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USGA Seeking Feedback on Distance "Issue"

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We have a college team that plays/practices on a course nearby that I play regularly. I watched those kids tee off on the first hole and was amazed at how far they hit the ball. I am 48 years old (young) and I actually hit the ball further now than I did when I was 28. I know that has to be the technology. My swing speed is slower than it was five years ago (103 now 100). The college players were hitting wedges into number one where I'm usually hitting an 8 iron (maybe 9 once in a while). That being said, I don't know their swing speeds but they are faster than mine. Another thing I noticed, these college players are cut. They are putting in time in the gym so they are obviously much stronger than players even 10 years ago. The bottom line (in my opinion) is that you can't go backwards. If a guy runs a 9.5 second 100 meter dash, does that mean the guy that runs an 11.0 gets a 7 yard head start? Sports are continually evolving. Just make the fairways narrower and grow up the rough so when they do go bombs away and miss the fairway, they get penalized.

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After my previous post I got to thinking a little more, and realized that I'm actually in better shape (physically) than I was at 28. I guess that could be more of reason I hit it further now than just attributing it to technology?

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11 hours ago, Shanks_McGurk said:

My not very big city lost a golf course this year. The third in 30 years. This one was a lighted 9 hole short course, so distance pressures were hardly relevant. But if they had pushed playing a shorter ball as an option, who knows, they might still be in business.

Greens and tees are the most expensive part of the golf course to maintain (and bunkers), so short courses often struggle to price themselves competitively given the expense vs. experience. Plus the lights?

11 hours ago, Shanks_McGurk said:

Given the right ball, a 9 hole short course can play like Firestone, and much faster.

That's a fallacy. An 8-iron hit from 150 to a green that's 4,000 square feet presents an entirely different challenge than an 8-iron hit from 100 yards to a green that's 4,000 square feet, or even 2/3 of 4,000 square feet. The dimensions don't scale evenly across the entire sport.

11 hours ago, Shanks_McGurk said:

Is golf going the way of bowling? Will it become again a game only for the wealthy elite?

Golf boomed, and now is re-settling back to where it likely should be, IMO.

2 hours ago, krupa said:

Who's complaining?

As far as I can tell, a few old golfers and golf course architects. And some cranky people here and there.

4 minutes ago, Bucki1968 said:

After my previous post I got to thinking a little more, and realized that I'm actually in better shape (physically) than I was at 28. I guess that could be more of reason I hit it further now than just attributing it to technology?

"Technology" doesn't just mean the equipment, too. Give me a guy hitting down at -3° with a 100 MPH clubhead speed, and I might add 15-20 yards to his driver pretty quickly by having him hit up a bit. That's from technology, too, but not in the ways we normally think. It's more of an "understanding" than it is directly attributable to tech.

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5 hours ago, iacas said:
8 hours ago, krupa said:

Who's complaining?

As far as I can tell, a few old golfers and golf course architects. And some cranky people here and there.

I'm in there somewhere...   🙂  

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8 hours ago, iacas said:

Golf boomed, and now is re-settling back to where it likely should be, IMO.

Golf course-wise, with the loss of three courses, one a 6,000 yd 18 holer, this city is back to where it was in the 1970s.   In 1970, the population was a mite over 150,000.   Now it's around 260,000.     But, a new 4ORE just opened.    What effect that will have if any is to be seen. 

But what does this have to do with length of drives?   Only in the return on investment problem that all golf courses have by reason of the amount of real estate they occupy and in the way the golf industry markets length -- the way the golf industry has made itself dependent on length.   Length sells -- just look at "iron inflation" where 6-irons are relabeled as 8-irons and the number of drivers marketed, and who our golf heroes are.   

Who's your hero, Zach or Dustin?   

But so it is for me too.   I'm a long driver groupie who always plays from the longest tees and dreams of 380 yd drives.    

Btw, I watched the movie "Greatest Game Ever Played" the other nite.   Pretty good movie, but how about the way actors were swinging hickory shafts like they were steel?   Or the way they made drives look like something out of "Happy Gilmore"?    

 

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On 5/24/2018 at 3:47 PM, Shanks_McGurk said:

What was the name of that ball invented by Nicklaus and somebody else that would fly -- what -- half as far?   And that was 40 years ago.   

Problem I see is in golf course economics.   Longer hitters using modern equipment = need for longer championship courses = higher investment in land + higher maintenance costs + more time required for ordinary golfers to play (or navigate) the course.  

We need cheaper-to-build and maintain courses that can be played in a shorter time as a choice/alternative to full length courses.   Not a pitch & putt but a course that can be played with driver and hybrids.    A shorter ball would make such a course playable with all the usual clubs in the bag.   Lower fees, shorter playing time, fewer lost balls, more players per day, at least as much income to the course management with a lower investment (= higher ROI).     

