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GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: Patrick_Mucci on February 12, 2004, 08:33:09 PM

Title: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on February 12, 2004, 08:33:09 PM
Recent reports indicate that USGA officers/officials have decreed that there will be no rollback of the ball.

Why is the USGA opposed to this concept ?
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Steve Lang on February 12, 2004, 08:53:48 PM
 8)

They must be too busy growing the game.  

Now, if they adopted the name USG I&B Association, maybe they'd have.. nope, no way,.. never mind. ::)
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 12, 2004, 09:10:50 PM
Pat:

The USGA and R&A believe distance increase is basically at the outside edge of the technological envelope anyway and  any further increases, however they may come down the pike are controllable through more efficient testing procedures backed up by their long-standing ability to deem future I&B non-conforming.

That, of course, is regarding a universal distance rollback! On the issue of a roll-backed "competition ball" only, they don't want to do that as it would for the first time in their history create bifurcation in I&b and lack the unity in I&B for all they have always felt should be maintained. This policy is extremely clearly stated in their recent "Joint Statement on  Principles" that can be found on their website under the "equipment" tab.

Obviously, you don't or may not agree with this but this is their official policy and statement at present.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 12, 2004, 09:24:47 PM
Pat Mucci:

I have no clue and I haven't seen anything that suggests to me that USGA officers have even given the issue any serious thought.

Every USGA officer should read Geoff Shackelford's new book several times.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Willie_Dow on February 12, 2004, 09:36:15 PM
Tim

I sure agree with you.  But it is going to take a lotta time for this to sink in with those around us.

If more of us had a little patience, and didn't try to create a tomorrow, yesterday, better decisions would have come out of "Why".

Willie
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 12, 2004, 10:02:42 PM
Willie:

The last thing I want to do is exaggerate my small contribution, but I was honored to lend support to Geoff because he has so courageously taken on issues that the golf community needs to seriously think about.

The Future of Golf reminds me of Tom Doak’s Confidential Guide in some ways. Both Geoff and Tom had the courage to stand up and say some things that probably offend some people but really need to be said. I’ll always respect them both for that.

The USGA is a big disappointment right now. Hopefully, the situation can be turned around. By calling a halt to the silly golf technology arms race the UGSA can return itself to its rightful place in the game.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John_McMillan on February 12, 2004, 10:05:09 PM
I have no inside connections to their concerns, but I think a very good guess is a lawsuit from equipment manufacturers.  

Rolling back the distance standards means that instantly some equipment is going to be non-conforming.  The PGA Tour lost a large lawsuit to Ping Corporation over the Tour's decision that certain Ping clubs were non-conforming, and given the amount of cash the USGA is sitting on, I think they are very conservative in how they manage their legal exposure.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 12, 2004, 10:13:33 PM
Tim:

If you haven't seen anything that suggests to you that the executive officers of the USGA (R&A) have given this issue any serious thought you should click on USGA.com, click on "equipment", the equipment tab at the top, click on the "Joint Statement of Principles" and read it very carefully and you'll see they've apparently given this some serious thought. You or me or Pat may or may not agree with them but it appears they've given it some fairly serious thought! If there're any officers of the USGA or R&A who have not seen this statement or aren't particularly familiar with the import of it then that would certainly be a different matter. I hope that's not so though! I have a pretty good feel for how an executive committee like that operates and that "Joint Statement of Principles" is a pretty fundamental statement on a pretty significant issue and one that must certainly have been seriously discussed and considered at board meetings. It doesn't look to me like just some remark that was issued by the Executive directors of the USGA and R&A with a cc to the executive committee members.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 12, 2004, 10:18:09 PM
I have no clue and I haven't seen anything that suggests to me that USGA officers have even given the issue any serious thought.

Tim, I'm offended by that statement.  To assume that the people at the USGA don't care about the game just because they might not hold the same opinion as you do is ridiculous.  It is the life of the employees, most of whom could earn a lot more money outside the USGA, and the volunteers who spend thousands of dollars each year supporting the game.  To imply that they don't give serious thought to issues like this is an insult to them and all the work they do.

There are definitely people who are at the USGA who would like to see a roll-back (see some comments from past presidents in Golfweek recently) and there are others who don't feel it is neccesary or desirable.  So far the later ones have held sway.  That might change if evidence accumulates that the problem is continuing to grow.

But don't ever assume that they don't care or that they don't give serious thought to the issue because they do.  Do you think that the guys at the I&B center don't have exact data as to how much of the extra distance is due to the club, the ball and the person swinging it?  You bet they do because they are scientists and they love to do experiments like that.  Evidently the data isn't strong enough to convince enough people to make a change.

They tend to move slowly because they realize that knee-jerk reactions can often be worse than no change so they'd rather err on the side of caution.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 12, 2004, 10:56:18 PM
JohnV:

Please notice that Tim Weiman said nothing at all about all the people who work for the USGA--who are employees---he apparently was talking about the 15 member executive committee---he called the people he was talking about on this distance issue 'executive officers'. There sure are a lot of good folks who work up there in Far Hills and some of them aren't all that sanguine about some of the things that're going on today in golf or up at Far Hills but don't forget in the end of the day it's only those 15 folks on the executive commitee who have the final say--they're the only one who vote!
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 12, 2004, 11:00:13 PM
JohnV:

First, I apologize if my comments were offensive to you personally.

That aside, I chose my words carefully saying "I haven't seen" anything that suggests the USGA has seriously thought about the technology issue. If there is any USGA reading material worth consulting - Tom Paul made one reference - I'd be happy to read it. By no means am I saying I've read everything on the subject.

FYI, my last conversation with a USGA official - I'll leave the name out of this discussion - really impressed me by how little he had thought about the technology issue. The guy came across more like a manufacturer's rep than somebody in the business of being a regulator. Then, too, not long ago I spoke with someone at a very well known club which has served as the site of numerous USGA championships. This gentleman was very clear in his view that without costly changes to the golf course the USGA would not return.

Where did this gentleman get such an idea if not from the USGA?

It is time to acknowledge that ball and club technology that encourages or requires costly modifications to golf courses is inappropriate technology. The USGA should be out front making this point. Until they do, we can’t be too worried about hurting people’s feelings. The message needs to heard and repeated over and over again. The golf technology arms race makes absolutely no sense.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 12, 2004, 11:17:09 PM
Tom Paul:

Let me be clear. These issues aren’t personal. I simply said I haven’t seen or read anything that comes even close to suggesting the golf technology arms race makes sense.

To the club I’ve mentioned that is considering an expenditure of a few million dollars just to accommodate a small elite group of members, I made the following point recently “do you realize how much the $10,000 assessment would be for each member?......it is the equivalent of twenty new $500 drivers…..why would any member buy twenty new $500 drivers when he can’t even play from the existing (6,700) back tees now?”

Tom, these are smart business people, but until I came along nobody had ever posed such questions to them. One board member privately acknowledged he was embarrassed he hadn’t thought of it in the same terms.

So maybe progress can be made. The USGA just needs to get its act together.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: A_Clay_Man on February 13, 2004, 08:18:55 AM
Asking why, as Pat does, implies speculation, since no one I know is on the committee (or any).

One reason I can get behind as to why, is because the usga governs the whole game. Not just the game of those who can swing over 110 mph.

PAt- How about just telling all of us why?
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: BCrosby on February 13, 2004, 08:26:02 AM
Whatever the level of scrutiny the USGA has given to the issue, at a minimum they owe their national membership a full and accurate briefing of their technological findings to date and their reasoning as to why they have elected to make no changes.

Technology is the single biggest issue in the game. And no doubt the USGA has given it some thought. But. . .

What sort of public announcements have we heard about it from the USGA? Other than cryptic, vague comments to the effect that everything is fine, nothing.

What are their labs telling them? We don't know because they won't tell us.

What specific proposed changes have they reviewed and rejected? We don't know because they won't tell us.

What specific proposals have been discussed with the PGA, the R&A or other sanctioning bodies about competition balls and why were they rejected? We don't know because they won't tell us.

Given the prominence of the technolgy issue, the USGA's deliberations need to me much more transparent than they have been. Or at least less opaque.

They need to do the unthinkable at Far Hills. They need to facilitate a public debate on the topic. I'm not holding my breath.

Bob
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Alfie on February 13, 2004, 08:26:09 AM
"They tend to move slowly because they realize that knee-jerk reactions can often be worse than no change so they'd rather err on the side of caution." (JohnV)

John ; with every respect, this knee jerk reaction has been evident within the game for 70 years, and more !

Tim Weiman's statements evoke nothing but an honest opinion and "common sense" appraisal of golf in the 21st century and should be applauded for speaking out !

Do the USGA / R & A really know what they are doing ? Does anybody know what "they" are doing ?
Try sending an e-mail to the R & A website and see if you get a reply ? www.randa.org

I could say that "I" have been insulted by those Titleist adverts having a go at golfers who think like Tim, myself, and countless others using this website. But I laugh ! People who try to ridicule others, usually do so in fear of protecting their own interests ?

I only recently found the words of Max Behr on this website and I'm delighted to quote ;

"But the manufacturer of the golf ball who is in business for profit, and who cares nothing for the health of golf, has been permitted to sugar the instincts of his customers with a ball that is far greater offense to tradition than what the face of the club, the shape of the club, or the materials of which is made could ever be." ex The Ball Problem by Max Behr, Jan 1927.

Golf is embroiled in a world of politics, whether we like that scenario or not ! Political leaders fall by the wayside as they disappoint their followers. Why should golf be so different ?
Why is golf so afraid to even try the roll ball back at one PGA event ? It is possible to do so - why don't they try it ?

If you don't shout out - ye'll get nowt !

Alfie Ward. Scotland.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: rgkeller on February 13, 2004, 08:54:38 AM
I believe that the august members of the USGA board do their USGA duties as a respite from the high pressure nature of their daily lives.

Since they view the USGA and golf as a relief from the real world, they are loath to confront real world problems that will intrude on their sanctuary.

The USGA staff, on the other hand, has been corrupted by the golf manufacturers and their marketing schemes.

The USGA latest defensive posture that technology has gone as far to the edge of the envelope as possible is so ridiculous a premise that, if the USGA's position was not ruining the game, we would all be dissolving in paroxysms of laughter.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 09:18:03 AM
Tim Weiman:

Regarding your post #11, I know exactly what you're trying to say concerning the USGA and the so-called arms race in equipment technology. However, from the way that post #11 or yours is written it would definitely seem, for starters, the ones who need to get their act together are those members of that club you mentioned who're responsible for making some significant investment in their club and assessing the membership for what you claim is some small and insignificant elite group. Is that really necessary because of the so-called arms race in golf equipment technology? From what you said about that club it would certainly not seem so.

Maybe one of the things the USGA should do now is write a letter to all their member clubs which are probably most in America and ask them why in the world they would ever want to consider these kinds of illogical investments in their courses in the name of a technological golf equipment arms race when there's no reason in the world to assume that Tiger Woods and his PGA Tour brethren would ever use their course!
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 09:27:16 AM
rgkeller;

If perchance the technological equipment arms race hasn't put too much of a damper on your humor after you've finished dissolving in paroxyms of laughter over the USGA why don't you tell us all what the future will bring in the way of distance increase? How about just a little hint, at least? Come on Pal, you can tell us---God knows you must know something!

;)
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: rgkeller on February 13, 2004, 09:29:14 AM
All sorts of middle aged amateurs hit the ball distances that would not be believed ten years ago.

The USGA's hiding behind the myth that only a very very small percentage of professionals gain from the new technology would be misinformation too outrageous for even the USGA to undertake.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 13, 2004, 09:30:06 AM
Alfie:

Thank you for your kind comments. There is so much common sense in the UK & Ireland when it comes to golf that I hope we in the States can start importing some of it.

Geoff Shackelford is really the guy who deserves credit for writing the book he did. As someone in the golf business, he has taken a risk that someone like myself doesn't face. But, hopefully people here can offer support. Your words, like those of BCrosby and RG Keller are certainly encouraging. But, there is a long battle ahead to bring some sanity on this issue.

FYI, during Tom Doak's annual Renaissance Cup this past fall I spoke with someone quite familiar with Geoff and his work. I don't believe he knew about Geoff's coming work about the ffuture of golf. What this gentleman said was interesting. He said "Goeff is one of the brightest, best minds in golf......but he just won't go along.....he just won't go with the flow".

Well, thank God Geoff doesn't! We need far more people to speak out about how silly the golf technology arms race is.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 13, 2004, 09:42:01 AM
Tim, the Executive Director is frequently considered an officer so I took your comment to include employees.  I have seen things such as the document that Tom Paul mentioned.  In addition, I think it would be foolish to assume that just because you haven't seen something that no thought has gone into the issue.  The changes to the club over the last few years as well as the changes in the way balls are being tested should be proof enough that a lot of thought is going into the issue.

As for the club that has been told that it would need to make changes in order to hold further USGA events, that is a choice for the club to make.  They aren't being told that they must change their course.  Only that if they want to have another event they would need to change it.  There are plenty of clubs that held USGA and R&A events in the past that chose not to do that and are quite happy not having events there.   Courses that held the US Open in 1904 couldn't handle the competitors of 1954 so why should a course that was adequate in 1954 assume that in 2004 it could continue to be adequate without changes.  And yes, sometimes this change in adequacy can happen quite quickly.

rg, what evidence do you have to say the the employees have been corrupted?  That is the type of statement that I object to most and that probably accomplishes the least in solving the problem.

Alfie,
Shortly after Max Behr wrote that, the USGA did make a knee jerk reaction in introducing the "floater" ball.  "In 1929 USGA adopted a 1.68", 1.55oz ball for the years 1930-31, but the universal condemnation of this balloon made them quickly rethink, and from January 1932 settled on the 1.68", 1.62oz specifications." - Leith Society History of the Rules website.   I wonder if his and other's comments caused this debacle.  Perhaps that is why they are slow to change today?

You say that people who try to ridicule others usually do so in fear of protecting their own interests.  The only ridiculing I see around here is of the USGA and R&A.  Perhaps the people doing it have their own best interests at heart also.  But, since they are fighting the good fight, that is ok.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 09:44:34 AM
Alfie:

I hear from Geoff Shackelford that you've gotten into the essays of Max Behr. Good show my good man! When one considers when he wrote some of those articles such as "The Ball Problem" one can't help but notice how eerily foreboding they are, wouldn't you say? And to think how long ago he wrote those essays!

Many if not most of those essays were written in the 1920s and to the USGA itself, although all his essays were published in golf magazines I believe. What Behr said and what you just quoted concerning the equipment manufacturers seems like it was written right here on Golfclublas today, wouldn't you say?

However, there're a number of contributors to this site, particularly one Rich Goodale who may even be frightfully concerned about the equipment technology arms race today and who surely is critical of the USGA who still maintains most vociferously that Behr was a ridiculous pompous ass? It seems there's a good deal of inconsistency in that, wouldn't you say? Why do you suppose that is?
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 13, 2004, 09:49:05 AM
Tim,

I agree that Geoff is a very bright person and I agree with much of what he says.  I hope he continues to speak up, as we need him and others to do that.

My problem comes about when people start making assumptions about peoples motives and knowledge in the absence of any true information.

I do wish the USGA would be more open about the information they have just because it might cause everyone to understand their decisions better or lead to better refutations of those decisions.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: rgkeller on February 13, 2004, 09:49:08 AM
<<rg, what evidence do you have to say the the employees have been corrupted?  That is the type of statement that I object to most and that probably accomplishes the least in solving the problem.>>

What does the former head of the USGA testing staff now do for a living?

How much income does the USGA receive from manufacturers advertising budgets?

Corruption can occur incrementally and without malice of forethought.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 13, 2004, 09:56:41 AM
rg,

As far as I know the USGA gets little money from manufacturers.  They have no advertising in their publications or on their website.  Any advertising that might go into programs is actually contracted by the club that is running the event, with the possible exception of the Opens.  They do receive a lot of money from corporate tents, but I think most of them are bought by non-golf enterprises.  I would be a lot more concerned about the PGA Tour's financial ties (see the Titleist logos next to all those players on their website) than the USGA's.

As for Frank Thomas' employment, of course he is working with manufacturers, he understands the industry and technology as well as anyone and he has to make a living.  The USGA probably didn't pay him well enough to retire.  But, perhaps you would prefer he goes back to making fishing rods.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: rgkeller on February 13, 2004, 10:11:53 AM
I would have preferred that Thomas had not dropped the ball during his reign as Technical Director and was not now taking money from and shilling for those he formerly regulated.

I guess those TV advertisements on the telecasts of USGA events are free.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mashie1 on February 13, 2004, 10:27:22 AM
In rolling back the ball, the USGA would be perceived in having taken something away from players.  This would go over like a lead balloon.  It's never going to happen.

You might want to check this out.

http://www.usga.org/press/2003/2003_63.html
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Alfie on February 13, 2004, 10:30:07 AM
Bob Crosbie said ;
"Whatever the level of scrutiny the USGA has given to the issue, at a minimum they owe their national membership a full and accurate briefing of their technological findings to date and their reasoning as to why they have elected to make no changes."

Couldn't agree more and the R & A are just as guilty ! The rest of Bob's questions should be glued to the bar counter of every grass roots golf club on the planet ! (in my opinion, of course)

JohnV ; "You say that people who try to ridicule others usually do so in fear of protecting their own interests.  The only ridiculing I see around here is of the USGA and R&A.  Perhaps the people doing it have their own best interests at heart also.  But, since they are fighting the good fight, that is ok."

John ; I personally believe in giving credit where credit is due ! I won't bow to any body or organisation as a matter of courtesy or respect if I know that body or organisation has gone off the tracks and is non representative, in this case, for the well being of golf ! Constructive debate is more condusive to solving problems than secrecy !
Just for the record ; I have no financial interest in golf and don't foresee any financial 'pay back' for my own personal contributions made to the game in over 40 years of service. Neither do I believe in just standing by and accepting what our Lords put before us. Pulling wool over eyes - is not for me !

Tim ; "Well, thank God Geoff doesn't! We need far more people to speak out about how silly the golf technology arms race is."

How right you are, and majority consensus of opinions should only arise through democratic debate. But just how democratic is this debate at present ?

Thank God for Geoff - and GCA ! I wish there was such a forum on this side of the pond which offered free, open, and HONEST debate !

Alfie Ward. Scotland.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Lou_Duran on February 13, 2004, 10:32:10 AM
I fully agree with JohnV when he says:

"My problem comes about when people start making assumptions about peoples motives and knowledge in the absence of any true information."

Not that I am ever guilty of doing that (   ;) ), but it seems that this is a far easier position to take when one's beliefs, friends, or people whom we respect are being attacked, than when the person is on the offense.  BTW, it is probably human nature protected by a strong defense mechanism to first believe that those who disagree with us are mal-informed, dull, or just not very good people.  It is amazing just how smart our friends are, and how our opponents just lack "gravitas" at best, and/or are plain rotten at worse.

I suspect that the USGA is struggling with the B & I issue because there is nowhere close to a concensus among golfers (of which the large majority probably do not see the distance issue as a problem), and any position that it could take would be suboptimal.  Having said this, they are paid the big bucks (prestige, self-esteem, fullfilment, incomparable golfing experiences) to lead, and lead they should.  They can use the precedence of that practice in other sports, and require a special tournament ball for their competitions, allowing the rest of us to play under the existing rules.

And if you don't agree with me, I really don't think you are either stupid or the progeny of Hitler.  Perhaps you just don't take this silly, all too-consuming game as seriously as I do.    
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 10:42:36 AM
"Shortly after Max Behr wrote that, the USGA did make a knee jerk reaction in introducing the "floater" ball.  "In 1929 USGA adopted a 1.68", 1.55oz ball for the years 1930-31, but the universal condemnation of this balloon made them quickly rethink, and from January 1932 settled on the 1.68", 1.62oz specifications." - Leith Society History of the Rules website.  I wonder if his and other's comments caused this debacle.  Perhaps that is why they are slow to change today?"

JohnV;

That quote of yours is most interesting! I did not know that. I realize the "floater" ball was an enormous and contentious issue back in those days and that support for it was fairly impressive--eg, Behr, Macdonald, perhaps Thomas and Hunter and a good number of significant Europeans extremely knowledgeable and powerful in the world of golf and golf organization!

Again, I never knew the "floater ball" (a lighter ball) was ever produced. And you say it was considered a complete flop, huh? I'd really like to scratch around for some research into exactly why it was considered a complete flop, if that was actually true. I wonder if the reason was the USGA speced it and the manufacturers basically refused to produce it or if the manufacturers produced it and the golfing public simply did not like it and basically refused to buy it and use it. Knowing which it may have been seems to me to be extremely significant!

In any case, the whole concept of the "floater ball" is very interesting to me, at least it's interesting to me to understand what those men back then who were so vocal in proposing it were driving at! At first it appears they thought it benefical simply because not so many golfers would lose golf balls in water and therefore wouldn't have to spend as much money on balls.

But on a closer analysis of Max Behr's arguments in favor of something like the "floater ball" it appears his reasoning for the benefit of a "floater" ball, or lighter ball was wholly different. It appears it was simply an efficient weight limitation that could be easily tested in the real world (and of course the fact you didn't lose it in water was a benefit too). But why was he or they interested in a weight limitation? Apparently to Behr it had almost everything to do with trying to maintain that certain precise skill limitation in relation to nature itself.

Obviously, the thinking was the lighter ball (no weightier than what would float) was not easy, probably impossible, to hit great distances even in calm conditions but Behr's great concern, one he talked about constantly in his essays, was that somehow nature should never lose it's part in golf and golf architecture--it had to be maintained at all costs to preserve that delicate balance of the skill level of a golfer with his ball and impliments competing against nature (one of his analogies was the sportsman should shoot birds with nothing heavier than a 28 gauge shotgun (very light) instead of a cannon!).

So what was nature to Behr that should not lose it's part in golf so as to preserve that delicate balance of a golfer's skill level while competing against nature? It was definitely the earth and maintaining the natural look of it (for very interesting and separate reasons) but it was also the wind and maintaining it's influence and effect on golf through its influence on the ball. Obviously, they all figured the wind would work its crafty influence far better and far more on the flight of a ball of 1.68" and ONLY 1.55oz rather than a ball of 1.62 and 1.62oz or even 1.68" and 1.620z!

This is all very interesting and perhaps very apropos of what might or might not work today with the golfing public if the regulatory bodies ever do consider a rollback.

So the important question remains---why did it flop?? Was it because the manufacturers basically refused to make it for their own reasons (less profit?) or was it because they did make it but the golfing public didn't like it and refused to buy it and use it?

If it was the latter the further question and even more important one is why didn't they like it? If it turns out to be that it didn't go far enough to suit them then perhaps a lot of people today might need to reconsider not only some of the things they're saying about the USGA but also some of the things they are saying about how well and how effectively a rollback in distance would work if and when the regulatory bodies did legislate it!

This is all very interesting! Let's at least try to find out exactly why that "floater ball", the lighter ball, did flop, if in fact it did! If it was because it didn't go far enough to suit the golfing public then what are we suppose to conclude?

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 10:59:23 AM
Lou Duran just said;

"I fully agree with JohnV when he says:
"My problem comes about when people start making assumptions about peoples motives and knowledge in the absence of any true information."

Lou and JohnV:

I completely agree with you on that. And so let me just come out and be blunt about that on this thread. What rgkeller said in that vein today shows him to be a petty ass, in my opinion, and probably in the opinions of both of you and a number of others. And because he has been a petty ass today in what he said on a couple of his posts he should at least start acting like less of a petty ass and get in here and delete those posts he made castigating the motives of the executive committee members of the USGA as well as those who are employed by the USGA even including Frank Thomas. Thomas, by the way, I had about an hour conversation with yesterday and rgkeller has no clear idea what he's talking about regarding him! No idea!

Tim Weiman who obviously feels very strongly about this distance issue and the part the USGA has played in it and should play in it didn't personally castigate anyone at the USGA for it as rgkeller did! The both of them may feel the same way about this distance issue, many of us might, but keller should learn something from the way Tim Weiman goes about stating his case with no personal animosity whatsoever!

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on February 13, 2004, 11:00:19 AM
rgkeller,
All sorts of middle aged amateurs hit the ball distances that would not be believed ten years ago.

You can add Senior golfers as well.  
When old guys are hitting the ball a lot farther then young guys did 20 and 30 years ago, you know that the distance increases aren't confined to the Professional ranks, and that they''re substantial.


A Clayman,

What makes you think that I know the answer ?

I'd like to know why they are opposed to the concept, in principle.

It seems as if the ex-presidents were in favor of a rollback, and now it seems as if they have been taken out of the power loop.   Why ?  And, why the opposition to a rollback ?
The USGA's hiding behind the myth that only a very very small percentage of professionals gain from the new technology would be misinformation too outrageous for even the USGA to undertake.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 13, 2004, 11:03:23 AM
I guess those TV advertisements on the telecasts of USGA events are free.

NBC sells those, not the USGA.  Sure, NBC pays the USGA, but they would pay the USGA the same regardless of who is advertising.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 13, 2004, 11:06:46 AM
Tom, I just got that quote from the Leith Society history of the rules so I'm not sure why the "floater" was disliked, but I'll try to do some research on it tonight.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike Benham on February 13, 2004, 11:16:30 AM
A Clayman,

What makes you think that I know the answer ?

I'd like to know why they are opposed to the concept, in principle.

Pat-

Why don't you call or write the USGA and ask them?  

I may be going out on a limb by saying this but I'm pretty sure that, if they answered your question, this would be the only way for you to know for sure why they are opposed to a rollback.

I would volunteer to call them, forward their reply to you, but then you might accuse me of mistating the facts and assumptions  ;)  ;)  ;)

Mike

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mashie1 on February 13, 2004, 11:20:33 AM
This statement from the above linked press release says it all, IMHO:

"This latest proposal reflects years of work and dialogue with the manufacturers regarding needed updates to our test procedures," Rugge added. "Through this new test, we’ll be able to establish a precise and relevant performance limit regarding golf ball distance. Thus, any additional distance gains will not be due to design or construction changes in the ball itself. We think this new test provides the right framework for us to utilize state-of-the-art technology to test golf balls in a manner that is relevant to today’s game and not the one of a generation ago."

The ball is not going to be rolled back.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 13, 2004, 11:22:08 AM
Tom Paul:

Thanks. I don’t have the slightest idea of the motivations of people who serve on the USGA board. It’s not personal. I simply think that collectively they are failing big time when it comes to the technology issue. But, they aren’t alone. Augusta National should have already addressed this issue. Moreover, Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten should have known better than to float the crazy idea of Tom Fazio moving the entire #13 green complex at Augusta 50-60 yards.

Mostly what is needed is for people to start thinking seriously about how silly the golf technology arms race is. We are discussing the issue here, but generally people have given the issue very little thought. Advertising has so distorted people’s thinking on the question of distance that many people really don’t even understand the difference between relative and absolute distance. So, naturally they haven’t thought about how pointless an emphasis on absolute distance really is.

Clearly, the manufacturers have had a corrupting influence. Education is needed to combat the way they have poisoned the golf world. Nobody I know wants to spend the equivalent of twenty $500 drivers just to renovate a golf course for a small minority when they can’t even now play the back tees, but our thinking is so out of whack that club members are actually being asked to do so.

We need to emphasize that the golf technology arms race makes no sense for golf consumers. We need to highlight the fact that technology that encourages or requires costly course modifications is not “progress” – it is a step backwards.

It’s Wizard of Oz time. The big bad wizard – the manufacturers – need to be exposed.


Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 11:25:49 AM
"Tom, I just got that quote from the Leith Society history of the rules so I'm not sure why the "floater" was disliked, but I'll try to do some research on it tonight."

JohnV;

Thank you very much, that would be wonderful and wonderful to know. Do you see the significance of it if it really does turn out to be because the golfing public didn't like it and refused to buy it and use it because it didn't go far enough for them or some other ramification closely akin to that? I sure hope you do, and I hope others do as well.

I'm definitely not saying I don't think there's a problem with distance today and I'm not saying I don't think it's negatively effecting golf and architecture but I'm even more interested in figuring out what the great golfing public thinks and what they're prepared to do about it certainly if the USGA/R&A does legislate a distance roll-back across the board.

This kind of thing is necessary to know. If it turns out that they do legislate that and only 50,000 or 100,000 are interested in buying and using it instead of the USGA's perhaps 9,000,000 present golfing consituency it's important to know.

I've said a bunch of times that at the end of the day the USGA is basically us---the American golfer--all of us. The USGA knows that as they should--and obviously the same goes for the R&A. If they do something that only represents 1/100th of that consituency then I wouldn't be for it. Maybe that's some unfortunate price to be paid in a democratic society!
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: A_Clay_Man on February 13, 2004, 11:27:10 AM
Pat, IF I understand your response to me, why is it then that handcps have remained constant?

Distance is but one small facet in this sport. To deem it all a failure because of one facet, lessens the importance of the others.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on February 13, 2004, 11:29:32 AM
Mike Benham,
I would volunteer to call them, forward their reply to you, but then you might accuse me of mistating the facts and assumptions  ;)  ;)  ;)

I think that's a great idea.
So that I don't question the validity of the relayed reply, why don't you write to them, and just forward me a copy of their written response, on USGA letterhead.

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Alfie on February 13, 2004, 11:38:44 AM
TEP,

I'm anticipating that Geoff is about to discover exactly what Mr Behr was deliberating over, in 1920 - 27 ?

Like you, I was very interested in JohnV's comments re - the floater ball which was reportedly introduced to the game ?  Can't comment - didn't know about it. More info please, JohnV.

One of the fascinating aspects of Behr's writings, and we should not lose grasp of the fact, is that he was making his own assessments of a game in his era - circa 1920's.

We're now some 80 years advanced and do possess the hindsight that Behr didn't have himself. If the floater of that age did not work, that in itself is no reason to believe that it could not work in 2004 !

How many can remember playing with the old 65's or equivalent ? How bad were they to play with ? I didn't have a problem with them and I reckon I wouldn't have a problem with them today if they became legal tender again ! For everybody !

I'd like to know the answers to some of your questions as to why the floater flopped ? I suspect it was for the same reasons that our governing bodies choose to disregard the roll back option today ?
Brilliant summary of Behr - by the way.

Mashie ;"In rolling back the ball, the USGA would be perceived in having taken something away from players.  This would go over like a lead balloon.  It's never going to happen"

It's never going to happen, so long as we golfers keep saying that it's never going to happen !
They'll never put a man on the moon - now that's rediculous to even suggest that it is possible ?

Alfie Ward. Scotland.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on February 13, 2004, 11:41:00 AM
A Clayman,
Pat, IF I understand your response to me, why is it then that handcps have remained constant?

Because distance has negated the effects of the aging process, father time.

If I hit the ball over the last few years, as I did 20-30 years ago, my handicap would have gone up as I aged.
If I played with the old equipment today, my handicap would jump substantially.

I was hitting the ball farther and scoring as well, if not better, when I was 57 and 59 then when I was in my 20's, and I didn't get more athletic or in better shape.

I watched my father, an exceptional player, and his peer group as their games couldn't handle the blue tees, move up to the forward tees to compensate for their loss of distance and its adverse impact on their scoring.

Up until this past year I played Boca Rio and Pine Tree's back tees, in excess of 7,200 yards quite easily.  I couldn't do that in my 20's and 30's.

Equipment has turned back father time, allowed me and others to keep, and in fact, increase the distance we hit the golf ball, which has resulted in retaining our ability to score.

And, let me add, that most courses have lengthened themselves considerably over the last 40 years that I've been playing, which is a factor in scoring.


Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 11:52:02 AM
"It’s Wizard of Oz time. The big bad wizard – the manufacturers – need to be exposed."

Tim Weiman:

THAT is precisely what I've been saying on this website for years now---it's all over the archives. Not just that but what I consider to be a very reasonable way to do that. As far as I'm concerned the way I'd propose is the most logical of all---it's honest, it's up front, it's educational, it can test the tenor and response of the great golfing public and their reaction to this very issue before something is done that may not be effective with the great golfing public! It can also put the USGA in a position where even their fears of legal action against them are minimized or rendered ineffective. What I think it would do, if managed effectively (and by the USGA/R&A) would be to put the manufacturers in a corner, in a box, so to speak, and very much with the great golfing public watching and participating!

What the vast majority of the golfing public want and would want to do about this must be known. And if the USGA/R&A goes public on this issue, goes massively public which I feel would be massively important to a vast amout of people, I think they and we can find out what the golfing public want to do about this. Because without them, without knowing what they want and are willing to do, we who are so vocal on this issue are just spitting in the wind anyway!


Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: ForkaB on February 13, 2004, 11:52:37 AM
Tom P

I never did "maintain most vociferously that Behr was a ridiculous pompous ass"  In fact I never said that in the first place, nor do I believe it to be true (more precisely, I don't have a clue about his assdom, since I never met the guy.

What I might have said is that Behr's thinking is convuluted and his writing virtually unreadable.  I continue to believe that this is so.

PS--as for the topic in question, "rolling back the ball" does not = "bifurcation"  You can roll it back for everybody, if you want.  That's what the R&A did in the mid 80's.  It worked.

