave this example, and I think it's a lousy one every time it's brought up: "College baseball players use metal bats, and when they get to the pros, they have to switch to wood." This analogy falls flat on its face in several ways. First, the information is old. College metal bats were put under even more regulations in 2011 or so (including COR testing) to ensure that they didn't hit the ball much harder than wooden bats. They're a bit lighter, still, so players can swing faster, but the bats themselves aren't really much "hotter." That was done for player safety. Second, it costs a lot of money to replace a bunch of wooden bats, and they break. Colleges opt for metal or composite so they don't have to incur the ongoing costs of replacing bats. Not every college baseball team has a huge budget. Third, college baseball and the MLB system aren't under the same ruling body. Golf is effectively, around the entire world, governed by one set of rules and two ruling bodies who are in lock step with one another, so effectively one ruling body. Finally, college players making the transition to the pros have months or years to make the adjustment. College baseball players aren't called up to play game five of the World Series, but *we see this in golf every year.* Amateurs qualify for and play in major championships *every year.* If they're playing their "regular ball" or their "metal bats" in college so as not to be at a disadvantage, then they're going to be at one when they have to switch to try to qualify for a U.S. Open.

11. It takes quite awhile for players to adjust to a new ball. Yes, the players will say they've "adjusted" for the Mexico event, but what they're really saying is that they "made adjustments" because they have to, but they're really not 100% certain of anything. Watch the event and you'll see guys mystified at why they flew a green by 20 yards every 30 minutes or so. Attend it and you'll see even more. The course effectively plays 6600 yards at that elevation, so scoring is still relatively good. Guys who switch ball companies will take months over their off-season to truly dial in all of the types of shots they expect to hit, particularly around the greens. Guys in Ryder Cups do their best, and even try to pair with guys who play a similar ball. Guys may "adjust" but there's a big gap between "let's hit a few on Trackman and see how far *the same ball* goes at this altitude" and "this is an entirely new ball." Look at how many guys hit old-model-year golf balls… because they're so reluctant to change. Because they feel it will hurt their game. Because they know it will be difficult to adjust.

12. "Other sports have a common ball, why can't golf?" In all other sports, players are allowed to have their own *personal* equipment. The balls in most other sports are not personal, but shared equipment. Other players use them, too. In tennis, players get to use their own sneakers and rackets. In baseball, bats, helmets, and gloves are personal. In bowling, there's also not one common ball… because it's not shared. It's personal. Golf is the same. The opponents don't have to or get to play with "your" golf ball.

13. Going back a step, others have said "if the Masters puts out a tournament ball, you can bet they'd all play it." Sure, everyone *might* still show up and play it… I don't think many would actually boycott the Masters… but there'd be a helluva lot of grumbling about it. Such a tournament should have an asterisk, as we'd see virtually nobody playing at their best. The players who happened to adjust the fastest, or be given a ball that's already closest to their current ball in terms of short game spin and other things, would have the "advantage" that week over players who had the toughest time adjusting or whose ball was most different from the "Masters ball." At any rate, it would be a compromised tournament — we would *not* be seeing the players at their best.

14. Finally, "tournament golf is so boring?" Give me a break, that's because of distance? We know for a fact that if players have to hit a 6-iron to a green, that it's not going to get as close, on average, as when they have to hit a 9I. So what's more exciting: a player hitting a shot to 35 feet or a player hitting a shot to 12 feet? Sure, hitting a 6I to 20 feet might take more skill than hitting a shot to 12 feet with a 9I, but what do we see on TV? We see a guy, he hits the ball, we see it in the air, we see it landing on the green. If someone told you it was a 6-iron instead of a 9-iron, but the visuals were exactly the same… how would that make golf more exciting? If the same exact shots were hit? No. And if worse shots were hit, as they would be if they *actually* had to hit three clubs more? It'd be even less exciting. Go back and watch events from the 80s and 90s. They weren't all that exciting either… and most of what's changed, I think, is simply the coverage. We see too many putts, too many ad reads, too much pre-shot routine, too many tap-ins, etc. Golf coverage isn't boring because the ball goes too far. The two are almost entirely unlinked, and where they do meet, distance might lead to more excitement. Eagles are exciting. Birdies are exciting. Guys not being able to reach par fives… is more entertaining?

Okay, that's all I've got for now.

