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Should the PGA Tour throttle back technology or lengthen courses?


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14 members have voted

  1. 1. Should the PGA Tour throttle back technology or lengthen courses?

    • Dial Back Technology
      9
    • Lengthen Courses
      4
    • Neither
      32


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Well all I can say is that I trust Jack Nicklaus knows a whole whole bunch more about this than I do and it was he who suggested that the balls today are doing too far.

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On balance, I think they need to get on top of technology. The OEMs are only interested in making money - they have no interest, in the shortish term, in maintaining the game.

The ball has been/is a problem but is the ball tech, in terms of distance, maxxed out now? Could dial the ball back a little but there's only so much that can be done to improve distance this way as there's already regulations governing initial velocity etc.

What concerns me a lot more is the OEMs fart arsing around with maximising COR in fairway woods, hybrids and, recently, irons. The rules bodies need to get on top of this now .

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Is there a COR on balls? I take it that there is not. I have heard JN talk about ball change during a interview while his charity tourney was being played but thats about it. I think with OEMs selling out to wall street, advertising money will find its way to persons controlling choices relative to this problem and would seek to stifle equipment restrictions that would lower sales.
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First, there is a COR limit on golf balls (and drivers) already. If there was a market for it, you could engineer a ball and driver that would be ridiculously long compared to what we have now. I still highly doubt overall shoes would change if you only changed the par value. Saying they would just try harder implies that you think these guys aren't already trying as hard as they can to shoot the lowest score they can. The scores would numerically remain the same, only changing in relation to par.
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So instead of making the pros up their game a little by making the rough a bit longer and fairways a bit tighter which would create a lot more risk/reward choices for players, you want the PGA and USGA just to say: "Nope, you aren't allowed to hit the ball far anymore"?  Not every course (or any course for that matter) needs to go to the extreme that Merion was in 2013(if you recall there was rain that entire week meaning they couldn't mow the grass at all leading up to the US Open making it play harder than it was supposed to) but just letting the rough get a little bit rougher on several tour stops during the year would be a great subtle way to make courses play a little tougher without ruffling many feathers and without making any expensive changes to courses or tech.

Also IMO limiting how far a golf ball can fly seems a whole lot more gimmicky than just letting the grass grow.

Well since you are just rephrasing what I said to make it say something else and then arguing against something I didn't say I see no need to respond.

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I am certainly no expert but I like the idea of controlling the golf balls because of the efficiency of it in terms of legislation.

You would only have to define the limits of the golf ball you can remove the various limits on golf clubs.

Extreme example of how this works is if we made "wiffle golf balls" the only legal balls. Regardless of the COR for any driver, the balls will only go so far. Another example are "limited flight range balls".

Perhaps someone with an engineering background can correct my theory.

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I am certainly no expert but I like the idea of controlling the golf balls because of the efficiency of it in terms of legislation. You would only have to define the limits of the golf ball you can remove the various limits on golf clubs. Extreme example of how this works is if we made "wiffle golf balls" the only legal balls. Regardless of the COR for any driver, the balls will only go so far. Another example are "limited flight range balls". Perhaps someone with an engineering background can correct my theory.

They already do limit the ball. It's not allowed to travel past a certain point when tested on the USGA's Iron Byron.

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First, there is a COR limit on golf balls (and drivers) already. If there was a market for it, you could engineer a ball and driver that would be ridiculously long compared to what we have now. I still highly doubt overall shoes would change if you only changed the par value. Saying they would just try harder implies that you think these guys aren't already trying as hard as they can to shoot the lowest score they can. The scores would numerically remain the same, only changing in relation to par.

I believe you. But if by rule par 3s became par 2s, the courses would have to bow to pressure to shorten then and move the tees up. That would solve certain length issues over time, as the complaining worked on Greens keepers nerves.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzel View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ay33660 View Post

I am certainly no expert but I like the idea of controlling the golf balls because of the efficiency of it in terms of legislation.

You would only have to define the limits of the golf ball you can remove the various limits on golf clubs.

Extreme example of how this works is if we made "wiffle golf balls" the only legal balls. Regardless of the COR for any driver, the balls will only go so far. Another example are "limited flight range balls".

Perhaps someone with an engineering background can correct my theory.
They already do limit the ball. It's not allowed to travel past a certain point when tested on the USGA's Iron Byron.

