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Nicklaus suggests a 20% rollback in driving distance


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Originally Posted by johnclayton1982

Read the whole thread.  Can't say I agree with reducing distance.

As I've posted a bunch of other places, I've been trying to break 80 for about 2 years.  Its extremely difficult and I haven't yet been able to do it consistently beyond the odd 76, 79 here and there.  About a year ago (had a thread on this too) I decided my 230 driver distance was holding me back and started a program to get longer.  I got fitted for a new driver with an ultra-light shaft, drilled center-face contact every day and, most importantly, implemented a fitness and strength routine from "Fix your Body, fix your swing" (which is a great book).

I added about 55 yards to my drives and I routinely drive it about 270-280 now.

I got about 2 strokes back.  No joke.

Golf is about scoring.  I was watching yesterday when Keegan hit a 364 yard drive with Jack in the booth.  He then hit 6 iron into a par 5, hit center of the green and two-putted for birdie.  A little while later a much shorter hitter hit a drive there, hit 3 wood, chipped, and tapped in for birdie.  Same exact score.

Golf is about mental toughness and scoring.  Hitting it farther is not all that important to the score.  I'd much rather have a great chipping game and hit it 240 than have a poor short game and hit it 280 (<- what i'm like now).  55 extra yards brought me down 2-3 strokes on average, but i'd have probably done better overall just getting a decent short game.

That said, it is *incredibly fun* to hit a 280 yard drive.  I don't want to hit it shorter.  Don't change it.  I wouldn't quit, but booming a big line drive off the tee is one of my favorite feelings in golf.  Leave it alone.

Of course hitting it farther is important to the score. In the long term for a pro, a shorter shot into the green is going to result in better scoring. Put a 9 iron in one player's hand and a 6 iron in another's and the longer hitter is going to be closer to the pin much more often. There are plenty of other factors like putting prowess and accuracy off of the tee but accuracy is not a big deal on most tour courses these days. Harbourtown and majors excepted.

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Some folks here apparently can't even see an issue worth debating.  I disagree--I think there is an issue here.  More than in any other sport, tech evolution in one piece of equipment--the ball--has d

Quite the opposite.  Jack's records and legacy are based on his success playing against other players using the same technology that he was using.  And if the ball is rolled back then the players in t

So you're going to punish the long hitters now? Speed is a skill. Yeah, I really wanna watch the guys on my TV bombing it out there 240. Please.

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Originally Posted by MSchott

I would say that you and I are not able to take advantage of the newer golf ball technology anyway. Without enough clubhead speed we cannot compress a ball like a Pro V1 enough to use its capabilities.

That's not true at all. There's no "boost" or anything that's given to you if you can "compress" (or more accurately "deform") the golf ball enough.

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I can't go along with an across the board 20% reduction in potential ball distance. That would hurt me a lot, and a lot of other hackers like me. Once I seem to recall Jack suggesting a sort of "tournament spec" ball for pro tournaments. Give all the manufacturers the specs and let them all make one. Even with this, I think 20% is too much, but some sort of reduction. For everyday play by the rest of us 99.9%'ers, the current limitations on velocity and distance are more than adequate. Some of us can't hit it out of our shadow as it is.
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Originally Posted by iacas

That's not true at all. There's no "boost" or anything that's given to you if you can "compress" (or more accurately "deform") the golf ball enough.

Then is the compression for golf balls just for softer or harder feel. Or is it more in the realm that the fastest swing speeds don't matter, because there at the upper limit, but lower swing speeds might be better for a lower compression golf ball?

Though i am not sure if that defeats your statement or not, i am just curious as to why there are different compression golf balls. Maybe its just a feel thing.

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Originally Posted by saevel25

Then is the compression for golf balls just for softer or harder feel. Or is it more in the realm that the fastest swing speeds don't matter, because there at the upper limit, but lower swing speeds might be better for a lower compression golf ball?

Though i am not sure if that defeats your statement or not, i am just curious as to why there are different compression golf balls. Maybe its just a feel thing.

