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Nicklaus suggests a 20% rollback in driving distance


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Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

My buddy should not be playing from the same set of tees as me. Plain and simple. Why can't he just play the hole as 340 and I play it as 380? Personally, I think extending the tees only favors the guys like Tiger who are great with their long clubs off the deck. Seeing the average tour player hit a 5 iron or higher is comedic sometimes, all they're doing is setting up their short games. Few guys can actually put them on the green most of the time with a makeable putt. Even many of the long hitters who are good with drivers often suck with their irons. All you have to do is take the wedges out of the player's hands on approaches, and they won't be able to beat up the course, plain and simple. This can be done by extending the course so that the longest hitters can still get it in wedge range, or by positioning the trouble so it makes them play it safer.

I'm all for just making courses less recoverable if you want to discourage bombers. It doesn't have to be ridiculous, but this is Augusta's problem IMO, and why they have to keep moving the tees. Some Carnoustie rough or really thick trees or some water does wonders, but I see very little on Jack's course. He likes to position targets IMO and get the player to see what he sees rather than try to menace or confuse the player like a Pete Dye or something, and he gets pissed when someone goes a different way no matter how much of a risky shot it is.

Originally Posted by Mordan

You said that it was unfair that you'd lose your distance advantage over shorter hitters. Yes he can move up a tee box but then you're not in direct competition. In any situation where you're competing then you haven't lost any advantage by being a longer hitter. Thus it's not unfair to you.

I'm not sure I get what you're saying, because you're certainly in direct competition with other golfers on the same course no matter what tees you're playing from, and to ensure that this is the case, the USGA has done a lot of work to devise a slope system to gauge your performance against a factor of difficulty.  Or is that an example of "indirect" competition to you?

The entire handicap system has been very well thought out just to take these factors into account.  No?

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How about we create courses that punish you for hitting too long.... This way courses wouldn't be defenseless against long hitters. Make dog legs that are out 200 yards and if you over shoot them, your in the woods. Add hazards at 275 - 300 yards, and keep it safe at 250, this way players would have to take much bigger risks if they bombed it too far.
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Originally Posted by clutchshot

How about we create courses that punish you for hitting too long.... This way courses wouldn't be defenseless against long hitters.

Make dog legs that are out 200 yards and if you over shoot them, your in the woods. Add hazards at 275 - 300 yards, and keep it safe at 250, this way players would have to take much bigger risks if they bombed it too far.

I have played a course like this with dog legs 180 off the tee and if it is too far, it is in the woods. A lot of courses I play do punish the longer hitters with bunkers, where a guy who hits around 200 off the tee will never reach a bunker.

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On the subject of playing from different sets of tees (again, I was not able to edit my post so I have to create a new one...sorry)...

To anyone who thinks that playing from two sets of tees is not directly competitive, here's an explanation of how the USGA system actually does make it directly competitive.

http://www.usga.org/playing/handicaps/understanding_handicap/articles/different_tees.html

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I don't think long hitters should be punished at all (as long as they are hitting the ball relatively straight). Problem is that the way most courses are set up a "long hitter" can miss 70% of the fairways by a country mile and have a decent second shot at the green on almost all of them.

I like long. Long sells. Long is what the public likes to see. Long is what announcers like to talk about. Long and straight shots are a beautiful thing...But 245 yard carries that roll out to 300 yards is ridiculous. Balls 50 yards off line with very little consequence in the one inch "rough" is ridiculous. A bunker so shallow that it's only for looks and to give people something to rake is ridiculous.

Just a thought that mostly pertains to the cramped course I usually play:

If adjoining fairways were OB people that last hit a fairway sometime in the last century would think twice about coming out of their shoes with a driver on every hole, and there would be a lot less people scared to death of bombs hitting them in the head in the middle of their backswing.

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I agree with Jack Nicklaus that we should consider dialing back the golf ball technology. I think that the answer is pretty simple:  increase the diameter of the golf ball.

Under the rules of golf, a golf ball has a diameter not less than 1.680 inches, and performs within specified velocity, distance, and symmetry limits.

