Wow! Some of the posts here make me think that some of you must have been big fans of the "Bob Hope Desert Classic" back in the day. You know, the tourney where everybody went low, and you had to shoot like -32 to win! Golf is supposed to be hard! No matter who plays it.
And Vinsk, there were many players on Tour in the old days who weren't considered "long hitters" despite having access to the same equipment that the long hitters did! It's all about the swing and the talent to perform it. And Nicklaus, Palmer, and all the other old timers tried to place their tee shots on one side of the fairway or the other to give themselves the best approach shot to the green. And they tried to place their approach in a particular place on the green. That part of the game hasn't changed.
What has change is that approach shots can now be made with 2-3 clubs less in length, thus making the game easier.
Because it’s a vague statement that gets said over and over without any hard data to show it. The pros are hitting the ball farther than ever for sure. I just don’t buy that the ‘forgiveness’ is monumental. They’re better than the players of old. Period. I contribute a very small percentage of that to equipment. There are still many, many players on tour who aren’t considered ‘long hitters’ despite having access to this amazing equipment. Nor are these guys nailing the fairways like they were a country mile wide. That’s all I’m saying.