This first part is not at you specifically… balls aren't "compressed" they're "deformed" at impact. The amount of compression of ANY golf ball is insignificant and minor. The balls aren't made more dense at impact, they're deformed.

Anyway, "compression" (how soft a ball is and thus how much it will DEFORM) is a feel thing and a spin thing. Softer balls will spin more, and typically launch a bit lower, too. Golf companies have had success recently with "softer" or "lower compression" balls for typical amateurs because they'll spin more so they'll stay in the air a bit longer with the added lift. If your ball speed isn't 160 MPH, you may not spin a Pro V1x or a B330 enough to get the most distance out of it.

But a firmer golf ball will ALWAYS have a higher ball speed at any given clubhead speed than a softer golf ball. Less energy is lost hitting a firmer (higher "compression") golf ball than a softer (lower "compression") golf ball.

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I agree with Jack Nicklaus and several of the posts listed here that a 20% reduction in ball distance is warranted.

Many of the classic golf courses in North America (that the Pro's are playing in tournament conditions) have become obsolete due to the amazing distance they can hit their drives, thus rendering many of the fairway bunkers, mounds, trees, water hazards, etc, insignificant.

Have a look at what Keegan Bradley (?sp) is doing to the par 5's at the Memorial this week. He is killing his drives 30-40 yards past the fairway bunkers! I can understand why Jack is so frustrated with his course lay out since it does not offer very much of a challenge for them and IMO makes for a rather boring tournament to watch.

Football, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Hockey, etc, (Pro and amateur) all have adopted a standard size ball/puck ...... why not a standard type/construction ball in Pro golf?

Nascar, Formula 1, Indy, etc, cars all have restrictions/limitations that are required to be built into each of their cars in order to maintain equality and fairness to their sport.

I think that it is time for pro golf  to follow.

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They should taken Page out of the NHL, NBA and NFL's playbooks and have an OFFICIAL ball of the PGA and everyone plays the exact same ball that it's the its all even for everyone.
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I agree with Jack Nicklaus and several of the posts listed here that a 20% reduction in ball distance is warranted. Many of the classic golf courses in North America (that the Pro's are playing in tournament conditions) have become obsolete due to the amazing distance they can hit their drives, thus rendering many of the fairway bunkers, mounds, trees, water hazards, etc, insignificant. Have a look at what Keegan Bradley (?sp) is doing to the par 5's at the Memorial this week. He is killing his drives 30-40 yards past the fairway bunkers! I can understand why Jack is so frustrated with his course lay out since it does not offer very much of a challenge for them and IMO makes for a rather boring tournament to watch. Football, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Hockey, etc, (Pro and amateur) all have adopted a standard size ball/puck ...... why not a standard type/construction ball in Pro golf? Nascar, Formula 1, Indy, etc, cars all have restrictions/limitations that are required to be built into each of their cars in order to maintain equality and fairness to their sport. I think that it is time for pro golf  to follow.

The ball IS standard in size and weight. BTW....Keegan Bradley is T46 right now. Hitting the ball a long way is only part of the equation.....

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Originally Posted by teed off

I agree with Jack Nicklaus and several of the posts listed here that a 20% reduction in ball distance is warranted.

Many of the classic golf courses in North America (that the Pro's are playing in tournament conditions) have become obsolete due to the amazing distance they can hit their drives, thus rendering many of the fairway bunkers, mounds, trees, water hazards, etc, insignificant.

Have a look at what Keegan Bradley (?sp) is doing to the par 5's at the Memorial this week. He is killing his drives 30-40 yards past the fairway bunkers! I can understand why Jack is so frustrated with his course lay out since it does not offer very much of a challenge for them and IMO makes for a rather boring tournament to watch.

Football, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Hockey, etc, (Pro and amateur) all have adopted a standard size ball/puck ...... why not a standard type/construction ball in Pro golf?

Nascar, Formula 1, Indy, etc, cars all have restrictions/limitations that are required to be built into each of their cars in order to maintain equality and fairness to their sport.

I think that it is time for pro golf  to follow.