As to "why", well....why is the sky blue?  Only the guys in Far Hills can tell us and they ain't talkin'!
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Lou_Duran on February 13, 2004, 12:05:05 PM

"Tom, I just got that quote from the Leith Society history of the rules so I'm not sure why the "floater" was disliked, but I'll try to do some research on it tonight.", says JohnV to TEP.

Well, without doing too much research, I can tell you why they did not go big: there were balls available that went much further AND felt better.  I've hit floater balls into a lake driving range, as well as on the course.  I believe that they are still available.  My recollection is that they felt like a mush ball (worse than the 1960s' balata red Maxfli or Hogan).  These balls may not have been exactly the same as Behr advocated, but just like the Cayman ball, I can understand why the consumer rejected it.

Perhaps it is not the USGA or the manufacturers who we should lambaste.  Maybe we should look at ourselves in the mirror and ask why we support those things through our purchases and committee votes that we believe are inimical to the best interests of the game.  I will bet that at the KPIII we will see the ProV1 and its peers as the ball of choice, and an abundance of oversized titanium drivers and cavity-back irons with the latest shaft technology.

Does it really matter what the pros shoot at Royal Melbourne or that they no longer play the course as Dr. MacKenzie intended?  It is their loss, not ours.  For the vast majority of us, the classic courses provide all the strategy and challenge we can hope to care for.  If the pros and competitive amateurs want the same challenge, they should be clamoring on their own for the USGA and tournament sponsors to provide a solution.  It does seem to me, however, that most of the complaining, justified as it may be, is not coming
from these guys.

If the playing elite believe that courses are too short today, let them build longer ones for themselver or accept a tournament ball.  I think that the economic realities of doing the former would result in defaulting to the latter.  There is absolutely no reason why a Merion or even Cherry Hills should be "modernized" to hold a tournament once a decade.  Unless, of course, the members decide in their collective wisdom that that is what they wish to do.  And we've learned from the Yale thread what the insiders think of unsolicited advice from outside.  


Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 13, 2004, 12:17:13 PM
Tom Paul:

I agree there is a massive need for education. A big problem is getting the mass audience. Both the major magazines and television broadcasts are so tainted by advertizing influence that reasonably fair and balanced views on technology just don't get presented to the golfing public. Those Titleist ads have an incredibly insidious influence, unfortunately.

My recent informal consulting experience is anecdotal, but it does suggest that when you simply point out to people that technology that encourages or requires costly course modifications is not really an "improvement", they get it.

One can simply ask people "Would you buy new tires for your car that required a new engine or transmission?". They'll get it right away.

Or point out that baseball isn't so silly to expand ball parks just because someone can make a baseball that goes further.

Or point out that from a consumer point of view, cheaper is better.

Or point out that in most things we look for technology to lower costs.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 12:24:17 PM
Pat:

On this particular thread you said, in your intiial post, you'd heard the USGA/R&A has decreed there will be no rollback of the golf ball. You asked this website why they were opposed to a rollback. You didn't ask if anyone else was for it or against it---you asked why the regulatory bodies were opposed to a rollback.

I was just wondering if you feel enough information has been supplied to you as to why they're opposed to a rollback? Because from what I can see on this thread an awful lot of information has been supplied as to why they're opposed to a rollback! And an awful lot of that information comes from the USGA/R&A. So do you understand yet WHY they're opposed to a rollback?
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 01:02:27 PM
Tim Weiman:

Regarding your post #45 I'm not talking about golf magazines. Forget about them. I'm talking about the USGA and the R&A going massively public themselves and finding out on their own what the vast golfing public would like to do now and in the future on this issue. To me, it seems at least the time for that.

We live in a world of massive and rapid communication Tim. And the USGA/R&A through their unique and vertically integrated structure in the game of golf reaching from them through other national, regional and local organizations to the golf clubs and golfers all over the world can use that for communication and response.

What they need to do, in my opinion, is hold as massive a PUBLIC convocation as possible, inviting representatives of all the world's tours, the architectural associations of the world, superintendency associations, the manufacturers, golf course operators and whomever else is interested and has a stake in this. Even in the interest of objectivity allow the convocation to be moderated by that interesting and quite impressive "disinterested" committee that's been sitting there with nothing to do for the last 15 years. Even make Bush Sr the chairman of it!

And when that's put together and from a massive convocation ask the damn question of what the great golfing public of the world wants to do about this, what they'd be willing to accept! Use mass communication and their massive vertical structure to ask the questions and determine the response!

In an atmosphere such as this there would be no concern whatsoever of legal action if the USGA and R&A explained to the world what they'd like to recommend. Doing that isn't dictating to anyone, it's not dictating to the manufacturers---all their doing is offering an opinon on this and asking the golfers of the world if that's what they'd go along with!

Then they'd have their answer and if the answer wasn't the one the manufacturers were hoping for there wouldn't be much they could do about it anyway because they got the answer from their constituency too.

If a rollback in the name of a lot of things is what the golfers say they want then they'll get it. If they say they don't want it then the regulatory bodies can't do it because the golfers of the world won't accept it.

Then the USGA/R&A and all of us will know exactly where we all stand and the REAL reason why.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: A_Clay_Man on February 13, 2004, 01:25:32 PM
TomP- I sensed in your post that if the question were asked, to the entirety of the golfing public, the results would not be the one that anyone on here would want to hear.

After all, we are talking about a select few, who understand the issues well enough, to opine that the game is in peril and going the way of tennis, (I don't know that is true) maybe at the pro level, but the evidence isn't there either, imo.

 Put those few, against the vast many who view the long ball as heroin, and I think we all know the results.(I'm not against asking)

Just watching the long ball, people are mesmorized. It is rather amazing that out of our  little bodies we can project a sphere that far, with just a few ounces of material. It truely is the first things that attracts people to keep coming back to this sport, at least initially. So, it's lure is a powerful narcotic and one not easily reversable.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 13, 2004, 01:31:53 PM
Tom Paul:

You raise many issues and I won't try to respond to them all. But, my consulting experience has been that meetings - especially with large numbers of people - need to be well organized and attendees need to be well prepared. Also, sometimes certain potential participants NEED to be excluded.

My contention is that the golfing public really doesn't understand the golf technology arms race. They have been bombarded with suggestions that it makes sense, that it is "progress", a "natural" evolution, etc. They really haven’t heard the other side.

The USGA could do something really statesmen-like: they could order a copy of Geoff’s book and send it to each member club. Just imagine an attached cover letter:

“Enclosed you will find a copy of Geoff Shackelford’s new book on The Future of Golf in America. The book is not exactly kind in some of the comments it makes about our organization, but clearly Geoff is one of the most thoughtful people in golf today and his message needs to be read and understood”.

Just that gesture alone would restore credibility for the USGA, big time, IMO.

Tim
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Bill Gayne on February 13, 2004, 01:46:33 PM
If anything is ever going to be done it needs to happen ASAP.

I'm 39 and I took up the game approximately thirteen years ago in the early nineties. I have never hit a persimmon wood or played a round of golf with a ball that was substantially different than today's ball. I would venture to guess that the current crop of collegiate players and young pros have a similar history of club and ball use as I do. There is a whole generation of players who will be filling the club/professional/governance ranks of golf in the not to far future that this idea of a "rollback" will be foreign. For the most part I don't hear older players clamoring for a rollback either. The older player is more concerned about keeping there handicap at the same level as days gone by.

The psychology of reversing performance is a tough sell because this young generation of players enjoy the game with the current equipment. How do you convince a young player to give up the high performance equipment when it's all he/she has ever known?

Bill
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 02:06:59 PM
"TomP- I sensed in your post that if the question were asked, to the entirety of the golfing public, the results would not be the one that anyone on here would want to hear."

Adam:

Not at all! I didn't say that and I sure don't mean to imply it either. I really don't know--I have very little idea but I sure would like to find out! I do think it's paramount to attempt to find out before anyone goes down another road!

Who would deny that it'd be the ultimate answer? And if they went about it correctly I really do believe the regulatory bodies could get the answer in an extremely effective way! It would take a lot on their part--some pretty clever organizing but they have the structure and the wherewithall to do it at this point!

If they did this and got the answer many of us are looking for it would be wonderful and it would put them back where they should be--in a responsive mode--and it would also likely put the manufacturers in a box. The manny's don't want to look like a bunch of greedy bad guys and black hats--they don't want to buck their only constituency.

But I have no idea what the great golfing public's answer would be--I just think everyone should try to find out first. I guess the question is what if their answer was something people like us don't want to hear? What would we do then?
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 13, 2004, 02:14:40 PM
BillG:

You simply explain that the USGA has decided competitive level golf will emphasize testing player skills as opposed to encouraging a battle of corporate engineers or marketers.

Baseball already does that. It recognizes their game is so inherently good that technology "improvements" aren't needed to make competitive baseball interesting.

Golf is as good a game as baseball. More emphasis on player skill will be refreshing.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: ForkaB on February 13, 2004, 02:19:59 PM
Tim, et. al.

Am I the only one on this forum who thinks that the current game, even with all its whizz-bang technology, still is a game which requries extreme skill, PARTICULARLY at the highest levels?

It seems to me that there are some very good arguments for a rollback, but some form of "let's reintroduce 'skill'" is surely not one of them.

As someone once said, "these guys are good......"
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JSlonis on February 13, 2004, 02:36:34 PM
Tim,

C'mon...no improvements in baseball?

Outside of a juiced up baseball and smaller parks you have players who are definitely using "technological improvements".  Baseball has basically refused to police their own game because it has been a dying sport.

Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds can't change their bats to Aluminum so they have changed themselves instead.  I saw a picture of Barry Bonds with the Pirates last week and was shocked to see how less "pumped up" he looked.

I wouldn't hold up Major League Baseball as the righteous example.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 02:49:19 PM
Tim Weiman:

Come on now, try to be a bit more realistic than that! The USGA/R&A have a lot of power--they certainly have plenty of power to persuade, they've still got plenty of that left my friend, and I'm fairly certain you know that. If only they'd use everything they still have to do it--to try to persuade! What's happening to them now, in my opinion, is they're struggling to figure out how to do that!

I think this is an answer, I really do. What I'm talking about here is doable in this day and age, with communication and their world-wide structure.

When you say something like the great golfing public doesn't have enough information to process an informed answer that may be so now--but the USGA/R&A can give it to them. I'm proposing the vehicle to give it to them. This doesn't have to be done in a day or a week or a month. They---the USGA/R&A should set up whatever the most effective convocation that's possible today---bring all the official entities on, all of them and let them state their cases!

The USGA/R&A can then state their case as a recommendation! And then they can bring the world's golfers' answer in through the Internet and email, mail, telephones, telegraph, national and regional and local associations, cars. boats and trains and pony express if they have to! They've got the power, the structure, the ability to present a good case and persuade and they have the communication ability and the structure to get an answer!

You may not believe this, Tim, but it's my very strong belief that if the sense was remotely there that this is what the public would go along with the USGA/R&A would be elated to do it tomorrow, or today or even yesterday. As far as who believes the ultimate response--ever heard about how accurate polling properly done can be?

Those people on the boards of the USGA and R&A and all those who work there don't want to see this continue, I think I can say I pretty much know that for a fact! I'm sure they're more than a little embarrassed it's gotten to this point. They just don't know how to get themselves out of it without running the risks of getting sued, clobbered, or cast into irrelevency!

This is their out--this is their answer and all they have to do is just gear their asses up as best as they can---and I know they can---and ask the world's golfers the goddamn question with a strong recommendation to what they hope their answer will be and WHY!!!

PS:

I think if the USGA/R&A would mention Geoff's book it'd be a great idea! Geoff has some strong arguments that they just might want to inherit as part of their own recommendations! But they needn't come out on this one hiding behind Geoff Shackelford or anyone else! They don't need to make Geoff lead this convocation. What they need is an answer and I just think they should do everything in their power to get it before they proceed into the future of balls and equipment.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: john_stiles on February 13, 2004, 02:53:35 PM
Why ?  I'm just not sure.  Could be one of two things.

1)   They actually have fun going about, hobnobbing, having clubs kiss the US Open,  reviewing courses,  altering courses.  This would be the ultimate arm chair GCA gig.

2)  It is easier to do anything else but roll the ball back (in their mind).

After a couple of emails with Dick Rugge regarding the golf ball, the golf ball ODS, etc.     I understood that the USGA will not roll the ball back (see part of USGA position in post #42).

The reply was that basically, we (USGA) are on top of this issue from every aspect,  it (technology) won't be a problem in the future, and we have reached the end of technological advancements having put new/revised B&I rules in place to effectively stop such advancements.

I have corresponded with Dick Rugge who is  'on top of technology'  to USGA's satisfaction.   Unfortunately, the USGA is historically behind the manufacturers.  I sort of doubt anyone who pronounces it isn't a problem, we got it under control, and it may have been an issue but yeah, we got it under control now.

The USGA will not let the tournament scores go down and  the USGA will not roll back the ball. The USGA has no qualms about working with clubs (who want to be 'cool' and prestigious) and basically altering the architecture.

Why can't the USGA just quit going to any course that needs architectural alterations, in their mind, to challenge the best players ?  Why ?   If a club cannot narrow the fairways and speed up the greens to meet scoring expectations ........... just go on to the next course. There are plenty (maybe a few) modern courses in every big city venue that can probably keep the scores up, close to USGA par.

The USGA will not quit (effectively) altering all the old classics.

Everything (save Oakmont, Shinny ?) is going to look like  RJT, Fazio,  Rees after a few more cycles through the rota.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Bill Gayne on February 13, 2004, 02:59:35 PM
Tim,

One of the primary reasons that metal bats are not used in major league baseball is the players union concern over the safety of its members. Many high school and colleges have eliminated the use of metal bats for this reason. A similar safety concern is not present with golf balls.

Major league baseball doesn't have a rule making body such as the USGA. Rules on equipment are negotiated with the players union. Simply saying to the professional players we are changing the equipment would probably create a union and lead to similar labor problems which golf definitely does not need.

Bill
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 13, 2004, 03:18:16 PM
It should be remembered that with the possible exception of Bethpage Black, the first contact between the USGA and a club about a championship is from the club to the USGA.  

They come to the USGA and say, "We would like to have this championship" or simply, "We would like to have A championship."  Then the USGA sends some people there to look at the course.  If the course has no chance of holding a championship they won't say anything about making changes.  

If the course is worthy, they will suggest some changes that would need to happen to make it a better candidate.  Then it is up to the club to decide if it is in their best interest to make those changes.  Nobody twists their arms.

Lets say that the USGA went to clubs A, B and C and said, if you make these changes we'll come and all three of them said, no, we don't want to make that radical a change.  Then the USGA might start to wonder about what they are doing.  But, so far, I haven't heard of any clubs that have said no.  Maybe some of you have.

So, do they do it to just because they like making clubs change?  No, they do it because they feel that the clubs need to make changes to adequately accomodate the event that THE CLUB wants to hold.

Speaking of changes, I hear that Riviera is continuing to make changes even after it is obvious that the US Open isn't coming there.  What's up with that?
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: john_stiles on February 13, 2004, 04:23:06 PM
JohnV,

While that is true in this day and age of reasoning,  the USGA is part of the problem in influencing the alteration, sometimes unfavorably, of GCA.  It is a lot easier than addressing the issues.

Do the clubs invite the USGA and before they arrive, announce that they will move these tees, move these bunkers, etc.  Why won't the USGA accept the scores ?

Because they want a certain score. A certain high score.

One experience, albeit with senior PGA types and not the USGA,  was that the club says 'We would like to host this event again. What do you think ?'     The reply was 'you could'....but if you do this, that, etc. you can have this event and it can actually make money.  All this is intertwined.  US Open and Masters and other events create the standard unfortunately for many golf courses in the USA.

The organization mandating all these GCA changes on the ground, and the length of modern GCA is the organization in change of preserving the game.

Sure, the USGA does not make you build a course a certain length or revise a certain way.  I'll give anyone that worthless point.

It's about the GCA.  Everything is turned on its head what with trying to fix all this wonderful GCA because of the ball and equipment.  The GCA ain't broke.  Don't fix it.

Obviously, the USGA has no qualms in watching many courses go under the open doctors' knives.

If you do not roll back the ball at some point,  it is inevitable that some combination of man and technology will obsolete most GCA, modern and classic.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 13, 2004, 04:27:34 PM
Tom Paul:

I'm not exactly sure where we disagree. I'm all for the USGA leading a discussion of the state of the game and the influence of technology. But, is there the will to do it?

I'm not in a position to say, but as an outsider, I haven't seen such a desire.

As for the USGA hiding behind Geoff, I just don't see it that way. My point is merely that there should be some required reading/preparation for participants to attend your get together.

Surely, you and I could probably have an interesting discussion about what ought to be part of this reading list. But, I'll put Geoff's book near the top for several reasons:

a) the subject matter/focus of the book
b) the point of view taken
c) it is current
d) it is relatively concise and easy to read
e) it is affordable

BillG:

The point remains competitive golf should emphasize testing player skill rather than being a battle of corporate engineers and marketers.

JohnV:

Honestly, that sounds like the party line spin. Certain venues are worth holding USGA events at. Ideally, there should be a mutual interest between the club and the USGA. If, for whatever reason, a club is getting the impression that major modifications need to be made to accommodate technology "improvements", than the USGA is failing.

They should be first on line saying that technology that encourages or requires course modifications - or building longer, more expensive to build and maintain courses - is NOT progress. THEY should be leading the fight against the golf technology arms race.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: rgkeller on February 13, 2004, 04:37:00 PM
<<castigating the motives of the executive committee members of the USGA as well as those who are employed by the USGA even including Frank Thomas. Thomas, by the way, I had about an hour conversation with yesterday and rgkeller has no clear idea what he's talking about regarding him! No idea!<<

My castigation of the usga was not meant to include EVEN Frank Thomas but rather ESPECIALLY Frank Thomas.

It was on his watch that the genie got out of the bottle.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 05:02:48 PM
"I'm all for the USGA leading a discussion of the state of the game and the influence of technology. But, is there the will to do it?
I'm not in a position to say, but as an outsider, I haven't seen such a desire."

Tim:

This is a proposal, that's all. I don't really know if there's a will to do it. I do know a few to ask who could sure tell me in a hurry though. I find the best approach is to talk to them to try to determine how they look at things and to then try to imagine solutions to things they perceive as obstacles. Matter of fact I was just talking to one (of them) as I was typing this and although he was on a plane about to leave he did say to read Walter Driver's address at the recent annual meeting as it's apparently about the ball and perhaps technical aspects and it involves a pretty large investment in research into the ball (I think). So I think I'll sign off and read that Driver address. Driver, by the way is the co-chair of the USGA's I&B Committee, that committee soon to be renamed I hear!

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: ForkaB on February 13, 2004, 05:59:24 PM
Tom

When Walt Driver ('67) was at Stanford, he used to hit his ball distances that Tom Watson ('71) could only dream of.  I'd be interested to see what he thinks today might be considered to be a "rollback." ;)
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Alfie on February 13, 2004, 07:05:41 PM
TEP ; "This is a proposal, that's all. I don't really know if there's a will to do it"

I think your posts summarise the present situation perfectly, but before the thread starts to deviate, as I believe it usually does, can I assume that you, with the backing of any others that can be mustered up, would be prepared to put a specified question to the USGA re - WHY they won't consider the roll back rule ? Or another formatted question which would seek a direct answer in relation to what so many speak about at GCA ?

I think, as I think you do also, that the ruling bodies NEED some sort of support before they can stop the roundabout and then perhaps present a case for golf without fear of repercussions !

Although I tend to feel that I'm outsider here, I would be glad to second your proposal, if that's what it is ? Surely a consensus of say, 50 GCA members could be got to give weight and credibility to asking the question ?

How many on here would like, or have the will  "to ask the question ?"  

Or do we just let it roll and endlessly ask ourselves without any possibility of getting the answer ?

Your suggestions ARE doable TEP.

Are we going to do it ?

Alfie Ward.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on February 13, 2004, 07:37:36 PM
TEPaul,

With all that has been written and said, I've never heard anyone articulate why, in principle, the USGA is against a roll-back of the ball.

And, I've never seen or heard of a USGA position paper, or opinion, that refutes that increased distance is a reality and a troubling factor in the play and design of golf courses.

It now appears that the former Presidents were in favor of a rollback, but other forces within the USGA weren't, and that those forces are the surviving forces going forward.

I'd just like to know why the USGA felt that a rollback wasn't necessary or desired.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 13, 2004, 07:41:31 PM
JohnV,
Do the clubs invite the USGA and before they arrive, announce that they will move these tees, move these bunkers, etc.  Why won't the USGA accept the scores ?

Because they want a certain score. A certain high score.

A certain high score or a certain test of players ability to hit certain shots?  Depends who you ask.

If you do not roll back the ball at some point,  it is inevitable that some combination of man and technology will obsolete most GCA, modern and classic.

Just like the Guttie and the Haskell did when they came along.  The Guttie lowered scores by an average of 3 strokes a round at The Open.  The Haskell lowered them by 3 more strokes a round.  So, courses were modified.  Many became the courses we love today in Britain.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 13, 2004, 08:00:50 PM
Ok, I got started on this thread primarily because I was upset by what I believed were unfair and malicious statements about the USGA's volunteers and staff.  Since then, I've found myself having to support their position as opposed to just defending their integrity.  In reality, I would like to see something done about the distance the ball goes, but I also have some faith that the scientific people at the USGA know what they are talking about and that the Executive Committee does care and listens to them.  Of course, they've been wrong before so who really knows.

While searching for some information on the Floater, I found the following from Richard S. Francis' 1939 edition of Golf, Its Rules and Decisions that I'm sure all those who like to see something done will enjoy (at least most of it.)

The first paragraph is the rule on balls as it read back then:
Quote
The weight of the ball shall not be greater than 1.62 ounces avoidupois and the size not less than 1.68 inches in diameter.  The Rules of Golf Committee and the Executive Committee of the United States Golf Association will take whatever steps they think necessary to limit the power of the ball with regard to distance, should any ball of greater power be introduced.
Francis then writes:
Quote
The Implement and Balls Committee has no easy job on its hands as to golf balls.  The present ball is undoubtedly satisfactory to the rank and file of players who comprise all but a very small percentage of golfers.  To change the ball so a to make it "deader" and so shorter in length and harder to play would deprive millions of at least some of their present joy of playing and that would never do.  On the other hand the present ball in the hands of the younger and very skillful players is making a monkey of golf courses.  It would hardly be practical to have varying standards of ball.  While you and I may, in informal matches, play any ball that pleases us, we cannot do that in tournaments, no matter how poor players we and our fellow competitors may be.  Also you and I are very likely to play the longest ball the law allows, for neither of us wants to give the other any advantage.  So the Committee is hard put to it in trying to keep distance down for the cracks and up for the average run of us.

The Committee authorizes me to quote it as follows:

The increasing distance of the golf ball has been a matter of dep concern to official golfdom for years.  The present ball is generally satisfactory to golf players and any increase in the flight and roll would necessitate further lengthening of golf courses and in many cases it would be necessary to purchase additional land, thus adding to the expense of playing golf.  The physical effort and time required for a round of golf would be increased and nothing would be added to the pleasure of the game.   While there may be other contributory causes to lower scoring, the increasing distance obtained from the ball is the major factor.

Study is continuing in a determined effort to find some means, other than weight and size, to control this distance factor and in this the manufacturers have been co-operative.  It is doubtful if general specifications as to manufacture alone will suffices, as new methods and materials are developed each year.  It is hoped to develop a machine universally accepted as standard that will satisfactorily test the resiliency of the finished ball.

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JohnV on February 13, 2004, 08:13:13 PM
Floaters:

I tried to find some information about the floaters, but the only things I could come up with so far are from a book titled, "20th Century Golf Chronicle" by Al Barkow and a number of other writers.

An entry from April 30, 1929 says:
The R&A votes down movement for change to a bigger and lighter golf ball, saying it makes the game too difficult.  The USGA says that's the idea, in light of so many better players now in the game.

On Januay 1, 1931 an entry says:
The new larger (1.68 inch), lighter (1.55 ounce) "baloon" golf ball, USGA-approved from this date, will prove very unpopular.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Alfie on February 13, 2004, 08:26:41 PM
JohnV,

Compliments on your research and thanks for same.

I keep forcing the issue that golf's biggest problem is anything but new matter and the evidence keeps stacking up to support that. So many here appear to desire some sort of answer as to why the roll back is deemed so unfavourable as a solution to the problem. But nobody appears to want to ask the question, preferably, en masse !

How many here at  GCA would like to ask the question ? Please !

Alfie Ward.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 08:40:35 PM
Patrick Mucci said again:

"TEPaul,
With all that has been written and said, I've never heard anyone articulate why, in principle, the USGA is against a roll-back of the ball.
And, I've never seen or heard of a USGA position paper, or opinion, that refutes that increased distance is a reality and a troubling factor in the play and design of golf courses."

Patrick:

My God man you're something else! Do I have to hold your hand and explain everything to you? Here's what you do. Go to the USGA's website--it's called USGA.com if you haven't figured that out.

Then click on the "equipment" link on the first page, click on the "equipment" tab on the top of the equipment page, go down about three links on that menu and you'll see an article called "Joint R&A Statement of PRINCIPLES!!!!!!"

Got that? Do you think you could read it and retain it? That's their joint position paper on equipment and distance.

Then click on the hyperlink on the first page of the website where it refers to Walter Driver's remarks at the USGA Annual Meeting last week and that will articulate a lot more for you about why they aren't going to do a rollback because you'll see they want to try some other things that are articulated in those two articles and statements.

And maybe then your question that is this thread's title may be answered for you. I'm not saying you'll agree with it or them but you asked a question and you'll find the answer there. Do you think you can handle that?

Better yet why don't you cut and paste both statement on here. I would have but my computer is acting up.

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 08:43:46 PM
"Tom
When Walt Driver ('67) was at Stanford, he used to hit his ball distances that Tom Watson ('71) could only dream of."

Rich:

I guess I sure could believe that. Don't know him but I did meet him at Ganton last summer and he definitely is a very big man!  
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 13, 2004, 08:49:02 PM
By the way, Rich, he's no longer Walt Driver, he's WALTER DRIVER, or MR. DRIVER to you! And if you don't shut your mouth about the USGA in about two years when he's USGA PRESIDENT DRIVER to you he just might add Scotland to the burough of Far Hills New Jersey and fix your little red wagon once and for all!!!

;)
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on February 13, 2004, 10:11:12 PM
TEPaul,

I've read those documents, but, perhaps my reading comprehension skills have diminished.

Could you point out to me, anywhere in any of those articles, where the USGA has articulated why they are not in favor of a rollback ?

Thanks
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 14, 2004, 05:43:04 AM
"Golf balls used by the vast majority of highly skilled players today have largely reached the performance limits for initial velocity and overall distance which have been part of the Rules since 1976. The governing bodies believe that golf balls, when hit by highly skilled golfers, should not of themselves fly significantly further than they do today. In the current circumstances, the R&A and the USGA are not advocating that the Rules relating to golf ball specifications be changed other than to modernize test methods."

Pat:

I guess you're reading comprehension has diminished. Why aren't they advocating a rollback? It looks like they believe golf balls have reached the limits of their performance levels and they believe controlling further significant increase can be done through improved tests methods.

Have you got your answer yet? If not and you want to mince words about it--mince the words with them!   ;)

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on February 14, 2004, 06:37:42 AM
TEPaul,
"Golf balls used by the vast majority of highly skilled players today have largely reached the performance limits for initial velocity and overall distance which have been part of the Rules since 1976. The governing bodies believe that golf balls, when hit by highly skilled golfers, should not of themselves fly significantly further than they do today. In the current circumstances, the R&A and the USGA are not advocating that the Rules relating to golf ball specifications be changed other than to modernize test methods."

Pat:

I guess you're reading comprehension has diminished. Why aren't they advocating a rollback? It looks like they believe golf balls have reached the limits of their performance levels and they believe controlling further significant increase can be done through improved tests methods.

The above statement ignores, or is in denial about the huge jump in distance achieved in the last 5-10 years and the negative impact it has had upon the game.

I'll repeat, I've never seen any statement by the USGA as to why they don't endorse a roll back, have you ?


Have you got your answer yet?

NO

If not and you want to mince words about it--mince the words with them!   ;)

I'm hoping to have a conversation with an executive committee member on the subject in the not too distant future

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 14, 2004, 07:01:23 AM
Pat Mucci said:

"The above statement ignores, or is in denial about the huge jump in distance achieved in the last 5-10 years and the negative impact it has had upon the game.
I'll repeat, I've never seen any statement by the USGA as to why they don't endorse a roll back, have you?"

This is another classic Pat Mucci response fellas. Somebody doesn't agree with him and all he can do is claim that they're in denial and they have NOT addressed the issue.

Have I seen a statement from the USGA/R&A as to why they don't endore a rollback? Yes I have Pat and I just produced it for you. The reason is they don't believe the ball has gone too far and their plans are to control any further distance increase through improved testing! You may not like their answer, I may not like it, and others may not like it but that's their answer and those are their reasons for not rolling the ball back and, again, as far as I'm concerned they produced their answer in that statement.

You're going to meet with a USGA Exective member in the not too distance future and have a conversation on the subject? Good show---knock yourself out MINCING!! If you ask him what the USGA/R&A position is and the reasons why he'll probably refer you to these two statements  ;)

PS:

For your information the USGA intends to pour a considerable amount of research money into the area of the ball and everything about it in the near term.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on February 14, 2004, 07:33:41 AM
"The above statement ignores, or is in denial about the huge jump in distance achieved in the last 5-10 years and the negative impact it has had upon the game.
I'll repeat, I've never seen any statement by the USGA as to why they don't endorse a roll back, have you?"

This is another classic Pat Mucci response fellas. Somebody doesn't agree with him and all he can do is claim that they're in denial and they have NOT addressed the issue.

You've so missed the point that it's absurd.
How can I disagree with the USGA's position on rolling back the ball when I've never seen their position articulated



Have I seen a statement from the USGA/R&A as to why they don't endore a rollback? Yes I have Pat and I just produced it for you.

Do you honestly believe that the USGA addressed their position on why they are against a rollback in the above paragraph ???  If so, your reading skills are far beyond anyone's I've ever encountered.  I can't read between the lines that well

The reason is they don't believe the ball has gone too far

Where have they ever stated this ?

and their plans are to control any further distance increase through improved testing!

I know what their future plans are, that part I can read

You may not like their answer, I may not like it, and others may not like it but that's their answer and those are their reasons for not rolling the ball back and, again, as far as I'm concerned they produced their answer in that statement.

Again, I haven't seen any position paper or official statement specifically addressing their reasons for not endorsing a rollback

You're going to meet with a USGA Exective member in the not too distance future and have a conversation on the subject? Good show---knock yourself out MINCING!! If you ask him what the USGA/R&A position is and the reasons why he'll probably refer you to these two statements  ;)

In other words, a NON-ANSWER

PS:

For your information the USGA intends to pour a considerable amount of research money into the area of the ball and everything about it in the near term.

So what, the horse is already out of the barn, or hadn't you noticed.

By the way, weren't you the one touting Geoff Shackleford's book and position on the ball and equipment, or was that someone else ?

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: A_Clay_Man on February 14, 2004, 07:48:06 AM
Quote
The above statement ignores, or is in denial about the huge jump in distance achieved in the last 5-10 years and the negative impact it has had upon the game.

One of the quotes used in GW's article was from Sandy Tatum. He used "15 years" as a number on how long he's been combating the ball issue. I was unaware that the recent onslaught, hasn't been that recent. Perhaps he mis-spoke or he was in the loop early on, to know of the problem before the balls hit the shelf.

The negative impact? Interesting!

I do believe Mr. Tatum would come off a lot better if he didn't play the same ball.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 14, 2004, 08:17:08 AM
Pat:

Regarding your post #77;

WHATEVER! I'm not gonna get into mincing words endlessly with you.

I suppose you think they should write a position paper explaining that they might have concerns about getting sued, that they might have concerns about manufacturer intransigience, that they might have concerns about whether the great golfing public wants a rollback, that they might have concerns about some people thinking they've let this go too far!

Pat, get real will you? They're not going to put that in a position paper but why don't you do what I do and just ASSUME IT??? That way if you want to talk to them and help them do something about this you can better work with what might be their percieved obstacles--and if you do it this way you might just find you can both talk to them and work with them better!

I've got an idea and maybe you might want to dicuss it with that executive committee fellow you plan to talk to. I think I might too.

They should conduct a convocation of all the entities of golf, and make it a massively public affair, as public as possible for all the world's golfers to see (they've got the structure and communication ability to do this), make their recommendations on the ball with the other recommendations of the other entities and then use their communication ability and their structure to get their answer from the golfers of the world. Obviously this needs to be a USGA/R&A concerted effort. In this atmosphere I have very little doubt  the USGA/R&A will come out strongly on the side of defending and preserving present and future architecture for all the reasons they've been giving for years and probably including some new and even better reasons!