Until 1990, it was permissible to use balls of less than 1.68 inches in diameter in tournaments under the jurisdiction of the R&A;, which differed in its ball specifications rules from those of the USGA. This ball was commonly called a "British" ball, while the golf ball approved by the USGA was simply the "American ball". The smaller diameter gave the player a distance advantage.

Now, let's do this in reverse and increase the diameter of the golf ball.  This would increase the surface area of the golf ball, thus, creating more drag and less distance.

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Originally Posted by dfreuter415

I agree with Jack Nicklaus that we should consider dialing back the golf ball technology. I think that the answer is pretty simple:  increase the diameter of the golf ball.

Under the rules of golf, a golf ball has a diameter not less than 1.680 inches, and performs within specified velocity, distance, and symmetry limits.

Until 1990, it was permissible to use balls of less than 1.68 inches in diameter in tournaments under the jurisdiction of the R&A;, which differed in its ball specifications rules from those of the USGA. This ball was commonly called a "British" ball, while the golf ball approved by the USGA was simply the "American ball". The smaller diameter gave the player a distance advantage.

Now, let's do this in reverse and increase the diameter of the golf ball.  This would increase the surface area of the golf ball, thus, creating more drag and less distance.

...and more missed putts. Pass.

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Originally Posted by iacas

...Agronomy (consider how far Keegan's drive rolled the other day)

Some of the tougher holes are actually the short par fours. 10 at Riviera, etc.

Designers have long tried to counter scoring with distance. Perhaps better designers should have been more creative.

I'm really looking forward to the U.S. Open at Merion. And Chambers Bay in 2015. And Pinehurst in 2014 too, come to think of it.

Maybe this is really where the focus should be.  I almost commented on the facebook photo of you and Grant that the fairway beneath you looked ridiculously like a green.

(Like I said previously, had they had the foresight, limiting the equipment to curb the distance gains 25 years ago might have made sense, but the toothpaste is out of the tube now, so what good would it really do to cut distances back 20% at this point?  The old "obsolete" courses might be relevant now, but all of the newer courses would then become obsolete.)

So why couldn't they just let the grass grow a bit to curb that roll?  Or, in the cases where Jack is specifically annoyed that these guys can fly the fairway bunkers, what's stopping them from cutting the fairway narrow beyond the bunkers (or ending it completely) to bring them back into play?  And considering the amount of money they already put into updating these courses for the pros each year, would it really be that hard to add or move the bunkers to the new landing area?

Erik's right ... designers just need to be more creative.

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Originally Posted by dfreuter415

I agree with Jack Nicklaus that we should consider dialing back the golf ball technology. I think that the answer is pretty simple:  increase the diameter of the golf ball.

Under the rules of golf, a golf ball has a diameter not less than 1.680 inches, and performs within specified velocity, distance, and symmetry limits.

Until 1990, it was permissible to use balls of less than 1.68 inches in diameter in tournaments under the jurisdiction of the R&A;, which differed in its ball specifications rules from those of the USGA. This ball was commonly called a "British" ball, while the golf ball approved by the USGA was simply the "American ball". The smaller diameter gave the player a distance advantage.

Now, let's do this in reverse and increase the diameter of the golf ball.  This would increase the surface area of the golf ball, thus, creating more drag and less distance.

So Jack was using those smaller balls, wasn't he? Seems like he had no problem with it then.

What Zipazoid said; it would also make wind and rain 100 times worse, make it fly crooked-ier and higher, make more mud stick to it, make bunkers and rough virtually obsolete, and possibly cost more to make. It would also require a larger hole to make putting similar.

If you made it the same weight in a large enough diameter, it would eventually float in water, and if you made it heavier it would make current clubs obsolete and require more physical strength to hit. If you kept it the same size but reduced the weight, you'd have a range ball.

It would make it easier to hit off the deck though. But I agree that there are better solutions out there that would have fewer changes to the game.

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What is Nicklaus' concern here? Newtogolf suggested it is a matter of protecting his records. I think his concern comes from being a golf course designer too, that courses themselves are rendered obsolete as designed, that the parameters of the game are changing and that course designs are no longer potentially perennial.

