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No Tee - Solution for "Excessive" Driving Distance?


Marty2019
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Funny, though, that no one suggests making the hole smaller for the better putters.  Or stepping on the ball to make the lie more challenging for players with good short games.

I've never understood the impulse towards reducing the advantages of superior skill.  It takes tremendous skill to hit the ball as far as Tiger did, in the day, and Rory, Dustin, et al do today.  

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1 hour ago, Darkfrog said:

I guess that not having a tee might change the driver swing since an upward angle of attack would't be possible

Tour average is -1.3° with the driver. Most people are still hitting down on the ball slightly. It wouldn’t affect their swing as much as the loft on the bottom of the club face would, which can be overcome by a different head design.

6 minutes ago, turtleback said:

Funny, though, that no one suggests making the hole smaller for the better putters.  Or stepping on the ball to make the lie more challenging for players with good short games.

I've never understood the impulse towards reducing the advantages of superior skill.  It takes tremendous skill to hit the ball as far as Tiger did, in the day, and Rory, Dustin, et al do today.  

They should make the ball bigger. Or get rid of dimples 😜

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2 hours ago, Vinsk said:

So DJ is now hitting an 8i and Zach is hitting a 5i. What would that accomplish? Again...you’re assuming courses are obsolete. I’m asking in what way and @iacas is asking which courses. Fair questions I believe.

I think this is the crux. The "so what?" part of this is that statistically speaking, PGA players scoring gap between 5-8 iron distances is much smaller than the scoring gap at distances like 100 vs 50 yards. Pros are so good at getting up and down once they get within 70 yards, they start sticking it close way more often than when they are hitting 8 iron. If a pro is hitting 5 iron, they will most likely be, at worst nGIR, and missing to good spots that make par very achievable. If they are hitting 8 iron, they aren't putting it within say 10 feet all that often, making for tough to get birdies that require a good read/putt. There is still a scoring gap of some sorts, but it is much less noticeable than if you move the green closer and give the long players amazing looks where they are expecting to make birdies because of how close they are to the hole on approach. The shorter player in that scenario is still attacking, but their probability of making birdie is way less.

The 5 vs 8 iron scenario was more common back in the day, and the longer players still had a great advantage, but it wasn't as pronounced as it is today because now the players are closer to the 100 yard vs 50 yard scenario. Distance is valuable and should be rewarded (which it just is, statistically no matter what) but not to the extent that it currently is because of hole lengths compared to player distances. I think that the distance debate/issue is important, but mostly for golf course resource/environmental reasons (more upkeep, more water, etc.)

I think that they should all be sponsored by the teeless driver (jest)

30 minutes ago, turtleback said:

Funny, though, that no one suggests making the hole smaller for the better putters.  Or stepping on the ball to make the lie more challenging for players with good short games.

I've never understood the impulse towards reducing the advantages of superior skill.  It takes tremendous skill to hit the ball as far as Tiger did, in the day, and Rory, Dustin, et al do today.  

The advantage that they gain from hitting it farther is too high, I think is the argument that I made above.

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1 hour ago, Bonvivant said:

I think this is the crux. The "so what?" part of this is that statistically speaking, PGA players scoring gap between 5-8 iron distances is much smaller than the scoring gap at distances like 100 vs 50 yards.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you. I’m not talking about the scoring gap between DJ’s 8i and 5i, I’m talking about the scoring gap between DJ’s 8i and Zach’s 5i ( for example).

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Just now, Vinsk said:

Maybe I’m misunderstanding you. I’m not talking about the scoring gap between DJ’s 8i and 5i, I’m talking about the scoring gap between DJ’s 8i and Zach’s 5i ( for example).

I was talking about neither of these. I was talking about the difference in scoring of ZJs 5 and 8 iron vs DJs full wedge and small pitch shot. I think that the difference would be higher in the DJ case, and smaller in the ZJ case. This would make the overall scoring difference between them smaller if DJ was left with more full wedges/short irons and ZJ with longer shots too (maybe 4-5 iron vs 7-8 iron). I don't like seeing the long pros get within 1/2 to 3/8 wedge range off the tee, because it just guarantees the longer player far more birdie opportunities than if they were hitting a full shot. A shorter player always has a lower birdie opportunity rate because they have to hit full shots more often.