If they do that, the'll have their answer, it should be representative of their constituencies, it's honest, It's open, it creates a completely defensible position for them to move forward on proposing legislation etc. And the best part is if this is what the great golfing public wants there's not a lot the manufacturers can say or do to the contrary because, guess what, that's their constituiencies too!

The best answer right now is to create this effort to ask the questions and make the recommendations and get the natural answer because if they do something first without knowing what the great golfing public wants it probably won't work very well anyway.

They don't have to get an anwer from every golfer in the world or even 1/10,000th of them. Well constructed polls honestly and efficiently managed do the job in our world of mass communication!
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Lynn_Shackelford on February 14, 2004, 01:59:23 PM
Pretty interesting discussion guys.  But there is a problem which needs to be addressed.  This is because the game as we once knew has changed, USGA or not.  Maybe it is okay, maybe not.  But a recent discussion on Golf Channel, Kelly T.  "So Frank Nobilo, do we need an 8,000 yard course?"  Nobilo, "yes, today's par 5's are not 3 shot holes.  8,000 yards would be a better test for the pros."  Brian Hewitt, media guy, "I disagree, we don't need an 8,000 yard course.  All you need to do is lengthen the rough and narrow the fairways."
Are either of these alternatives desirable?  This would be about baseball discussing a need for a 400' left field foul line.
We can discuss the USGA's intent, interest or whatever, but the game took off a few years back and went out of their control.  Tom Paul can say they never had control, but you would have trouble convincing Joe Dey and P.T. Boatwright of that.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 14, 2004, 08:45:24 PM
Lynn:

It's amazing. It couldn't have been more than a year ago when I suggested here that we were headed for 8,000 yard courses and someone replied I was being ridiculous, exaggerating how much the golf technology arms race was spiraling out of control.

Now we have someone on the Golf Channel actually asking: "do we NEED (my emphasis) 8,000 yard golf courses?"

And, guess what, the professional golfer asked the question actually answers "yes"!

Are these people actually idiots? Why aren't they asking:

What is the most sensible way - the most economical way for everyday golfers - to deal with the technology issue?

Can anyone associated with the USGA not see how ridiculous this is becoming when Golf Channel journalists ask such stupid questions?

Tim
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 14, 2004, 09:26:07 PM
"Tom Paul can say they never had control, but you would have trouble convincing Joe Dey and P.T. Boatwright of that."

Lynn:

I guess I could say something like that but I can't imagine why I would. I doubt I ever have. I've never implied anything like that. Why would you say I'd say Joe Dey had no control? He was the strongest executive director of the USGA by a hundred miles, in my opinion. The USGA probably needs a strong hand like Dey today but in Dey's era we lived in a different world and the primary difference is the manufacturers today. Back then the manufacturers and the USGA were basically all friends, there wasn't remotely the adversialness there is today. I know, my Dad worked for Spalding and Joe Dey was a friend of his. Back in Dey's day the equipment companies didn't dream of taking advantage of the USGA like they do today--it was entirely different.  
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: A_Clay_Man on February 15, 2004, 09:23:51 AM
Shiv- Please clarify, are you saying Tatum and Jn have no interest, financially? or was U be'in facetious?
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mashie1 on February 15, 2004, 09:46:01 AM
RE:  Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?

Does it really matter why the USGA is against a rollback of the ball?  Certainly not in my mind.

The USGA's position is clear.  Wondering "why" is obviously fruitless and will never be articulated to a point where those opposed to the USGA's stance will be satisfied.



 8)
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim_Weiman on February 15, 2004, 11:10:42 AM
Mashie1:

I'm not clear. Can you explain the USGA's position?

Alternatively, can you explain the case for the golf technology arms race?

Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mashie1 on February 15, 2004, 03:35:15 PM
I had the link to this on a previous post, but here's the whole thing pasted into this post.  This makes their position pretty darn clear.



USGA Announces Phase II of Its Proposal to Update
Golf Ball Conformance Tests

FAR HILLS, N.J. – The United States Golf Association, which tests golf balls to determine whether or not they conform to the Rules of Golf, has issued the second phase of its proposal to update its golf ball test methods. The proposal reflects current swing speeds and equipment and improves the speed and accuracy of the testing process.

A notice outlining details of this Phase II proposal has been sent to manufacturers for comment. The proposal is subject to change after completion of a notice-and-comment period. The opportunity to comment is available to all the game’s constituents.

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews has made a similar proposal in its jurisdiction outside of the United States and Mexico. All golf balls that currently appear on the USGA’s List of Conforming Golf Balls will continue to comply with the Rules under the Phase II proposal.

"The new test is really a common sense approach that can test balls under swing speed, equipment, and launch conditions used by today’s longer-hitting PGA Tour players," USGA Senior Technical Director Dick Rugge said. "It reflects modern equipment technology and player ability. We have also been able to improve test repeatability due to more precise measurement technology. It’s designed to enhance our test procedures, not take balls off the Conforming Ball List."

Phase II follows the first phase of updates that moved all golf ball tests to the USGA’s Indoor Test Range at its Research & Test Center located in Far Hills. This move permits year-round testing of balls.

"This latest proposal reflects years of work and dialogue with the manufacturers regarding needed updates to our test procedures," Rugge added. "Through this new test, we’ll be able to establish a precise and relevant performance limit regarding golf ball distance. Thus, any additional distance gains will not be due to design or construction changes in the ball itself. We think this new test provides the right framework for us to utilize state-of-the-art technology to test golf balls in a manner that is relevant to today’s game and not the one of a generation ago."


New Test Characteristics

Phase II proposes to update the USGA’s ball test procedures and the resulting Overall Distance Standard (ODS). The current ball test procedure and ODS standard were adopted in 1976 and have remained largely unchanged since that time. The changes to the test under Phase II are as follows:

Swing speed will be increased to 120 miles per hour from 109 miles per hour;

A non-branded titanium club head with a Coefficient of Restitution (COR) of .820 will replace the laminated wooden head now in use;

A modern, non-branded set-up ball will replace the current set-up ball that has been in use.

The new ball test will maintain the current ball launch angle of 10 degrees, the current back spin at 42 revolutions per second, and a steel shaft in the test club.

Increasing the swing speed under Phase II by 11 miles per hour adds about 22 yards to golf ball distance. The shift to a titanium club head with a .820 COR spring-like effect boosts distance by approximately another 8 yards. But instead of increasing the current ODS limit of 296.8 yards by a full 30 (22 + 8) yards, the USGA has proposed to set the limit using the new ball test procedure at 320 yards, or seven fewer overall yards.

"It’s not accurate to compare the new limit to the old one and assume we’ve allowed more yards," Rugge stressed. "The same balls simply go farther when hit at higher speeds with modern equipment. By updating the test and modernizing procedures, it’s inevitable that the ODS limit would need to rise to reflect the changes in test methods. For example, if you modernized the test procedures but left the limit where it now stands, nearly every ball that now conforms would fail under the new procedure. Thus, we’ve proposed to set the limit at a place that provides meaningful restrictions on distance, tightens the ODS standard by seven yards, maintains the continuity of the current conforming list, and provides a framework through which we can monitor our test procedures and modify them as player swing speeds and other conditions change. We feel that Phase II accomplishes all these important goals."


Statement of Principles

"The joint Statement of Principles governing equipment rules that we formulated with the R&A in 2002 makes clear that we are concerned about increases in distance from any source and we’ll continue to remain vigilant and monitor trends," Rugge continued. "If distance continues to increase from any source – balls, clubs, agronomy, or enhanced physical fitness – then we’ll need to consider how to uphold the Statement of Principles."
[/i]


Notice and Comment

The USGA welcomes comments regarding Phase II of its proposal. All comments must be in writing. They should be directed to: Dick Rugge; Senior Technical Director; USGA; P.O. Box 708; Far Hills; N.J 07931; Fax: (908) 234-9687; or e-mail at drugge@usga.org.

The comment period will run until December 20th of this year. After all comments are received, the USGA will carefully consider them. A final decision will be announced next spring. Under the proposal, the prospective implementation date for Phase II would be June, 2004.


And as for the "arms race."  It seems, like everything else these days, it's all about money.
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Lynn_Shackelford on February 15, 2004, 06:28:32 PM
T. Paul:
What you have said in the past I believe was that the USGA has no legal authority to control or enforce their rules or regulations.  Therefore they are the caretakers and are only followed by the golf industry in a "voluntary" way.  My point is, legal or not, they are the caretakers of the game.
Yes, you are right it is a different world.
On the change of the nominating process to the Executive Committee, Wally Uihlein, "clearly, any attempt to improve upon the selection of Executive Commmittee members through the past Nominating Committee process is a step in the right direction, and we are encouraged," "however, there are still some other shoes that need to fall before we can accurately glean a sense of what these changes all mean, and how they will lead it to a more game-of-golf responsive Executive Committee."
Title: Re:Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: TEPaul on February 15, 2004, 10:12:07 PM
"T. Paul:
What you have said in the past I believe was that the USGA has no legal authority to control or enforce their rules or regulations."

Lynn:

Yes, that's what I've said in the past and I'd reiterate that. They certainly are the caretakers of the game in an I&B sense and have been for about 100 years. However, I'd stress again that their caretaking is completely based on "voluntary compliance" from both the manufacturers and the golfers of America who use those products.

If they write I&B rules and regs that the manufacturers choose to ignore and the golfing public buys those products that the manufacturers make that ignore the USGA rules and regs, what then?  
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Matthew Essig on November 20, 2017, 07:14:11 PM
http://www.golfchannel.com/article/golf-central-blog/usgas-davis-impact-course-expansion-horrible/?cid=twitter-gc-a-usgas-davis-impact-course-expansion-horrible-112017&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral (http://www.golfchannel.com/article/golf-central-blog/usgas-davis-impact-course-expansion-horrible/?cid=twitter-gc-a-usgas-davis-impact-course-expansion-horrible-112017&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral)


Is it time for our monthly discussion on a ball rollback?  ::)

Mike Davis:

"You can't say you don't care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand. The impact it has had has been horrible."

"I don't care how far Tiger Woods hits it. The reality is this is affecting all golfers and affecting them in a bad way. All it's doing is increasing the cost of the game."
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 20, 2017, 10:19:44 PM
http://www.golfchannel.com/article/golf-central-blog/usgas-davis-impact-course-expansion-horrible/?cid=twitter-gc-a-usgas-davis-impact-course-expansion-horrible-112017&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral (http://www.golfchannel.com/article/golf-central-blog/usgas-davis-impact-course-expansion-horrible/?cid=twitter-gc-a-usgas-davis-impact-course-expansion-horrible-112017&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral)


Is it time for our monthly discussion on a ball rollback?  ::)

Mike Davis:

"You can't say you don't care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand. The impact it has had has been horrible."

"I don't care how far Tiger Woods hits it. The reality is this is affecting all golfers and affecting them in a bad way. All it's doing is increasing the cost of the game."


Better late than never....
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Matthew Essig on November 20, 2017, 10:46:58 PM
http://www.golfchannel.com/article/golf-central-blog/titleists-uihlein-fires-back-davis-over-distance/?cid=twitter-gc-a-titleists-uihlein-fires-back-davis-over-distance-112017 (http://www.golfchannel.com/article/golf-central-blog/titleists-uihlein-fires-back-davis-over-distance/?cid=twitter-gc-a-titleists-uihlein-fires-back-davis-over-distance-112017)


"Titleist's Uihlein Fires Back at Davis Over Distance"



Let the fireworks begin...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 20, 2017, 11:54:12 PM
2017. 17 years of patent validity lapsing. Curtail the ball!
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 21, 2017, 03:48:15 AM

Pretty weak argument by Uihlein when it comes to the extra cost. It only takes a little bit of thought to realise that longer courses use more land which costs more to buy/lease and maintain. Typical company spin and I bet were professional golf to embrace a shorter ball he would be trumpeting how great a decision it was and how his companies ball was the best  ::)


Jon
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Thomas Dai on November 21, 2017, 04:02:05 AM
I wonder if Mr U has seen this Titleist video (sic) ? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeibKavgytc


Maybe not that difficult to change things after all?


atb
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: BHoover on November 21, 2017, 07:04:50 AM
Brandel Chamblee has the solution—build 8,500 yard championship courses!
https://twitter.com/chambleebrandel/status/932806137858154496 (https://twitter.com/chambleebrandel/status/932806137858154496)

Steve Flesch says the solution is to grow up the rough to challenge players.
https://twitter.com/steve_flesch/status/932802421902004224 (https://twitter.com/steve_flesch/status/932802421902004224)

Actually, maybe these guys are right. Just build 4 super-length “championship” courses with calf-high rough to host the majors and leave the other courses along.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MCirba on November 21, 2017, 07:46:57 AM
Interesting to read the commentary from 13 years ago.   


Can we at least roll back the ball to then?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 21, 2017, 08:44:01 AM
Interesting to read the commentary from 13 years ago.   


Can we at least roll back the ball to then?


Common sense has gathered momentum.
Even a year ago those calling for bifurcation and or a rollback were few and far between.(at least publicly)


At some point those in the golf "business" need to understand that if golf itself becomes a laughingstock and continues to demonstrate its unsustainability, that there'll be no business.


Goofy setups(deep rough,narrow fairways,  less clubs) that don't address the issue (the scale has changed) are doomed to fail and further slow the game.


Bummer Wally-you had it good for a long time-now get on board or get left behind.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on November 21, 2017, 09:20:04 AM

From the Wall Street Journal on Uihlein's comments:



“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a ‘championship golf course’ was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” he wrote.

Rather than courses being lengthened in response to the distance boom, Titleist argues that developers made courses longer so they could brand them as “championship” venues and thus sell more houses.

Uihlein also discounted comments made earlier this month by Tiger Woods, who said on a podcast, “We need to do something about the golf ball.” He noted that Woods endorses Bridgestone, which—according to Uihlein—has been selected by the USGA to produce reduce-distance golf balls on an experimental basis.

“Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball,” Uihlein wrote.


It's ironic that he is blaming other's financial interests for the reason golf courses got longer. Titleist has a lot to lose if the pros start using different golf balls than amateurs. They must be worried that amateurs won't be willing to pay $50 per dozen if those balls aren't the ones the pros use.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 21, 2017, 09:28:44 AM
What just happened?
Did aliens kidnap Mr D and replace him with an (almost) exact duplicate?
He went from zero to a hundred, just like that.
I was dead wrong (and Jeff W right) about TW's recent comments.
I thought they'd prove totally irrelevant.
Instead they seem to have been part of a strategic communications plan - the 'leak' from a high placed source that prepared the way for the 'official' statement from Mr Davis (or his almost exact alien duplicate).
Peter
 
   
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: PCCraig on November 21, 2017, 09:53:09 AM
Brandel Chamblee has the solution—build 8,500 yard championship courses!
https://twitter.com/chambleebrandel/status/932806137858154496 (https://twitter.com/chambleebrandel/status/932806137858154496)

Steve Flesch says the solution is to grow up the rough to challenge players.
https://twitter.com/steve_flesch/status/932802421902004224 (https://twitter.com/steve_flesch/status/932802421902004224)

Actually, maybe these guys are right. Just build 4 super-length “championship” courses with calf-high rough to host the majors and leave the other courses along.


Brandel and Flesch are complete morons. They are obviously very talented golfers which skews their general view of the situation, not to mention they have been paid for years by various ball manufacturers. And now they work for a cable TV station which one of the major advertisers is Titleist. Their views are on the ball are shocking  ::)


This isn't that hard. The USGA, ANGC and R&A get together and make a new rule that all current ball specifications (velocity, etc.) are now reduced by 20%. Dustin Johnson now drives the ball 304 yards off the tee (instead of 380), but someone who hits it 200 off the tee now will hit it 160....like they used to 20 years ago.[size=78%] [/size]
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on November 21, 2017, 09:59:47 AM
https://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.101.2017.html (https://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.101.2017.html)


There's a dropdown menu on the page that enables you to look at the Tour driving distance stats for any year going back to 1980.


Which year do you want to roll the ball back to?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: BHoover on November 21, 2017, 10:08:06 AM
What’s the problem with bifurcation, as opposed to a full rollback across the board, which is precisely what baseball uses when it comes to the equipment used by MLB and the minor leagues versus amateur leagues? It seems to work well for baseball, so why not golf?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Brian Finn on November 21, 2017, 10:11:50 AM
What’s the problem with bifurcation, as opposed to a full rollback across the board, which is precisely what baseball uses when it comes to the equipment used by MLB and the minor leagues versus amateur leagues? It seems to work well for baseball, so why not golf?
Bifurcation clearly makes the most sense.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on November 21, 2017, 10:57:20 AM
What’s the problem with bifurcation, as opposed to a full rollback across the board, which is precisely what baseball uses when it comes to the equipment used by MLB and the minor leagues versus amateur leagues? It seems to work well for baseball, so why not golf?
Bifurcation clearly makes the most sense.
I've always thought a big part of the charm of golf is that once in a while, we mere mortals are able to hit a shot as well or better than the pros. Bifurcation would destroy that essential thrill, IMO.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: BHoover on November 21, 2017, 11:00:35 AM
https://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.101.2017.html (https://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.101.2017.html)


There's a dropdown menu on the page that enables you to look at the Tour driving distance stats for any year going back to 1980.


Which year do you want to roll the ball back to?


1986 was a great year.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: BHoover on November 21, 2017, 11:14:41 AM
What’s the problem with bifurcation, as opposed to a full rollback across the board, which is precisely what baseball uses when it comes to the equipment used by MLB and the minor leagues versus amateur leagues? It seems to work well for baseball, so why not golf?
Bifurcation clearly makes the most sense.
I've always thought a big part of the charm of golf is that once in a while, we mere mortals are able to hit a shot as well or better than the pros. Bifurcation would destroy that essential thrill, IMO.


Well, you could buy a rollback golf ball and see how you compare with the pros, if you really need that “essential thrill”. It’s the same as the folks who play hickories—they can see how they compare to Harry Vardon.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Neil Davis on November 21, 2017, 11:23:57 AM
I've always been against bifurcation, but am coming around on it.  But instead of a rollback of the ball, I like the idea of a professional driver--300cc or smaller. 
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pete Lavallee on November 21, 2017, 01:25:14 PM
Neil,

Have you seen how far Henrick Stenson hits his 300 cc 3 wood?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 21, 2017, 01:32:39 PM
Things changed when the spin was taken out of the ball when struck by low lofted club. This was done by engineering the ball to respond unnaturally to club head strikes. Patents were filed and granted 17 years ago or so to protect this disruptive technology. Now is the time to put the spin back in the ball as the patents expire. If you are a player that can't handle a ball spinning excessively off of a driver, there are two piece balls that spin less off all club lofts that you can use.

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Neil Davis on November 21, 2017, 02:37:01 PM
Neil,

Have you seen how far Henrick Stenson hits his 300 cc 3 wood?


I have, and it's impressive.  But I think if that was the farthest anyone could hit a golf ball with any club there'd be fewer people clamoring to roll it back. 
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jack Carney on November 21, 2017, 02:42:16 PM
What’s the problem with bifurcation, as opposed to a full rollback across the board, which is precisely what baseball uses when it comes to the equipment used by MLB and the minor leagues versus amateur leagues? It seems to work well for baseball, so why not golf?
Bifurcation clearly makes the most sense.
I've always thought a big part of the charm of golf is that once in a while, we mere mortals are able to hit a shot as well or better than the pros. Bifurcation would destroy that essential thrill, IMO.

There is the issue and I agree. However with the though of making more and more great courses obsolete without room to lengthen etc etc I think its about time. Too much money in the ball business and too much money to renovate classic courses. I think its more fun to hit the shots all the greats than keep one ball. I do like my current techno advantage however!
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MClutterbuck on November 21, 2017, 03:18:52 PM
I am totally convinced the ball needs to be rolled back, and while I am not opposed to bifurcation as a matter of principal, I do think it needs to be rolled back for all players.


50 year olds are hitting it further than in their mid 20s at all levels. We have 12-16 handicappers hitting a driver 300 yards today. Of course those 300 yards are sometimes at 45% angle or worse of intended flight path. Players are hitting houses or roads deemed safe 15 years ago. Lawsuits are mounting.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 21, 2017, 04:51:05 PM
I am totally convinced the ball needs to be rolled back, and while I am not opposed to bifurcation as a matter of principal, I do think it needs to be rolled back for all players.


50 year olds are hitting it further than in their mid 20s at all levels. We have 12-16 handicappers hitting a driver 300 yards today. Of course those 300 yards are sometimes at 45% angle or worse of intended flight path. Players are hitting houses or roads deemed safe 15 years ago. Lawsuits are mounting.

I certain did not hit it further in my 50s than in my mid 20s. You have had 12-16 handicappers and higher hitting a driver 300 yards well before the new ball introduction. I.e., Topflites. Houses and roads have not ever been safe. If they are less safe now it is because more are closer to the course than in the days before residential real estate courses.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 21, 2017, 05:27:42 PM
What’s the problem with bifurcation, as opposed to a full rollback across the board, which is precisely what baseball uses when it comes to the equipment used by MLB and the minor leagues versus amateur leagues? It seems to work well for baseball, so why not golf?
Bifurcation clearly makes the most sense.
I've always thought a big part of the charm of golf is that once in a while, we mere mortals are able to hit a shot as well or better than the pros. Bifurcation would destroy that essential thrill, IMO.


So when an amateur hits his wedge to a foot (the one that's grandfathered in due to bifurcation) is that not a thrill?
Bifurcations's been here-at least since the 2010 groove rule


Those (all both of them) who need the thrill of "hitting the same shot as the pros" can still choose to use pro equipment.


I heard a 10 handicapper on Sirius XM today talk about his average 7 iron going 190 yards in the air.
Distance/bifurcaton was not the topic, it was just a matter of fact comment like "How much do you weigh"?
The scariest part of the conversation is nobody laughed, gasped, called bull ship, or even commented on that (once upon a time) ludicrous claim.-I know todays's 7 iron is a 5 iron-it just struck me funny.

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on November 21, 2017, 05:35:18 PM
What’s the problem with bifurcation, as opposed to a full rollback across the board, which is precisely what baseball uses when it comes to the equipment used by MLB and the minor leagues versus amateur leagues? It seems to work well for baseball, so why not golf?
Bifurcation clearly makes the most sense.
I've always thought a big part of the charm of golf is that once in a while, we mere mortals are able to hit a shot as well or better than the pros. Bifurcation would destroy that essential thrill, IMO.

There is the issue and I agree. However with the though of making more and more great courses obsolete without room to lengthen etc etc I think its about time.
I think this is the crux of the matter. What does "obsolete" mean, and for how many players are these courses "obsolete"?


If I had to guess (and please correct me if need be), I'd say this obsolescence primarily relates to the scores the PGA Tour, European Tour and maybe the Web.com Tour shoot on these courses. So we're really talking about making a massive and disruptive change to the game because of roughly 500-600 out of millions of golfers.


Would it not be more in the game's interests to simply concede that these golfers are really, really good and let them shoot whatever scores they're going to shoot, and instead focus on having them play golf courses that look interesting and produce leaderboards that include different styles of player?


The lowest winning scores to par this year have been shot by Pat Perez (-24 in Malaysia) and Austin Cook (-21 at Sea Island). Aside from the fact that these guys are relatively short hitters...


What is so wrong with these being winning scores of Tour events played at courses where conditions were mostly ideal for scoring, such that it's worth fundamentally manipulating the game for millions in order to really manipulate 500-600?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pete Lavallee on November 21, 2017, 06:15:41 PM
Tim,

Every Club has one or two players who hit the ball the same distance as Tour Pros. At my modest muni Coronado GC our Club Champion reached the 520 yard 2cnd hole, a par 5, driver 9 iron. His opponent in the finals needed a hybrid and he is considered way longer than average. 
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 21, 2017, 06:30:14 PM

I think this is the crux of the matter. What does "obsolete" mean, and for how many players are these courses "obsolete"?
...

Obsolete means you can't get players, because players will go to the longer (not necessarily better) newer courses.

The USGA is putting perfectly good courses out of business by letting the equipment manufacturers run all over any decent standard how the game historically has been played.

The USGA is creating a business model where building the latest newest long course will guarantee a segment of the golfing market. The new course doesn't necessarily have to compete on quality, it just has to be green. ;)
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 21, 2017, 09:33:05 PM
I'm opposed to bifurcation, and don't really care what 0.001% of the world's golfers do. And, it's not like they're shooting 65s every week. The leading - leading - scoring average in 2017 was a whopping… 68.85. 17 years before that… it was 67.8.

Golf can't be compared to other sports. Golf essentially has one set of rules. MLB, the NFL, etc. govern only their leagues.

And stop blaming only the USGA. The R&A have an equal role in this. Blame 'em both equally if you want to blame 'em at all.

Fact of the matter is that you could give Dustin Johnson a 1997 Pinnacle and he'd still hit the ball as far as he does now. Today's players swing longer, lighter, larger drivers. They understand launch conditions. They know the benefits of distance. They swing faster and are more athletic.

And they're the very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very small minority.

99.9%+ of golfers are challenged playing just about any golf course out there. And The U.S. Open was thrilling at Pinehurst #2 in 2014, and that course was pretty old. Oakmont stands up to the test. Pebble Beach. Bethpage. These aren't 20-year-old courses.

I just don't see the point. There's so much to lose in bifurcating.

P.S. Don't tell me wedge grooves are bifurcated. Ams haven't been able to buy a non-conforming wedge for like seven years now, and virtually all wedges used by any serious players are using the same conforming grooves as PGA Tour players have to use. If you're using a pre-2010 wedge… the grooves aren't giving you an advantage anyway because they're really old.  :P
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 21, 2017, 09:39:22 PM
,,,
Fact of the matter is that you could give Dustin Johnson a 1997 Pinnacle and he'd still hit the ball as far as he does now. ...

That's because the ProV1, et. al., were engineered to behave like a 1997 Pinnacle. Duh!
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MCirba on November 21, 2017, 09:43:48 PM
I will be turning 60 next year and when I'm swinging well I drive the ball considerably further than I did in my teens and twenties and even thirties and I was pretty good back then. 


When I return to the courses I grew up on I am 20 or 30 yards beyond anywhere I was able to drive it in my younger days.


Those courses may not be obsolete but they play now much differently for me than they did then with less variety overall. 


Young guys who can bomb it can knock it 40 or so yards past me.


How do those courses of my youth play for them?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 21, 2017, 09:51:52 PM
Mike,

I assume you fancied yourself a good player that needed to play the wound balata ball. Therefore, I can understand you getting longer with the new ball.

Now those of us that didn't fancy ourselves to be good players played the Topflite or Pinnacle and have been losing distance as we age and continue to use 2 piece balls.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom Bacsanyi on November 21, 2017, 10:16:10 PM
Neil,

Have you seen how far Henrick Stenson hits his 300 cc 3 wood?


I have, and it's impressive.  But I think if that was the farthest anyone could hit a golf ball with any club there'd be fewer people clamoring to roll it back.


It's not just the pros.  I hit my 13.5 (adjusted to 12.75) 3W so well that my driver stays in my trunk when I play.  Basically, I hit it the same distance as my driver.  Less carry but more roll.  The only major disadvantage is on uphill holes or super wet conditions.  But I think the increased accuracy of the shorter club probably saves me a stroke per 18 regardless.  Plus I like the look of a small clubhead instead of a big frying pan, and I feel like my 3W swing is closer to an iron swing, instead of a conjured setup high tee flail.  My index is 4.0.  Stenson, I ain't.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 22, 2017, 04:12:24 AM
What’s the problem with bifurcation, as opposed to a full rollback across the board, which is precisely what baseball uses when it comes to the equipment used by MLB and the minor leagues versus amateur leagues? It seems to work well for baseball, so why not golf?
Bifurcation clearly makes the most sense.
I've always thought a big part of the charm of golf is that once in a while, we mere mortals are able to hit a shot as well or better than the pros. Bifurcation would destroy that essential thrill, IMO.

There is the issue and I agree. However with the though of making more and more great courses obsolete without room to lengthen etc etc I think its about time.
I think this is the crux of the matter. What does "obsolete" mean, and for how many players are these courses "obsolete"?


If I had to guess (and please correct me if need be), I'd say this obsolescence primarily relates to the scores the PGA Tour, European Tour and maybe the Web.com Tour shoot on these courses. So we're really talking about making a massive and disruptive change to the game because of roughly 500-600 out of millions of golfers.


Would it not be more in the game's interests to simply concede that these golfers are really, really good and let them shoot whatever scores they're going to shoot, and instead focus on having them play golf courses that look interesting and produce leaderboards that include different styles of player?


The lowest winning scores to par this year have been shot by Pat Perez (-24 in Malaysia) and Austin Cook (-21 at Sea Island). Aside from the fact that these guys are relatively short hitters...


What is so wrong with these being winning scores of Tour events played at courses where conditions were mostly ideal for scoring, such that it's worth fundamentally manipulating the game for millions in order to really manipulate 500-600?

Tim

To me this subject is a bit whacky because practically the entire premise of the alter the equipment argument is that the powers that be on the club/ownership level cannot control themselves regarding the lengthening of their courses because of what touring pros/top ams do.  However, I begrudgingly accept that bifurcation makes sense on the off-chance that club/owners will no longer alter their courses.  Do I actually believe this will happen...not a chance in hell.  People make changes because they can...its human nature.  Mostly, folks use tour player capability and health & safety as the main excuses for doing what they want to do regardless of the truth.  But by all means, we can give bifurcation a go and see if the experiment works...its worth a try if there is a chance it will stop idiots from putting shovels into courses.

I am dead set against an across the board roll back because

1. I don't believe that shorter hitters (the majority of golfers) won't be effected.

2. I don't believe all the back tees will be abandoned so courses will simply play longer when for a signficant percentage of golfers courses are already too long.

3. I don't like the idea of making radical changes to the rules based on a small percentage of golfers.  It isn't the rule makers' job to protect golf courses...that is the job of owners and clubs. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Matthew Mollica on November 22, 2017, 07:00:01 AM
While I disagree with much of what you say Sean, that is one of the more coherent arguments against a roll-back I have ever read.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 22, 2017, 07:44:42 AM
Matthew

Thanks.  This is a tough issue to tackle and I understand folks willing to take any measures to achieve their golf of distance reduction...its an easy option.  But like Brexit, I haven't heard fuly formed arguments about what happens after rollback.  How is the rank and file golfer taken care of in this scenario?  Will courses actually be preserved?  How is the game protected?  It seems to me these are very important and yet open-ended questions which rollbackers can't properly answer. They are hopeful things will turn out better...I don't share that same enthusiasm even though I understand we are now in a bit of a pickle.  It just seems to me that using the rules as the vehicle for saving courses is indirect and leaves me apprehensive.  So of course...I take the middle road option...the cowards way out  8)  But then I am not at all precious about one set of rules for all.  I don't see anything inherently beneficial about this approach.  Its more about rooted history and tradition then it is about what is the best way to move forward in attacking the issue.

Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Rick Lane on November 22, 2017, 07:51:41 AM
Very interesting thread.   I don't believe in rolling back the ball for everyone, yes we all hit it farther and straighter, but as said above, 99.999 percent of us are still challenged by our 6800 yard courses.  We hit it now as Hogan did then, that's ok.   The 600 or so pros in the world can do whatever they want IMHO, and yes, my old 6800 yard course is too small for them (or for TV), but our course record is still 64.  We can set it up pretty hard.
Fact is that courses like ours are "obsolete" for more than those 600 players.   We cant have a US Am, a Met Open, a Met Am. or probably even a Mid Am.   That's kind of a shame, but it is what it is.   We had a Met Junior a few years back and it was Driver wedge everywhere and lots of holes they teed with Irons.   But they shot 67 as lowest.   I guess distance is one thing and scoring is another, and "fun to watch on TV" is yet another
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 22, 2017, 08:03:42 AM
Rick

To me, the lessened entertainmant value of smashmouth golf will eventually cost pros money.  When their pocket books are hit they will start to look for solutions.  I am somewhat surprised we haven't seen worse tv ratings for golf.  It is practically unwatchable these days.  But that is not just because of smashmouth golf...I am not convinced golf translates well to the modern concept of bling sportscasting.  Golf is by nature quiet, slow and deliberate.  TV sports are now presented as brash, in your face and relentless and loud.   

Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Dave Doxey on November 22, 2017, 08:46:05 AM
  Why the need to lengthen courses?  Leave them as they are & just let winning scored get lower.  Score is only a number.  The best player will still win.

 
Equipment will never get rolled back.  Too much money in equipment.  How’d you like to be the ball company marketing guy assigned to build an advertising campaign for a ball that flies shorter?

 
USGA might also be afraid that equipment manufacturers would simply ignore a rollback and continue to market non-conforming balls or completely stop caring about USGA rules and sell even longer balls.  99 percent of golf ball buyers never play in sanctioned competition & thus would not care.  USGA would lose control of their influence on the game.  Scary to them.

 
There is no evidence that recent interest decline in the game is due to equipment changed. In fact,  one could just as easily argue for the reverse to be true.

