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The Golf Ball "Problem": PGA Tour Players Hitting it Far is a Problem for All of Golf?

The Golf Ball "Problem"  

102 members have voted

  1. 1. Does the distance modern PGA Tour pros hit the ball pose a problem to golf as a whole?

    • Yes
      24
    • No
      78
  2. 2. What is the main source of the "problem" above?

    • The golf ball goes too far, primarily.
      18
    • Several factors all contribute heavily.
      9
    • I voted "No" above, and I don't think there's really a "problem" right now.
      75


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Once we developed the equipment and technology to be able to study ball flight and learn what makes a trajectory more efficient, it taught us a lot.  Same with swing analysis.  When videotaping golf swings became more mainstream and guys could see what they were doing, it changed everything. The ball has evolved, the clubs have evolved and the swing has evolved.  I don't think we should roll the ball back any more than we should go back to the old "reverse c" swing.

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I guess I think of the PGA Tour as sort of a freak show.  The great players are so prepped for the game that it is hard for me to relate. To say I play the same game as the Tour pros is a total exaggeration. We play under the same Rules but then things quickly separate.

Am I concerned that Merion can no longer hope to host a US Open? Not at all.   A course doesn't need to be US Open ready to be a fun test for the 98% of us who can only dream of hitting the ball like Dustin Johnson.

I voted "no".

 

 

Edited by bkuehn1952

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I split my vote. A problem for "all of golf"? No! Do several factors contribute greatly? Yes, I think so.

As far as golf fans loving seeing guys hit it out of sight, what's new? Golf fans have always loved the big hitters. From Vardon, Braid, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus and on and on. These guys are pros! They're supposed to be able to do things that we can't!

And I will always put forth the idea of what Nicklaus, in his prime, might have been able to do with modern equipment, balls, and technology. He might have made Dustin Johnson look silly!

As far as "several factors contributing greatly", I think this. Just how long, and how large a piece of property, will be required to host Tour events in the future? And will this invalidate some traditional tournament sites? Or, how willing are we to see scores go ridiculously low. Frankly, I'm not all that interested in seeing an endless string of Bob Hope Desert Classics. I do want to see the pros challenged!

 

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31 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

I guess I think of the PGA Tour as sort of a freak show.  The great players are so prepped for the game that it is hard for me to relate.

This is pretty much the reason it doesn't concern me either. It's not like golf is the only sport where we're not even close to pulling off what the pros can do.

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I voted no, I don't see it as a problem.

However, I would be entirely open to the idea of a tour ball as I think that would be intriguing.  There's no need for bifurcation or any changes to any rules, just the PGA tour can say you're all going to use this one ball for this event, and see what happens.

It might very well be a giant dud, but at least they'd know.

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24 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

I voted no, I don't see it as a problem.

However, I would be entirely open to the idea of a tour ball as I think that would be intriguing.  There's no need for bifurcation or any changes to any rules, just the PGA tour can say you're all going to use this one ball for this event, and see what happens.

It might very well be a giant dud, but at least they'd know.

I would guess the different manufactures would complain.   Are you suggesting everyone play Bridgestone or Snell or Pro Vs?   Would shoes be next?   Clubs?

I voted no.

 

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48 minutes ago, Buckeyebowman said:

And I will always put forth the idea of what Nicklaus, in his prime, might have been able to do with modern equipment, balls, and technology. He might have made Dustin Johnson look silly!

I doubt it. Nicklaus would certainly be in the top of the tour in driving distance but he'd more likely to be comparable to DJ rather than making him silly.

 There have been attempts to extrapolate driving distance of previous eras.

Tour players are long, but they are far from the longest hitters in the world. There are people whose length would make DJ look silly, but they don't play the game as well.

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I voted no. Absolutely ridiculous to think golf needs to make balls travel less. Hell let's increase the weight of a baksketball, football, baseball....In every sport the athletes are getting better for the reasons Erik mentioned in the opening. (In each sports own terms) Golf is the most difficult of them all. Let the phenomenally gifted stand out! And as far as your every day golfer, decreasing ball distance is hardly a favorable nor necessary  change. DJ had to scramble to make par on the same hole he embarrassed in the play off. It's not like  the drive he did was easy ho hum...it was a risk and he took it. Awesome display of talent. Sorry, but Nicklaus is old school and really isn't with the modern game any more. When Nicklaus came to the scene, what do you think he would've said if word was that they're gonna make balls go less far?

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9 minutes ago, dennyjones said:

I would guess the different manufactures would complain.   Are you suggesting everyone play Bridgestone or Snell or Pro Vs?   Would shoes be next?   Clubs?

I voted no.

 

Of course they would.  Just like they did with the grooves rule change and with the anchored putters rule change.  So what?

But I'm not advocating anything permanent, just saying I'd be interested if they held a tournament with one particular ball.  Presumably one that doesn't travel as far as the current balls.  (The PBA did this for several years recently; they held a plastic ball tournament where each player used the exact same ball.)

Imagine if they held it at one of the older classic courses that have become "obsolete."  (I don't courses know any names but I know people have talked about these courses for awhile). I think that would be interesting.

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All I want to add is the fact of who wins each week? Look at the top ten. Yeah some of those guys have won a few times this year. Others haven't won ever.

Driving distance certainly makes a difference, but its not the whole story. DJ isnt winning every week. There isnt a problem with balls. The player still has to play well. 