Hitting the ball long is part of the game, some pro's have a great short game, others hit the ball long.

A closer comparison would be baseball which uses the same ball in stadiums with different dimensions, MLB Officials realize that more home runs will be hit in certain stadiums than others and it's part of the home teams strategy to field a team to take advantage of it.  Each golf pro gets to decide which tournaments they play and which courses best suit their game.

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Originally Posted by johnclayton1982

Read the whole thread.  Can't say I agree with reducing distance.

As I've posted a bunch of other places, I've been trying to break 80 for about 2 years.  Its extremely difficult and I haven't yet been able to do it consistently beyond the odd 76, 79 here and there.  About a year ago (had a thread on this too) I decided my 230 driver distance was holding me back and started a program to get longer.  I got fitted for a new driver with an ultra-light shaft, drilled center-face contact every day and, most importantly, implemented a fitness and strength routine from "Fix your Body, fix your swing" (which is a great book).

I added about 55 yards to my drives and I routinely drive it about 270-280 now.

I got about 2 strokes back.  No joke.

Golf is about scoring.  I was watching yesterday when Keegan hit a 364 yard drive with Jack in the booth.  He then hit 6 iron into a par 5, hit center of the green and two-putted for birdie.  A little while later a much shorter hitter hit a drive there, hit 3 wood, chipped, and tapped in for birdie.  Same exact score.

Golf is about mental toughness and scoring.  Hitting it farther is not all that important to the score.  I'd much rather have a great chipping game and hit it 240 than have a poor short game and hit it 280 (<- what i'm like now).  55 extra yards brought me down 2-3 strokes on average, but i'd have probably done better overall just getting a decent short game.

That said, it is *incredibly fun* to hit a 280 yard drive.  I don't want to hit it shorter.  Don't change it.  I wouldn't quit, but booming a big line drive off the tee is one of my favorite feelings in golf.  Leave it alone.

^Good posting! I worked to hit my long bombs, and taking that away would be torture!!  if they take that away they better go to 1 cover style balls so people who are good with wedges can't have an advantage anymore either!  That being said if they made the ball affect everyone the same so people hitting 300 now hit like 280, and people hitting 200 would end up hitting something like 193 (guessing)  then I am fine with the changes.

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Originally Posted by 2ironfrenzy

That being said if they made the ball affect everyone the same so people hitting 300 now hit like 280, and people hitting 200 would end up hitting something like 193 (guessing)  then I am fine with the changes.

So I'd be losing 20+ yards while others would only be losing 7 (The number you were looking for was about 186.67 yards so it would be 13, but still). That mystifies me that anyone considers that fair. I should get every inch of my distance advantage unless you're also giving me 6 footers. Do we give point guards in the NBA stilts so they can avoid getting blocked by centers? I say we long hitters have always existed, and always followed the rules to do so. If I wasn't as long a hitter as I am, I don't know how I could ever play really good golf. It's unfair to force me to become a phenomenal player within 100 yards just to keep my current ability level, let alone improve. If there's a single course or tournament where they want to change the ball, I'd understand, but Nicklaus wants us to return to pre 1960 distances? Ego, pure and simple, on the part of the course designers.

What disturbs me about this is that, with the belly putter already hounded, longer players are the next ones being unfairly targeted. This will not penalize the short hitters nearly as much, since their measly drives can still reach in regulation from the current tees, and there's no doubt they'd move the tees up a long way with a short ball. Someone said they don't like how the longer players were approaching the game, despite their following the rules. Same sort of deal with the long putter, they make up all the bullshit they want about the proper golf stroke, but in the end it's about looks. I hope every single player on tour begins to anchor a belly putter to their arm just to spite the USGA.

The great part of all this though, is that all we need for this idea to be annihilated is for Tiger, Rory, Bradley, Colsaerts, Johnson, Rose, Scott, Schwartzel, etc. to boycott a tournament that decides to field the gimped ball. Why should they try to relearn the skill in both the short and long game that took thousands of hours to develop with their current ball? Without the long hitters I listed, can you imagine a tournament succeeding in getting sponsorships and good ratings? All it would take would be 4 or 5 of the high profile players to publicly boycott and the rest wouldn't be able to hold a tournament without significantly cutting the exposure and purses. Not to mention the avalanche of lawsuits.