 
If we did roll back, what would we roll back to?  Wooden shafts & featheries would bring the game back to it’s roots….
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: BHoover on November 22, 2017, 09:15:33 AM
I say roll back to 1986. Remember the Masters that year? Pretty, pretty good.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MCirba on November 22, 2017, 10:00:51 AM
Mike,

I assume you fancied yourself a good player that needed to play the wound balata ball. Therefore, I can understand you getting longer with the new ball.

Now those of us that didn't fancy ourselves to be good players played the Topflite or Pinnacle and have been losing distance as we age and continue to use 2 piece balls.

Hi Garland,

Actually, back then I mostly played with anything I found!   ;)

My favorites, simply because I liked the name, were the Golden Ram and Ram 3D balls, but in those days I played everything from Spalding DOTs and Top-Flites to Club Specials and Blue Max's. 

Actually, finding a balata ball in those days was not such a good thing because if it wasn't cut already the first thinned shot would do the job, particularly with Titleist and Maxfli's.

By the time I was buying balls my favorite became Pinnacle, which I played regularly through my 20s and 30s.   

Maybe I was just a wimpy kid?   :D
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on November 22, 2017, 10:43:16 AM
Very interesting thread.   I don't believe in rolling back the ball for everyone, yes we all hit it farther and straighter, but as said above, 99.999 percent of us are still challenged by our 6800 yard courses.  We hit it now as Hogan did then, that's ok.   The 600 or so pros in the world can do whatever they want IMHO, and yes, my old 6800 yard course is too small for them (or for TV), but our course record is still 64.  We can set it up pretty hard.
Fact is that courses like ours are "obsolete" for more than those 600 players.   We cant have a US Am, a Met Open, a Met Am. or probably even a Mid Am.   That's kind of a shame, but it is what it is.   We had a Met Junior a few years back and it was Driver wedge everywhere and lots of holes they teed with Irons.   But they shot 67 as lowest.   I guess distance is one thing and scoring is another, and "fun to watch on TV" is yet another


I think the ball should be rolled back for pros and competitive amateurs. As Rick stated above, even the scratch golfers have wedge in on most holes. The scores haven't gone down because the greens have gotten so much faster over the decades. That is the only reason good players aren't shooting better scores than they did 30 years ago. If the USGA wants to truly test the best players in the world in the US Open, and the state golf associations want to test the best players in the area, the players need to start hitting mid and long irons again. This is a very small percentage of golfers and recreational golfers should be allowed to play the current ball. For those that are hitting it further than they did 20 years ago and are unhappy about it, they are welcome to buy the reduced distance ball.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 22, 2017, 11:18:00 AM
Anything that increases the length of time it takes to listen to a golf story which includes how someone played is a very bad thing. Example...What did you shoot becomes what did you shoot using which ball and so on and so on. How about just shooting me instead.


When we all stop playing the same game by the same rules everything left that still resembles "honorable" goes out the window.


It is simply not honorable to change the rules to punish those who work harder than you may choose. Golf is the one game where you are as talented as the choices you make. Choosing a better ball than your peers is not currently on the menu.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 22, 2017, 12:25:10 PM
Bifurcation should at least be considered one of the options; but I assume Titleist etc would fight that proposal as much as it would a general roll-back. If I remember how the ERC II-Palmer issue played out, then I'm sure Mr. Uihlein does too. What Mr. Palmer was suggesting back then was a kind of bifurcation, i.e. USGA rules for the pros/competition, a non-conforming and longer-hitting club for everyone else. But surprisingly, even with the King promoting it, the majority of average golfers just didn't go for the ERC II -- at least not in the numbers that ever had Callaway bringing out another non-conformer. Maybe many golfers actually do share JK's sentiments (above), i.e. that the same rules need to apply to everyone.  It sure seems that way.     
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Kalen Braley on November 22, 2017, 12:44:08 PM
Even if they drew a line in the sand with todays distances, it would at least be progress.....
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MClutterbuck on November 22, 2017, 01:52:12 PM
I am totally convinced the ball needs to be rolled back, and while I am not opposed to bifurcation as a matter of principal, I do think it needs to be rolled back for all players.


50 year olds are hitting it further than in their mid 20s at all levels. We have 12-16 handicappers hitting a driver 300 yards today. Of course those 300 yards are sometimes at 45% angle or worse of intended flight path. Players are hitting houses or roads deemed safe 15 years ago. Lawsuits are mounting.

I certain did not hit it further in my 50s than in my mid 20s. You have had 12-16 handicappers and higher hitting a driver 300 yards well before the new ball introduction. I.e., Topflites. Houses and roads have not ever been safe. If they are less safe now it is because more are closer to the course than in the days before residential real estate courses.


Garland, most of my friends, 2-25 handicap are hitting it further today than in their 20s. It is true that certain balls have produced more flight for quite some time, but many longer players did not use them much. I am hitting it consistently further than with my Persimmon and original Taylor Made drivers 30 years later, while my handicap has doubled due to lack of play. While the ball is not to blame for all of the distance change, the ball is the obvious solution.


Several leading architect firms changed their standard safety corridors around 2005 due to increased ball flight. These architects worked with residential real estate courses before and after. Some are pulling homes even further back in the last couple of years.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MCirba on November 22, 2017, 02:13:27 PM
I have a bunch of 1970s era golf balls and now I have pretty close to a full set of 1970s clubs. 


Does anyone know how much the performance of those balls may have degraded over the last 40 or so years?


I'd be tempted on an open course someday to have a go at it with the 1970s era clubs and balls played against modern implements.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on November 22, 2017, 02:24:57 PM
Even if they drew a line in the sand with todays distances, it would at least be progress.....




What would the game look like if there was an absolute MAX on distance?


Not speed...not spin...not effectiveness, but on flat out distance.


Sort of like saying; if you make $X, you pay 100% tax on any additional earnings.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 22, 2017, 02:37:13 PM
...
I am dead set against an across the board roll back because

1. I don't believe that shorter hitters (the majority of golfers) won't be effected.

2. I don't believe all the back tees will be abandoned so courses will simply play longer when for a signficant percentage of golfers courses are already too long.

3. I don't like the idea of making radical changes to the rules based on a small percentage of golfers.  It isn't the rule makers' job to protect golf courses...that is the job of owners and clubs. 

Ciao

1. It makes absolutely no difference whether or not the shorter hitters will be affected (other than perhaps their egos). Their competition will not be affected. The games they play will amongst themselves will not change one iota. Any handicaps they use will compensate for the changes for everyone. The distance they will lose will be easily compensated for by moving markers forward.

2. I really don't care whether the back tees will be abandoned. I don't care what tees people play from as long as they maintain a decent pace of play. I do care that people complain about high handicappers playing from long tees, when the high handicappers can play as quickly from there as the low handicappers complaining.

3. Restricting the distance the ball travels is not a radical rule change. It is the history of golf rule regulation with the initial velocity limit, and the overall distance standard. The claim coming from the former USGA equipment head is that they did not regulate against the new ball, because they felt they would bankrupt a company that made its whole business from low spin balls, and was instrumental in producing the modern 3 piece ball with low spin from the driver. They had a rule already readied for adoption, but chose not to implement, because of the financial impact.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 22, 2017, 02:40:26 PM
Even if they drew a line in the sand with todays distances, it would at least be progress.....




What would the game look like if there was an absolute MAX on distance?


Not speed...not spin...not effectiveness, but on flat out distance.


Sort of like saying; if you make $X, you pay 100% tax on any additional earnings.

I don't really think that is what he meant Jim.

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 22, 2017, 02:44:36 PM
...
Does anyone know how much the performance of those balls may have degraded over the last 40 or so years?
...

Lots. My guess is maybe even more than 50%. Ever find an old rubber band lying around the house that had completely disintegrated. The old balls were made from rubber bands. The difference being inside the ball they are protected from the environment some.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MCirba on November 22, 2017, 02:58:29 PM
...
Does anyone know how much the performance of those balls may have degraded over the last 40 or so years?
...

Lots. My guess is maybe even more than 50%. Ever find an old rubber band lying around the house that had completely disintegrated. The old balls were made from rubber bands. The difference being inside the ball they are protected from the environment some.


How about the early two-piece balls?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on November 22, 2017, 03:00:33 PM
Even if they drew a line in the sand with todays distances, it would at least be progress.....




What would the game look like if there was an absolute MAX on distance?


Not speed...not spin...not effectiveness, but on flat out distance.


Sort of like saying; if you make $X, you pay 100% tax on any additional earnings.

I don't really think that is what he meant Jim.




I think it is.


If the longest hitting top player today (Dustin Johnson I guess) were told he cannot seek any additional yardage by equipment improvements, he would still find some incremental yardage over these next several years through a variety of methods. Strength and flexibility and swing effectiveness being the top 3 obviously.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 22, 2017, 03:28:03 PM
Matthew

Thanks.  This is a tough issue to tackle and I understand folks willing to take any measures to achieve their golf of distance reduction...its an easy option.  But like Brexit, I haven't heard fuly formed arguments about what happens after rollback.  How is the rank and file golfer taken care of in this scenario?  Will courses actually be preserved?  How is the game protected?  It seems to me these are very important and yet open-ended questions which rollbackers can't properly answer. They are hopeful things will turn out better...I don't share that same enthusiasm even though I understand we are now in a bit of a pickle.  It just seems to me that using the rules as the vehicle for saving courses is indirect and leaves me apprehensive.  So of course...I take the middle road option...the cowards way out  8)  But then I am not at all precious about one set of rules for all.  I don't see anything inherently beneficial about this approach.  Its more about rooted history and tradition then it is about what is the best way to move forward in attacking the issue.



Sean:


I guess you didn't live in the UK when they still played the 1.62-in ball.  They managed to abandon it slowly but surely over a 15-year period, without anyone getting their panties in a knot.  First they made it non-conforming for the Open and the Amateur, to appease the American players ... and then they just sat back and let the best amateur players insist that their smaller competitions require the big ball, until it worked its way on back down the food chain to club events.  They didn't make everyone switch right away ... there had been de facto bifurcation as long as I'd been alive, and nobody was particularly worried about it.


It could be done just the same way today, if they really wanted to do it.  I remain unconvinced that they want to.  The only bifurcation at present is between the words of the governing bodies, and their actions.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 22, 2017, 03:50:40 PM
...
Does anyone know how much the performance of those balls may have degraded over the last 40 or so years?
...

Lots. My guess is maybe even more than 50%. Ever find an old rubber band lying around the house that had completely disintegrated. The old balls were made from rubber bands. The difference being inside the ball they are protected from the environment some.


How about the early two-piece balls?

The reports I have seen say they lose a lot less than the wound balata.
If you compete, you don't want to use a wound balata more than two or three years old as it already has lost a significant amount, whereas the two piece ball has lost very little.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 22, 2017, 03:56:12 PM
Tom’s post reminded me of when Jack Nicklaus drove the 18th at St Andrews (1970?). Does any know or remember if/how the R&A reacted to that? Did it have something to do with the change away from the small/British ball?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MClutterbuck on November 22, 2017, 03:59:18 PM
Is it that difficult?


Javelin redesigns

Uwe Hohn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uwe_Hohn) (pictured in 1984) holds the "eternal world record" with a throw of 104.80 m as a new type of javelin was implemented in 1986.


On 1 April 1986, the men's javelin (800 grams (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gram) (1.76 lb (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_(mass)))) was redesigned by the governing body (the IAAF (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAAF)Technical Committee). They decided to change the rules for javelin design because of the increasingly frequent flat landings and the resulting discussions and protests when these attempts were declared valid or invalid by competition judges. The world record had also crept up to a potentially dangerous level, 104.80 m (343.8 ft) by Uwe Hohn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uwe_Hohn). With throws exceeding 100 meters, it was becoming difficult to safely stage the competition within the confines of a stadium infield. The javelin was redesigned so that the centre of gravity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_of_gravity) was moved 4 cm (1.6 in) forward. In addition, the surface area in front of centre of gravity was reduced, while the surface area behind the centre of gravity was increased. This had an effect similar to that produced by the feathers on an arrow. The javelin turns into the relative wind (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_wind). This relative wind appears to originate from the ground as the javelin descends, thus the javelin turns to face the ground. As the javelin turns into the wind less lift is generated, reducing the flight distance by around 10% but also causing the javelin to stick in the ground more consistently. In 1999, the women's javelin (600 grams (1.32 lb)) was similarly redesigned.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Kalen Braley on November 22, 2017, 04:02:18 PM
Even if they drew a line in the sand with todays distances, it would at least be progress.....




What would the game look like if there was an absolute MAX on distance?


Not speed...not spin...not effectiveness, but on flat out distance.


Sort of like saying; if you make $X, you pay 100% tax on any additional earnings.

I don't really think that is what he meant Jim.




I think it is.


If the longest hitting top player today (Dustin Johnson I guess) were told he cannot seek any additional yardage by equipment improvements, he would still find some incremental yardage over these next several years through a variety of methods. Strength and flexibility and swing effectiveness being the top 3 obviously.


Just to clarify,


I was thinking specifically of flight limited balls, like they have in softball so they can play on smaller field. The pro ball would be specifically tailored to the pro swing, where even when the pros kill it, it only goes 290-300 yards.


The technology to do this has been around for decades....very easy to do.  Just a matter of the will I suppose

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Thomas Dai on November 22, 2017, 04:07:47 PM
An alternative perspective. Money and water and safety.

Money. Golf on TV is/has become boring. Tee shots, short irons and putts and not much else. Boring is poor for viewer ratings. Poor ratings are bad for advertising. Less advertising means lower prize money/appearance fees/contracts etc. Roll-back the ball, more exciting golf, better ratings ......

Water availability. Generally the larger the playing area, the more water that’s used. A smaller playing area with a rolled-back ball would use less w....

Safety. A hit on the noggin etc hurts/causes damage. Hurt/damage means compensation and fees and hassle. A rolled-back considerably softer ball wouldn’t do as much hurt/damage.

Although I am not presently holding my breath, clouds can have silver linings, although sometimes convoluted ones!

Atb
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 22, 2017, 04:47:17 PM
That's right Dai, roll it back to nerf ball standards.  ;D
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 22, 2017, 06:18:30 PM
Tom’s post reminded me of when Jack Nicklaus drove the 18th at St Andrews (1970?). Does any know or remember if/how the R&A reacted to that? Did it have something to do with the change away from the small/British ball?


Mostly, I think the change resulted from another Nicklaus-related item:  the growing tendency to play iron shots by yardages as he did.  The American pros had historically come over and played the small ball for The Open, but they were getting more uncomfortable with that because they had to recalculate and adjust all their iron distances for a different ball.  So they started pressuring the R & A to make the change if they wanted more Americans to come over.


That's exactly why it would be so hard for The Masters to implement their own ball, as some people have fantasized.  It would be very hard for the players to switch balls and try to play by yardage -- ESPECIALLY at Augusta, where a yard or two of carry is sometimes the difference between birdie and double bogey.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jerry Kluger on November 22, 2017, 06:34:56 PM
Tom: I understand that Dustin Johnson used a Trackman to dial in his exact yardages with all of his wedges and I am confident that players at that level can adjust - they certainly do that when they are at various elevations.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 22, 2017, 06:57:14 PM
Tom’s post reminded me of when Jack Nicklaus drove the 18th at St Andrews (1970?). Does any know or remember if/how the R&A reacted to that? Did it have something to do with the change away from the small/British ball?


Mostly, I think the change resulted from another Nicklaus-related item:  the growing tendency to play iron shots by yardages as he did.  The American pros had historically come over and played the small ball for The Open, but they were getting more uncomfortable with that because they had to recalculate and adjust all their iron distances for a different ball.  So they started pressuring the R & A to make the change if they wanted more Americans to come over.


That's exactly why it would be so hard for The Masters to implement their own ball, as some people have fantasized.  It would be very hard for the players to switch balls and try to play by yardage -- ESPECIALLY at Augusta, where a yard or two of carry is sometimes the difference between birdie and double bogey.

Don't the players have to deal with this issue every time the leave the shore and play above Denver?

EDIT: I.e., What Jerry said.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 22, 2017, 06:59:56 PM
Tom: I understand that Dustin Johnson used a Trackman to dial in his exact yardages with all of his wedges and I am confident that players at that level can adjust - they certainly do that when they are at various elevations.


Jerry:


I'm not saying they couldn't do it ... I'm sure they would do okay.  But would anyone want to deal with that in the few days leading up to a major championship?


Plus, not all of these guys are automatons.  Some of them rely on their feel, and no matter how much your caddie does the math, when a shot looks like 140 but plays like 160, it's going to mess with a lot of them.


I believe there are a lot of players who skip events in Denver because they don't like trying to adjust their games [for one week only] to the different elevation.  The International always had trouble getting the stars to play.   And it's one reason the USGA is not too keen to go back to Cherry Hills.  [The other reason ... if you think you can't make a course long enough for the pros, try doing it at 5000 feet!]
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 22, 2017, 07:27:03 PM
To me, the lessened entertainmant value of smashmouth golf will eventually cost pros money.
That's never been proven. I think it's a "golf snob" (i.e. all of us) type of feeling more than anything. Maybe the average golf fan wants to see pros smash it far and they want to see them spin it right around (or in!) the hole. They don't appreciate a 4I off a hanging lie to 35 feet. That's for us to appreciate.

Dave Doxey, +1.

Even if they drew a line in the sand with todays distances, it would at least be progress.....

How are you going to stop guys from swinging faster?


Safety. A hit on the noggin etc hurts/causes damage. Hurt/damage means compensation and fees and hassle. A rolled-back considerably softer ball wouldn’t do as much hurt/damage.

Actually a softer ball can cause MORE damage. It "sticks" longer and transfers more energy. The firmer balls bounced off. T
hey tried "softer" baseballs in Little League and found that more injuries and more severe injuries were the result.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 22, 2017, 07:41:52 PM
To me, the lessened entertainmant value of smashmouth golf will eventually cost pros money.
That's never been proven. I think it's a "golf snob" (i.e. all of us) type of feeling more than anything. Maybe the average golf fan wants to see pros smash it far and they want to see them spin it right around (or in!) the hole. They don't appreciate a 4I off a hanging lie to 35 feet. That's for us to appreciate.



Of course it hasn't been proven.  How do you prove anything with cause and effect in tv sport spectating?  All I am saying is tv golf is becoming more and more one dimensional.  I wonder what the percentage is of hard core fans have stopped watching tv golf because it is dead boring.  I strongly suspect that number will correlate with the down numbers...and there aren't consistent fans coming in to fill void.  Eventually, the tour will try something different.  At the moment, the attempt is to bling up tv golf or make folks pay extra vis SKY etc (which is really about blinging up coverage).  I don't think this will work, but it could be that nothing will work in terms of trying to get people to watch every week.  When I was a hard core fan there was a big break from tv golf...not so much these days.


Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 22, 2017, 08:28:49 PM

Of course it hasn't been proven.  How do you prove anything with cause and effect in tv sport spectating?  All I am saying is tv golf is becoming more and more one dimensional.
To you. All I'm saying is that we don't know, and that a 4I from a hanging lie to 35 feet is not exactly exciting golf to many TV viewers, just a small percentage who can appreciate that kind of shot.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Matthew Essig on November 22, 2017, 08:48:45 PM
Geoff Ogilvy was asked a question about bifurcation or a ball rollback during his press conference at the Australian Open.


Here's his insightful response:


https://twitter.com/NoLayingUp/status/933438531107561472
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 22, 2017, 09:37:34 PM
.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 22, 2017, 09:45:24 PM
Anything that increases the length of time it takes to listen to a golf story which includes how someone played is a very bad thing. Example...What did you shoot becomes what did you shoot using which ball and so on and so on. How about just shooting me instead.

another indisputable argument for bifurcation....... ;D
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 22, 2017, 09:48:11 PM
Sean,

TV golf has always been boring. You seem to not remember the wonderful meaningless views we used to get of a golf ball flying through air shot from the blimp. They could have rerun the same footage every time as a view of a ball suspended in air is totally informationless.

Now we have shot tracker, which IMO infinitely improves the coverage over the blimp, TV golf has improved.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 22, 2017, 09:49:40 PM
... How about just shooting me instead.


What an inspired thought, Barney.
Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 22, 2017, 10:04:43 PM
I'm opposed to bifurcation, and don't really care what 0.001% of the world's golfers

I just don't see the point. There's so much to lose in bifurcating.

P.S. Don't tell me wedge grooves are bifurcated. Ams haven't been able to buy a non-conforming wedge for like seven years now, and virtually all wedges used by any serious players are using the same conforming grooves as PGA Tour players have to use. If you're using a pre-2010 wedge… the grooves aren't giving you an advantage anyway because they're really old.  :P


What exactly are you afraid of losing in bifurcating?
I'll go first
By NOT bifurcating,  I'm afraid of losing classic courses for competition (Merion, Pebble etc.-replaced by unwalkable abominations 8-10 miles long) and others as they no longer host majors and slip into irelevancy in the eyes of paying members(Inwood, Siwanoy, Engineers etc.) and replaced by modern monstrocities.
I also miss the days when an elite professional could hit the ball farther, but play the same tees as a club champ yet showcase his skills, rather than the two being on tees 50-60 yards apart on every hole.
I also miss seing a great player work the ball, and have to really work to control the spin and trajectory in the wind, but mostly I miss seeing a pro hit something besides to a wedge.
I'm also afraid by not bifurcating, we will see endless proposals on competition courses  that don't address the length issue (deep rough, narrow fairways, less clubs, more stupid groove changes etc.) and that these proposals to courses will catch on and make a course "better"(oops already happened-see Bethpage etc.) leading to even slower rounds


ummmm grooves are bifurcated-you can argue all you want whether it matters or not- but pre 2010  grooves are grandfathered for most play until 2024 -yet a different  set of rules are used for most elite competitions as a condition of competition (bifurcation)

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Young on November 22, 2017, 11:19:51 PM
The few I have talked to regarding this seem to think the biggest issue for the USGA is their precious handicap system and how an accutate handicap system could be administered with a couple of different balls...two different balls might even require different slopes...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jon Wiggett on November 23, 2017, 02:20:25 AM


Of course it hasn't been proven.  How do you prove anything with cause and effect in tv sport spectating?  All I am saying is tv golf is becoming more and more one dimensional.
To you. All I'm saying is that we don't know, and that a 4I from a hanging lie to 35 feet is not exactly exciting golf to many TV viewers, just a small percentage who can appreciate that kind of shot.


I would think the second shot to the 13th at ANGC fits the bill spot on looking back a couple of decades ago. Now it is likely to be a much shorter shot.


Sean,


spot on. TV/ professional tour golf is becoming more one dimensional. The result of equipment that guarantees straighter and longer shots maybe?


Jon
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 23, 2017, 04:48:52 AM
The few I have talked to regarding this seem to think the biggest issue for the USGA is their precious handicap system and how an accutate handicap system could be administered with a couple of different balls...two different balls might even require different slopes...

Mike

In my bifurcation system the elite player using the rollback ball doesn't keep a handicap...these guys are top ams and pros.

Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 23, 2017, 06:55:49 AM
My regular playing partners range from +4's to 18's. I'm having trouble figuring out how we can remain competitive golf buds if a number of us play different balls. Do you really want to shut out the finest players in your club from the handicapped events?


Is it just me, or is the acceptance of 18 handicappers into the daily games of low cappers a modern phenomenon? I simply don't remember hacks and sticks playing in the same groups 30 years ago. It just feels like the two ball system will devide us once again. Yeah, and just as I'm becoming a hack. I'll miss hanging out with the popular kids.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 09:18:14 AM
The few I have talked to regarding this seem to think the biggest issue for the USGA is their precious handicap system and how an accutate handicap system could be administered with a couple of different balls...two different balls might even require different slopes...


you mean the one where guys take 6 footers all day, drop balls when lost or OB, roll it in the fairway, show up at a Member -Guest as "aboutta an 18"------the same one where the best players negotiate the shots on the first tee anyway because they know the current system is a joke.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jerry Kluger on November 23, 2017, 09:31:55 AM
I was fortunate to attend the Thursday Masters this year and spent a good deal of time where I could see approach shots into 15 as well as the 16th. On Thursday there was only one player that we saw hit the green in two on 15 as it was playing into the wind.  On the other hand, I believe that Garcia reached it in two on Sunday with an 8 iron. I would venture a guess that the members of ANGC preferred how it played on Thursday as would have Mackenzie.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 23, 2017, 09:47:27 AM
"...I also miss the days when an elite professional could hit the ball farther, but play the same tees as a club champ yet showcase his skills, rather than the two being on tees 50-60 yards apart on every hole...."

Jeff - not an exact parallel, but have you ever seen that old episode of (I think it was called) "Champions Golf" -- it was from the mid 60s, and was a match that had Arnold P and Gary P up against Ken V and Byron N

Now, Mr Nelson was one of the greatest of all time, and so on the one hand it didn't surprise me that he played as beautifully as he did...more than holding his own. But on the other hand, it was really striking -- there was a man in his mid 50s who hadn't played regular competitive golf for at least two decades, in the midst of three men in the absolute primes of their careers...and yet if there was any significant difference in the distances that he & they hit the ball, I couldn't see it.

Just as you say: the ball (mostly, I believe) and clubs back then did give an advantage to the longer hitter, but not exponentially so ...15-20 yards, not 50-60 yards

(Same as with a much older Sam Snead playing a very young Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach...judging from what they hit coming into greens, the then strongest, longest and best player on tour had maybe 1 club less - e.g. a 6 instead of a 5 iron -- than the old veteran)

It was fun to watch, plain and simple, and a more interesting game

Peter   
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 10:16:19 AM
"...I also miss the days when an elite professional could hit the ball farther, but play the same tees as a club champ yet showcase his skills, rather than the two being on tees 50-60 yards apart on every hole...."


Jeff - not an exact parallel, but have you ever seen that old episode of (I think it was) called "Champions Golf" -- it was from the mid 60s, and was a match that had Arnold P and Gary P up against Ken V and Byron N


Now, Mr Nelson was one of the greatest of all time, and so on the one hand it didn't surprise me that he played as beautifully as he did...more than holding his own. But on the other hand, it was really striking -- there was a man in his mid 50s who hadn't played regular competitive golf for at least two decades, in the midst of three men in the absolute primes of their careers...and yet if there was any significant difference in the distances that he & they hit the ball, I couldn't see it.


Just as you say: the ball (mostly, I believe) and clubs back then did give an advantage to the longer hitter, but not exponentially so ...15-20 yards, not 50-60 yards


(Same as with a much older Sam Snead playing a very young Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach...judging from what they hit coming into greens, the then strongest, longest and best player on tour had maybe 1 club less - e.g. a 6 instead of a 5 iron -- than the old veteran)


It was fun to watch, plain and simple, and a more interesting game


Peter   


Rest assured Peter, it's way more than just the ball, but the ball can be the fix-allowing current clubs.


This is the part that those who did not witness it firsthand miss.
Power was an awesome thing to behold-and was revered-and there were bombers,
but it was not the ONLY way to play.


I guess the naysayers needed to "see it to believe it."


What interests me is where fellow PGA professionals will line up on this.
With Wally and the $$ ? or in the interests of the GAME rather than  the business.


Wonder how my members would react if I didn't sell Titleist anymore?
I canceled Taylormade a few years ago when Mark King went nuts with his stupid ideas and every three month driver introductions.
The game's gotta be placed ahead of the "business" or there will be neither.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Young on November 23, 2017, 10:22:40 AM
The few I have talked to regarding this seem to think the biggest issue for the USGA is their precious handicap system and how an accutate handicap system could be administered with a couple of different balls...two different balls might even require different slopes...


you mean the one where guys take 6 footers all day, drop balls when lost or OB, roll it in the fairway, show up at a Member -Guest as "aboutta an 18"------the same one where the best players negotiate the shots on the first tee anyway because they know the current system is a joke.

Yeah, that's the one except now one guy will be playing with a limited ball and asking for more shots vs the slope and the other is playing with a jacked up ball but not telling anyone...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 10:23:38 AM

Apologies for the multi-quoted post. Sneaking in a little time before the festivities today.


By NOT bifurcating,  I'm afraid of losing classic courses for competition (Merion, Pebble etc.-replaced by unwalkable abominations 8-10 miles long) and others as they no longer host majors and slip into irelevancy in the eyes of paying members(Inwood, Siwanoy, Engineers etc.) and replaced by modern monstrocities.
They still host majors at Pebble. They just had one at Merion. And the Old Course, and Oakmont, and Pinehurst, and Oak Hill, and… Bethpage, and… it's a long list. I don't care that, for example, Whistling Straits hosted some majors. I'm glad it has. Not all majors need to be contested on 80+ year old courses. I think it's nice to get some new courses in there, and if some older ones fall off… so be it. In 50 years Whistling Straits may be a "classic" course.


I also miss the days when an elite professional could hit the ball farther, but play the same tees as a club champ yet showcase his skills, rather than the two being on tees 50-60 yards apart on every hole.
I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. That's a 1000-yard difference.


ummmm grooves are bifurcated-you can argue all you want whether it matters or not- but pre 2010  grooves are grandfathered for most play until 2024 -yet a different  set of rules are used for most elite competitions as a condition of competition (bifurcation)
My point is that nobody's still playing those wedges. Nobody stockpiled them. Competitions among high-level amateurs have the rule in place as a Condition of Competition. The rule was effectively bifurcated for about two years after 2010. Long enough for everyone to replace their wedges with newly conforming ones.


The few I have talked to regarding this seem to think the biggest issue for the USGA is their precious handicap system and how an accutate handicap system could be administered with a couple of different balls...two different balls might even require different slopes...
Two slopes and two course ratings. And since we're rating tees for both men and women (and with the Longleaf system, that's now up to seven or eight sets of tees)… it gets tedious. 7 or 8 tees, two balls, two genders… That's 28 to 32 sets of course ratings and slopes for a golf course.


I would think the second shot to the 13th at ANGC fits the bill spot on looking back a couple of decades ago. Now it is likely to be a much shorter shot.
My point was that while you and I might appreciate the shot, perhaps the vast majority of golf viewers just want to see a ball hit bounce, spin, and roll really close to the hole. Maybe they don't care if the club says "8" or "4" on the bottom.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 23, 2017, 10:28:40 AM
Jeff,


We have a member of our club who has played in a couple of Masters, was once top 30 on the money list and now has his amateur status back. I enjoy an occasional round with him despite he being 10 shots a round better than me. He beat me by a stroke in our member/member one year no thanks to him. I choked like a dog. Can't you see how I will lose this pleasure if a two ball system is introduced? Isn't the pride of losing a fair match one of the joys of the game?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 23, 2017, 10:36:18 AM

I would think the second shot to the 13th at ANGC fits the bill spot on looking back a couple of decades ago. Now it is likely to be a much shorter shot.
My point was that while you and I might appreciate the shot, perhaps the vast majority of golf viewers just want to see a ball hit bounce, spin, and roll really close to the hole. Maybe they don't care if the club says "8" or "4" on the bottom.

If declining tv viewers is an indication of how people view the game, maybe your premise is incorrect.  We won't know for sure because a large segment of golf fans have already stopped watching tv golf.  I have no proof, but my theory is that basically folks of roughly my age stopped watching and nobody filled the gap.  It is more than simply the one dimensional style of golf....it is that this single minded approach to golf severely limits the possible candidates of characters.  The swings look similar.  The clothes look similar.  The courses look similar.  These are trends that started back in the 70s and have progressed more down the one line pipe ever since.  Sport has to have something to sell and without characters it is far harder.  But with similar approaches and backgrounds, it is more difficult for characters to emerge.  These days we have faux characters that are plugged in.  Come on, Ricky Fowler etc? Even the dead boring Jack Nicklaus was more interesting...at least he won tons of tournies.  I am telling ya, tv golf is in serious trouble and needs a huge shake up.

Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 10:41:51 AM

Apologies for the multi-quoted post. Sneaking in a little time before the festivities today.


By NOT bifurcating,  I'm afraid of losing classic courses for competition (Merion, Pebble etc.-replaced by unwalkable abominations 8-10 miles long) and others as they no longer host majors and slip into irelevancy in the eyes of paying members(Inwood, Siwanoy, Engineers etc.) and replaced by modern monstrocities.
They still host majors at Pebble. They just had one at Merion. And the Old Course, and Oakmont, and Pinehurst, and Oak Hill, and… Bethpage, and… it's a long list. I don't care that, for example, Whistling Straits hosted some majors. I'm glad it has. Not all majors need to be contested on 80+ year old courses. I think it's nice to get some new courses in there, and if some older ones fall off… so be it. In 50 years Whistling Straits may be a "classic" course.


I also miss the days when an elite professional could hit the ball farther, but play the same tees as a club champ yet showcase his skills, rather than the two being on tees 50-60 yards apart on every hole.
I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. That's a 1000-yard difference.


ummmm grooves are bifurcated-you can argue all you want whether it matters or not- but pre 2010  grooves are grandfathered for most play until 2024 -yet a different  set of rules are used for most elite competitions as a condition of competition (bifurcation)
My point is that nobody's still playing those wedges. Nobody stockpiled them. Competitions among high-level amateurs have the rule in place as a Condition of Competition. The rule was effectively bifurcated for about two years after 2010. Long enough for everyone to replace their wedges with newly conforming ones.