The technology is there, so why aren't we seeing that type of course?    Is it blind conservatism?   Macho pride in claiming to whack a ball 250 yards?   What?  

There are already plenty of those out there! And, even of the newer courses, you can pick a set of tees to play that suit your game. Why try to shoehorn everybody into one mold?

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I just feel golf will always win. All this nonsense about the ball going too far yet there are bogeys, DB and more still taking place at every PGA tournament. So a handful of exceptional athletes, a few anomalies have the ability to swing the club 120-130mph and bomb it. So what? What has been the winning score at Oakmont over the past 10 years? How many golfers have scored in the 60’s all four rounds at Augusta in the last 10 years? None of the top 10 longest hitters on tour are dominating the fields. So despite the fact we’ve seen some inhuman drives take place recently, golf is still golf and it’s hard.

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All i know they need to do something. How much further can you stretch and build golf courses for the Mens pro tour. Stop rolling the fairways do the pro doesn't get 50 yards of roll. They also should make all the players play equipment that anyone can buy at the store. No more prototype clubs and balls. When Tiger played Nike Black golf ball. It was a prototype ball. Not sold to you and me. To me The USGA is corrupt and could of done something about the distance the ball goes years ago but let the equipment companies dictate which way professional golf go. Now their scratching heads wondering what to do.

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1 hour ago, KevinX said:

All i know they need to do something. How much further can you stretch and build golf courses for the Mens pro tour.

I don't think that what the PGA Tour does should change golf for 99.9% of others.

1 hour ago, KevinX said:

They also should make all the players play equipment that anyone can buy at the store.

Huh? This is already the case… in that… they play fully legal, conforming, regular equipment. It may not be practical for you to go in and buy something off the shelf, but even if that was a requirement for them… they'd still have it tweaked, modified, measured, etc. to their specific specs, preferences, etc.

So making this a "rule" of some kind would accomplish absolutely nothing. It's either exactly what happens now or it's just putting up stupid roadblocks that accomplish nothing.

1 hour ago, KevinX said:

No more prototype clubs and balls. When Tiger played Nike Black golf ball. It was a prototype ball. Not sold to you and me.

What's that got to do with the USGA seeking feedback on distance?

1 hour ago, KevinX said:

To me The USGA is corrupt and could of done something about the distance the ball goes years ago but let the equipment companies dictate which way professional golf go. Now their scratching heads wondering what to do.

I don't think they should have done anything - or should now - with the golf ball distance. They have the ODS in place.

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The big issue is that the classic old courses have become shortened due to the ball going further. Royal Melbourne fourth hole ( West Course) was designed to make the golfer think about the risk reward aspect off the tee. Now guys like Adam Scott and Rory Mac blast it over these bunkers.Carry of about 240yards.

In the last 15 years how many courses have had to lengthen their holes. Augusta National is a great example.

There is also the a way to stem this as well. We can biofurcate the rules. One for pros and one for amateurs. Hence they have pro balls ( limit distance) and one for the average amateur golfer. 

Lets hope the governing bodies don’t stuff this up like they did with the anchoring ban.

Edited by Nagah
Typo

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14 hours ago, Nagah said:

The big issue is that the classic old courses have become shortened due to the ball going further. Royal Melbourne fourth hole ( West Course) was designed to make the golfer think about the risk reward aspect off the tee. Now guys like Adam Scott and Rory Mac blast it over these bunkers.Carry of about 240yards.

In the last 15 years how many courses have had to lengthen their holes. Augusta National is a great example.

There is also the a way to stem this as well. We can biofurcate the rules. One for pros and one for amateurs. Hence they have pro balls ( limit distance) and one for the average amateur golfer. 

Lets hope the governing bodies don’t stuff this up like they did with the anchoring ban.

 

Can’t they just move the bunkers to around 280? It would make Scott and McIlroy really consider risk. 

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16 hours ago, Nagah said:

There is also the a way to stem this as well. We can biofurcate the rules. One for pros and one for amateurs. Hence they have pro balls ( limit distance) and one for the average amateur golfer.

That's discussed in this thread:

You can't change the flight characteristics of the golf ball without affecting different golfers disproportionately IMO.

16 hours ago, Nagah said:

Lets hope the governing bodies don’t stuff this up like they did with the anchoring ban.

Just assuming the "issue is solved" by changing the ball is likely to create unforeseen issues, which would basically be botching the situation.

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Solving one “issue” may create other real issues.     At the professional level the solution is simple if you want to compete with those who swing harder, learn to swing harder or be twice as good as those in other aspects.   I don’t see anyone winning on tour who is only a good driver and nothing else.   For amateurs move up a tee.    