If Jack thought this was really a good idea, he could pick his own tournament to be the first to field the ball. He knows no one would show up.

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Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

What disturbs me about this is that, with the belly putter already hounded, longer players are the next ones being unfairly targeted.

People have been after "the golf ball" for 15 years or more. I don't think they're truly being "targeted" - it's a few people who think that the tech has gotten away from people.

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so to the people who are steadfastly against a rollback, out of curiosity... do you not like it for what it will do to the pro game, or how it might affect your own game??

all these other pro sport analogies... the pro-level rules don't necessarily apply to the average joe.

amateur baseball players might hit with aluminum bats.

amateur basketball players probably aren't calling 3-second violations.

etc etc.

so why can't the pro level in golf be held to a higher standard??  if you want to play to that standard, to each his own -- but you don't have to.  i'm sure there are still a small percentage of amateur golfers gaming square groove wedges.  people might still be using belly putters ten years from now, just for the hell of it.  why all the fuss over a stricter policy on the golf ball for pros only ??  do we, as amateurs, really feel that we must play by the official rules??  you can't tell me you don't take a mulligan every now and then in a casual game, or fluff up an occasional bad lie.  maybe you don't, but the vast majority of golfers bend the rules to fit their own circumstances.  and if you choose not to, good for you -- again, if you want to play to a higher standard, you have that option .

the argument, at least to me, is like a frog in heating water -- slow developments in tech over many years, nobody will notice the true effect until it gets out of hand... and we might be getting to that point now.  the difference of opinion simply boils (pardon the pun) down to whether or not things need to be reigned in.

maybe the 3-piece golf ball is similar to putting cork in baseballs 100 yrs ago -- made the game more lively, players were getting more 'pop'... it allowed the game to evolve, to a certain extent.  but baseball still has regulations against what you're hitting that ball with -- whereas in golf, the ball and the club have been allowed to evolve together, accelerating the process to a potentially out-of-control level.

even college baseball recently changed regulations to shrink the sweet spot on aluminum bats -- should the USGA look at a similar policy on drivers??  time will tell.  but Jack probably has a valid point by saying golfers today can get away with things that golfers of yore couldn't -- even the smallest of mishits go straighter and farther.

in any event, with the introduction of mutli-layer balls beyond 3-piece, it's almost laughable.  draw your analogy here...

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If the pro's all agree to a 20% rollback of the ball that's for them to decide, not Jack.  The pro's are already mandated to play conforming wedges that we're not so there's a precedent for different balls too if that's what the majority of Tour players want.

I like Jack, but this position is a bit self serving in that he has a legacy to protect and with the current technology there's a greater risk his records could be beaten.

I wonder what Jack's reaction (during his prime) would have been if Hogan had suggested a technology rollback after watching Jack's success using higher tech clubs and balls than Hogan had to play during his prime.

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Originally Posted by iacas

That's not true at all. There's no "boost" or anything that's given to you if you can "compress" (or more accurately "deform") the golf ball enough.


I didn't use the word boost Erik. Is there much advantage for a player with a lower clubhead speed in using a Pro V1 as a player with a higher clubhead speed? Is it proportionate?

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

Hitting the ball long is part of the game, some pro's have a great short game, others hit the ball long.

A closer comparison would be baseball which uses the same ball in stadiums with different dimensions, MLB Officials realize that more home runs will be hit in certain stadiums than others and it's part of the home teams strategy to field a team to take advantage of it.  Each golf pro gets to decide which tournaments they play and which courses best suit their game.

True, Nicklaus was the longest hitter in his day but the difference today is the increases in distances are outstripping the length of some of the classic courses and there is little that can be done to change them. In baseball, the bats and balls supposedly have not changed in decades. There is a reason the MLB has banned metal bats.

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