Erik,
all logical rebuttals to my concerns about not bifurcating.
 (though I think we can agree that it wouldn't be crazy for a 48 year old club champ to play from 6700-6800 yards at Erin Hills (or  Shinny) while a Touring pro plays at 7450(SH) or 7600+ at EH-that's 800-900 yards. of course it wouldn't be 60 yards  on shorter or par 3 holes.


My question to you was what you meant by this comment.
"we have so much to lose by bifurcating"
What is it you are concerned with losing?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 10:42:56 AM
If declining tv viewers is an indication of how people view the game, maybe your premise is incorrect.  We won't know for sure because a large segment of golf fans have already stopped watching tv golf.  I have no proof, but my theory is that basically folks of roughly my age stopped watching and nobody filled the gap.  It is more than simply the one dimensional style of golf....it is that this single minded approach to golf severely limits the possible candidates of characters.  The swings look similar.  The clothes look similar.  The courses look similar.  These are trends that started back in the 70s and have progressed more down the one line pipe ever since.  Sport has to have something to sell and without characters it is far harder.  But with similar approaches and backgrounds, it is more difficult for characters to emerge.  These days we have faux characters that are plugged in.  Come on, Ricky Fowler etc? Even the dead boring Jack Nicklaus was more interesting...at least he won tons of tournies.  I am telling ya, tv golf is in serious trouble and needs a huge shake up.
I agree - the lack of character on the PGA Tour these days is appalling. I hate the robots that they've all become. That's why I actually root for the Patrick Reeds of the world, as few and far between as they've become.

It's odd too because if you're a character, you're marketable. But maybe it's a fine line that even characters like Bubba have a hard time walking (Paris, his car which I don't think he should have painted over in the name of political correctness), etc. Boo Weekley, Patrick Reed… fine line to walk. Rickie has done it, but all he really does is wear orange clothes. That's hardly a "character." But in today's game, sadly, that's all it takes to stand out.

Sorry. Really nothing about the ball per se there. I'll stop now.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 10:44:17 AM
Jeff,


We have a member of our club who has played in a couple of Masters, was once top 30 on the money list and now has his amateur status back. I enjoy an occasional round with him despite he being 10 shots a round better than me. He beat me by a stroke in our member/member one year no thanks to him. I choked like a dog. Can't you see how I will lose this pleasure if a two ball system is introduced? Isn't the pride of losing a fair match one of the joys of the game?


Agreed 100%
Anyr reason you both can't play the same ball in your "fair match" which clearly isn't fair but that's your choice.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 23, 2017, 10:51:23 AM
The few I have talked to regarding this seem to think the biggest issue for the USGA is their precious handicap system and how an accutate handicap system could be administered with a couple of different balls...two different balls might even require different slopes...


Otherwise, I don't see the problem, as long as a player isn't switching back and forth between golf balls.  If you establish a 5 handicap with the current ball, it means you'll shoot an average of 77 and need five strokes from a scratch player.  If you establish a 5 handicap with the new ball ... same thing.

I'm not sure I follow the logic that a new slope system will be required, either.  A 15-handicap and a scratch golfer don't compress the ball anywhere near the same, but it's okay to use the slope system to handicap both of them.  I think the only thing that would really be endangered is the definition of a "scratch" golfer, and you know all of the scratch golfers are going to defend that to the death.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 23, 2017, 10:52:36 AM
If I am able to tie or beat a world class amateur on 2/3's of the holes we play why would I want to humiliate myself by forcing him to use inferior equipment. As anyone who has ever played with great players know anyways, it still comes down to the putting.


Truth be known, all this fuss about length comes from superior ball strikers who have lost their putting stroke.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 23, 2017, 10:53:20 AM
Sean - I suspect you’re right, especially when it comes to *American* sports coverage, which for better or worse has always relied/focused on the drama the announcers tried to create, eg the untold stories, the personal narratives, the mythic themes. In golf, not only the game but the *coverage* would be more compelling if the equipment better allowed for a David and Goliath story (Woods vs Pavin) or The Impossible Dream (a club pro in the last group at the PGA Championship) or another Miracle at the Masters (with Bernhard Langer winning). Was there a more dramatic final round in the last few years than Tom Watson at the Open, Turning Back The Clock?

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 10:56:29 AM
The few I have talked to regarding this seem to think the biggest issue for the USGA is their precious handicap system and how an accutate handicap system could be administered with a couple of different balls...two different balls might even require different slopes...


Otherwise, I don't see the problem, as long as a player isn't switching back and forth between golf balls.  If you establish a 5 handicap with the current ball, it means you'll shoot an average of 77 and need five strokes from a scratch player.  If you establish a 5 handicap with the new ball ... same thing.

I'm not sure I follow the logic that a new slope system will be required, either.  A 15-handicap and a scratch golfer don't compress the ball anywhere near the same, but it's okay to use the slope system to handicap both of them.  I think the only thing that would really be endangered is the definition of a "scratch" golfer, and you know all of the scratch golfers are going to defend that to the death.


Your handicap index is your index-no matter what ball you play-as long as you play the same ball.
If you switch-well that becomes a negotiation-which already happens.


The idea that you need to rerate and reslope 7 sets of tees(a senior woman is going to use the tourbnament ball?) is ludicrous (but then so is the handicap system)
The handicap system should be tweaked by gamblers and net tournament players who understand the quirks and ways to game the system-not statiticians in a vacuum.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 10:59:52 AM
If I am able to tie or beat a world class amateur on 2/3's of the holes we play why would I want to humiliate myself by forcing him to use inferior equipment. As anyone who has ever played with great players know anyways, it still comes down to the putting.



John, If you choose to be the mark in your singles matches with an expro, that's your choice.


But I'm not taking you as a partner against him in a money match without you (and/or me) getting either shots, tees, or different equipment-or a weak partner for him.
Many ways to make a "fair" match
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Hoak on November 23, 2017, 11:09:01 AM
I think that most of the comments on here about bifurcation and the USGA are missing the key point.  It's the PGA Tour--not the USGA--that needs to be convinced as to why they should accept decreased distances.  With the exception of the US Open--and other USGA events--the USGA has no control really over what tour players do.  Why does anyone assume that the PGA Tour would agree to reducing the long ball?  I think they have been pretty clear that this is an issue on which they would break with the USGA--and go their own way.  So where does that leave us?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 11:18:52 AM
I think that most of the comments on here about bifurcation and the USGA are missing the key point.  It's the PGA Tour--not the USGA--that needs to be convinced as to why they should accept decreased distances.  With the exception of the US Open--and other USGA events--the USGA has no control really over what tour players do.  Why does anyone assume that the PGA Tour would agree to reducing the long ball?  I think they have been pretty clear that this is an issue on which they would break with the USGA--and go their own way.  So where does that leave us?


Spot on-to a degree.
The PGA Tour or the USGA , or any other organization could adopt a "condition of competition" mandating a certain ball specs-the same ast hey do with other forms of already in place bifurcation. (grooves, one ball rules, etc.)
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Young on November 23, 2017, 11:22:46 AM
Tom and Jeff,

What you mention is the problem with the handicapping.  A guy could play rounds with each ball, especially if it comes out that one is a tournament ball. If a guy who plays many tournaments plays the tournament ball all of the time and then another plays the regular ball and is in a handicapped match play club event using a tournament ball there can be a problem...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 23, 2017, 11:27:33 AM
One key to happiness as a club player is the belief that everyone who wins an event is not a cheater. The two ball world makes the difficult almost impossible.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 23, 2017, 11:28:24 AM
I think that most of the comments on here about bifurcation and the USGA are missing the key point.  It's the PGA Tour--not the USGA--that needs to be convinced as to why they should accept decreased distances.  With the exception of the US Open--and other USGA events--the USGA has no control really over what tour players do.  Why does anyone assume that the PGA Tour would agree to reducing the long ball?  I think they have been pretty clear that this is an issue on which they would break with the USGA--and go their own way.  So where does that leave us?


It leaves us nowhere, and that's why it's easy for Mike Davis to say he favors a change.  He's talking about making it all voluntary, but he knows that the Tour, which is the most important group in terms of reducing distance, is not about to volunteer to switch to a shorter ball, unless the new Commissioner feels vastly different about it than his predecessor.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: M. Shea Sweeney on November 23, 2017, 11:39:14 AM

I agree - the lack of character on the PGA Tour these days is appalling. I hate the robots that they've all become. That's why I actually root for the Patrick Reeds of the world, as few and far between as they've become.

It's odd too because if you're a character, you're marketable. But maybe it's a fine line that even characters like Bubba have a hard time walking (Paris, his car which I don't think he should have painted over in the name of political correctness), etc. Boo Weekley, Patrick Reed… fine line to walk. Rickie has done it, but all he really does is wear orange clothes. That's hardly a "character." But in today's game, sadly, that's all it takes to stand out.



Erik-
Do you spend any time around the Tour?

The lack or character rests off the course--not on the course. And mainly the off the course "lack of character' is simply a generational thing happening in every sport.... Not on the course. As they say in the NHL--GATORADE AND ROOM SERVICE..



Let the companies continue bashing their heads against the wall, and BIFURCATE!!!! IT WORKS FOR EVERY OTHER GREAT SPORT!
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 23, 2017, 11:46:12 AM
But this remains the only sport where I can compete at full speed against a professional. I recently took a tennis lesson from a Ex touring pro not far removed. I asked him to hit me a few full serves.  Wow!!! I could have lost an eye. Let's not even talk football or basketball at full speed. Let golf be golf!!!
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 11:50:23 AM
But this remains the only sport where I can compete at full speed against a professional. I recently took a tennis lesson from a Ex touring pro not far removed. I asked him to hit me a few full serves.  Wow!!! I could have lost an eye. Let's not even talk football or basketball at full speed. Let golf be golf!!!


So you're advocating an across the board rollback!
perfect-let's let golf be golf.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jerry Kluger on November 23, 2017, 12:26:51 PM
The PGA by and large does not have any skin in the game in so far as venues go so if the ball goes farther and it takes much of the strategy out of the game at the pro level it is not their problem.  If they owned the courses, like baseball stadiums, etc., they would care if the courses couldn't keep up with the equipment improvements.


I think the USGA looks at the US Open and the venues they will use and they have a very hard time maintaining the character and features of the great old venues.  Do you really think that Mike Davis wants it to be that he has to set up a great course like Merion in such a way that it makes it so unattractive to try and drive a short par 4 which was meant to be drivable?  Or that they have to make the par 4s over 500 yards long to challenge the best players?  I think that is why he has tried some new venues like Chambers Bay and Erin Hills.  I don't know that the experiment of using newer golf courses was successful but that is an argument for another thread.


I could not see how today's top players could argue that somehow a dialed back ball would be bad for their game?  Wouldn't the best players still win if they were all using balls with the same limitations? Would fans really mind if players had to use a fairway wood to hit a par 5 in two?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 23, 2017, 12:44:38 PM
I doubt few people would enjoy watching the male game if the players were limited to the ball striking abilities of the LPGA through equipment. You would also soon see a different set of players. A more intellectual crowd as opposed to the sexy beasts of today.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 12:56:21 PM
I doubt few people would enjoy watching the male game if the players were limited to the ball striking abilities of the LPGA through equipment. You would also soon see a different set of players. A more intellectual crowd as opposed to the sexy beasts of today.


I'd say the stronger , more athletic great drivers would benefit as they could actually demonstrate their driving prowess rather than hit hybrids and driving irons.
Kind've like Watson remaining relevant on links courses into his 60's by driving it when others are forced to lay up.
Parity reigns when all are forced to the same spot.
Nicklaus could dominate because he COULD hit straight and far. Others did one or the other.


Relax enjoy the ride-it's coming.
It's about time the conversation's been had by people besides us super geeks.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 01:48:25 PM
I'm not sure I follow the logic that a new slope system will be required, either.  A 15-handicap and a scratch golfer don't compress the ball anywhere near the same, but it's okay to use the slope system to handicap both of them.  I think the only thing that would really be endangered is the definition of a "scratch" golfer, and you know all of the scratch golfers are going to defend that to the death.
A new rating and slope would be needed as the definitions for Scratch and Bogey golfers would change with the different ball. A 470-yard hole now with the new ball would put the player 40 yards out with their second shot. Different areas and features of the golf course would be within range (i.e. a fairway bunker 30 yards back of the landing area for a scratch golfer would be within the 20-yard window with a reduced distance ball).

People aren't going to establish handicaps and stick with just one ball all the time, so their handicap would likely have to be able to take into account rounds played with either golf ball, from a variety of tees.

Slope is basically the slope of the line between the scratch and bogey course ratings, so that would change as well.

The idea that you need to rerate and reslope 7 sets of tees(a senior woman is going to use the tourbnament ball?) is ludicrous (but then so is the handicap system)

I don't know why you'd say that. And the handicap system does a pretty damn good job, IMO, given the complexity of both the courses and the people who play them.

And a "senior woman" may not want to play a tournament ball, but "women" might, and so tees are rated for women.


Erik-
Do you spend any time around the Tour?

Yes.
The lack or character rests off the course--not on the course. And mainly the off the course "lack of character' is simply a generational thing happening in every sport.... Not on the course. As they say in the NHL--GATORADE AND ROOM SERVICE.

I'm not sure what you're talking about. I'm talking about people displaying emotion on the golf course, not being robots. I'm not talking about integrity, or whatever you seem to be talking about. I'm talking about entertaining behavior - Tiger reacting with fist pumps when he hits good shots, and mini temper tantrums when he doesn't.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 23, 2017, 01:56:46 PM
A new rating and slope would be needed as the definitions for Scratch and Bogey golfers would change with the different ball. A 470-yard hole now with the new ball would put the player 40 yards out with their second shot. Different areas and features of the golf course would be within range (i.e. a fairway bunker 30 yards back of the landing area for a scratch golfer would be within the 20-yard window with a reduced distance ball).


Sorry, Erik, you are making it harder than it needs to be.


The Slope System was introduced in 1984 or '85, with equipment from that day and age ... no 460cc drivers and solid balls, no wedges to the 470-yard holes.  And they didn't bother to go back and change it all around as the equipment has changed.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 02:01:04 PM
Sorry, Erik, you are making it harder than it needs to be.

The Slope System was introduced in 1984 or '85, with equipment from that day and age ... no 460cc drivers and solid balls, no wedges to the 470-yard holes.  And they didn't bother to go back and change it all around as the equipment has changed.
I'm not sure what's being made "harder" than it has to be. A course rating for the scratch golfer is calculated. A course rating for the bogey golfer is calculated. (Those calculations have undergone numerous changes over the last 30+ years, including changes to the corridor width, how we rate trees, how the depth of bunkers is determined and weighed, etc.). The slope of the line connecting the two course ratings determines the "slope" rating.

So any change to the definitions - like a scratch golfer hitting the ball 250 yards with his first shot and up to 220 with his second, and similar (but shorter) distances for the bogey golfer, will mean a change to BOTH ratings (and thus the slope) if a shorter ball is made available.

After all, the slope affects every round differential and thus every handicap index except for those very close to the course rating.

I think the course rating and handicap system do a remarkable job given the complexity of golf courses and golfers, and they do so pretty simply with just two numbers: scratch (course) rating and slope.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.


Edit: The World Handicap System coming soon is based on course ratings/slope from the USGA, with the possible addition of a daily modifier with enough qualified scores (similar to the daily scratch score used in the UK, etc.).
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 02:13:33 PM
I'm not sure I follow the logic that a new slope system will be required, either.  A 15-handicap and a scratch golfer don't compress the ball anywhere near the same, but it's okay to use the slope system to handicap both of them.  I think the only thing that would really be endangered is the definition of a "scratch" golfer, and you know all of the scratch golfers are going to defend that to the death.
A new rating and slope would be needed as the definitions for Scratch and Bogey golfers would change with the different ball. A 470-yard hole now with the new ball would put the player 40 yards out with their second shot. Different areas and features of the golf course would be within range (i.e. a fairway bunker 30 yards back of the landing area for a scratch golfer would be within the 20-yard window with a reduced distance ball).

People aren't going to establish handicaps and stick with just one ball all the time, so their handicap would likely have to be able to take into account rounds played with either golf ball, from a variety of tees.

Slope is basically the slope of the line between the scratch and bogey course ratings, so that would change as well.

The idea that you need to rerate and reslope 7 sets of tees(a senior woman is going to use the tourbnament ball?) is ludicrous (but then so is the handicap system)

I don't know why you'd say that. And the handicap system does a pretty damn good job, IMO, given the complexity of both the courses and the people who play them.

And a "senior woman" may not want to play a tournament ball, but "women" might, and so tees are rated for women.


Erik-
Do you spend any time around the Tour?

Yes.
The lack or character rests off the course--not on the course. And mainly the off the course "lack of character' is simply a generational thing happening in every sport.... Not on the course. As they say in the NHL--GATORADE AND ROOM SERVICE.

I'm not sure what you're talking about. I'm talking about people displaying emotion on the golf course, not being robots. I'm not talking about integrity, or whatever you seem to be talking about. I'm talking about entertaining behavior - Tiger reacting with fist pumps when he hits good shots, and mini temper tantrums when he doesn't.



You really though Tiger's boorish behavior brought something positive to the game?(not his record but his uncontrollable outbursts)
That's not being a "character"-that's being a prima donna asshole.


Jimmy Demaret was a character, Sam Snead was a character, Moe Norman a character,  Ray Floyd a legendary partier-alog with many others, Chi Ch Rodriguez, Ben Crensahaw had fire-but he never had Tigerlike moments on camera.(and he was a smoker who hid it during his rounds)


I'll even argue there are characters out there now-just don't tell me Tiger's behavior was a plus. His game was.-he wasn't


So you're seriously going to rerate  tees for a woman who wants to play a tournament ball?
I think you're missing the point-remember the 99.99% argument the nonbifurcators trot out?
She's in that group.

But as Tom already pointed out, o need to rerate any tees-your handicap is your handicap as long as you don't switch balls.
If you do, switch tees or negotiate.


Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 23, 2017, 02:18:44 PM
I can't really believe this discussion about the ball affecting TV watching. Until the tracker, you couldn't tell much about what was going on except for the short game. Golf tournaments are watched for the unfolding drama. A very small minority might watch for the shots, but it is the drama that holds the most interest.

Who cares what ball is used?
IMO, almost no one.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 02:26:24 PM
You really though Tiger's boorish behavior brought something positive to the game?(not his record but his uncontrollable outbursts)
That's not being a "character"-that's being a prima donna asshole.
Uhhh, okay. I think the level of interest Tiger earned bears this out. I dislike robots on the golf course. I don't mind someone showing their frustrations by burying a clubhead in the ground now and then, just as I liked seeing the running fist pumps when he'd hole some shot, or the club twirls when he flushed a 5-iron.

It was interesting. It showed personality. That's sorely lacking among a lot of PGA Tour players. There's a reason Rory's and Reed's Ryder Cup match stands out. They weren't even playing better than Sergio and Phil IIRC, but people remember the Rory/Reed match more so than the Phil/Sergio match.

Jimmy Demaret was a character, Sam Snead was a character, Moe Norman a character,  Ray Floyd a legendary partier-alog with many others, Chi Ch Rodriguez, Ben Crensahaw had fire-but he never had Tigerlike moments on camera.(and he was a smoker who hid it during his rounds)
Moe almost never played the PGA Tour. Chi Chi didn't win very much. Ray Floyd earned a reputation for what he did off the golf course, as on it he was mostly known for staring at people. Yawn.

I'll even argue there are characters out there now-just don't tell me Tiger's behavior was a plus. His game was.-he wasn't
Sorry, I'm gonna disagree with you there. I think his behavior (on the golf course) as a whole was a plus. I think a lot of people liked displays of emotion on the golf course.

So you're seriously going to rerate  tees for a woman who wants to play a tournament ball?
I think you're missing the point-remember the 99.99% argument the nonbifurcators trot out?
She's in that group.
Yep. She's in the 99.999%, but if there are two balls, people are going to play different balls. That includes women, some of whom are pretty damn good.

But as Tom already pointed out, o need to rerate any tees-your handicap is your handicap as long as you don't switch balls.
If you do, switch tees or negotiate.
"If you do, switch tees or negotiate"? C'mon… That's not an answer.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 02:33:56 PM
Erik,
I'll take this thread off the edge
Why would a woman not named Lexi ever play a tournament ball?
and if Lexi did, why would she need the course rerated?
People switch tees and negotiate handicaps every day-of course that's an answer.


There are many questions that need to be answered, the same as the multiple issues that have cropped up with unbridled, buy a new driver every year technology.
It's about what's good for golf, not individuals such as you me and Rory making a living at it.
The tide has turned-embrace it.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 02:41:45 PM
I'll take this thread off the edge
Why would a woman not named Lexi ever play a tournament ball?
and if Lexi did, why would she need the course rerated?
People switch tees and negotiate handicaps every day-of course that's an answer
Because who are you to tell someone else what they can and can't do? If the female club champion, who is also going to compete in the U.S. Women's Am, or the Four-Ball, or go to an NCAA Division I school, or some other thing that requires the Tournament Ball wants to learn and use the Tournament Ball, who are you to say no?

The topic is about the USGA and a roll-back. The re-rating of courses for two classes of golf balls is a related tangent, but it's still a tangent. The actual course rating system is not a tangent, IMO.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 23, 2017, 02:49:41 PM
Don't worry about the women...they will get their own ball if this goes through. Then the seniors, juniors and handicapped. Try to fight that without looking like a cad. There is no end to it all until we all reach every green in regulation...no sooner, no later.


When we all hit the ball the same do you really believe architecture will remain or become more interesting?


Autonomous golf for the masses. Should be great for those who don't want to learn how to drive. At least we will all finish in the exact predetermined time.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 03:09:03 PM
I'll take this thread off the edge
Why would a woman not named Lexi ever play a tournament ball?
and if Lexi did, why would she need the course rerated?
People switch tees and negotiate handicaps every day-of course that's an answer
Because who are you to tell someone else what they can and can't do? If the female club champion, who is also going to compete in the U.S. Women's Am, or the Four-Ball, or go to an NCAA Division I school, or some other thing that requires the Tournament Ball wants to learn and use the Tournament Ball, who are you to say no?

The topic is about the USGA and a roll-back. The re-rating of courses for two classes of golf balls is a related tangent, but it's still a tangent. The actual course rating system is not a tangent, IMO.


If a rollback, no need to have 2 sets of ratimgs.


If bifurcation, are you telling me courses are too small for Women's Am contestants?
Why would they need a tournament ball if bifurcation for PGA Men's and certain USGA Men's events events went through
they can play any ball they want-I'm not going to stop them -but why would they if current courses can contain them?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 03:16:02 PM
If a rollback, no need to have 2 sets of ratimgs.
I agree with that hypothetical, but 99.99% of golfers don't need a rolled back ball.

If bifurcation, are you telling me courses are too small for Women's Am contestants?
I didn't say that. I've simply said that if there are two legal balls, you cannot legislate who plays them. The only way you might be able to get away with it is if the Condition of Competition is pretty clearly limited to just high-level men's events, and I just don't see that happening.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: M. Shea Sweeney on November 23, 2017, 03:19:00 PM

Erik-
Do you spend any time around the Tour?

Yes.
The lack or character rests off the course--not on the course. And mainly the off the course "lack of character' is simply a generational thing happening in every sport.... Not on the course. As they say in the NHL--GATORADE AND ROOM SERVICE.

I'm not sure what you're talking about. I'm talking about people displaying emotion on the golf course, not being robots. I'm not talking about integrity, or whatever you seem to be talking about. I'm talking about entertaining behavior - Tiger reacting with fist pumps when he hits good shots, and mini temper tantrums when he doesn't.



Erik-
The diversity in the game in regards to personality, swings, style of play is just as plentiful now as it was whenever you want to compare it to. All you need to do is get out on the grass and see it in person. It's awesome.


I don't know what you an Arble are talking about. While I'm here--SEAN ARBLE- really? all the swings on the tour look the same? 


Furthermore I can't believe you take Rickie Fowler to task. Clearly you haven't followed him and seen his deal in person. Guy plays the game so beautifully and different then a lot of guys around him.


I mean how much different could Speith and Justin Thomas be (technique wise).


The Presidents Cup emotion fest is laughable. Go watch George Knudson's interview on CBS about homeostasis...


I am also not sure what this has to do with bifurcation. We're talking about keeping the character IN the game. IN the playing field.




Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 03:26:22 PM

I am also not sure what this has to do with bifurcation. We're talking about keeping the character IN the game. IN the playing field.
I don't either. So All I'll say is that  I'm not the only one who laments the "sameness" of the players and the "robotic" nature they exhibit over the past few years, decades.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: M. Shea Sweeney on November 23, 2017, 03:36:11 PM

I am also not sure what this has to do with bifurcation. We're talking about keeping the character IN the game. IN the playing field.
I don't either. So All I'll say is that  I'm not the only one who laments the "sameness" of the players and the "robotic" nature they exhibit over the past few years, decades.

Decades?
Right, because John Daly, Greg Norman, Corey Pavin, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods, David Duval, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Nick Price, Jose Maria Olazabal, Carlos Franco, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc played so similar
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 04:42:55 PM

Decades?
Right, because John Daly, Greg Norman, Corey Pavin, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods, David Duval, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Nick Price, Jose Maria Olazabal, Carlos Franco, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc played so similar
I said years and decades, yes, and I'm sticking by that. Jose Maria and Corey Pavin is your counter-argument? I think there's less "personality" on Tour now than at any point in the past. It's been declining for decades.

I'm not sure what this all has to do with the actual topic, so I'm tapping out. Have a great Thanksgiving.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 08:29:01 PM
If a rollback, no need to have 2 sets of ratimgs.
I agree with that hypothetical, but 99.99% of golfers don't need a rolled back ball.

If bifurcation, are you telling me courses are too small for Women's Am contestants?
I didn't say that. I've simply said that if there are two legal balls, you cannot legislate who plays them. The only way you might be able to get away with it is if the Condition of Competition is pretty clearly limited to just high-level men's events, and I just don't see that happening.

Sorry, but choosing a tournament ball in casual play shouldn't get the course rerated for you.
We don't rerate for players using 2010 grooves, even though they are entitled to use pre 2010 grooves in a non elite event.
For that matter we don't rerate for players who pick up 6 footers and drop balls instead of reteeing.(self bifurcated rules)


Why would there be a tournament ball for anyone besides "high level men's events," or the .01%


If someone wanted to go back and forth, I guess they could have 2 handicaps, but there wouldn't be any need to rerate the course.
One handicap would just be higher than the other.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 08:49:08 PM
If someone wanted to go back and forth, I guess they could have 2 handicaps, but there wouldn't be any need to rerate the course.
One handicap would just be higher than the other.
Because you get one handicap index, not two.

Sorry, but choosing a tournament ball in casual play shouldn't get the course rerated for you.
I disagree, and seeing as I'm not going to convince you, nor you me, that's all I have to say on that. Respectfully.

To the actual topic, I don't think we need a tournament ball, nor a roll-back. I don't think we need either.

For that matter we don't rerate for players who pick up 6 footers and drop balls instead of reteeing.(self bifurcated rules)
That's not "bifurcated rules." That's "not playing by the rules."
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 23, 2017, 08:57:15 PM
Jeff,

It seems to me they might have to have a different rating, because they currently base it on scratch driving 250, and bogey driving 200 I think. With a limited ball that must change. Also, I know ratings are based on differences between tees. The distance differences between tees would be shorter for rating adjustments.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 09:00:24 PM
Erik,
we got a little sidetracked but the handicap discussion is on topic.


Back to my original question i've now asked three times.


Earlier in the thread you stated


 "We have so much to lose by bifurcating"

What do we risk losing?


Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 23, 2017, 09:08:47 PM
Jeff,

It seems to me they might have to have a different rating, because they currently base it on scratch driving 250, and bogey driving 200 I think. With a limited ball that must change. Also, I know ratings are based on differences between tees. The distance differences between tees would be shorter for rating adjustments.


Garland,
i nderstand why the USGA with their silly handicapping mights say you should rerate it it...
Nobody understands the system as t is, but rerating tees that will never be played with a tournament ball is well...silly overkill.


How many players that use the tournament ball would ever use a handicap anyway?
1% of players of 1% of guys who use both balls of 1% of players that would ever play in an event that allows a handicap basically is what we are tallking about- at best.

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 23, 2017, 09:27:21 PM
Garland,
i nderstand why the USGA with their silly handicapping mights say you should rerate it it...
Nobody understands the system as t is, but rerating tees that will never be played with a tournament ball is well...silly overkill.

I understand it.  :)

I've rated courses for about 12 years now. Captain for two, including attending the national seminar.

Not a difficult thing really. Just takes a little bit to get it.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 23, 2017, 10:18:57 PM
(Those calculations have undergone numerous changes over the last 30+ years, including changes to the corridor width, how we rate trees, how the depth of bunkers is determined and weighed, etc.).

So any change to the definitions - like a scratch golfer hitting the ball 250 yards with his first shot and up to 220 with his second, and similar (but shorter) distances for the bogey golfer, will mean a change to BOTH ratings (and thus the slope) if a shorter ball is made available.

After all, the slope affects every round differential and thus every handicap index except for those very close to the course rating.



I had no idea that the USGA keeps tinkering with the formula for the Slope System.  Who's in charge of that?


On my first few courses, I would go out with the state golf association team when they were there to rate the course.  Once I understood it pretty well, I lost interest in it, because there are so many things I try to get into my designs that are not a factor in calculating the rating and slope.


By far the silliest of these is the idea that the "scratch player" drives it 250 yards and hits his second shot 220 yards every time, and that the "bogey player" drives it 200 and hits his second shot 170.  Scratch golfers have been way past those numbers for twenty years, but they haven't changed the distances.  And as for bogey golfers, I still remember what Mr. Dye said when I tried to explain it to him:


"370 yards?  After two shots the bogey golfer could be anywhere.  He might still be on the tee."[size=78%] [/size]
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 24, 2017, 02:12:46 AM

"370 yards?  After two shots the bogey golfer could be anywhere.  He might still be on the tee."

I resemble that remark.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 24, 2017, 08:38:45 AM
ERik,
4 pages ago, and abou 15 responses ago by you, you stated


"we risk so much by bifurcating"


I asked you what we risked, and expressed my concerns and what we risk if we don't rollback or bifurcate,


Respectfully, and for the fourth time...


What do you feel we risk by bifurcation?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 24, 2017, 01:00:44 PM
The discussion between Jeff and Erik has been a pleasure to read: they both know their stuff and each in their way is well/highly placed and runs in the right circles re this issue. So I have a question for them, and for others (below). The preamble:

Reading this debate, it strikes me that moving forward the issue of a potential roll-back or bifurcation won't be resolved through statistics or even 'facts', let alone through emotion, rhetoric or romantic ideals.

What's at play here instead are two distinct and far-reaching "visions" of the game (both as a spectator and participatory sport):

One vision is essentially the status quo -- with seemingly happy average golfers and with (at the top levels) higher swing speeds producing exponentially longer distances.

The other vision is of a game that fosters a commitment both to the past (the continued viability of classic courses as championship tests, and of a broader golfing skill-set, i.e. less intense emphasis on distance) and to the future (with a nod to sustainability through limits on the amount of land required).

So, the practical question to both Jeff and Erik (and anyone else with an idea):
Who do you have in your respective corners?
Which people/parts of the golfing world do you think will embrace/fight for Vision One, and which will be willing (and able) to work through the complex issues involved with making Vision Two a reality?
Will it in any way be a fair fight?
In every area of life, the status quo always has the advantage -- are there people/forces in place that realistically have a chance to displace it?

Peter
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 24, 2017, 01:26:20 PM
I had no idea that the USGA keeps tinkering with the formula for the Slope System.  Who's in charge of that?
The USGA. They publish a new manual every 2-4 years. The current manual is only for two years, IIRC, because of the impending World Handicap System (I'm only capitalizing it to give it significance. I'm not trying to imply that it's a formal, assigned name.)

On my first few courses, I would go out with the state golf association team when they were there to rate the course.  Once I understood it pretty well, I lost interest in it, because there are so many things I try to get into my designs that are not a factor in calculating the rating and slope.
Right. I mean, the system isn't perfect, but IMO it's pretty good at, relatively simply (two numbers), taking the complex and varied nature of golf courses and golfers games and providing a platform that allows them to compete.

By far the silliest of these is the idea that the "scratch player" drives it 250 yards and hits his second shot 220 yards every time, and that the "bogey player" drives it 200 and hits his second shot 170. Scratch golfers have been way past those numbers for twenty years, but they haven't changed the distances.  And as for bogey golfers, I still remember what Mr. Dye said when I tried to explain it to him:
They're actually not too far beyond 250 yards.

(https://media.golfdigest.com/photos/55ad7825add713143b428972/master/pass/golf-instruction-blogs-theinstructionblog-fitness-friday-clubhead-speed-chart.jpg)

Of course there's some simplification taking place. They have to simplify or else the course rating process would be incredibly dense and difficult. I think they've struck a pretty good balance of simplicity while taking into account the various features and games of players of many ability levels.