But that's not all of it.   30 or so years ago, Nicklaus and others got behind a new kind of ball that played (as I recall) half as far as balls of that era.   This addressed the costs associated with golf course operation, and ecological concerns.     Why not play at courses that are half as long as standard?   Lower cost, faster play, all walking, save on water and land area.   Where's the downside?

The downside is psychological.

To be honest, a lot of the appeal of golf to me is the chance to hit the hell out of a golf ball.   Length brings bragging rights.

Also brings guilt.   In my part of the country, water supply is not assured, and that is true throughout the whole southwest, at least 1/4 of the nation.   Long term, with population increase, there just is not enough water for dishwashing and long showers, let alone lawns.    And golf courses?  The way of the dodo and the mastodon.

A week ago I was in Las Cruces, NM and saw the old country club course, looking like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie, dust and dead trees, a for sale sign out front, probably future to be flattened out for a housing development, not that there is enough water for that either.   But that's the long term fate of so many golf courses.   Extinction.

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I'm not sure I get what you're saying, because you're certainly in direct competition with other golfers on the same course no matter what tees you're playing from, and to ensure that this is the case, the USGA has done a lot of work to devise a slope system to gauge your performance against a factor of difficulty.  Or is that an example of "indirect" competition to you? The entire handicap system has been very well thought out just to take these factors into account.  No?

I would only consider then to be directly competing if they were playing match play or part of a competition. In both cases they'd be playing from the same tees. Two people playing social golf from different tees aren't competing.

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Originally Posted by Mordan

I would only consider then to be directly competing if they were playing match play or part of a competition. In both cases they'd be playing from the same tees.

Two people playing social golf from different tees aren't competing.

If by "social golf" you mean with no handicaps, then you're right.

But ignoring the handicap system is silly unless the two players have exactly the same skill level, which is doubtful.

Why would you ignore the handicap system if you want to "compete"?

We're not talking about the PGA Tour.  We're talking about playing competitive social golf, and the handicap system was designed to level the field, thereby making it a fair competition no matter what tees you're playing from.

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If by "social golf" you mean with no handicaps, then you're right. But ignoring the handicap system is silly unless the two players have exactly the same skill level, which is doubtful. Why would you ignore the handicap system if you want to "compete"? We're not talking about the PGA Tour.  We're talking about playing competitive social golf, and the handicap system was designed to level the field, thereby making it a fair competition no matter what tees you're playing from.

By social golf I mean anything not played in a competition under the direction of a committee. All my competitive golf has been played with handicaps under a couple of different handicap systems both of which I thought did a good enough job of levelling the playing field while being far from perfect. But while the handicaps are gained via playing on many courses and different tee boxes I've never had competitors going off different tees within the same competition. It seems a pretty basic thing that all competitors play the same course on the day. Unfortunately the USGA has muddied the waters by blurring the line between competitive and social golf. It leads to rules confusion and devalues the idea of a handicap. But that's heading off topic.

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Originally Posted by Mordan

By social golf I mean anything not played in a competition under the direction of a committee. All my competitive golf has been played with handicaps under a couple of different handicap systems both of which I thought did a good enough job of levelling the playing field while being far from perfect.

But while the handicaps are gained via playing on many courses and different tee boxes I've never had competitors going off different tees within the same competition. It seems a pretty basic thing that all competitors play the same course on the day.

Unfortunately the USGA has muddied the waters by blurring the line between competitive and social golf. It leads to rules confusion and devalues the idea of a handicap. But that's heading off topic.

They are all playing the same course just from different tee boxes and the USGA handicap system accounts for that.  I don't see a blurring by the USGA, everyone makes the decision for themselves to carry or not carry a handicap.  If you never intend to play competitive (tournament) golf there's no need to maintain a handicap.  If you belong to a club or wish to enter some local course tournaments then you have to maintain one, where's the confusion?


It would be blurred if the USGA were to roll back ball technology by 20% to account for the pro's ability to hit the ball long and impact the non-pro's.  The USGA should encourage course designers and architects to prepare the courses pro's compete on to be more penal so they are less likely to swing out of their shoes on every tee box on shorter courses.