Actually, Iron Byron has been retired.  They use a more scientific testing method now, the Illinois Tool Works impact reaction tester.

Quote:
The machine described here is a measuring device used to assure manufacturing compliance with initial
velocity requirements as stated in the Rules of Golf. A test golf ball is loaded into the machine and is
automatically positioned on a tee and, on operator command, is struck and driven over a measured
flight path. The speed of the striker and the speed of the flight of the ball over the measured flight path
are both precisely measured by electronic means each time a ball is driven.
The Impact-Reaction Testing machine consists of a variable speed testing unit and a computer control
unit, interconnected by power and control cables. The testing unit contains a main drive motor that
powers a striker wheel. The wheel houses a retractable striker that emerges on command to impact a
golf ball. Also contained in the testing unit is the golf ball flight path travelling tube. A laser at the
entrance of the tube and a light screen positioned at the exit from the tube are used to measure the golf
ball velocity. At the end of the travelling tube is an impact curtain and access panel. After a ball is hit, it
returns to the control area through the ball return tube
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They already do limit the ball. It's not allowed to travel past a certain point when tested on the USGA's Iron Byron.

I believe the current limits on the ball are only on initial velocity.  I kind of remember being told by someone here (Erik?) that that is only a part of the increase in distance.  Aren't flight characteristics one of the biggies?

The problem, IMO, is that the USGA ball limits were too little too late to save a lot of great iconic golf courses from being made irrelevant.  And that is just kind of sad.  When the top driving distance from 1980 (274) would have finished 174th in driving distance in 2014, FORTY YARDS behind the leader the effect on golf courses will be and has been devastating.

Particularly when we consider that driving distance is only part of it. Longer distances apply on all clubs so the distance advantage between the 1980 distance leader and the 2014 distance leader, while 40 yards on the drive, is well over 40 yards for a typical par 4 or par 5 hole since on the other shots there is more distance advantage.  The distance advantage on par 4s and 5s is probably something on the order of 60-70 yards, with another maybe 30 yards advantage on each par 3?  It really translates to something on the order of a thousand  or more yards difference.

The other thing is that when they make a course longer it seems to me that they change its playing characteristics if they are not super careful.  If they make a course longer and leave the fairway widths alone, for example, they have effectively made the course much tighter, relative to its prior length with prior distance equipment,

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I think a stat was posted earlier in the thread that showed that PGA scores have not really changed all that much lately. I think the game benifit from more people simply realizing that they aren't PGA players and playing the correct tees.
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I think a stat was posted earlier in the thread that showed that PGA scores have not really changed all that much lately. I think the game benifit from more people simply realizing that they aren't PGA players and playing the correct tees.

Yes they should start from the front and tee it as they earn it backward. I just watched JB holmes hit 630ish yard with driver/ iron. Was 10-15 feet with real big birdie chance. These guys are amazing, but old courses need to have their par lowered accordingly. No way are they par 72 in todays game.

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One solution would be bifurcation for the balls: have Pro tournament "conditions of competition" balls which don't travel quite as far.

One thing longer courses do is drive up the cost of course construction and maintenance:

A 7,500-yard course simply takes up more land than one the tops out at 6,800 yards.

A course that ranges in length from 4,400 yards to 7,500 yards - rather than 6,800 yards - will have longer stretches of tee boxes to maintain.

I like this idea. Was endorsed by Nicklaus at one point. At the least, a reduced distance spec ball could be used on occasion to keep classic shorter tracks like Merion relevant in the rotation.

The additional course length to be qualified as 'champiionship' level adds significant marginal costs to course construction (more land to buy, more earth to move, more sand to haul in, more sprinklers / drains to install) plus extra maintenance - especially water costs. This impacts potential accessibility due to greens fees or just lost profitability that could be 'reinvested' into free clinics, day care, and other special offerings to help grow the game.

The real challenge / obstacle to this approach is the current pro sponsorship structure. Titleist and other companies want players and 'gear heads' to buy the exact ball their guys play on tour, not a different version. I think they would still sell the same number of balls in the end, but it would probably cut into their profitability. If some sort of effective transition was worked out it could even become a bragging right for amateurs to play with a 'pro-level' reduced distance ball because they are such a great ball-striker.

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I think a stat was posted earlier in the thread that showed that PGA scores have not really changed all that much lately. I think the game benifit from more people simply realizing that they aren't PGA players and playing the correct tees.