------

Jeff, I think your question about what we could lose has been answered several times. There are several things we lose. I think the biggest thing is that since golf is a game not played against opponents per se (i.e. there's no defense, nobody's hitting a ball back at you, or blocking your route to the goal, etc.), we risk losing the connection we have to players of all ability levels. Right now, golfers can relate to players of all ability levels. They can marvel at Dustin Johnson's drive, and simultaneously give themselves credit when they pull something off that they saw on TV. We're all playing the same game under the same rules. That's kinda magical, and a big draw for a lot of people.

I think perhaps the next biggest thing is that we actually create a hurdle for people on the bubble. Where do you draw this line? Players who are near that bubble will play with the "tournament ball" in case they're ever required to use it. It'll create confusion and players will be at a disadvantage much of the time: if they play with the tournament ball exclusively they're disadvantaged when they play against others who aren't using it, and if they play mostly with the "regular" ball, they'll be at a disadvantage when they play in U.S. Open qualifying, U.S. Mid-Am qualifying, etc.

Basically, I don't see the point in making a rule for 0.001% of golfers. The vast majority of golfers are fine playing from 6500 yards or less.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Thomas Dai on November 24, 2017, 01:41:23 PM

(https://media.golfdigest.com/photos/55ad7825add713143b428972/master/pass/golf-instruction-blogs-theinstructionblog-fitness-friday-clubhead-speed-chart.jpg)



Interesting graphic Erik, thanks for posting. I assume it's male golfers.
Whilst apreciating that the graphic is based on averages I do wonder what it says about an individual player if their swingspeed is say 104 mph, therefore they should be a 6 hcp but they actually play off say a 10 hcp! Or their swingspeed is say 93 mph, should be hcp is 13 but they actually play off say 7!
The use, or lack of use of the 15th club maybe? Or they're a rubbish/brilliant putter and short-gamer?
Lots of aspects. Effects rollback or not as well...rollback rocks that roll, rollback softies that spin etc>


By the way, and please take this the right way, loads of cutting and pasting sentences is a pain in the neck, please don't go down that road.  :)


atb

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 24, 2017, 01:54:01 PM
As someone that has never played anywhere near the usage averages used in handicap calculation, I Don't have as much faith in it as has been expressed here.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JMEvensky on November 24, 2017, 01:57:34 PM

I still subscribe to the Goodale Bifurcation Theory (TM) which states that bifurcation will ultimately lead back to unification--using the more restricted ball.


Pro's being forced to use a restricted ball would eventually filter down to club tournaments. The only people using non-PGAT conforming golf balls will be the same types who put Vaseline on their drivers back in the day.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 24, 2017, 02:47:42 PM


Jeff, . There are several things we lose. I think the biggest thing is that since golf is a game not played against opponents per se (i.e. there's no defense, nobody's hitting a ball back at you, or blocking your route to the goal, etc.), we risk losing the connection we have to players of all ability levels. Right now, golfers can relate to players of all ability levels. They can marvel at Dustin Johnson's drive, and simultaneously give themselves credit when they pull something off that they saw on TV. We're all playing the same game under the same rules. That's kinda magical, and a big draw for a lot of people.

I think perhaps the next biggest thing is that we actually create a hurdle for people on the bubble. Where do you draw this line? Players who are near that bubble will play with the "tournament ball" in case they're ever required to use it. It'll create confusion and players will be at a disadvantage much of the time: if they play with the tournament ball exclusively they're disadvantaged when they play against others who aren't using it, and if they play mostly with the "regular" ball, they'll be at a disadvantage when they play in U.S. Open qualifying, U.S. Mid-Am qualifying, etc.

Basically, I don't see the point in making a rule for 0.001% of golfers. The vast majority of golfers are fine playing from 6500 yards or less.


Thanks Erik,
In the name of:
continued use of classic courses for majors,
less bastardization of classic courses,
relevancy of classic courses rather than being considered obsolete by paying members.
sustainability in water usage, cost, and acreage
walkability
being able to play similar tees as others
less tees being needed/built
integrity of elite golf (as in occasionally seeing something besides a gap wedge) and wind actually being a factor in shotmaking, and curvature and trajectiory, and spin control of the ball in general
par protection(which I'm not really for but it exists) via something other than stupid stuff that slows down play like suoer deep rough, narrow fairways, water, OB, native grass


I'm totally willing to risk what you mention we risk.
It ain't even close IMHO.


BTW, The average golfer in no way, shape or form can relate to DJ-nor EVER pull off what he does.
In fact, when we were self bifurcated (pros using balatas, persimmons and blades and ams using Top Flites and cavity backs) they had a MUCH better chance of achieving distances somewhere near a pro.
Now-no chance


It's just nice that I'm not the only one anymore....and that it's actually being discussed



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 24, 2017, 02:58:34 PM
Thanks Erik,
In the name of:
continued use of classic courses for majors,
less bastardization of classic courses,
relevancy of classic courses rather than being considered obsolete by paying members.
Yeah, as I said… I'm not. Those things are only relevant to a tiny % of golfers, and we still play major championships on courses that are pretty darn old.

less tees being needed/built
Hey, I'm in favor of MORE tees being built, per the LongLeaf system.

integrity of elite golf (as in occasionally seeing something besides a gap wedge)
Massive exaggeration.

Seriously, we've increased the average drive, what, 23 yards since 1987 or 1997 or whatever? That's two clubs. Big whoop.

Funny, too, how the more difficult holes pros face are often the shorter ones, the ones that make them think and make a decision. The longer the hole, the more easy the choice is: blast away.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 24, 2017, 03:05:56 PM
Has anyone else noticed the increasing number of baseball pitchers who throw 95+? Why are we so scared to recognize the advancements of fitness and technique?



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 24, 2017, 03:55:44 PM
No other field of play, for any sport - and you can name them all - has ever and/or continues to change so much as golf courses have and do.

Football fields, baseball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts, soccer pitches, hockey rinks -- those fields of play are all much the same as they have always been, despite the fact that the games themselves and the top professionals who play them have all evolved dramatically.   

It is only golf courses that have been forced to change, and that continue to change, and that change always in exactly the same direction, i.e. ever longer, ever bigger, on ever more massive sites.

Dismiss out of hand if you'd like all the other considerations from Jeff's (I thought excellent) list; but I think no one who loves golf either as a game or a profession would be wise to so quickly and easily dismiss the sustainability issue (acreage, water use, costs, perceptions etc).     

Few want to seriously grapple with it, even on a website dedicated to gca like the one we're all on right here; and that’s whether we're talking about classic courses or (where it is even more striking and obvious) about modern golf course design as manifested in the latest string of mega-sized resorts and courses  — which, besides the exclusivity they project and the prestige they promise, are scaled the way they are because of the way the current game is played even by average/amateur/retail golfers.

I hope that Jeff can gain traction with his calls for change; I think he's articulate enough and experienced enough and savvy enough to gain that traction.  I hope this because I think the game more fun and interesting to watch (and to play) on shorter, more walkable courses with a more spinny golf ball.

I also hope this because I think that, whether because of the "facts" and/or because of the "perceptions", the increasing (and sometimes literally massive) scale of golf's fields of play will become a serious issue/problem in years to come.

Peter   
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 24, 2017, 04:03:54 PM
Many an American went outside yesterday on our most beloved holiday and threw around a football. Few would call themselves football players. Those of us who golfed are still fortunate to call ourselves golfers. I believe this is simply because we, professionals and amateurs alike continue to play the same game by the same rules. I, and I believe many others do not want to lose that simple title. That of a golfer.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 24, 2017, 04:09:25 PM
Dismiss out of hand if you'd like all the other considerations from Jeff's (I thought excellent) list; but I think no one who loves golf either as a game or a profession would be wise to so quickly and easily dismiss the sustainability issue (acreage, water use, costs, perceptions etc).
I've not dismissed it out of hand. I also don't think we're going to see players get that much longer. We have rules, players are already using longer balls, longer drivers, maximizing their launch conditions, etc.

Tournament scores are not super low. We're not seeing weeks where you have to average 64 to win. You can still get it done with four 67s or 68s many weeks.

The vast majority of golfers are fine with courses measuring 6500 yards. Or less.

I don't know where my personal line exists. It's not like I'm in favor of letting people hit it as far as possible, ever, always. I just think physics has kicked in, and we're getting just about all we can out of modern equipment, launch conditions, etc. There are two limiting factors here: the rules and physics. Unless physics changes, or players somehow get THAT much faster, I don't think where we're at NOW with a tiny fraction of golfers is worth a sweeping change.

I respect that others have another opinion. I just don't agree that we're close or there yet.


Many an American went outside yesterday on our most beloved holiday and threw around a football. Few would call themselves football players. Those of us who golfed are still fortunate to call ourselves golfers. I believe this is simply because we, professionals and amateurs alike continue to play the same game by the same rules. I, and I believe many others do not want to lose that simple title. That of a golfer.

It's a powerful thing.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 24, 2017, 04:13:29 PM
Has anyone else noticed the increasing number of baseball pitchers who throw 95+? Why are we so scared to recognize the advancements of fitness and technique?


John,
Excellent points.
In baseball the defense gets bigger, faster stronger.
So does the offense.
Equal opposing forces,but, when deemed needed, the ball is tweaked and the equipment is certainly technologically curtailed


In golf, it's only the offense that gets faster, bigger, stronger and longer
along with the equipment
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 24, 2017, 04:19:29 PM
Dismiss out of hand if you'd like all the other considerations from Jeff's (I thought excellent) list; but I think no one who loves golf either as a game or a profession would be wise to so quickly and easily dismiss the sustainability issue (acreage, water use, costs, perceptions etc).
I've not dismissed it out of hand. I also don't think we're going to see players get that much longer. We have rules, players are already using longer balls, longer drivers, maximizing their launch conditions, etc.

Tournament scores are not super low. We're not seeing weeks where you have to average 64 to win. You can still get it done with four 67s or 68s many weeks.

The vast majority of golfers are fine with courses measuring 6500 yards. Or less.

I don't know where my personal line exists. It's not like I'm in favor of letting people hit it as far as possible, ever, always. I just think physics has kicked in, and we're getting just about all we can out of modern equipment, launch conditions, etc. There are two limiting factors here: the rules and physics. Unless physics changes, or players somehow get THAT much faster, I don't think where we're at NOW with a tiny fraction of golfers is worth a sweeping change.

I respect that others have another opinion. I just don't agree that we're close or there yet.




Erik,
Yours is a very reasoned response.
Except that it's the exactly same response we've been getting for 25 years from the governing bodies.
But, at some point down the road, you'll say enough is enough, and get shouted down by the next group .


Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 24, 2017, 04:34:17 PM
Has anyone else noticed the increasing number of baseball pitchers who throw 95+? Why are we so scared to recognize the advancements of fitness and technique?


John,
Excellent points.
In baseball the defense gets bigger, faster stronger.
So does the offense.
Equal opposing forces,but, when deemed needed, the ball is tweaked and the equipment is certainly technologically curtailed


In golf, it's only the offense that gets faster, bigger, stronger and longer
along with the equipment


The professional tour remains 40 strokes short of perfection. I know of no other stronger defense in sport.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 24, 2017, 04:38:00 PM
Erik - btw, you said about what JK references in his post that it was a "powerful thing".
I agree completely.
So powerful in fact that, as strange as this might sound to a golfer like you, I firmly believe that if the modern golf ball was ever deemed "non-conforming" neither me nor any of the other 7 average golfers I play with in my regular Monday night outing would play with it.
We all hack it around to one degree or other, and all want to score well -- and yet while as individuals we're all very different, I'm almost certain that we have this in common, i.e. we all want to adhere to the traditions of the game, and none of us would want to look like "the cheater" in anyone else's eyes.

Peter
PS - I really believe that most average golfers feel the same way; which is why I think a company like Titleist hates the idea of bifurcation as much (maybe even more) than the idea of an across-the-board roll-back, i.e.  they are afraid that if, say, the current ProV1 was deemed "non confirming", its sales would plummet.   

In other words, I think JMEvensky and the Goodale Bifurcation Theory (TM) are spot on: i.e. "bifurcation will ultimately lead back to unification -- using the more restricted ball. Pro's being forced to use a restricted ball would eventually filter down to club tournaments. The only people using non-PGAT conforming golf balls will be the same types who put Vaseline on their drivers back in the day."
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: SL_Solow on November 24, 2017, 05:54:41 PM
Late to the party as usual.  I too am troubled by the clear evidence that the combination of larger headed metal drivers with the ever improving balls have led to longer and straighter drives.  This has led to older courses losing a significant portion of their challenge, at least for players at the highest level.  It has also led to an increase in the length of courses and attendant increases in costs and the time needed to play.  But regardless of your view about the USGA, I think we are all overestimating its ability to dictate changes in the ball.

The USGA has no inherent right to govern the game.  It, along with the R&A assumed that role early in the development of the game when a few leading clubs formed the organization to bring some order to the game.  They have maintained  that  position because all of those involved have consented to their role.  Notably, when Karsten challenged that role with his suit challenging the square grooves rule, the USGA blinked.  Since then, despite building a large litigation war chest, the USGA has not "taken on" any major manufacturer.

Putting aside any litigation, assume the USGA changes the rules either via scaling back the ball or via bifurcation. Assume further that the equipment manufacturers  tell the touring pros that because the pros are no longer the model for amateurs due to their inability to market increased distance, the endorsement payments will be cut significantly.  It would not be surprising for the PGA tour to adopt its own equipment rules.  Their only risk would be a ban at the US Open and maybe the British Open.  The counter risk for the governing bodies would be the tour sponsoring counter tourney's and declaring them "majors".

Under that scenario, who would the average player/fan follow.?   I suggest that amateur golf has a very small following while the pros are viewed as the standard setters.  Currently, only a very small percentage of golfers really play by the Rules of Golf.  So, putting aside all the other issues regarding bifurcation involving high level amateurs, if economics caused the touring pros to defy the USGA, the USGA runs the risk of becoming irrelevant in a short time.  I suggest that the USGA  is likely considering this risk which may explain why it periodically floats trial balloons and doesn't follow through.

This is not to belittle the many arguments relating to the impact of increased distance on classical architecture.  Similarly, the sustainability issue is not impacted by these observations.  It is merely to suggest that these arguments, valid though they may be, are likely to fail in the face of economic considerations.  If one believes that the touring pros (who are paid by the manufacturers) and the manufacturers will go along, then the other arguments become critical.  Similarly, if one is convinced that the golfing public will follow the USGA and deem decisions made by the pros to be irrelevant, then further discussion of the merits may bear fruit.  But I, for one, am dubious.

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 24, 2017, 06:18:40 PM
Shel:


If Mark Felt had not been recently outed as the source behind the Watergate leaks, I would have guessed it was you who was telling Woodward and Bernstein:  "Follow the money."   ;)


Thus it seems like we are dependent upon the benevolent people who run Titleist to do the right thing.


Perhaps the other equipment companies should all go to the Tour and the USGA and offer to make a new, shorter ball if they would legislate the specs for it, in an attempt to break their rival's stranglehold on the golf ball business.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Young on November 24, 2017, 07:00:57 PM
Do we ever stop and think that the game is played everyday by so many golfers both private and public who don't know the USGA from the PGA and don't know which does what.  They could careless if we change the ball.  That is the average golfer in the US.  Everything else is brought about by associations trying to gain power etc.  I watched guy play today who would hit any ball the same distance because as older golfers they cannot compress.  This game can fix itself if left alone and allowed to shrink or expand as needed.  The constant useof the game for other motives is where the problem is. 
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: SL_Solow on November 24, 2017, 08:51:08 PM
Tom;  your suggestion would only have a chance based on my assumptions if the other manufacturers would be willing to continue to pay endorsement money at current levels to the tour pros.  I recall that back in the balata days, Titleist advertised in part on the basis that its ball was more consistent.  Not nearly as appealing as the promise of more distance.  So its hard to believe companies will pay individual endorsement dollars under that scenario.

Mike,  I agree that most golfers don't care.  But they still buy "the longest ball" even if it doesn't work for them.  My point is that most ignore the rules already and few will listen if the USGA outlaws balls if the pros continue to use them.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Young on November 24, 2017, 09:09:05 PM
Tom;  your suggestion would only have a chance based on my assumptions if the other manufacturers would be willing to continue to pay endorsement money at current levels to the tour pros.  I recall that back in the balata days, Titleist advertised in part on the basis that its ball was more consistent.  Not nearly as appealing as the promise of more distance.  So its hard to believe companies will pay individual endorsement dollars under that scenario.

Mike,  I agree that most golfers don't care.  But they still buy "the longest ball" even if it doesn't work for them.  My point is that most ignore the rules already and few will listen if the USGA outlaws balls if the pros continue to use them.

Agree
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 24, 2017, 10:46:28 PM
Shel, Mike, Tom - you’re realists, and you make a compelling case for the likelihood that the status quo will remain just that.
And that status quo informs/shapes our collective vision of the game as we currently play and experience it --  ie what we expect from golf and our golf courses, what we take for granted about the game and its fields of play, what we believe represents quality architecture and an enjoyable challenge etc.
But let’s take that ‘collective vision’ and project it out just 10 years into the future -- without assuming any more distance gains whatsoever.
The now-10 year olds who watched Justin Thomas (certainly not a behemoth) hit a 300 yard+ 3 wood to a 600 yard+ Par 5 on an 8,000 yard Erin Hills will all be 20 years old. Some of them may even be golfers.
What will those young golfers expect from golf and their golf courses? What will they take for granted about the game and its fields of play? What will they believe represents quality architecture and an enjoyable challenge?
Will an Erin Hills be the bare minimum? Will even a Mammoth Dunes be wide enough for a 300 yard slice?
Will any golf course, including all those in their own cities and communities, built before 1950 or 1960 or 1970 (or even before Erin Hills!) seem to them much more than quaint anachronisms, suitable only for the old and infirm? And what will happen to those golf courses as a result (and to the by-then old timers who've played those courses -- i.e. who have played and paid for golf -- for 30 and 40 years)? 
Which is to say (via rhetorical questions): For the governing bodies and the golf industry as a whole, I don’t think the realistic view will seem all that realistic for very much longer.
Yes, as you all note: "follow the money" as a guide to how this will play out. But I suspect that's maybe why a Mike Davis and a Mr. Titleist are finally having the roll-back/bifurcation debate out in the open, i.e. they both know -- or at least have a sinking feeling -- that the paths to the potfuls of money are being washed away as we speak.
Peter

PS - a much different industry to be sure (and one that I know barely more about than I do the golf industry), but look at Hollywood. Netflix entered the feature-film production business and Amazon entered the film distribution business and together they changed the rules -- and the money flows -- almost literally over night.   
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 24, 2017, 11:03:18 PM
Heavy sigh.....


Good stuff Peter






Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Young on November 25, 2017, 10:15:40 AM
Shel, Mike, Tom - you’re realists, and you make a compelling case for the likelihood that the status quo will remain just that.
And that status quo informs/shapes our collective vision of the game as we currently play and experience it --  ie what we expect from golf and our golf courses, what we take for granted about the game and its fields of play, what we believe represents quality architecture and an enjoyable challenge etc.
But let’s take that ‘collective vision’ and project it out just 10 years into the future -- without assuming any more distance gains whatsoever.
The now-10 year olds who watched Justin Thomas (certainly not a behemoth) hit a 300 yard+ 3 wood to a 600 yard+ Par 5 on an 8,000 yard Erin Hills will all be 20 years old. Some of them may even be golfers.
What will those young golfers expect from golf and their golf courses? What will they take for granted about the game and its fields of play? What will they believe represents quality architecture and an enjoyable challenge?
Will an Erin Hills be the bare minimum? Will even a Mammoth Dunes be wide enough for a 300 yard slice?
Will any golf course, including all those in their own cities and communities, built before 1950 or 1960 or 1970 (or even before Erin Hills!) seem to them much more than quaint anachronisms, suitable only for the old and infirm? And what will happen to those golf courses as a result (and to the by-then old timers who've played those courses -- i.e. who have played and paid for golf -- for 30 and 40 years)? 
Which is to say (via rhetorical questions): For the governing bodies and the golf industry as a whole, I don’t think the realistic view will seem all that realistic for very much longer.
Yes, as you all note: "follow the money" as a guide to how this will play out. But I suspect that's maybe why a Mike Davis and a Mr. Titleist are finally having the roll-back/bifurcation debate out in the open, i.e. they both know -- or at least have a sinking feeling -- that the paths to the potfuls of money are being washed away as we speak.
Peter

PS - a much different industry to be sure (and one that I know barely more about than I do the golf industry), but look at Hollywood. Netflix entered the feature-film production business and Amazon entered the film distribution business and together they changed the rules -- and the money flows -- almost literally over night.

Peter,
I see your argument.  Remember when football was mainly a running game.  I just barely do but those guys never thought the pass would come into play as it has and yet they keep the same field.  But the game took on new strategies.  Same for golf.  We rarely hear it discussed as to how the percentage of putts made from 10ft have increased since the 1970's due to agronomics.  That has had a huge affect on the really low scores as much if not more than distance... While fans and the average player love the long game the true fan or player will always appreciate the short game more and odds are we will one day have stimps of 15 and fairways at less than a .250 etc.  The way the game is played will keep changing and if no course is ever lengthened again I feel there will still be challenge.  Remember being taught to chip with a 7 iron and allow for 1/3 air and 2/3rds roll.   ;D That's out the window so who knows...maybe the 58 degree wedge will be out soon.  And IMHO I predict there will be a day when there is no rough and the ball will move sideways as a way to mess with the longball, short sides and various shots around the greens...So I don't care how far they continue to hit it ( well I do care and don't really like it) there will be golf played and enjoyed...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Thomas Dai on November 25, 2017, 10:32:05 AM
The comment by Mike above about no rough and the ball moving sideways sounds like burnt-up summer links golf, and probably a few other types and locations of courses as well if watering and irrigation go the way they might. Time to practice the Texas Wedge game and/or buy a Jigger!
Atb
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 25, 2017, 11:50:39 AM
I suspect that's maybe why a Mike Davis and a Mr. Titleist are finally having the roll-back/bifurcation debate out in the open, i.e. they both know -- or at least have a sinking feeling -- that the paths to the potfuls of money are being washed away as we speak.
 


Good point.  There are lots of folks who wish the status quo would go on forever, but the world is always changing.


I suspect that's why Titleist / Acushnet stock went public when it did ... time to cash out while the valuation was still high.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on November 25, 2017, 08:11:35 PM

Question for those in favor of rollback and/or bifurcation:


Do you believe golf club and ball technology can improve ad infinitum? Do you believe that given enough time, the distance golfers can hit a golf ball will increase without limit?


If not, do you believe we are nearing the limits? Does the increase in injury to professional golfers - especially related to the back - give you reason to believe we're getting close to the plateau of golf equipment re: distance?


Or do you genuinely believe that there's a club/ball combination possible under the current tech rules that could allow pros to hit it, say, 500 yards off the tee? 600 yards? 1,000 yards?


~ ~ ~

Pure anecdote here:


I played golf today in chilly (but not unpleasantly so) Connecticut today with clubs I used about 12-15 years ago, including a 350cc TaylorMade r540 driver. It was eye-opening how a heelward mishit would produce a short, spinny, go-nowhere fade. I'm talking 25-30 yards shorter than an equivalent mishit with the 460cc driver I currently game.


Because small mishits don't really mean much with the 460cc max-sized drivers, and they've been around for the better part of a generation, we have a generation of 460cc-native elite golfers who have built their golf swings with the knowledge that they can swing for the fences due to the size of contemporary drivers' sweet spots. I bet that if the governing bodies went to, say, a new 350cc limit, it would solve a lot of the problems. By necessity, pros would have to dial back their swings most of the time, fearing real consequences for an off-center hit. There'd be a little more balance between the skill of driving it far and the skill of driving it straight.


Is this a more salable change than the ball? It certainly seems like an easier one to make from the seat of the OEMs, who could continue to innovate and market new driver tech, just within new parameters.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 25, 2017, 09:25:45 PM
There of course is a limit, because there are initial velocity and overall distance limits already in place. Without regulation we already would be well beyond where we are now.

I am comfortable with human conditioning extending the hitting range, because at one time I was a highly conditioned bomber. What I oppose is engineering that adds additional distance.

There is a history of regulation of engineering advancements. Let that trend continue.

Pure anecdote here.

At 67, I hit one 280 today.

With help from a gorge tailwind of course. ;)
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 25, 2017, 09:49:35 PM

Question for those in favor of rollback and/or bifurcation:

Do you believe golf club and ball technology can improve ad infinitum? Do you believe that given enough time, the distance golfers can hit a golf ball will increase without limit?

If not, do you believe we are nearing the limits?


Tim:


I do not believe club and ball tech can improve ad infinitum.  However if players continue to develop higher swing speeds, equipment can be better tailored to those swing speeds, and driving distances will continue to increase slowly over time.


Personally, I agree with you that the modern driver has changed the game as much as the modern ball did.  Nicklaus and Greg Norman were revered by their fellow pros because they could hit the driver with both distance and accuracy.  Now everyone can, or at least, they are not afraid of a mishit that would have looked embarrassing if they were using the drivers from when I started playing the game.  So they all swing harder.


I'm skeptical that such a change can be rolled back simply by addressing the ball.  But if, as you say, a generation of players has learned the game with the new drivers, those players would probably object more strongly to changing the driver than to changing the ball, because changing the driver would make them psychologically uncomfortable. 


With the ball, it's just going to go a bit less far, but they won't have to swing differently; I think you could get the players on board for that, if their sponsors weren't threatening to cut off their allowance.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 25, 2017, 10:06:26 PM
...
With the ball, it's just going to go a bit less far, but they won't have to swing differently; I think you could get the players on board for that, if their sponsors weren't threatening to cut off their allowance.

Why does everyone automatically seem to assume the regulation should be to reduce the COR of the ball? Increasing the COR is not what brought about the increase in distance, so why not address the root cause instead of reducing the COR?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom Bacsanyi on November 25, 2017, 11:38:21 PM
I don't think the ball should be rolled back.  I think the "spin slope" of golf balls should be regulated, meaning distance should be regulated as a function of spin and vice versa.  The technical genius of the modern tour ball is not how far it goes, it is how far it goes while retaining short game control.  Obviously it will be difficult and require some solid analysis and mathematics, but it's the only way to regulate distance while avoiding bifurcation.  One set of rules, any golfer can select any ball that adheres to a specified spin slope continuum.  Elite players will always need a ball that will check on a short wedge shot and stop dead off an 8 iron and grab up on a bunker explosion.  So they will always select a high spin ball.  The high spin ball will have a corresponding allowance for distance that is less than a longer ball.  This system will allow Gramps to play his Slazenger Raw which is basically a knuckleball, and allow DJ to play his spin ball, but neither golfer will get to have his cake and eat it too.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 26, 2017, 12:24:32 AM
Spin slope continuum!

Love it.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on November 26, 2017, 06:56:50 AM
If you told DJ his ball now spun 20% more, it would take less than an afternoon to find a shaft/head combo and slight swing tweak to eliminate that 20%.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 26, 2017, 08:53:02 AM
I don't think the ball should be rolled back.  I think the "spin slope" of golf balls should be regulated, meaning distance should be regulated as a function of spin and vice versa.  The technical genius of the modern tour ball is not how far it goes, it is how far it goes while retaining short game control.  Obviously it will be difficult and require some solid analysis and mathematics, but it's the only way to regulate distance while avoiding bifurcation.  One set of rules, any golfer can select any ball that adheres to a specified spin slope continuum.  Elite players will always need a ball that will check on a short wedge shot and stop dead off an 8 iron and grab up on a bunker explosion.  So they will always select a high spin ball.  The high spin ball will have a corresponding allowance for distance that is less than a longer ball.  This system will allow Gramps to play his Slazenger Raw which is basically a knuckleball, and allow DJ to play his spin ball, but neither golfer will get to have his cake and eat it too.


Bingo-always true
Lee Trevino played 2 piece Faultless for a number of years
tradeoffs
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JMEvensky on November 26, 2017, 10:52:41 AM


If you told DJ his ball now spun 20% more, it would take less than an afternoon to find a shaft/head combo and slight swing tweak to eliminate that 20%.



More likely less than an hour.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 26, 2017, 11:03:08 AM
I was told and believed that back in the 70's the pro's were playing balls of a compression that suited their games. While we would buy off the rack 100 compression Titleist they were given even higher compression balls that would match their swing speeds. Optimization so to speak.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 26, 2017, 11:21:21 AM
I've never come across the one 'stat' I'd be most interested in, i.e. what the actual driver swing speeds were for some of the great and long hitting golfers of the past. 
I assume they can do that now with modern camera/computer technology, i.e. take old tv or film footage of Snead or Nicklaus or Norman and factor in frames-per-second rates etc and figure out how fast they were able to get those club-heads and 43 inch steel shafts moving when they really let loose.   
Until then, here's parts of an interview with Greg Norman. I know we'll all take it for 'what it's worth'; but I'd be curious to know especially what the good players and teaching pros around here think of it:

With today's equipment, I [Old Greg] can get it out there 315, 320 yards. I carry it 295, compared to 280 back then. I used a persimmon driver and used to drive it 300 yards with an old Tour Edition golf ball that used to spin too much.

Twenty-four-year-old Greg Norman playing today's clubs would hit it 340, 350 yards, easy. I'd say Young Greg averages 350 off the tee. Back in 1977, my club-head speed was 132. Today, that means I'd carry it 340.

Just compare our club-head speeds and do the math. Mine was 132 mph. He's [ie Tiger] probably 130, 131. If I didn't hit it at least 320, 330 on average, I'd be upset.

Do you think that's true? Could GN (or a Jack Nicklaus) actually generate that kind of club-head speed with the old drivers & shafts?

When he let loose with the old equipment (and 132 mph club head speed), Greg remembers carrying it 280 yards. He says that this same club head speed today would have the ball carrying 340 yards -- 60 yards more.

Can this be true? Have club and balls *alone* -- independent, at least for the top guys, of any better athleticism and strength -- added that much distance for the longest hitters?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 26, 2017, 12:21:24 PM
If you told DJ his ball now spun 20% more, it would take less than an afternoon to find a shaft/head combo and slight swing tweak to eliminate that 20%.

He would find an optimization similar to what the old timers used with lower lofted drivers, would he not.

Now with a higher spin ball, and a lower lofted driver, would not he become more crooked off the tee?

What adjustment would he make then?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 26, 2017, 12:25:50 PM
I.e., Jim, why did Jack Nicklaus is always say he generally swung at 80%?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 26, 2017, 12:34:19 PM
I.e., Jim, why did Jack Nicklaus is always say he generally swung at 80%?


Because he played to win.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 26, 2017, 12:56:20 PM
Tim, great post. Without giving it too much thought I would support a roll-back on driver head size, while I do not support a roll-back on the ball at all. I think those opposed to bifurcation would even support a condition of competition a bit more so that limited driver head size too, than a "tournament ball" one. (I would still not support bifurcation: I'd want a roll-back of the driver head sizes everywhere.)

I also don't think that's likely to happen either. Equipment manufacturers would still have a reason to complain, and more than make balls, because virtually every ball maker makes clubs, but many driver makers don't also make balls. PING springs to mind first and foremost.

So unfortunately that's probably a non-starter too.

Peter, Greg makes stupid comments all the time. HE recently made some comments about wedge play that aren't backed by stats at all.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 26, 2017, 01:42:46 PM
I.e., Jim, why did Jack Nicklaus is always say he generally swung at 80%?


Because he played to win.

By the transitive property DJ should swing 80% if he were to play to win.

I don't for sure know whether big driver heads or restricted spin balls allowed the all out swing, but the bigger distance gain discontinuity with the introduction of the ball tells me most likely it is the ball that should rollback. Besides $4 for a new ball vs $400 for a new driver suggests change the ball.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 26, 2017, 01:47:18 PM
Tim, great post. Without giving it too much thought I would support a roll-back on driver head size, while I do not support a roll-back on the ball at all. I think those opposed to bifurcation would even support a condition of competition a bit more so that limited driver head size too, than a "tournament ball" one. (I would still not support bifurcation: I'd want a roll-back of the driver head sizes everywhere.)




Well we agree in principle.
But now everybody's gotta go get a new driver.(rather than a few playing a different ball)
Nice to see you support romantic and even more impractical ideas than I. ;) ;D
It's coming.....
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pat Burke on November 26, 2017, 01:48:24 PM
I seem to remember that Bubba led the tour in having the highest avg "smash factor" for a couple years (when he was winning)Justin Thomas has insane efficiency numbers.Before my injury, I hit my old Honma and Cleveland persimmons quite often.  Really had no issue other than the ball going to low, just had to hit a little cut.For those wanting less distance, I really don't think spin is the answer, the players will make the adjustments to get right back to lower spin tee shots, and the yardage differences will be minimal.  Same with clubhead size, I could swing my old heavy persimmons about 5 mph slower than my M1, bit my M1 was heavier than standard.....was realistically 10 yards longer with the M1 in carry, but lighter and longer was responsible for most of that (heavily opinion comment)
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on November 26, 2017, 02:20:43 PM

Question for those in favor of rollback and/or bifurcation:

Do you believe golf club and ball technology can improve ad infinitum? Do you believe that given enough time, the distance golfers can hit a golf ball will increase without limit?