I would like to see all players playing more full shots, and that should even the playing field, although not by enough to eliminate long distance players advantage by too much. Being able to hit it far is definitely a skill, but it is also genetically gifted in some scenarios to some extent. Having lots of fast twitch fibres for explosive shots gives a player a genetic advantage, and I am ok with that, but I don't think that it should be the only reason (I am not trying to discredit all the work they put in too) why they are at the top of the WGR. Lessening the gap of scoring opportunities between "short" and long players is desirable to me. I have no idea how to do this though, as none of the suggestions have resonated with me, and I don't have a good one of my own other than lengthening holes (which is counter productive for many reasons).

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11 minutes ago, Bonvivant said:

The "so what?" part of this is that statistically speaking, PGA players scoring gap between 5-8 iron distances is much smaller than the scoring gap at distances like 100 vs 50 yards.

200 yards fairway: 3.19
160 yards fairway: 2.98 (∆ 0.21)

100 yards fairway: 2.80
50 yards fairway:  2.65 (∆ 0.15)

13 minutes ago, Bonvivant said:

Pros are so good at getting up and down once they get within 70 yards, they start sticking it close way more often than when they are hitting 8 iron.

No, not really.

The median leave distance on 2019 from the 50-75 yards on the PGA Tour was 16'1". That's not a high up-and-down rate.

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3 hours ago, billchao said:

Tour average is -1.3° with the driver. Most people are still hitting down on the ball slightly.

True, but there are players who have driver swings with upward AoA who would need to adapt. I think that Rory has an upward AoA (not totally sure). To your point, the best players would just adjust whatever they need to in order to optimize drives for tee-less condition.

As an aside - do tour pros hit driver with negative AoA to increase spin to achieve more consistent dispersion, or is their AoA completely tuned for distance?

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18 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

As an aside - do tour pros hit driver with negative AoA to increase spin to achieve more consistent dispersion, or is their AoA completely tuned for distance?

If it was completely tuned for distance they would hit up more.

Some players hit it “far enough” that they don’t want the ball feeling like it’s too high or can get away from them or something. Bill Haas could hit it 30 yards farther, but doesn’t like the ball getting > about 90 feet in the air.

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12 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

True, but there are players who have driver swings with upward AoA who would need to adapt. I think that Rory has an upward AoA (not totally sure). To your point, the best players would just adjust whatever they need to in order to optimize drives for tee-less condition.

I think it’s mostly a setup thing. I’m pretty sure Rory hits down on his 3w 😉

14 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

As an aside - do tour pros hit driver with negative AoA to increase spin to achieve more consistent dispersion, or is their AoA completely tuned for distance?

I would guess it’s for more control and for some it may just be the way they’ve always swung the club. They’re still leaving distance on the table by swinging down, even at 120mph.

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I think in terms of the ideas that have been thrown out to limit pro' distances, this is one of the better ones.  It would lengthen a lot of par 4's and par 5's by 30-50 yards - you have to remember that many of the big hitters don't hit driver on a lot of holes so the impact would be lessened.  But the bomber who's hitting driver then 8i-SW on every hole would certainly have to hit some longer clubs on approach shots.  I think it would raise ball striking as a skill over driving long.  Yes it is a bifurcation but it is also a bifurcation that is easily copied - any amateur can decide to play that way.  Much better idea than having the pros play a different ball.

Whether the pro's distances need to be reined in, I'm on the fence.  I admire the skill and athleticism that they have.  I also sometimes feel that the pro game has become too much of a power game.

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18 minutes ago, gbogey said:

But the bomber who's hitting driver then 8i-SW on every hole would certainly have to hit some longer clubs on approach shots. 

But the average length player who was hitting driver then 6-7 iron would now have to hit 3 wood then 3-4 iron so the bomber would still have the advantage even if the bomber has to hit a 7 iron instead of a 9 iron.

22 minutes ago, gbogey said:

I think it would raise ball striking as a skill over driving long. 

Isn't ball striking already a more important skill to winning/finishing high on the PGA Tour than driving long?

I'm sure the data has changed some since this, but as of 2004-2012 the top 40 players on the PGA tour in strokes gained 12 percentage points more from their approach play than they did from their driving and there were plenty of long hitters in there, Tiger, Vijay, Rory, Kenny Perry, DJ, Bubba, etc.

 

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Just my opinion but tee or no tee a bomber is still going to have the advantage of length off the tee.  How about tapering the fairway so it narrows more with length and thicken the rough.  The bomber can still crush the driver off the tee but by doing so they are putting themselves at more risk of a tougher approach shot to the green. Seems like it would work for a hack like me but may or may not work for a tour pro. 

