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Consider What a 20% Ball Roll-Back Would Mean


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In recent days, the idea that the golf ball should be rolled back 20% has been floated about. Every time I hear someone tell me that the golf ball should be rolled back 20%, I think to myself "have th

The 20% number has been bandied about by more than just Jack Nicklaus, but he's the most recent one. I've seen 30% thrown out there by a few members of GolfClubAtlas (GCA), which is even more ridiculo

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I average a 220-230 yard carry with my driver now. Lets call it 225. Scale that back 20%...and I would be carrying the ball 180. I want NO part of carrying the golf ball 180 yards. NO PART OF IT. The point about making the tees obsolete as they are now is even more spot on. I seek tees that average about 6300. 20% off of that? 5040 yards!? No thanks. The ball is fine, they should leave it the heck alone. 

Edited by HJJ003
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This is very similar to an article I read yesterday, which I should have posted in the distance thread.

https://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/nicklaus-ball-rollback-17680.htm

Makes a lot of the same points as you do here, although not in as much detail. But the point is the same - a 20% rollback of the ball for everybody would be a death blow to golf. Hitting the ball a long way is fun! And speaking as someone who loses distance whenever he travels to play golf, it sucks hitting the ball 240 instead of 260. And I'm not a huge fan of the idea that I'll go down to ~210 with a 20% rollback.

Edited by DeadMan
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Actually, Jack is not off base on this one.

Only 0.3% of the golfers will ever have to possibly look for their balls. The rest of them can just walk up a few steps to find them. Rolling back the ball 20% is going to kill the ball industry, but who cares about them, right? Personally, I'd just continue to use range balls and pay my club for them. Cheap balls and no more lost balls. What  great idea! :-D

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8 minutes ago, Lihu said:

Actually, Jack is not off base on this one.

Only 0.3% of the golfers will ever have to possibly look for their balls. The rest of them can just walk up a few steps to find them. Rolling back the ball 20% is going to kill the ball industry, but who cares about them, right? Personally, I'd just continue to use range balls and pay my club for them. Cheap balls and no more lost balls. What  great idea! :-D

You had me with the first line, but that was funny in the end, @Lihu. :-)

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How would this 20% reduction effect pace of play? Seems to me shortening the ball, and others aspects of the game would move golfers' along faster.

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16 minutes ago, Patch said:

How would this 20% reduction effect pace of play? Seems to me shortening the ball, and others aspects of the game would move golfers' along faster.

It would have a small effect. A bit less walking, fewer lost balls (they wouldn't go as far offline).

But slow golfers are still going to take 60 seconds to hit a shot when it should take 20, they'll still park the cart by their partner instead of going to their own ball after dropping him off, they'll still forget their wedge on the far side of the green and have to go back to get it, etc.

Oh, I also forgot: golf courses would be a lot less crowded, because golfers would quit en masse, and those that stayed would have to pay extra to cover the course renovations needed. :-P So that would also have a positive effect on the pace of play. :-P

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Another point: rolling back the golf ball by 20% will also really hurt equipment manufacturers. Assuming a 220 yard driving distance, with 10 yard gaps. Look what a rollback does to these clubs:

  • Driver - goes from 220 to 176
  • 3 Wood - goes from 210 to 168
  • 5 Wood - goes from 200 to 160
  • Hybrid - goes from 190 to 152
  • 4 Iron - goes from 180 to 144
  • 5 iron - goes from 170 to 136
  • 6 iron - goes from 160 to 128
  • 7 iron - goes from 150 to 120
  • 8 iron - goes from 140 to 112
  • 9 iron - goes from 130 to 104
  • PW - goes from 120 to 96
  • GW - goes from 110 to 88
  • SW - goes from 100 to 80

220 is probably above average driving distance, too. If you drive the ball less than that, your gaps will become even more compressed with a 20% rollback.

Who is really going to buy 14 clubs with those gaps? You'd buy one, possibly two fewer wedges. I think you'd probably only carry one wood. It makes a lot of sense to only have odd number irons. Hardcore golfers will still buy 14 clubs, but more casual golfers probably won't. That is going to hit the equipment manufacturers, who are already struggling, pretty hard.

Plus, do you really want to hit a freaking 4 iron when you're 140 yards out from the green?

A 20% rollback makes zero sense for all golfers. There's only a scintilla of sense in the idea for PGA Tour players, but I still think it's a terrible idea.

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  • iacas changed the title to Consider What a 20% Ball Roll-Back Would Mean
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