If not, do you believe we are nearing the limits?


Tim:


I do not believe club and ball tech can improve ad infinitum.  However if players continue to develop higher swing speeds, equipment can be better tailored to those swing speeds, and driving distances will continue to increase slowly over time.


Personally, I agree with you that the modern driver has changed the game as much as the modern ball did.  Nicklaus and Greg Norman were revered by their fellow pros because they could hit the driver with both distance and accuracy.  Now everyone can, or at least, they are not afraid of a mishit that would have looked embarrassing if they were using the drivers from when I started playing the game.  So they all swing harder.


I'm skeptical that such a change can be rolled back simply by addressing the ball.  But if, as you say, a generation of players has learned the game with the new drivers, those players would probably object more strongly to changing the driver than to changing the ball, because changing the driver would make them psychologically uncomfortable. 


With the ball, it's just going to go a bit less far, but they won't have to swing differently; I think you could get the players on board for that, if their sponsors weren't threatening to cut off their allowance.
Tom--


I appreciate the response, and agree wholeheartedly that the current relationship between OEMs and players is a big thorn to be removed if there are going to be any significant changes to golf equipment tech regulations.


Re: players increasing their swing speeds, how much room for increase do you think there may be? Looking at some posted TrackMan numbers for young big-hitters like Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Jon Rahm, it looks like their driver SS is 116-119ish. Rory McIlroy and Jason Day are in that range, and they and other pros are starting to get the kind of injuries that seem to result from hitting thousands of golf shots over many years with the type of swing engineered to produce that sort of speed.


Is the clearly increasing potential for injury going to help elite golfers find a level that gives them the performance they believe they need to compete and the longevity to have a whole, successful career?


If leading swing speeds level off in the sub-120 range, is there as-yet-untapped technology that OEMs could deploy such that they could produce drivers that give these players 20-30 more reliable yards? Though I'm not a physicist, I'm not quite sure how, given that those OEMs are currently at the .830 COR limits imposed by the USGA.


So, if we can generally agree, it seems like we're reaching a plateau of driver technology. At such a point, I wonder if the OEMs might be OK with a reduction in driver head size, because they'd be able to take past driver models they all have and start to innovate again.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 26, 2017, 02:30:23 PM
So, if we can generally agree, it seems like we're reaching a plateau of driver technology. At such a point, I wonder if the OEMs might be OK with a reduction in driver head size, because they'd be able to take past driver models they all have and start to innovate again.
This, combined with the fact that the great majority of golfers area already content from 6500 yards or less, are why I am not all that worked up about this issue.

I don't think there's some legal but as yet undiscovered technology that's going to add even 10 yards to the modern driver. (Though PGA Tour pros could add 2-3" and get 10-15 yards, but they don't do that likely because they mis-hit it more frequently.)
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on November 26, 2017, 02:38:05 PM
Tim, great post. Without giving it too much thought I would support a roll-back on driver head size, while I do not support a roll-back on the ball at all. I think those opposed to bifurcation would even support a condition of competition a bit more so that limited driver head size too, than a "tournament ball" one. (I would still not support bifurcation: I'd want a roll-back of the driver head sizes everywhere.)




Well we agree in principle.
But now everybody's gotta go get a new driver.(rather than a few playing a different ball)
Nice to see you support romantic and even more impractical ideas than I. ;) ;D
It's coming.....
Jeff--


I had been thinking about this, and it was seeming like that was the big flaw with the argument: the lifespan and cost of a dozen golf balls are both much shorter than a driver.


But then I played golf yesterday with my old 350cc driver, had a lot of fun hitting it, and realized that the vast majority of golfers have a similar club collecting dust in their closet or garage. In the face of a snap-reduction in driver head sizes, most golfers would be able to find a new-old gamer either for the cost of a new grip or less than $50 on eBay or Play it Again Sports. That club would tide them over for the four months it would take...


Titleist to reengineer and re-release the 983K...
TM to reengineer and re-release the r510/r540/r580 line...
Callaway to reengineer and re-release the GBB II (they've already embraced the throwback trend with the new Steelhead fairway woods)...
PING to reengineer and re-release the ISI and Tec drivers...


Then there'd be an issue with what to do with the last decade's worth of used drivers. Could the OEMs melt 'em down and recycle the materials? There's going to be a materials problem either way; we just shouldn't let that dictate the direction of any future tech rules changes.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 26, 2017, 02:52:53 PM
I.e., Jim, why did Jack Nicklaus is always say he generally swung at 80%?


Because he played to win.

By the transitive property DJ should swing 80% if he were to play to win.

I don't for sure know whether big driver heads or restricted spin balls allowed the all out swing, but the bigger distance gain discontinuity with the introduction of the ball tells me most likely it is the ball that should rollback. Besides $4 for a new ball vs $400 for a new driver suggests change the ball.


May we please not compare the golf intellect of DJ to Nicklaus. It's God Damn embarrassing. I don't think any great golfer, including DJ, swings over 90%...10% of the time.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on November 26, 2017, 03:03:09 PM
We could end all this talk about distance if the pros played "slug and plug" like so many of us in the USA.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 26, 2017, 03:06:11 PM
This is a good & interesting discussion, but let’s not let slip by the comments of tour-level players: look at (former) tour player Pat B’s experience with old vs new equipment; and, earlier in the thread (or it might be in another) the seemingly similar experience of current tour member Zac Blair — both of them, by tour standards, ‘average length’ drivers (then and now). I think their comments are important and instructive, though I’m not sure how/why. Maybe others can draw out the significance (ie to this particular topic).

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 26, 2017, 05:56:31 PM
I would think that players like Pat that did not see big gains from technology would be calling for a rollback the loudest.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 26, 2017, 06:31:41 PM
... For those wanting less distance, I really don't think spin is the answer, the players will make the adjustments to get right back to lower spin tee shots, and the yardage differences will be minimal. 
...


To me this seems to lack sound logic. When the new ball was put into play, there was an immediate increase in distance without optimization. Shortly thereafter there was an additional increase when players learned to optimize.

I would argue that players were somewhat optimized for the old ball as they would have searched out equipment that worked best for them. So optimized for the old ball went through a big jump to optimized with the new ball.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 26, 2017, 08:03:00 PM

I don't think there's some legal but as yet undiscovered technology that's going to add even 10 yards to the modern driver.


Actually the technology is already discovered; that engineer I mentioned earlier in this thread explained it to me a dozen years ago.  It may be a factor in the recent optimization (it would not be obvious to the eye), but I think they've kept it under wraps because they're afraid it would cause the USGA to roll things back even further.


The engineers for the big equipment companies should not be underestimated; there are some seriously smart people in that end of the business.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 26, 2017, 08:10:14 PM

I don't think there's some legal but as yet undiscovered technology that's going to add even 10 yards to the modern driver.


Actually the technology is already discovered; that engineer I mentioned earlier in this thread explained it to me a dozen years ago.  It may be a factor in the recent optimization (it would not be obvious to the eye), but I think they've kept it under wraps because they're afraid it would cause the USGA to roll things back even further.


The engineers for the big equipment companies should not be underestimated; there are some seriously smart people in that end of the business.


So true-nobody's rolling out the advances all at once when they can instead sell you 5 drivers over 10 years with "jailbreak" technology.


And for the record, I'm not crediting/blaming only "the ball", it's jut the simplest variable to roll back-even if it's simply for "athleticism"

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 26, 2017, 08:23:47 PM

So true-nobody's rolling out the advances all at once when they can instead sell you 5 drivers over 10 years with "jailbreak" technology.
I don't buy that at all. If someone had some of this "technology" that could somehow, within the ODS, the CoR rules, etc. add 20 yards, they'd release it in a heartbeat, make a ton of money, bask in the halo effect for years to come, because it'd be patented, too… and not scratch by with 15% driver market share or whatever they have now. Delaying only lets other competitors possibly release it first.

Frankly, I don't believe this magical technology exists. And yes, maybe this is my "640 K ought to be enough for anybody" moment, and I'll look stupid in ten years, but I've got some degrees in the sciences and usually have a good feel for this stuff. Advances in distance over the past few decades (if you consider that the modern Pro V1x is a 1990 Pinnacle with short-game spin) have come from average driver clubhead speeds being 11+ MPH faster than they used to be: longer, lighter, larger-headed drivers.

P.S. All Callaway's Jailbreak stuff does is help off-center hits maintain ball speed. The benefits to good players are small; the benefits to people who mis-hit it a little all the time are nice. Average ball speeds are a few MPH higher than a comparison club. But the top end is the same as always. Same with the G400.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pat Burke on November 26, 2017, 09:28:14 PM
... For those wanting less distance, I really don't think spin is the answer, the players will make the adjustments to get right back to lower spin tee shots, and the yardage differences will be minimal. 
...


To me this seems to lack sound logic. When the new ball was put into play, there was an immediate increase in distance without optimization. Shortly thereafter there was an additional increase when players learned to optimize.

I would argue that players were somewhat optimized for the old ball as they would have searched out equipment that worked best for them. So optimized for the old ball went through a big jump to optimized with the new ball.


The initial jump was simply guys spinning it less.  Drivers in 2000 were weighted differently, typically had less loft (to limit spin) and were not even close to what is "ideal" today.  Guys went from a Professional (which wasn't real spinny, but still spun a lot) to the ProV1 which spun less off drivers, but still could spin with he massive grooves in irons back then.  For many players, too much spin was a challenge with wedges and irons.  The better feeling, less spinny balls, along with a selection of shredding grooves. 
So yes, there was a jump, but many at the time really didn't understand all the whys.  Then the PRECEPT Lady ball was discovered by some good players in the Southeast around 2000-01 and a softer core, soft feeling ball was suddenly leaping off good players clubs, but still felt better...It was an accident that led designers in another direction.
We went from 6.5-8 degree drivers in the late 90's (with wound balls) to today having a ton of loft, shafts that allow for less spin, heads designed to adjust spin out, and (trackman/boditrak/ 3d video), that allow very good players to make adjustments to reach "ideals"


So, those experiences are why I said what I did....just fwiw



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 26, 2017, 09:38:02 PM

So true-nobody's rolling out the advances all at once when they can instead sell you 5 drivers over 10 years with "jailbreak" technology.
I don't buy that at all. If someone had some of this "technology" that could somehow, within the ODS, the CoR rules, etc. add 20 yards, they'd release it in a heartbeat, make a ton of money, bask in the halo effect for years to come, because it'd be patented, too… and not scratch by with 15% driver market share or whatever they have now. Delaying only lets other competitors possibly release it first.


I'll stick with the R & D guy I spent a day with, who definitely had "degrees in the sciences."


He very patiently explained to a group of us how the equipment business works ... that they get an idea, but roll it out via a series of patents, to extend the life of the idea for several years longer.  If they just released something all at once, it wouldn't be too long before their competitors started anticipating the expiration of the patent, and just flat-out copied it, knowing it would be moot by the time it got through the court system.


He also explained that their R & D is usually 2-3 years ahead of their current product cycle, so if there were going to be major changes in equipment regulation, it would only be fair to have 3 years' advance warning, so they don't waste money developing stuff they won't be allowed to sell.  I guess that was one of the main issues with the Ping "square grooves" rule, and why they wanted them grandfathered in ... so they could sell all the stuff they were already making.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Young on November 26, 2017, 10:14:01 PM
I'll stick with the R & D guy I spent a day with, who definitely had "degrees in the sciences."

Yep...I had one such guy with a major iron manufacturer in ATL explain that distance gain may only be one or two yards average on Iron Byron etc and allow advertising of distance gain.  Often that was carried out in order toe extend life cycle as you mention and often it was as simple as increasing shaft length 1/2 inch with the same clubhead design but new colors and markings.   ;D
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on November 26, 2017, 10:25:32 PM
I've never come across the one 'stat' I'd be most interested in, i.e. what the actual driver swing speeds were for some of the great and long hitting golfers of the past. 
I assume they can do that now with modern camera/computer technology, i.e. take old tv or film footage of Snead or Nicklaus or Norman and factor in frames-per-second rates etc and figure out how fast they were able to get those club-heads and 43 inch steel shafts moving when they really let loose.   
Until then, here's parts of an interview with Greg Norman. I know we'll all take it for 'what it's worth'; but I'd be curious to know especially what the good players and teaching pros around here think of it:

With today's equipment, I [Old Greg] can get it out there 315, 320 yards. I carry it 295, compared to 280 back then. I used a persimmon driver and used to drive it 300 yards with an old Tour Edition golf ball that used to spin too much.

Twenty-four-year-old Greg Norman playing today's clubs would hit it 340, 350 yards, easy. I'd say Young Greg averages 350 off the tee. Back in 1977, my club-head speed was 132. Today, that means I'd carry it 340.

Just compare our club-head speeds and do the math. Mine was 132 mph. He's [ie Tiger] probably 130, 131. If I didn't hit it at least 320, 330 on average, I'd be upset.

Do you think that's true? Could GN (or a Jack Nicklaus) actually generate that kind of club-head speed with the old drivers & shafts?

When he let loose with the old equipment (and 132 mph club head speed), Greg remembers carrying it 280 yards. He says that this same club head speed today would have the ball carrying 340 yards -- 60 yards more.

Can this be true? Have club and balls *alone* -- independent, at least for the top guys, of any better athleticism and strength -- added that much distance for the longest hitters?




I think it's true. With the same equipment, I don't believe DJ and Rory would hit it further than Norman or Nicklaus in their primes.


I wish the pros today played with the equipment from the 1980s (persimmon, heavy steel shafts, balls). I think fitness and technique have increased the swing speed of the average tour player, but the best 30 years ago were as good as the best today. The ball is not the only culprit, but I don't think the USGA would dream of bringing back the old clubs in addition to reduced distance balls.


Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 26, 2017, 10:40:17 PM
I was reading the GD Hot List, and one of the big brands now has a 6 iron with 26 degrees of loft. I thought: wasn't that almost called a 4 iron not too long ago?

You have to admire their evil genius and long term plan, ie when they can get the 6 iron down to a 3 iron loft, average golfers will be able to hit it for miles - but will hit it well only once every ten times (because it's actually a 3 iron!)

And at that very moment, they'll introduce widely (and the magazines will start telling us we *all* need) the new 4 hybrid, 5 hybrid, and 6 hybrid...at $240 a piece!

One of the rarely mentioned advantages of playing vintage irons: I get very pleased with myself when I hit a crisp 5 iron off the fairway to a small green -- conveniently forgetting that actually I just hit a 7!

Peter

PS - Eric, I think few will agree with us, and I know it's hard to substantiate Greg Norman's claims about his club head speed back then...but what you say sure 'feels' true
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on November 26, 2017, 10:46:07 PM

I was reading the GD Hot List, and one of the big brands now has a 6 iron with 26 degrees of loft. I thought: wasn't that almost called a 4 iron not too long ago?

You almost have to admire their evil genius and long term plan, ie when they can get the 6 iron down to a 3 iron loft, average golfers will be able to hit it for miles - but only once every ten times (because it's actually a 3 iron!)

And at about that very moment, they'll introduce (and the magazines will start telling us we *need*) the new 4 hyrbid, 5 hybrid, and 6 hybrid...at $240 a piece!

One of the rarely mentioned advantages of playing vintage irons: I get very pleased with myself when I hit a crisp 5 iron off the fairway to a small green -- conveniently forgetting that actually I just hit a 7!


Great point Peter. 26 degrees used to be a 4 iron.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 02:48:37 AM
If spin is not an important factor to regulate, then it must have not played a roll when Tiger won at Pebble by 15 in 2000.

Tiger had the solid low spin balls that his competitors did not have. Can you really justify that the spin characteristic did not play a roll in him being the only player to ever win a major with a score more than 4 standard deviations below the mean?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Young on November 27, 2017, 07:28:55 AM
One can putt with any of these balls....TW wins were with his putter...while he may have hit it further and it may have sounded different, if he weren't making the putts he would have just been another longball dude...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on November 27, 2017, 10:19:01 AM
Garland,


The understanding of how to maximize distance off the tee is light years ahead of where it was in the 90’s.


It’s not that spin isn’t a consideration, its extremely important. It’s just that the guys everyone is so worried about have the ability and every incentive to figure out how to beat any realistic change to it.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on November 27, 2017, 11:20:59 AM

Gary Woodland must have been following this thread and decided to try his current driver vs a persimmon on Trackman:

His current driver flew 48 yards further, swing speed was 13 MPH faster, and ball speed was 22 MPH faster. He flew it 268 with the persimmon (but modern golf ball).

Looks like Greg Norman's quote that Peter posted is pretty accurate.....

The difference in swing speed between drivers can only be explained by 45 inch driver vs 43 inches and a graphite shaft that is half the weight of the steel one.

I wish all the equipment could be rolled back for top players to the 1980s.


https://twitter.com/MichaelClayto15/status/934010502212042752?utm_source=Subscribers&utm_campaign=959a2bf1e7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28a08c87c2-959a2bf1e7-149922681 (https://twitter.com/MichaelClayto15/status/934010502212042752?utm_source=Subscribers&utm_campaign=959a2bf1e7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28a08c87c2-959a2bf1e7-149922681)
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MCirba on November 27, 2017, 11:25:24 AM

Gary Woodland must have been following this thread and decided to try his current driver vs a persimmon on Trackman:


His current driver flew 48 yards further, swing speed was 13 MPH faster, and ball speed was 22 MPH faster. He flew it 268 with the persimmon.


Looks like Greg Norman's quote that Peter posted is pretty accurate.....


I wish all the equipment could be rolled back for top players to the 1980s.




https://twitter.com/MichaelClayto15/status/934010502212042752?utm_source=Subscribers&utm_campaign=959a2bf1e7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28a08c87c2-959a2bf1e7-149922681

I recall here about ten years or so back a number of folks were contending that technology had reach its zenith related to balls and implements and that under the USGA/R&A guidelines nothing more could be accomplished by the manufacturers to increase distance.

With the benefit of hindsight, I think it's pretty clear that view was mistaken.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on November 27, 2017, 11:35:02 AM
Not sure Mike...I think a great deal of the improvements between say 2005 and today are the result of optimization and evolution.


Evolution to mean that in 2005, #’s 9, 10 and 11 we’re Kenny Perry, Sergio Garcia and Brandt Jobe.  In 2017 they were Trey Mullinax, Tony Finau and Kevin Tway.


People tease about core exercise but the reality is, younger stronger guys make up the Tour now. They will naturally hit it further.


Regarding optimization; guys are constantly looking for better and better launch conditions.


I think a fair comparison of balls and Club faces from those two years would show very little difference.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 12:18:18 PM

Gary Woodland must have been following this thread and decided to try his current driver vs a persimmon on Trackman:

His current driver flew 48 yards further, swing speed was 13 MPH faster, and ball speed was 22 MPH faster. He flew it 268 with the persimmon (but modern golf ball).
...

Here is where I expected Jim to jump in and say the persimmon driver was not optimized for the ball being used. In fact no one makes a ball that would be optimized with the persimmon driver.

Looking at a swing speed chart it seems he should have gotten about 30 carry distance yards for the increased speed. So the other 18 yards could come from ball optimization for the persimmon driver.

I don't know how accurate trackman readings are, as I have little to no knowledge of them other than my understanding is that they use mathematical models to compute their results. So here you are dependent on the accuracy of the mathematical model, which I assume would be accurate through middle ranges, but maybe not so accurate at the ends of the ranges.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 12:20:54 PM

I recall here about ten years or so back a number of folks were contending that technology had reach its zenith related to balls and implements and that under the USGA/R&A guidelines nothing more could be accomplished by the manufacturers to increase distance.

With the benefit of hindsight, I think it's pretty clear that view was mistaken.

My recollection is that was the USGA/R&A position. People here were arguing they were probably shortsighted in that position.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 27, 2017, 12:30:23 PM
Yes, JES, I suppose much of this for me is just pining for (what seems in retrospect) a more interesting game.
We still get marvellous parallels to the Watson-Nicklaus Duel in the Sun; the Mickelson-Stenson showdown was just as riveting and good.
But what we don’t seem to get anymore are the Trevino-Nicklaus match-ups, one of the shortest drivers on tour challenging one of the longest — one all hard-scrabbled hustle and the short game moxie of a thief; the other the supreme self confidence of a loving upbringing, the finest coaching, and two US Amateurs.
Those were, or seem to have been, some of golf’s better days.
Heck, I’d settle for just another Norman-Pavin showdown: proof that, inherent to the game of golf is the chance that a proverbial 98 lb weakling with an awkward swing can better the Golden Boy with a swing gifted to him by the gods.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 12:35:01 PM
...
I think a fair comparison of balls and Club faces from those two years would show very little difference.

But driver shaft weight would be significantly different, no?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on November 27, 2017, 12:45:21 PM
I don’t think the weight is really any different. I bought a Callaway GBB in about 1995 with a 70g shaft. Nobody on Tour today is using less than 65g and most are using more than 70g I believe.


What’s different is that a 70g X-flex shaft from Graphite Design can be customized to fit Phil Mickelson’s long flowing swing and another 70g X-flex shaft from GD can be customized to fit Sergio Garcia’s shorter, hard down-load swing.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 27, 2017, 01:32:22 PM
I apologize to those who don't like the multi-quoting. It's just what I do, and how I've always used forums. The alternative - making separate posts for each response - never seemed "better" to me than making one post. Though it may not seem like it, I do try to be brief, and quote only the relevant parts.

I'll stick with the R & D guy I spent a day with, who definitely had "degrees in the sciences."
I appreciate that, but I'm likewise going to stick with the people within the industry that I know, just as you are sticking with your guy.

IMO the equipment is in a bit of a corner right now with the rules coming at them from one angle, and the laws of physics coming at them from another angle. Balls can only go so fast, driver faces can only get so hot (and pros hit the center more often than not, hence the "advances" made by the Callaway Epic, which didn't do much for good players but helped single digit guys a fair amount), and you can plug in launch characteristics all day into flight simulators and see theoretical distances, too. I don't foresee the very slow trend of PGA Tour players continuing unless they simply swing faster. (Which, given how they often use a 44" or 44.5" driver, is quite possible.)

Consider the PGA Tour numbers at the bottom, too: only 2-4 yards gained in the last 10 years, despite players swinging 1-4 MPH faster than they did ten years ago.

If they just released something all at once, it wouldn't be too long before their competitors started anticipating the expiration of the patent, and just flat-out copied it, knowing it would be moot by the time it got through the court system.
I don't understand that bit. Patents are good for, what, almost 20 years? What golf equipment company wants to be even ten years behind? And even if a patent lapses, you're still liable and would have to pay damages for breaking the patent when it was valid. I suppose if the patent is super broad, and can be applied with updated new tech you might start to see copies a year or two out from a patent expiration, but that's still 15+ years later, no?

To your last comment, Tom, I think 2-3 years might even be on the short side. The PING G30 driver with the Turbulators was being worked on in the late 2000s (released in 2014, I think?), for example.

I wish the pros today played with the equipment from the 1980s (persimmon, heavy steel shafts, balls). I think fitness and technique have increased the swing speed of the average tour player, but the best 30 years ago were as good as the best today. The ball is not the only culprit, but I don't think the USGA would dream of bringing back the old clubs in addition to reduced distance balls.
That doesn't track for me. The best athletes in every other sport have gotten bigger, faster, stronger - in every other sport - except in golf? I don't buy it.

I was reading the GD Hot List, and one of the big brands now has a 6 iron with 26 degrees of loft. I thought: wasn't that almost called a 4 iron not too long ago?
Feels off topic to me (a bit) so I'll try to keep it short… as you likely know there's more to launch conditions than loft. The shaft, the location of the CG, etc. all play a role. If you built a modern low-CG 6-iron with 33° loft and the same shaft, the thing would launch to the moon. A simple example is Titleist's MB and CB set (and their CB irons are hardly super aggressive in lowering the CG): they could blend at any iron in the set (so maybe you wanted MB from 8-iron on up, CB 7-iron down), and yet the CB was 2° stronger. Yet they launched at the same angles and went the same distances, or close enough that you could blend wherever you wanted within the set. Moving the CG just a few mm was enough to necessitate 2° stronger lofts.

Is there some gaming of the system to have "the longest irons"? Absolutely. But at the same time, some of those changes are necessary because of the "playability" changes they've made to move the CG, widen the soles, expand the clubface, perimeter weight, lower the kick point in the shafts, etc.

One can putt with any of these balls....TW wins were with his putter...while he may have hit it further and it may have sounded different, if he weren't making the putts he would have just been another longball dude...
Tiger won with his driving and his approach shots. Mark Broadie's research, my own research, etc. will validate that. Here's a chart…

(https://thesandtrap.com/uploads/monthly_2017_09/medium.table-6-5.png.ebc915160e7a631a1cd672e75b9dfb1d.png)

I recall here about ten years or so back a number of folks were contending that technology had reach its zenith related to balls and implements and that under the USGA/R&A guidelines nothing more could be accomplished by the manufacturers to increase distance.

With the benefit of hindsight, I think it's pretty clear that view was mistaken.
Was it?

Ten years ago the median on the PGA Tour hit it 288.7 and the top guy hit it 315.2. Clubhead speeds were 112.72 and 124.18.
Last year the median on the PGA Tour hit it 292.5 and the top guy hit it 317.2. Clubhead speeds were 114.04 and 128.18.

Doesn't seem to me that they've gotten anything out of driving distances in the last ten years. Players are swinging between 1.32 and 4 MPH faster and hitting the ball between 2 and 4 yards farther.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pat Burke on November 27, 2017, 01:46:08 PM
If spin is not an important factor to regulate, then it must have not played a roll when Tiger won at Pebble by 15 in 2000.

Tiger had the solid low spin balls that his competitors did not have. Can you really justify that the spin characteristic did not play a roll in him being the only player to ever win a major with a score more than 4 standard deviations below the mean?


He also won the Masters with a Titleist Professional by what...12?  The Nike (Bridgestone) ball he played was actually pretty spinny.  When you see the iron shots Tiger hit into the greens at Pebble, he was getting the ball to stop better than most of his pursuers.  The Bridgestone balls have always been amazing, and were FAR more consistent, ball to ball, than anybody else back then.


So, more spin means less distance....yes


I also believe adjustments will be made by very good players to take the spin right back out of it.  Right now, Justin Thomas, not a big guy, has ridiculous efficiency numbers, a unique attack angle for a great player and has figured a way to hit it miles. 
I was a schlub, but was able to make adjustments to launch it higher (11-12 degrees) with about 2800 (down from just over 3000) in order to pick up about 8 yards on average at 53 years old.  If an old dog can do it, the kids will too, and quickly.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on November 27, 2017, 02:36:35 PM
I wish the pros today played with the equipment from the 1980s (persimmon, heavy steel shafts, balls). I think fitness and technique have increased the swing speed of the average tour player, but the best 30 years ago were as good as the best today. The ball is not the only culprit, but I don't think the USGA would dream of bringing back the old clubs in addition to reduced distance balls.
That doesn't track for me. The best athletes in every other sport have gotten bigger, faster, stronger - in every other sport - except in golf? I don't buy it.



Do you believe Jack and Greg Norman wouldn't be as long or longer than the longest pros today? How many of today's players could hit Jack's 1 iron shot on 18 at Baltusrol from 238? Jason Day had 254 in the final round in last year's PGA with today's equipment. I don't think you can try to say those two shots are equivalent and the modern 1/2 iron only goes 16 yards longer with today's ball.

I agree professional athletes as a whole are bigger and stronger today than they were, but the very best are the exception. I think you can go through each sport and pick the very best from decades ago and they would still be the best or among the best today.






Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 27, 2017, 02:51:52 PM
Do you believe Jack and Greg Norman wouldn't be as long or longer than the longest pros today? How many of today's players could hit Jack's 1 iron shot on 18 at Baltusrol from 238? Jason Day had 254 in the final round in last year's PGA with today's equipment. I don't think you can try to say those two shots are equivalent and the modern 1/2 iron only goes 16 yards longer with today's ball.

I agree professional athletes as a whole are bigger and stronger today than they were, but the very best are the exception. I think you can go through each sport and pick the very best from decades ago and they would still be the best or among the best today.
I don't care to speculate, because it's one (or only a few) guys. Greg was an outlier, and it's difficult to compare outliers. That's why, despite the very clearly stronger fields these days, it's still difficult to compare Tiger vs. Jack: are Tiger's 14 majors (or 17) better than Jack's 18 (or 20)? I think so, but I can easily see why others feel the other way. That's why it's difficult to compare Jordan vs. LeBron. Or Aaron vs. Ruth. They're outliers.

And I think more of the game's top players than not could have hit Jack's 1-iron, while at the same time perhaps only one or two of Jack's peers could have done that.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 03:00:46 PM
If spin is not an important factor to regulate, then it must have not played a roll when Tiger won at Pebble by 15 in 2000.

Tiger had the solid low spin balls that his competitors did not have. Can you really justify that the spin characteristic did not play a roll in him being the only player to ever win a major with a score more than 4 standard deviations below the mean?


He also won the Masters with a Titleist Professional by what...12?  The Nike (Bridgestone) ball he played was actually pretty spinny.  When you see the iron shots Tiger hit into the greens at Pebble, he was getting the ball to stop better than most of his pursuers.  The Bridgestone balls have always been amazing, and were FAR more consistent, ball to ball, than anybody else back then.


So, more spin means less distance....yes


I also believe adjustments will be made by very good players to take the spin right back out of it.  Right now, Justin Thomas, not a big guy, has ridiculous efficiency numbers, a unique attack angle for a great player and has figured a way to hit it miles. 
I was a schlub, but was able to make adjustments to launch it higher (11-12 degrees) with about 2800 (down from just over 3000) in order to pick up about 8 yards on average at 53 years old.  If an old dog can do it, the kids will too, and quickly.

According to Newton on the Tee, Tiger's masters win ranks 3rd highest in score deviation from the mean at 3.26. Nicklaus (3.56) and Floyd (3.27) both had more significant wins.

According to Newton on the Tee, Tiger's open wins ranks first with a deviation from the mean at 4.75 completely blowing away all other statistics. The point is Tiger played a ball with less spin than others played in a very windy tournament. Spin matters!
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pat Burke on November 27, 2017, 03:14:53 PM
Spin absolutely matters.  in that Open at Pebble The approach shots Tiger hit the last round on 2, 4, 9, 10, 12, and 15 showed amazing control.
 :)


The Titleist Professional doesn't get enough credit (or derision).  It was much lower spinning than its' predecessors.  Guys who had trouble with too much spin loved that ball.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 03:19:02 PM
I don’t think the weight is really any different. I bought a Callaway GBB in about 1995 with a 70g shaft. Nobody on Tour today is using less than 65g and most are using more than 70g I believe.


What’s different is that a 70g X-flex shaft from Graphite Design can be customized to fit Phil Mickelson’s long flowing swing and another 70g X-flex shaft from GD can be customized to fit Sergio Garcia’s shorter, hard down-load swing.

What's important is what shafts the tour players were using then and now, vs. what you are using. ;)

Can you explain how the same shaft can be customized for the two different swings? I would be interested to know.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Matthew Petersen on November 27, 2017, 03:39:15 PM
Re: players increasing their swing speeds, how much room for increase do you think there may be? Looking at some posted TrackMan numbers for young big-hitters like Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Jon Rahm, it looks like their driver SS is 116-119ish. Rory McIlroy and Jason Day are in that range, and they and other pros are starting to get the kind of injuries that seem to result from hitting thousands of golf shots over many years with the type of swing engineered to produce that sort of speed.


Is the clearly increasing potential for injury going to help elite golfers find a level that gives them the performance they believe they need to compete and the longevity to have a whole, successful career?



A more significant question is whether players figure they really need to plan for long careers. Given the amount of money in the game right now, winning as much as possible now makes more sense than trying to scale back for a long career.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 03:39:37 PM
Garland,


The understanding of how to maximize distance off the tee is light years ahead of where it was in the 90’s.


It’s not that spin isn’t a consideration, its extremely important. It’s just that the guys everyone is so worried about have the ability and every incentive to figure out how to beat any realistic change to it.

If you can't keep the ball in play, maximizing gains you nothing.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 27, 2017, 03:50:59 PM
Can you explain how the same shaft can be customized for the two different swings? I would be interested to know.
He didn't say the same shaft. He said another 70-gram, X-flex shaft may be more suitable for another player. But even the same shaft in a different flex, or tip trimmed instead of butt trimmed, etc. can produce different results for people.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 04:01:04 PM
I apologize to those who don't like the multi-quoting. It's just what I do, and how I've always used forums.

As long as you don't use green, you're OK. ;)
...