🤝...I agree with absolutely everything you said here. Is there anybody else that carries your stature, who are giving this side to the discussion? Do you think they're really going to do something this time? I think it would be devastating to game. Look at what happened to baseball when they started hitting long distances. Players were cheating to do it, and the fans loved it, and still do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

As an older sports fan I’ve watched as have others the physical changes of athletes from the late 50’s through today. In all major sports and let’s include the Olympics, the athletes through all those periods are bigger, faster than ever. Every decade has seen incremental changes in playing condition and equipment in every sport. Travel obviously changed along with nutrition and conditioning.  So yes golf has changed too. 
My feeling on golf is this.  I miss creativity from the players. The ability to create shots and work the ball.  I’ve grown tired of most courses being reduced to driver off the tee then a wedge to a green.  I have often said to my golf buddies that they should leave the equipment alone but let’s do this one thing.  Let’s take clubs out of the bag!  Let’s limit the number they can carry down to 7 clubs.  It would certainly make them have to think about club selection for the round.  Yes, they could still do the driver and wedge, but let’s see what they do when an errant shot occurs and they have to use a club they would not normally use to get out of trouble.

.....just a thought. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 2/12/2020 at 1:45 PM, iacas said:

I have a few thoughts on the distance debate in golf. Except for the first, they're in no particular order. I'll try to be brief, but we all know how that tends to go…

1. I don't care about the 0.01% of golfers that this affects. Even if that number is as large as 1%, I don't care. Distance *may be* an issue on the PGA Tour (and other pro tours), and for a few college kids at the best college programs. I am almost fundamentally against changing golf just because of a tiny fraction of golfers.

2. I still believe that 6500 yards is enough (or more than enough) for 95% of golfers, and 7000 is enough (or more) for 99%+. While Rory might hit wedge to a 450-yard hole, for almost everyone else, that's a 6-iron or more. And if the membership at some clubs are chasing distance and expanding their golf course, that's their call. They're spending their own money.

3. I'm tired of hearing about the PGA Tour can't go play these awesome courses. Here are some of the outstanding works of art played in 1990: La Costa, TPC StarPass, Indian Wells, TPC Scottsdale, Waialae, Torrey Pines, Riviera, Doral, TPC Eagle Trace, TPC Sawgrass, Bay Hill, TPC Woodlands, Hattiesburg CC, Harbour Town, Forest Oaks CC, English Turn G&CC, TPC Las Colinas, Muirfield Village, Colonial, Atlanta CC, TPC Avenel, Butler National, Medinah CC, Westchester CC, TPC ConnecticutKingsmill CC, Pleasant Valley CC, St. Andrews, Warwick Hills, TPC Southwind, Shoal Creek, Castle Pines, Valleybrook, Firestone, Tuckaway CC, Oakwood CC… I give up, mostly because I'm tired of typing "TPC." Which of the courses that no longer host PGA Tour events are we truly "missing out on"? When the question is posed about what great courses can no longer host the PGA Tour due *only* to distance (and not the other infrastructure needed, lack of member desire to turn their course over for a month, etc.), the list is always *very, very* short.

4. I really don't care if the British Open can no longer be played at the Old Course some day, or if they continue to play it there and when it's not windy, the winner shoots -30. Will that guy have not done the best job of getting his ball from 72 teeing areas to 72 holes better than anyone else that week? Is the junior tournament my daughter won by shooting 30 on a par-33 course "less than" because most of the holes were par threes or driver-wedge par fours?

5. A universal roll-back WOULD affect the amateurs, especially if it's done with driver head size. If it's done with the ball, across the board, then amateurs are still going to be affected. I've heard people say "oh if you drive it 250 you'll probably drive it 247, but Rory will go from 330 (he doesn't average 330) to 300 maybe. No, that's generally not how this stuff works.

6. Speaking of driver head size… PGA Tour players go at their 3W pretty hard too. They're not swinging their drivers at 100% and then backing off with their 3W to 80% or something. PGA Tour players are better these days than they were in the 80s, on average. Would we see the occasional wild shot? Yeah, most likely by a guy that's going to miss the cut or who isn't playing on TV on the weekend. I suspect we'd almost fail to notice. When's the last time you saw someone other than Tiger Woods (he did it pretty frequently for being the GOAT) pop up a 3W? Limiting driver head sizes to small sizes would punish amateurs far more than PGA Tour pros.

7. Go find a trajectory optimizer or something and put -20° spin axis tilt and try 2250 RPM of spin and then try 4500, which is more than even balata balls spun during the 90s. Even the 4500 RPM ball won't curve that much. Why? My hunch is actually the aerodynamics. The dimple pattern. It's not simply the increased amount of spin people *think* they'll get from "balata" — it's that we've learned more about the aerodynamics.

8. People talk nostalgically about the "shotmaking" that players had in the 80s and 90s… but it's bullshit. Corey Pavin was a shotmaker, just as Bubba Watson is now. Tiger is a bigger shotmaker than most credit him for, and it serves him well. Lee Trevino? Jack Nicklaus? They pretty much — like modern day players — played one shot shape. Better to be a master of one than a jack of all trades (unless your brain just doesn't work that way, like Bubba, or unless you're so skilled, like Tiger). Billy Casper played a huge draw and won 51 times or whatever. It's nostalgia, and little else, to think that players were "shotmakers" in the past and aren't now. If there was something to be gained by doing it, with the money in the game today, players would do it. They'd figure it out, or a coach or a numbers guy would have.