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They are all playing the same course just from different tee boxes and the USGA handicap system accounts for that.  I don't see a blurring by the USGA, everyone makes the decision for themselves to carry or not carry a handicap.  If you never intend to play competitive (tournament) golf there's no need to maintain a handicap.  If you belong to a club or wish to enter some local course tournaments then you have to maintain one, where's the confusion?  It would be blurred if the USGA were to roll back ball technology by 20% to account for the pro's ability to hit the ball long and impact the non-pro's.  The USGA should encourage course designers and architects to prepare the courses pro's compete on to be more penal so they are less likely to swing out of their shoes on every tee box on shorter courses.

We actually had a head pro call the USGA after people starting boycotting tournaments due to having to compete from different tees and he was told that the system was not designed for competition from different tee boxes. Since then, all tournaments have been flighted, with the gold tee players in their own flight. This made sense in our case, especially for skins, since the handicap hole #s are different from the white to gold.

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Originally Posted by meenman

We actually had a head pro call the USGA after people starting boycotting tournaments due to having to compete from different tees and he was told that the system was not designed for competition from different tee boxes. Since then, all tournaments have been flighted, with the gold tee players in their own flight. This made sense in our case, especially for skins, since the handicap hole #s are different from the white to gold.

I have some serious doubt here.  Either the head pro didn't call the USGA, didn't ask the proper question, or whomever he spoke to was uninformed.

Again, in case you didn't see it the first time, the USGA officially disagrees with what you just said.

http://www.usga.org/playing/handicaps/understanding_handicap/articles/different_tees.html

Here's another USGA page explaining it more simply:

http://www.usga.org/handicapping/publications/Competing-From-Different-Tees/

Don't like the USGA explanation?  How about the Northern California Golf Association?
http://www.ncga.org/2007/06/18/competing-from-different-sets-of-tees/

There's a reason organizations have official position papers on issues such as this.  It's so everyone is playing from the same sheet of music and you don't have guys making up their own little set of rules, or placing restrictions where they aren't necessary (no, you can't play in our group unless you play from the same tees).  I've heard that argument before in trying to keep women from competing in a handicap event.

But back on topic, just because you can't hit the ball as far and are playing from different tees does NOT change the fact that your game is the same.  Your performance is being judged against a standard based on a difficulty rating assigned to your course from the tees that you're playing.  This is exactly how guys who get handicaps from difficult courses can compete against guys who just play munis all year.

So dialing back the distance of the ball will NOT change any of this because everyone across the board will be affected.  Guys who hit it longer than the other now will STILL hit it longer than the other.  If you're 5th in driving distance on the Tour, you're STILL going to be 5th in distance on the Tour, you just won't be hitting it quite as far as you used to be hitting it.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

They are all playing the same course just from different tee boxes and the USGA handicap system accounts for that.  I don't see a blurring by the USGA, everyone makes the decision for themselves to carry or not carry a handicap.  If you never intend to play competitive (tournament) golf there's no need to maintain a handicap.  If you belong to a club or wish to enter some local course tournaments then you have to maintain one, where's the confusion?

It would be blurred if the USGA were to roll back ball technology by 20% to account for the pro's ability to hit the ball long and impact the non-pro's.  The USGA should encourage course designers and architects to prepare the courses pro's compete on to be more penal so they are less likely to swing out of their shoes on every tee box on shorter courses.

The blurring of the lines is between social golf and competitive golf. Only rounds played in a competition, played on a course overseen by a committee and signed for by a fellow competitor should count towards a handicap. That you can put it cards from social golf and use that handicap in a competition severely dilutes the whole concept in my opinion.

And when social golf rounds aren't being submitted for handicap you don't need to worry about dropping a ball if one goes missing, or wanting to play two balls etc. It doesn't count for anything other than whatever you've decided to do within your group that day, and thus you can sort it out amongst yourselves. No complaints about the rules because they make sense in a competition with a committee to resolve issues and where fairness sometimes needs to come before practicality.

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