Edited by phillyk

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Here's my question: Why do people care so much about how far pros hit the ball? Does it really make those writers feel so inferior that they think it's unacceptable and needs to be stopped?

Seriously though, the only people who care are those with egos too large to be bruised by knowing they're being beaten. Let the pros hit the ball as far as they want, it doesn't affect you or I in any way.

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On another note, I have a Grandson who hits the e-6 ball consistently in the 330 range. Problem is that his short game is pre Neanderthal. His length off the tee gives him no advantage. Golf just might be 2 or 3 games in one.

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On 8/31/2017 at 10:27 AM, chilepepper said:

Being a bit selfish I say no, it's not a problem. Plenty of ways to make to course play harder for the gods instead of making longer courses. More water on fairways, tighter fairways, penal rough.I'm just shy of 60 yo, hit it 220-230 off the tee. I don't want a dumbed down ball. 

But this is exactly the problem. You shouldn't need to trick up a course to make it tough. The land it's on and the architecture should accomplish that. Adding water and rough to existing courses is not golf course architecture, it's golf course vandalism. I agree with Erik that the ball is not the only culprit but the modern game has made many classic courses obsolete for the pros. I'm glad the US Open was played at Merion in 2013 but they really tricked up the course to get it to play tough for the best in the world. But for the rest of us it doesn't really matter. The Royal and Ancient have it right. Scoring at The Open is condition dependent. If the wind is up the scores will reflect it. If the weather is benign the pro's will tear it up. And that's OK. Par is just a number. As we know, Lowest Score Wins.

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1 hour ago, MSchott said:

You shouldn't need to trick up a course to make it tough. The land it's on and the architecture should accomplish that.

I agree with that.

1 hour ago, MSchott said:

I agree with Erik that the ball is not the only culprit but the modern game has made many classic courses obsolete for the pros.

Here's where I probably differ most from the many people out there… I don't really care about that. So what if some older courses are obsolete? 99.9% of the golfing world can still enjoy them.

I say bring in some new blood from time to time. And really… a lot of older courses are still in play. Pebble. Oakmont. Etc.

1 hour ago, MSchott said:

The Royal and Ancient have it right. Scoring at The Open is condition dependent. If the wind is up the scores will reflect it. If the weather is benign the pro's will tear it up. And that's OK. Par is just a number. As we know, Lowest Score Wins.

The problem there is that we don't seem to get the weather at all of our courses here in the U.S. that they are capable of getting in the UK.

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I'm going to go ahead and straddle the fence. I don't know.

I think that distance on tour is probably maxed out at this point. I also think that how far pros hit it is overstated. Rory and DJ are freaks, but most pros aren't hitting 300 yards with every drive like it can seem on TV sometimes. And it's also not that difficult to design a course or holes that make 300+ yard drives a bad idea. The top professionals have played shorter courses like Merion, and I think the WGC course in Mexico City was pretty short, too. They didn't tear those courses to shreds. And I think longer distances make the game more accessible to people. It's fun to hit the ball a long ways!

On the other hand, the problem with the ball going longer is that courses have to get longer. Which means they take up more space and use more water. Those are the biggest problems facing the golf industry, in my opinion (along with pace of play, probably). Golf is expensive, and more distance makes it more expensive. Plus, space is at a premium in many areas, and water is at a premium in others. I think that's what people really need to focus on if they want to argue for rolling back the ball or equipment. DJ's drives aren't relevant. I don't really care if the PGA Tour can't play certain courses anymore.

So as much as I'd hate to lose my ProV1, I'd be open to rolling back the ball. 

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6 minutes ago, DeadMan said:

On the other hand, the problem with the ball going longer is that courses have to get longer. Which means they take up more space and use more water.

Not much more water. Why? If the ball flies farther, the tees move back. That's the only change necessary. You don't have to water more land.

You do need more land, yes, but you don't have to water more.

Heck, on many courses, the fairway starts pretty early on. I've often wondered why courses need to start the fairway 40 yards in front of the women's tees and 180 yards off the back tees. The fifth hole at Whispering Woods (first one I chose) has the fairway starting 35 yards off the front of the front tees and 145 yards off the front of the back tees.

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11 hours ago, MSchott said:

But this is exactly the problem. You shouldn't need to trick up a course to make it tough. The land it's on and the architecture should accomplish that. Adding water and rough to existing courses is not golf course architecture, it's golf course vandalism. I agree with Erik that the ball is not the only culprit but the modern game has made many classic courses obsolete for the pros. I'm glad the US Open was played at Merion in 2013 but they really tricked up the course to get it to play tough for the best in the world. But for the rest of us it doesn't really matter. The Royal and Ancient have it right. Scoring at The Open is condition dependent. If the wind is up the scores will reflect it. If the weather is benign the pro's will tear it up. And that's OK. Par is just a number. As we know, Lowest Score Wins.

 Softer fairways or longer rough hardly qualifies as vandalism

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14 hours ago, iacas said:

Not much more water. Why? If the ball flies farther, the tees move back. That's the only change necessary. You don't have to water more land.

You do need more land, yes, but you don't have to water more.

Heck, on many courses, the fairway starts pretty early on. I've often wondered why courses need to start the fairway 40 yards in front of the women's tees and 180 yards off the back tees. The fifth hole at Whispering Woods (first one I chose) has the fairway starting 35 yards off the front of the front tees and 145 yards off the front of the back tees.

That is true, assuming golfers/golf courses will accept brown areas and "forced carries" like that. My men's club had people pissy this year about 150 yard forced carries like that. 

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