9. Knowledge — like that it's better to play your one shot shape, with little curve, because it reacts the most consistently — isn't going to go anywhere. Since the 80s or 90s or whenever your "heyday" was, we've learned about optimal launch conditions. We've learned more about how moving the CG of a driver affects things. We've learned more about building shafts, and aerodynamics of dimples, and ball construction. We've learned more about how to swing. We've learned a LOT, and none of that knowledge is going anywhere.

10. On a podcast someone gave this example, and I think it's a lousy one every time it's brought up: "College baseball players use metal bats, and when they get to the pros, they have to switch to wood." This analogy falls flat on its face in several ways. First, the information is old. College metal bats were put under even more regulations in 2011 or so (including COR testing) to ensure that they didn't hit the ball much harder than wooden bats. They're a bit lighter, still, so players can swing faster, but the bats themselves aren't really much "hotter." That was done for player safety. Second, it costs a lot of money to replace a bunch of wooden bats, and they break. Colleges opt for metal or composite so they don't have to incur the ongoing costs of replacing bats. Not every college baseball team has a huge budget. Third, college baseball and the MLB system aren't under the same ruling body. Golf is effectively, around the entire world, governed by one set of rules and two ruling bodies who are in lock step with one another, so effectively one ruling body. Finally, college players making the transition to the pros have months or years to make the adjustment. College baseball players aren't called up to play game five of the World Series, but *we see this in golf every year.* Amateurs qualify for and play in major championships *every year.* If they're playing their "regular ball" or their "metal bats" in college so as not to be at a disadvantage, then they're going to be at one when they have to switch to try to qualify for a U.S. Open.

11. It takes quite awhile for players to adjust to a new ball. Yes, the players will say they've "adjusted" for the Mexico event, but what they're really saying is that they "made adjustments" because they have to, but they're really not 100% certain of anything. Watch the event and you'll see guys mystified at why they flew a green by 20 yards every 30 minutes or so. Attend it and you'll see even more. The course effectively plays 6600 yards at that elevation, so scoring is still relatively good. Guys who switch ball companies will take months over their off-season to truly dial in all of the types of shots they expect to hit, particularly around the greens. Guys in Ryder Cups do their best, and even try to pair with guys who play a similar ball. Guys may "adjust" but there's a big gap between "let's hit a few on Trackman and see how far *the same ball* goes at this altitude" and "this is an entirely new ball." Look at how many guys hit old-model-year golf balls… because they're so reluctant to change. Because they feel it will hurt their game. Because they know it will be difficult to adjust.

12. "Other sports have a common ball, why can't golf?" In all other sports, players are allowed to have their own *personal* equipment. The balls in most other sports are not personal, but shared equipment. Other players use them, too. In tennis, players get to use their own sneakers and rackets. In baseball, bats, helmets, and gloves are personal. In bowling, there's also not one common ball… because it's not shared. It's personal. Golf is the same. The opponents don't have to or get to play with "your" golf ball.

13. Going back a step, others have said "if the Masters puts out a tournament ball, you can bet they'd all play it." Sure, everyone *might* still show up and play it… I don't think many would actually boycott the Masters… but there'd be a helluva lot of grumbling about it. Such a tournament should have an asterisk, as we'd see virtually nobody playing at their best. The players who happened to adjust the fastest, or be given a ball that's already closest to their current ball in terms of short game spin and other things, would have the "advantage" that week over players who had the toughest time adjusting or whose ball was most different from the "Masters ball." At any rate, it would be a compromised tournament — we would *not* be seeing the players at their best.

14. Finally, "tournament golf is so boring?" Give me a break, that's because of distance? We know for a fact that if players have to hit a 6-iron to a green, that it's not going to get as close, on average, as when they have to hit a 9I. So what's more exciting: a player hitting a shot to 35 feet or a player hitting a shot to 12 feet? Sure, hitting a 6I to 20 feet might take more skill than hitting a shot to 12 feet with a 9I, but what do we see on TV? We see a guy, he hits the ball, we see it in the air, we see it landing on the green. If someone told you it was a 6-iron instead of a 9-iron, but the visuals were exactly the same… how would that make golf more exciting? If the same exact shots were hit? No. And if worse shots were hit, as they would be if they *actually* had to hit three clubs more? It'd be even less exciting. Go back and watch events from the 80s and 90s. They weren't all that exciting either… and most of what's changed, I think, is simply the coverage. We see too many putts, too many ad reads, too much pre-shot routine, too many tap-ins, etc. Golf coverage isn't boring because the ball goes too far. The two are almost entirely unlinked, and where they do meet, distance might lead to more excitement. Eagles are exciting. Birdies are exciting. Guys not being able to reach par fives… is more entertaining?