What’s seen cannot really be unseen,  you cannot expect to make existing equipment non conforming and you expect everyone to comply outside of tournaments where equipment would be inspected. 

Why not just limit better equipment and longer flying golf balls from being produced in future.  That would mean golfers wouldn’t have to keep buying new equipment to keep up, that could save an astronomical amount of money.   That would solve the problem completely, the weekend golfer could continue to hit his drive 220 yards claiming it to be the magical distance of 300 yards  and not have to worry about how much further pros hit it since PGA events will no longer be televised because of lack of sponsorships from  major golf manufacturers.   

 

 

 

  

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The technology that has increased the distance has made the game more enjoyable for me. I think one of the biggest distance boosters on the PGA tour is Bruce Koepka's arms. I think it's the physical fitness regimes of the players. Koepka's arms are like bowling balls. Back in the 1980s you just didn't see that. Back in the 1960s and 70s, golfers smoked on the tour. And you can't tell the players that they can't weight train.

And just leave the golf ball like it is now. Driver tech doesn't need to get more lively. In fact, drivers made 5 years ago are only about 5 yds different. The equipment standards haven't changed that much. There is only so much manufacturers can do. The clubs are more forgiving, yes. But the physical fitness of the younger players has improved. So there you have it. No one wants to bifurcate the game. Remember we're talking about changing the entire game because of fewer than 100 people. I don't think that's fair to the rest of the field. Or us. So, maybe we just have to get used to seeing rounds in the low - mid 60s? 

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As long as regulations around equipment, training, preparation, etc... aim to remove all variables except skill, then I'm happy. If someone can drive it further because of skill (or some derivation of it like training harder to become stronger and faster) then I think the integrity of the game is intact. Now if EVERYONE is stronger and faster because of reasons X or Y or genetics or w/e, then sure, lets adjust to shape the game around what is currently the average person.

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On 5/18/2018 at 12:12 PM, iacas said:

I posted a comment. The survey is literally one page, so type what you think into that first box.

I don't believe that distance is in need of regulation at this time, nor in the future.

The fact of the matter is that modern-day PGA Tour players are hitting the ball farther. This is due to multiple things:
a) Better athletes playing the game.
b) An understanding that being closer to the hole generally reduces scoring, encouraging players to hit it farther and seek out distance over accuracy in many cases.
c) Longer, lighter, larger clubheads and shafts.
d) Players swinging faster (a combination of a-c).
e) The ball is essentially a controllable mid-90s Pinnacle or Top-Flite - the manufacturers found a way to add short-game spin to the distance the solid-core balls had for decades.

On the amateur side of the game, it's two-fold. First, the average amateur has always and likely will always continue to play "distance balls." In the 1990s they were Pinnacles or Top-Flites - today they're very similar models whether they're the Bridgestone e6 or the Titleist Velocity or whatever.

Better recreational golfers will spend their $27 to $45 on better balls, and yet will often continue to be perfectly content to play courses at 6000 to 6500 yards.

Though I do not think there is even a "distance problem" at all, the "problem" that some people perceive to exist is - at most - a "problem" only for a small percentage of golfers: the game's elite. The PGA Tour players, Web.com Tour players, and some better college players. That's about it. Even the LPGA is still seeing players play at courses that are 6400 to 6600 yards.

I do not support changing the game because some people think that a few PGA Tour players hit the ball too far. I don't support a whole-game "roll-back" of the golf ball, and I would object to bifurcation of the sport even more loudly.

I don't believe that, given the current rules and regulations regarding equipment, that there is any need at all to reduce the distance any class of player is hitting the ball. We're at the physical/scientific limits of what can/should be done within the current regulations: distance has plateaued as it relates to swing speed. We understand modern launch conditions. Marketing aside, ball manufacturers haven't done a thing to find "more distance" in a decade or so (nor have club manufacturers).

One page?? I had to respond to 20-30 slides with multiple choice questiions about golf and distance.

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On 9/18/2018 at 5:57 AM, DrvFrShow said:

I think one of the biggest distance boosters on the PGA tour is Bruce Koepka's arms.

Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, and Tony Finau would disagree.

On 9/18/2018 at 5:57 AM, DrvFrShow said:

I think it's the physical fitness regimes of the players.

The fitness matters, but a lot of it has to do with improvement in instruction. Not only is there a better understanding of how faster swing speed is achieved today, but we also better understand where strokes are gained and lost on the course.

There are more young players are coming up that embrace the fact that distance is an advantage in the game and accuracy in hitting fairways is not that important, and their swings reflect that.

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The USGA is going to do what they want. Asking for feedback is just a PR move. They really don't care what anyone thinks.

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