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There’s no distance problem. Period. Unless it’s an infomercial for some bs product I never hear amateurs nor pros saying ‘ gosh...I need to find another sport..golf’s become too easy.’ Golf tournaments are still exciting and we never know who’s gonna win. There are still plenty of bogeys and worse being made out there on Tour. Leave it alone.

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2 hours ago, klineka said:

But the average length player who was hitting driver then 6-7 iron would now have to hit 3 wood then 3-4 iron so the bomber would still have the advantage even if the bomber has to hit a 7 iron instead of a 9 iron.

Isn't ball striking already a more important skill to winning/finishing high on the PGA Tour than driving long?

I'm sure the data has changed some since this, but as of 2004-2012 the top 40 players on the PGA tour in strokes gained 12 percentage points more from their approach play than they did from their driving and there were plenty of long hitters in there, Tiger, Vijay, Rory, Kenny Perry, DJ, Bubba, etc.

I think you're missing the point.  The purpose of limiting distance is not to equalize the DJ's and Zach's.  Distance will always be an advantage in golf.  Nicklaus, Palmer, Snead, Hogan - they were all long for their eras.  The point is to make the longer player hit more of their bag.

At the end of the Master's champion's press conference there traditionally is a segment when the winner goes through his round and lists the club he hit on each approach shot.  I remember listening to Bubba when he won.  I don't think he hit longer than 8i all day.  That's on a course considered long.

I've had good driving days on short courses and golf is a much easier game when you are hitting D/PW, D/8i all day than when you are hitting D/8i, D/5i.  Ball striking is accentuated when you have to hit a wider range of clubs.  Some people believe it's important.  I'm personally not sure, but I understand the point and I think it could make golf more interesting.

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31 minutes ago, gbogey said:

  The point is to make the longer player hit more of their bag.

Plenty of tournaments have this happening. I’ve watched golf since the mid 1970’s. Every year there’s been excitement. Watching Jack vs Watson, Faldo getting an enormous stroke of luck for all 3 Masters wins, and hell just last year we watched Tiger win The Masters. Boring? It’s the evolution of a sport. Better athletes and better equipment. I can’t believe there are golf fans who think golf has become boring.
 

Sure there’s the occasional tournament where it’s Driver -wedge. It still provides shot making, hole outs, 40’ putts to take the lead, etc. It’s why golf is so wonderful. There’s plenty of skills needed to win at that level that come thru all the time aside from big hitters. Make golf harder? Asinine.

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11 hours ago, gbogey said:

The point is to make the longer player hit more of their bag.

Why is that necessary though? That isn't what makes a tournament exciting IMO. 

Things like closely grouped leaderboards coming down the stretch sunday, tucked pin positions, high risk/high reward holes, etc are what make a tournament exciting IMO, not whether the winner hit his 4 iron at least once per round.

Also, making the longer player hit more of their bag is essentially making the game harder for everyone solely because the elite players are "too good". Should the NBA extend the 3 point line just because Steph Curry and Klay Thompson make too many 3s? Should baseball make every team move their fences back 30 feet because more home runs are being hit? No. Fans like to see offense of any kind, birdies, 3s, home runs, etc.

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All this whinging by people like Nicklaus, Player, Faldo and others about the ball, the driver head, the tee, etc., is going to have one of two outcomes. It's going to screw the game for everyone or end up with bifurcation. It seems you can't go a week without reading about one of them whinging about this "problem." 

Most amateurs could actually use more distance, especially as they start approaching 70. Bifurcation will open Pandora's box.

Should the NBA raise the hoop to 14' because too many players dunk?

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19 hours ago, J M Brown said:

Just my opinion but tee or no tee a bomber is still going to have the advantage of length off the tee.  How about tapering the fairway so it narrows more with length and thicken the rough.  The bomber can still crush the driver off the tee but by doing so they are putting themselves at more risk of a tougher approach shot to the green. Seems like it would work for a hack like me but may or may not work for a tour pro. 

Why penalize the player because he has greater skill?  With a fairway of uniform width simple geometry shows that it is already harder to hit the fairway hitting it 320 yards than hitting it 290 yards.  It isn't an accident that short length and accuracy in hitting fairways have a strong correlation.

I absolutely do not understand this weird notion that the distance advantage of the 'bomber' is the one skill that needs to be throttled back.  As if it it not a skill but just some random luck of the draw thing.

 

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