Okay, that's all I've got for now.

 

I totally agree with all of that.  Here are some of my thoughts:

What happens if the people who make the equipment and the balls say, "We make money selling equipment and balls to the average golfer, who wants and needs MORE, not less distance.  Therefore, we will not be participating in any sort of rollback of distance."   

And what happens when the pro golfers who make millions from endorsing such equipment say, "We make our money on endorsements.  Therefore, we will not be using any sort of ball or equipment that amateurs don't want to buy, and we will not be participating in any tournament that mandates that we cannot use the same equipment we endorse.  In fact, we will form a new tour if we have to where we can use the balls and clubs that we endorse."  

These people are forgetting where their money comes from.  Dustin Johnson doesn't buy golf clubs.  I buy golf clubs.  

If they don't want pros to drive the ball 340 yards, they can fix that by putting hazards out there at the spots the longest players can reach.  Make them lay up.  That seems like a pretty easy solution.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Yep Marty, the simplest solution is to maintain the status quo, freeze everything in place as of today. The sales of equipment and balls will be about the new look for this year, not the extra yards.  We can still buy the same stuff that our favorite touring pro uses. And endorses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Marty2019 said:

 

I totally agree with all of that.  Here are some of my thoughts:

What happens if the people who make the equipment and the balls say, "We make money selling equipment and balls to the average golfer, who wants and needs MORE, not less distance.  Therefore, we will not be participating in any sort of rollback of distance."   

And what happens when the pro golfers who make millions from endorsing such equipment say, "We make our money on endorsements.  Therefore, we will not be using any sort of ball or equipment that amateurs don't want to buy, and we will not be participating in any tournament that mandates that we cannot use the same equipment we endorse.  In fact, we will form a new tour if we have to where we can use the balls and clubs that we endorse."  

These people are forgetting where their money comes from.  Dustin Johnson doesn't buy golf clubs.  I buy golf clubs.  

If they don't want pros to drive the ball 340 yards, they can fix that by putting hazards out there at the spots the longest players can reach.  Make them lay up.  That seems like a pretty easy solution.  

 

 

Very true! All you need to do is narrow the fairways, grow the rough, make the greens as slick as ice, make the course unplayable for a mid HI golfer, and there you have it! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Baseball players don't need touch for the most part.  They believe in hitting it hard somewhere. There is no penalty for hitting it too far. A change of ball would affect all players equally. However, most good baseball players use wood bats somewhat frequently, playing in youth and HS travel wood bat tournaments and college summer wood bat leagues.  My son's HS team does all winter BP with wood bats. But that is more about developing skill since even BBCOR composite or metal bats have a larger sweet spot than wood bats.

I think a change in equipment would affect golfers more than in baseball. The best players in any sport will adapt quickest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

53 minutes ago, The Flush said:

My son's HS team does all winter BP with wood bats. 

From what I understand, practicing and learning different equipment is physically impossible unless you have months or even years to adapt.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

1 hour ago, lastings said:

From what I understand, practicing and learning different equipment is physically impossible unless you have months or even years to adapt.  

That's intellectually dishonest and you know it.

Furthermore, it's a bat, and a baseball. You can hit it on any of a huge variety of angles, and within 90°, and it's fair. You only really make one swing (bunts would be a second), not pitches, chips, flops, balls that intentionally curve, punch shots, 3/4 shots, flighted shots, high shots, sweeping draws, low bleeders… and you don't need to control how the ball reacts differently when it hits the green, etc.

When you're so desperate to score points you make posts like that, I don't know what to tell you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

@iacas, One interesting take on the debate that I heard someone talk about is, assuming the givens as valid,: given that the problem is really at the highest end of play, and given that the powers that be want to reign it in a bit to preserve historically significant golf courses, given that the powers that be want to preserve some notion of par, given notions of faster play, and given the sustainability/green initiatives for golf--

put a speed limit on the ball of 170 mph ball speed (or whatever number--the point is to lower it somewhere near average tour player level).  Meaning, no one else is affected but those that can achieve higher ball speed than that.  So guys like Champ--170 mph.  Rory--170 mph.  Guys under that mark would still be there--like me haha.  I don't know the science behind it, but it is intriguing.  The high swing speed guys can have perhaps a couple of clubs that reach that max--say driver and 3w, so they still benefit over others.  Also, perhaps since they know the ball is capped, they wouldn't have to swing as fast if they don't want to--that could preserve the bodies of fast players.  They still have the benefit of being longer than most throughout the bag, but it reigns in the importance of driver distance.  After all, the orgs want golf to remain a skilled sport where no singular skill is more important than another.  I think the speed limit would reign in the driver skill for the top athletes to balance out the importance of each skill.

Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...