Scores haven't changed because golf courses have.  They are way longer, faster, tighter, with faster more challenging greens.  THAT is the problem, to keep scores in the same range they are using all of these strategies to counteract the cumulative improvement in play.  You would be surprised to see the length of courses for some of the storied rounds of golf.  I cannot find it now but I remember being shocked when I read somewhere how long The Country Club played for the Ouimet-Vardon-Ray playoff in 1913.  As I said, I do not remember the yardage but I remember being shocked.  It may have even been under 6000 yards, but I do not assert that.  But then again, they were using wooden shafts and gutta percha balls.  Which is why the scores weren't that different than the guys today playing courses 1000+ yards longer with space age equipment.

I like this idea. Was endorsed by Nicklaus at one point. At the least, a reduced distance spec ball could be used on occasion to keep classic shorter tracks like Merion relevant in the rotation.

The additional course length to be qualified as 'champiionship' level adds significant marginal costs to course construction (more land to buy, more earth to move, more sand to haul in, more sprinklers / drains to install) plus extra maintenance - especially water costs. This impacts potential accessibility due to greens fees or just lost profitability that could be 'reinvested' into free clinics, day care, and other special offerings to help grow the game.

The real challenge / obstacle to this approach is the current pro sponsorship structure. Titleist and other companies want players and 'gear heads' to buy the exact ball their guys play on tour, not a different version. I think they would still sell the same number of balls in the end, but it would probably cut into their profitability. If some sort of effective transition was worked out it could even become a bragging right for amateurs to play with a 'pro-level' reduced distance ball because they are such a great ball-striker.

That is why, IMO, a bifurcated ball will not fly any more than bifurcated rules on putters.  Nor should it.  There is no reason for bifurcation, IMO, other than the ego of golfers.   Which for me is not a good reason.

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Scores haven't changed because golf courses have.  They are way longer, faster, tighter, with faster more challenging greens.  THAT is the problem, to keep scores in the same range they are using all of these strategies to counteract the cumulative improvement in play.  You would be surprised to see the length of courses for some of the storied rounds of golf.  I cannot find it now but I remember being shocked when I read somewhere how long The Country Club played for the Ouimet-Vardon-Ray playoff in 1913.  As I said, I do not remember the yardage but I remember being shocked.  It may have even been under 6000 yards, but I do not assert that.  But then again, they were using wooden shafts and gutta percha balls.  Which is why the scores weren't that different than the guys today playing courses 1000+ yards longer with space age equipment.

That is why, IMO, a bifurcated ball will not fly any more than bifurcated rules on putters.  Nor should it.  There is no reason for bifurcation, IMO, other than the ego of golfers.   Which for me is not a good reason.

So are you against the idea of changing the ball for everyone? If not, how to avoid the complaints of the marketing angle, "our ball goes further"? I suppose if all balls were rolled back then other qualities like spin / 'bite' (more or less) and softer feel could replace them as the primary marketing angle.

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I've always quite liked the technology aspect of golf so wouldn't want that throttled back too much. Additionally, as some have mentioned, tournaments like a couple of those US Opens when it comes down to just hacking out sideways really don't interest me - I don't mind seeing the pros hit -20 odd, as an average of 67s winning a tournament seems about right. At the end of the day, they're still competing with each other, and it's still a level playing field.

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The funny thing, to me, about issues like this one or the long putter ban is this. Despite golf being a game grounded in tradition and being a game where change is looked at with a dubious eye it is also a game in constant flux. Nothing every stays the same. Rules change every year. Clubs and balls, just look at the progression from hickory shafts and featheries to todays equipment. So why is a modification of today's ball looked at with such distaste? If it allows the older shorter courses to remain relevant that can only be viewed as a good thing. If it saves water and money for course management that is a good thing. I believe scores will remain the same but it will allow shorter hitters, and the better ball strikers to compete on more courses. I just don't see any downside although I realize that many do. I guess that's a good thing for golf forums.

cubdog

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I hate to admit it, but I have a stick that sells for a thousand dollars. A relative bought it and gave it to me. Its hard to believe that it is obsolete now. I dont believe in stopping technology. Remember, the American Indians went bankrupt with the bow and arrow. Freezing tech would run counter to society, and the game would falter. We like our cell phones and stuff.
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