Feels off topic to me (a bit) so I'll try to keep it short… as you likely know there's more to launch conditions than loft. The shaft, the location of the CG, etc. all play a role. If you built a modern low-CG 6-iron with 33° loft and the same shaft, the thing would launch to the moon. A simple example is Titleist's MB and CB set (and their CB irons are hardly super aggressive in lowering the CG): they could blend at any iron in the set (so maybe you wanted MB from 8-iron on up, CB 7-iron down), and yet the CB was 2° stronger. Yet they launched at the same angles and went the same distances, or close enough that you could blend wherever you wanted within the set. Moving the CG just a few mm was enough to necessitate 2° stronger lofts.

Is there some gaming of the system to have "the longest irons"? Absolutely. But at the same time, some of those changes are necessary because of the "playability" changes they've made to move the CG, widen the soles, expand the clubface, perimeter weight, lower the kick point in the shafts, etc.
...
Let me nit pick this a bit. You talk about low cg. Lowering the cg is a bit of an industry myth that keeps getting passed around. Lowering the cg does very little. Moving it back does far more. Therefore, widening the soles will make an iron launch higher. Lowering the cg will not launch significantly higher.

The shaft can change the launch angle. However it cannot "kick" as the misnamed kick point suggests, which would better be named bend point, would it not?

So if you want to launch that new 6 iron with a 4 iron loft as high as the old 6 irons, you simply build a head with a wide sole and put a women's shaft with a low bend point in it, and you are good to go. ;D
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 04:05:19 PM
Can you explain how the same shaft can be customized for the two different swings? I would be interested to know.
He didn't say the same shaft. He said another 70-gram, X-flex shaft may be more suitable for another player. But even the same shaft in a different flex, or tip trimmed instead of butt trimmed, etc. can produce different results for people.

I think I see what you mean. To me another means one more of the same. I think you are arguing he meant a different 70-gram X-flex shaft from GD.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 04:22:44 PM
Spin absolutely matters.  in that Open at Pebble The approach shots Tiger hit the last round on 2, 4, 9, 10, 12, and 15 showed amazing control.
 :)


The Titleist Professional doesn't get enough credit (or derision).  It was much lower spinning than its' predecessors.  Guys who had trouble with too much spin loved that ball.

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golf-johnson-equipment-0628 says most players used wound balata covered balls, which would not be the Professional, as I have read it had a harder cover.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 27, 2017, 04:26:35 PM
So if you want to launch that new 6 iron with a 4 iron loft as high as the old 6 irons, you simply build a head with a wide sole and put a women's shaft with a low bend point in it, and you are good to go. ;D
Yeah… I'd replace a "women's shaft" with simply "a longer shaft," keep the rest (a lower bend point, and a slightly lower CG), and that's about what I was trying to say. Plus we better understand spin and its role in the aerodynamics of flight.

Anyway, this argues in some ways against distance gains. Think about it… if we complain that a modern player is hitting a 9-iron to a green, but that's a 1950s era 6-iron, then that's a lot closer to the original architect's intent, no, and speaks to how we may be overblowing the distance gains in not considering that it was "really" a 6-iron, right?


I think I see what you mean. To me another means one more of the same. I think you are arguing he meant a different 70-gram X-flex shaft from GD.
I'm using "another" to mean "some other" in this case. The 70 grams could be the same, the X-flex could be the same, but the other properties could be very different.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 04:33:28 PM
Not to be to pedantic, but

Another: "used to refer to an additional person or thing of the same type as one already mentioned or known about; one more; a further:"

;D
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on November 27, 2017, 04:34:05 PM


I think I see what you mean. To me another means one more of the same. I think you are arguing he meant a different 70-gram X-flex shaft from GD.

I'm using "another" to mean "some other" in this case. The 70 grams could be the same, the X-flex could be the same, but the other properties could be very different.


Correct Erik...Garland, you know the guys building shafts today can do all sorts of things to fit the player as opposed to the player having to fit the shaft.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on November 27, 2017, 04:36:00 PM
Your definition seems to fit my example.


Two of the primary characteristics of two things are the same, but the things are different...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 27, 2017, 04:40:19 PM
Your definition seems to fit my example.

Two of the primary characteristics of two things are the same, but the things are different...
Right.

If I ask someone to get me "another" rum and Coke, I expect that I'll get rum and Coke, but the exact amounts may be different, and the number of ice cubes might be different, and the order in which they add the ingredients may be different, but it's still another 70-gram, x-stiff rum and Coke.  ;D

But anyway…
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pat Burke on November 27, 2017, 06:32:17 PM
Spin absolutely matters.  in that Open at Pebble The approach shots Tiger hit the last round on 2, 4, 9, 10, 12, and 15 showed amazing control.
 :)


The Titleist Professional doesn't get enough credit (or derision).  It was much lower spinning than its' predecessors.  Guys who had trouble with too much spin loved that ball.

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golf-johnson-equipment-0628 (https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golf-johnson-equipment-0628) says most players used wound balata covered balls, which would not be the Professional, as I have read it had a harder cover.


article said the Professional, Tour Prestige, and Maxfli Revolution were the top 3 balls

Professional was a blend cover/wound ball in 90 and 100 Comp models
Prestige was a more spin older style
Revolution was a blended cover and if I remember (may be wrong) had a unique, more solid core and urethane cover
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2017, 07:54:28 PM

article said the Professional, Tour Prestige, and Maxfli Revolution were the top 3 balls
...

But that was not about the US Open. It only named two players using balls (the Strata) other than wound balata balls at the US Open. Presumably the success of players were beginning to have with newer balls (especially Tiger) causing a shift in balls used. Since driving stats for the year did not have a significant jump in 2000, but did in 2001, it would seem balls in play didn't change much until after the open. Presumably the Tour Prestige was the ball in play mostly at the time of the open.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 29, 2017, 06:02:52 PM
Add DJ to the Rollback supporter list....
#1 in the world and a loooong hitter....
hmmm...common sense becoming common
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 29, 2017, 06:38:08 PM
Add DJ to the Rollback supporter list....
#1 in the world and a loooong hitter....
hmmm...common sense becoming common
I don't think his comments were all that supportive.

"But you know I think with the ball and the equipment the gap between guys who swing really hard and guys who don't, y'know, it's not very much. I think there should be some kind of advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting the speed that's needed."

He's in favor of ONE ball, "like other sports" (other sports share the ball, though, which is an entirely different dynamic), and right now players basically have "one" ball with slightly different short game characteristics, or barely different launch characteristics that suit their games.

DJ says there's not much of a gap between the short hitters and the long hitters now, and that the gap should grow.

I don't take that as supporting a roll-back. I take it as him stumbling through an answer where he tries not to disagree with what Tiger just said, and little else.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 29, 2017, 06:51:59 PM
or DJ's tired of the de-skilling of the game and would prefer to see long par 5's only reachable for him


or maybe he just wants to use his 5 iron once a year


Long hitters will still be long, amateurs will still struggle.Life will go on.


Common sense is just around the corner after decades of denial-it's actually being discussed.


I say the ball manufacturers save hundreds of millions on pro endorsements and people buy just as many balls.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 29, 2017, 07:04:34 PM
Jeff, a different tack - a question for you (because I'm curious and others might be too):

You're a pro who (if I've read your posts right) still plays some tournament golf.
How would the kind of roll-back you're thinking about affect you personally?
If you don't mind, please be as specific as you can, e.g. 
How far do you hit in now off the tee, how far would you hit it then?
What would that mean for approach play - if nowadays you're coming in with a 7 iron, what would you need then?
Most importantly -- do you think you'd personally have more fun? Would the game be even more interesting for you?
Thanks
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 29, 2017, 07:06:37 PM
Common sense is just around the corner after decades of denial-it's actually being discussed.
I let it go the first time but I think that's a moderately rude comment, Jeff.

Edit: "moderately" is more accurate.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 29, 2017, 07:41:56 PM
Jeff, a different tack - a question for you (because I'm curious and others might be too):

You're a pro who (if I've read your posts right) still plays some tournament golf.
How would the kind of roll-back you're thinking about affect you personally?
If you don't mind, please be as specific as you can, e.g. 
How far do you hit in now off the tee, how far would you hit it then?
What would that mean for approach play - if nowadays you're coming in with a 7 iron, what would you need then?
Most importantly -- do you think you'd personally have more fun? Would the game be even more interesting for you?
Thanks


Peter an interesting question.
In the MET Section we play nearly all classic courses that range from 6400-6900 yards mostly-though there are a few newer ones very occasionally played that are longer on day 3.
I play both Senior events and regular events as the older courses don't really vary that much tee to tee.
I carry it 245-260 depending on tempertaure and back health  and the fairways tend to be softish so I'm hitting it 250-285 depending on fairways conditions. FYI that's 10-15 farther than I did at age 24 with persimmonthough I probably got more hooky roll then and carrying it 260 would've really been a stretch then.


There are plenty bombing it 20-50 by me in the younger set.


That said, in the MET Section a rollback wouldn't matter that much as I'd be hitting more 6-7-8 irons and less 8-9, PW .(I use old school lofts) It would depend on the rollback method but if it really was across the board I'd probably not really notice as frankly I really don't know how far I hit every iron exactly as I hit a lot of "shots" cuts, fades , hooks (lots of these) based on wind, temperature, my back, and mostly based on how I'm swinging (what's working) Hard to "know" your yardages with all those variables-I use a lazer but have no qualms about hitting a 9 iron 160 yards to a back left hook pin or a 7 iron 140 yards to a right pin.


Also, in the MET section I'd just probably hit an extra driver or two (rather than a 3 or 5 wood) and others would hit more 3 woods rather than irons off tees on 5-7 holes. Older shorter courses wouldn't be that affected due to the fact that driver's not always the best play anyway.


Would I have more fun?
In the short run-yes if the ball were spinnier and more workable-especially if it was windy(very few play shots in the wind anymore)-though certain courses that have been lengthened would be quite long for me.


In the long run especially yes because classic courses would be used for majors more and remain relevant longer so some in the MET Section might be revived in popularity.
Also,we might visit a course like Inwood again(6400  yards) which was where I played my first MET PGA.


I've always been a right to left player so more spin would be welcome-I haven't ever adjusted to just aiming straight and always think my ball will turn over more with the spinless balls-but they don't
so there is that.....


On longer , modern courses I'd be hurt more but I've been avoiding them since leaving Florida in the 90's.(actually for that reason-just hated playing there)
I've always hated competing on modern development courses.


So the answer I don't know how it would affect me competively, but I know watching pro golf would be far more interesting-and playing it would involve far shorter walks and hopefully more interest.


Of course I can barely walk at the moment with hip and back issues so maybe we should do a roll forward ;D






Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 29, 2017, 07:50:28 PM
Common sense is just around the corner after decades of denial-it's actually being discussed.
I let it go the first time but I think that's an incredibly rude comment, Jeff.


Sorry Erik-not directed at you personally.
What I believe is "common sense" has clearly been a minority view for a long time.(and I've been considered an alarmist for many years on this)
The tide simply seems to be changing as I regularly hear high profile golf people beginning to change their minds and/or speak out-perhaps.


Sustainabilty is such a buzzword in our society-I think a nongolfer would wonder why on earth we would continue to grow the scale and footprint of our playing fields(with a simple solution at hand) while the rest of the world goes the other way.
We may disagree whether keeping the scale intact and the classics relevent is "common sense".
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 29, 2017, 07:55:16 PM
Sorry Erik-not directed at you personally.
No, directed at anyone who disagrees with your opinion as lacking "common sense." It's still rude.

Suatainabilty is such a buzzword in our society-I think a nongolfer would wonder why on earth we would continue to grow the scale and footprint of our playing fields(with a simple solution at hand) while the rest of the world goes the other way.
I think the number of golf courses that are being lengthened is vastly over-estimated/stated.

Again, 95% of golfers are probably fine from 6500 yards. Or less.

PGA Tour pros hit it about 2-4 yards farther than ten years ago, and they do that because they swing a few MPH faster.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 29, 2017, 07:59:21 PM

I think the number of golf courses that are being lengthened is vastly over-estimated/stated.

Again, 95% of golfers are probably fine from 6500 yards. Or less.

PGA Tour pros hit it about 2-4 yards farther than ten years ago, and they do that because they swing a few MPH faster.


Agreed with all of the above.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 29, 2017, 08:04:27 PM
It would be interesting to know how many courses have been lengthened or built longer than would have been if not for the long ball...say, in the past 25 years.  In my UK experience, I would say a significant percentage of courses have been lengthened.  Much of the time I wonder what the point is in adding 10 yards to a hole.  Sometimes I think a hole would be better if it was shortened...maybe use the forward tees for the daily tee.

Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 29, 2017, 08:27:40 PM
It would be interesting to know how many courses have been lengthened or built longer than would have been if not for the long ball...say, in the past 25 years.  In my UK experience, I would say a significant percentage of courses have been lengthened.  Much of the time I wonder what the point is in adding 10 yards to a hole.  Sometimes I think a hole would be better if it was shortened...maybe use the forward tees for the daily tee.

Ciao


IMHO the best way to lengthen a course is to lengthen 3-5 holes substantially(30-60 yards)-even better if they're already long holes. Adds to shot variety at low expense and avoids a bunch of similar length holes-common when lengthening wherever possible.
Palmetto does this well(though I can do without the back tee on the postage stamp 7th) -but you have to know where they are
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 29, 2017, 08:34:29 PM
It would be interesting to know how many courses have been lengthened or built longer than would have been if not for the long ball...say, in the past 25 years.  In my UK experience, I would say a significant percentage of courses have been lengthened.  Much of the time I wonder what the point is in adding 10 yards to a hole.  Sometimes I think a hole would be better if it was shortened...maybe use the forward tees for the daily tee.

Ciao


IMHO the best way to lengthen a course is to lengthen 3-5 holes substantially(30-60 yards)-even better if they're already long holes. Adds to shot variety at low expense and avoids a bunch of similar length holes-common when lengthening wherever possible.
Palmetto does this well(though I can do without the back tee on the postage stamp 7th) -but you have to know where they are


Jeff


I tend to agree.  If holes are already 430 or so and the club feels they need yardage then these would be the first holes I would at. I would avoid lengthing short 3s, 4s and 5s. 


Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 29, 2017, 09:03:20 PM
Erik - I think we all agree that 6500 yards is long enough for 95% of golfers. But there is the reality and then there is the perception. And I'd say that the perception -- especially among those with the money to finance new course construction -- is maybe even more important than the reality.

Architects here have often mentioned the near constant pressure (from most, not all, developers) to build courses over 7,000 yards. And, over the last 25 years, many such courses have indeed been built -- with back tees well past that mark, even for resort types courses/destinations. I think it's because the perception among money men/developers is that their target audience considers 7500 yards the sign of a "top-quality" or "true championship" course (even if they'll never play those tees).

But once upon a time, in the 60s and 70s, those same type of money men/developers had courses designed and built that maxed out at 6500 or 6800 yards. (My local course, built in 1971, must be very very common i.e. back tees at 6510 yards). I think that's because, back then, even the pros on the Tour were averaging 260 yard drives; and so that total distance was considered -- by pros and would-be developers and average golfers alike -- to be "legitimate" and to be "sufficient". Today, it simply isn't.

Now, I know we can never go back to that time-period and to those distances -- but I think that, in the context of perceptions, the distance gains you cite as occurring over the last 10 years aren't nearly as important as the distance gains over the last 25 years, i.e. the 25 years or so during which the new ball and titanium club-faces and shaft lengths and graphite and swing speed and athleticism and launch angles and spin rates all came together to create very dramatic increases in length for the top players (and to a lesser extent, for the the decent-to-average golfer as well).

Which is to say/ask: is it folly to assume a "trickle down" effect if the ball is rolled-back for (at least) the top players? Doesn't it seem plausible to you that there'd be a re-thinking (about what qualifies as a "championship course") on the part of average golfers and money men alike if, with a roll-back, a regular PGA tour course or a major venue like Merion provided a fine test of golf while maxing out at 7000 yards (instead of 7600 or 8000 yards)? 

That does seem plausible to me, that potential trickle down effect. And, from my perspective, fostering that seems like a sensible thing to do...or at least to aim for.


Peter

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 29, 2017, 10:03:03 PM
spot on Peter, and though 6500 is plenty for 95%, it's the 1% that get all the TV viewership and they and the other 4% make or certainly influence 95% of the decisions.


Put another way, our highways are good enough for 95% of drivers, but that doeasn't mean I want someone driving 200 mph past me.


and while a 6500 yard cleverly done course (or even less-Palmetto) can produce a challenge for an elite player, most don't- and inevitably longer tees are built.







Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 29, 2017, 11:02:49 PM
You guys are forgetting all the courses that are not even 6500, and are struggling to just get there based on pressure to compete with longer, newer courses.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 30, 2017, 04:44:33 AM
Garland

Very true. In the UK length of the course is the most important factor for determining course rating.  A lot of clubs will look for some extra yards to reach the limit so another shot can be added to the rating or a shot added to par.  Many golfers will not take a course seriously if it has a par or rating below 70 or if there is a big spread between par and the rating. Kington did this very thing and ruined a hole chasing yards and a stroke on par.  This is also another case of low cappers pushing decision-making.  It is very hard for low cappers (anything under 3 really) to maintain their handicap on a course with a a few shots below par.  They are often forced to break par merely to get into buffer zone.  Mostof the time length is not an issue for these guys so its easier for them to maintain a low cap on a 6800-7000 yard par 72/73, rating 73-75 rather than on a par 71 rating 69 course. 

Ciao 
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 30, 2017, 08:48:54 AM
Garland

Very true. In the UK length of the course is the most important factor for determining course rating.  A lot of clubs will look for some extra yards to reach the limit so another shot can be added to the rating or a shot added to par.  Many golfers will not take a course seriously if it has a par or rating below 70 or if there is a big spread between par and the rating. Kington did this very thing and ruined a hole chasing yards and a stroke on par.  This is also another case of low cappers pushing decision-making.  It is very hard for low cappers (anything under 3 really) to maintain their handicap on a course with a a few shots below par.  They are often forced to break par merely to get into buffer zone.  Mostof the time length is not an issue for these guys so its easier for them to maintain a low cap on a 6800-7000 yard par 72/73, rating 73-75 rather than on a par 71 rating 69 course. 

Ciao


That in a nutshell sums up exactly why we need a rollback(or bifurcation).
We can argue all day about whether who or why gets to make that decision, but those are the decisions made-with the USGA and R&A as the poster children of course lengthening, course bastardization, and lately choosing BIG modern monstrocities as fields of competition..
Not easy to change human nature, especially when the those that should know better-don't.


The tired excuses of
"handicaps haven't gone down for years"
"95% of golfers need,,,,,"
"the average guys just wants to have fun"
don't change at at all if the ball is shortened(or bifurcated)-lack of length (that isn't impacted on a mishit anyway)isn't why that player shoots high scores.


The reality is what HAS changed-and has driven the expensive and fun/time sucking lengthening of courses-
is that elite and very good players hit the ball farther than they ever have.(regardless of why)
and while they might be "5%", they play more rounds than others, and more importantly they wield the most influence at clubs.


The solution to that is to reduce the distance the ball travels-via ball, club, whatever (though the ball is simplest one stop shopping)


We can A.restore the length of the equipment to fit the course(a 4$ ball),
 or we can B. expand the scale and footprint of the course to fit the equipment.(thousands to hundreds of thousands $)


I won't say the bad phrase Erik, but option A makes a lot more sense to me-and lately, multiple high profile others, as well as anecdotal casual golfers I speak to.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 30, 2017, 09:02:10 AM
Jeff


With due respect (sincerely), there are factors at play which are troublesome with a rollback. 


1. Will clubs shorten their courses? 


2. Will clubs look for other ways to toughen their courses once distance is not on the table?


3. Will clubs stop mucking with their courses?  It is assumed that most course changes are due to length issues...I seriously question this premise and believe clubs will always find reasons to alter courses and at present length is the scapegoat.  We are alos seeing H&S used as an excuse an awful lot these days as well.


I am much for a toe dipping exercise (bifurcation) rather than completely ploughing a new and unknown road.  As some have suggested, I agree that with bifurcation will come a period of sorting issues out toward a reunification of the rules.


Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 30, 2017, 09:12:02 AM
Jeff


With due respect (sincerely), there are factors at play which are troublesome with a rollback. 


1. Will clubs shorten their courses? 


2. Will clubs look for other ways to toughen their courses once distance is not on the table?


3. Will clubs stop mucking with their courses?  It is assumed that most course changes are due to length issues...I seriously question this premise and believe clubs will always find reasons to alter courses and at present length is the scapegoat.  We are alos seeing H&S used as an excuse an awful lot these days as well.


I am much for a toe dipping exercise (bifurcation) rather than completely ploughing a new and unknown road.  As some have suggested, I agree that with bifurcation will come a period of sorting issues out toward a reunification of the rules.


Ciao


Good points, and I suggest bifurcation as well.
Could also see a voluntary trickle down effect from that as well.
Not dissimilar to the hickory movement or the way many 10 handicappers clung to their blades even when they knew they'd do better with cavity backs.


Will clubs stop doing stupid things? no


will they lengthen less? I would think so -especially if the kids who were hitting driver 7 iron to par 5's are suddenly having hybrid or 3 iron in.


Will clubs shorten? I would hope not as that's expensive too.
I would think anyone who wanted to shorten could by simply going up a set of tees.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on November 30, 2017, 09:33:49 AM
Jeff

You can't have it both ways!  If it costs money to maintain the "extra" bits of the course for the long ball than it must do so when the long ball is rolled back...unless the course is somehow changed. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 30, 2017, 09:50:04 AM
Well, post roll-back, maybe we can at least assume that with new course constructions, architects like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods would be less inclined (and/or pressured) to build 7500+ back tees -- even if only to avoid looking like hypocrites.

Mr. N is nearing the end of his career, but TW may only be getting started. I think the choices he makes would help set the tone for other architects (and for would-be course developers).   

As for current (and already lengthened) courses, couldn't a set or two of back tees simply be allowed to 'go fallow'?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on November 30, 2017, 10:21:29 AM
Jeff

You can't have it both ways!  If it costs money to maintain the "extra" bits of the course for the long ball than it must do so when the long ball is rolled back...unless the course is somehow changed. 

Ciao


Misunderstood-if the ball was shortened, sure crazy back tees should be abandoned- I was thinking you meant adding MORE forward tees because course was short
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 30, 2017, 10:30:23 AM
That in a nutshell sums up exactly why we need a rollback(or bifurcation).
We can argue all day about whether who or why gets to make that decision, but those are the decisions made-with the USGA and R&A as the poster children of course lengthening, course bastardization, and lately choosing BIG modern monstrocities as fields of competition..
Not easy to change human nature, especially when the those that should know better-don't.
I still haven't seen any credible data on:
a) how many courses are being "lengthened"
b) how often new courses are being built at 7500+

Not to mention the cost associated. One course nearby - out of about 25 - has lengthened their tees in the last decade. They lengthened onto existing land and rolled the cost into a tee renovation project they needed anyway (some tees had gotten a bit smaller and/or too domed). Extra cost for about 220 yards: $0 (per the superintendent, a friend of mine). Total course length now? 6883 with a 73.1 rating. Still well under 7000 yards.

Maybe I'm in a weird area. Maybe some of you have different experiences. Maybe some of you are in areas where 50% of the courses have lengthened their tees at a real expense.

The Loop (Forest Dunes) tops out at 6800 and 6700 yards, so we don't even know what the stats are on the % of new courses being asked to top 7500 yards.

The tired excuses of
"handicaps haven't gone down for years"
FWIW, handicaps have gone down.

I won't say the bad phrase Erik, but option A makes a lot more sense to me-and lately, multiple high profile others, as well as anecdotal casual golfers I speak to.
The thing is… you've convinced yourself there's a clear "problem" that needs to be addressed. I don't agree that there's a problem. I have a poll on my site and about 75% of the people who voted there disagree that there's a "problem" either.

Also FWIW, Sean_A, courses have to be lengthened about 182 yards to add a full stroke to the course rating. Average of 10 yards a hole.


Despite how it might seem, I'm not "stuck" here. I just haven't seen numbers, and my experiences aren't the same as yours and don't point toward a need to do anything, either.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 30, 2017, 01:55:57 PM
...
One course nearby - out of about 25 - has lengthened their tees in the last decade. They lengthened onto existing land and rolled the cost into a tee renovation project they needed anyway (some tees had gotten a bit smaller and/or too domed). Extra cost for about 220 yards: $0 (per the superintendent, a friend of mine). Total course length now? 6883 with a 73.1 rating. Still well under 7000 yards.
...

The costs you seem to be ignoring are what was left undone while they built new tee(s). The cost of added maintenance for the new tees. The cost of added maintenance between the new tees and the rest of the course. And, perhaps other things that don't come to mind.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 30, 2017, 02:00:21 PM
...I have a poll on my site and about 75% of the people who voted there disagree that there's a "problem" either.
...

How many of your poll participants are the people who have dropped out of the game, or are intimidated by the ever rising cost of the game?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on November 30, 2017, 02:28:04 PM
The costs you seem to be ignoring are what was left undone while they built new tee(s). The cost of added maintenance for the new tees. The cost of added maintenance between the new tees and the rest of the course. And, perhaps other things that don't come to mind.
No, I didn't.

There's no "cost of added maintenance for the new tees." They have the same number of tee boxes.

And there's no "cost of added maintenance between the new tees and the rest of the course." They were already mowing it with the rough-height mower. Literally nothing changed except whether they mowed behind the tees a bit, or in front of the tees a bit.

How many of your poll participants are the people who have dropped out of the game, or are intimidated by the ever rising cost of the game?

Right, because the "ever rising cost of the game" is mostly attributable to the distance the game's best hit the ball. C'mon Garland. Facts, please. That's how you convince someone. Or me, at least.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pat Burke on November 30, 2017, 03:57:35 PM
So, in a perfect world.....
an overall roll back positives would be.  I'm really not interested in negatives for the purpose of this post.


Keeping older, shorter courses' architectural intent for the longest hitting portion of players relevant
Curtail the need/desire for ever longer courses, whether new or old
Ideally shorter courses and less (off line), misses for average players
time savings for shorter walks, less offline chasing when applicable...some courses the walk will not change
Assuming less acreage maintained, lower costs, less use of resources, particularly water
If everything were rolled back, a contraction in the spread of distances from top to bottom
Big plus would be less bitching about how far guys are hitting it on tv




Bifurcation positives would be
Guys on tv hitting it shorter, to bring the classic golf courses' architecture more inline with their games and testing their games
through the bag more
Ideally, no more reaction to the tv golf by committees, owners, and others to keep their course relevant
The current canvas would basically stay the same, distances would consistent (both on and off line) for the golfing public
A slow down of overhauling courses due to reacting to absurd distances watched on tv (of course, we still have to see the weekly attempt at perfect conditions and green is keen on tv)


I absolutely understand there are more, including an entire category of what happens if we do nothing, but we can watch that daily.


would like to see more from either group
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 01, 2017, 12:35:25 AM
The costs you seem to be ignoring are what was left undone while they built new tee(s). The cost of added maintenance for the new tees. The cost of added maintenance between the new tees and the rest of the course. And, perhaps other things that don't come to mind.
No, I didn't.

Well you still haven't addressed what got left undone while the new tees were built at "no cost" and the obsoleted tees were obsoleted at "no cost". At a minimum there were players that were bitching about what wasn't being done as a sacrifice to the time and effort to do the new tees.


There's no "cost of added maintenance for the new tees." They have the same number of tee boxes.

So are we talking about a course that already has excess land and what would be considered a full set of tees by most? I thought we were talking about old courses that have limited land and a limited set of tees that are currently perceived as being inadequate by modern standards for length and the added flexibility to accommodate longer hitters.

And there's no "cost of added maintenance between the new tees and the rest of the course." They were already mowing it with the rough-height mower. Literally nothing changed except whether they mowed behind the tees a bit, or in front of the tees a bit.

Nothing changed except what did!? There were no cart paths that were extended? The golfers are satisfied to walk to and from the new tees in grass rough-height? Push their carts through the tall grass?

How many of your poll participants are the people who have dropped out of the game, or are intimidated by the ever rising cost of the game?

Right, because the "ever rising cost of the game" is mostly attributable to the distance the game's best hit the ball. C'mon Garland. Facts, please. That's how you convince someone. Or me, at least.


Sorry for being a skeptic, but it sounded like you were saying that you have an unscientific poll that you are using to justify your conclusions with.

The "ever rising cost of the game" is attributable to a lot of things, which of course you know. Taking a stand against the things that raise the cost of the game is laudable IMO.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 01, 2017, 12:44:25 AM
...
Also FWIW, Sean_A, courses have to be lengthened about 182 yards to add a full stroke to the course rating. Average of 10 yards a hole.
...

In Sean's neighborhood, such lengthening is done by extending a hole to cross-over another hole with the possibility of adding that 182 yards to just one hole. Probably the cheapest way to extend a course, but of course it has its own drawbacks.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 01, 2017, 12:47:20 AM
Well you still haven't addressed what got left undone while the new tees were built at "no cost" and the obsoleted tees were obsoleted at "no cost". At a minimum there were players that were bitching about what wasn't being done as a sacrifice to the time and effort to do the new tees.
As I said, the club rebuilt all the tees because they'd become domed or too small. They were going to do it anyway. They were able to add a little length at the same time, and this remains the only club to do so in the last decade.

They made the decision to re-do the tees either way. Yes, they didn't do something else at the time (though the course doesn't really have much else going on that needs work). The tees, the membership-owned club decided, did need the work.

So are we talking about a course that already has excess land and what would be considered a full set of tees by most? I thought we were talking about old courses that have limited land and a limited set of tees that are currently perceived as being inadequate by modern standards for length and the added flexibility to accommodate longer hitters.
The course is still under 7000 yards.

Sorry for being a skeptic, but it sounded like you were saying that you have an unscientific poll that you are using to justify your conclusions with.
It's one of many data points that support the idea that there's nothing "wrong" with golf right now. That's all. I don't give it that much weight. But it speaks to the idea that this isn't a widespread idea, even among dedicated golfers (dedicated enough to join a forum and post to it, and vote in a poll).

The "ever rising cost of the game" is attributable to a lot of things, which of course you know. Taking a stand against the things that raise the cost of the game is laudable IMO.
Is it laudable if you're ignoring 20 other things that are more responsible?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 01, 2017, 01:03:46 AM
Garland

...  This is also another case of low cappers pushing decision-making.  ...

Ciao

One of my favorite parts of Dr. Mac's book is where he tells about building a course and having low cappers drive changes to it to help their games and ruining the course. So AM build another course next door, and most of the membership left the first course to join the second one.

...
The reality is what HAS changed-and has driven the expensive and fun/time sucking lengthening of courses-
is that elite and very good players hit the ball farther than they ever have.(regardless of why)
and while they might be "5%", they play more rounds than others, and more importantly they wield the most influence at clubs.

....

Yes unfortunately they do wield the most influence at clubs. How being able to swing a golf club better than another person remotely qualifies you decide how the golf course should be made up is beyond me.

That is not to say that the high capper has any monopoly on knowledge about how to make up a proper golf course. Just to say that nonexpert golfers can do pretty good at making up a golf course. E.g., Alister MacKenzie, Tom Doak.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 01, 2017, 01:09:21 AM
...
The "ever rising cost of the game" is attributable to a lot of things, which of course you know. Taking a stand against the things that raise the cost of the game is laudable IMO.
Is it laudable if you're ignoring 20 other things that are more responsible?

I did write things. As you can see. ;)
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on December 01, 2017, 04:43:16 AM
Jeff

You can't have it both ways!  If it costs money to maintain the "extra" bits of the course for the long ball than it must do so when the long ball is rolled back...unless the course is somehow changed. 

Ciao

Misunderstood-if the ball was shortened, sure crazy back tees should be abandoned- I was thinking you meant adding MORE forward tees because course was short

Jeff

Gotcha. 

Garland

I agree wth you.  There can be no question that longer courses cost more to maintain.  They are far more likely to follow the trend of mega tee sets (often 5+)....a trend I despise.  You don't see many 6000 yard courses with more than three sets of tees and often there is essentially one teeing area with three blocks on it. Courses must be wider as well to accomodate the long ball....and what happens with that space between holes...trees....they cost money.  Even if there are no trees, just the extra acerage costs money eventually.  I don't know if the extra costs related to the long ball are enough to push golf into the category of "unsustainable", but it sure can't help except in some cases where clubs actually make a profit hosting touring pros...probably Augusta being the best example of this.  But the club would have made the money without the long ball so my argument would be the long ball has actually reduced profit in their case. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 01, 2017, 09:50:08 AM
This just in.


The poll on my website indicates 100% of respondents think golf would be more fun if
 the walks to tees were shorter
courses took less time to walk
less sets of tees were required
maintenence costs were lower
they didn't have to wait for the green to clear on a 320 yard par 4 while their 10 handicap athletic son waited because he could drive it or kill the players as they walk towards their trolleys
Most players of a similar handicap could all play the same set of tees
the courses they watched on TV WEREN'T 7600 yards or embracing every course bastardizing measure known to "protect" par against the wedge attack.


Which would make this more possible?
10% more distance for athletic golfers....?(give it 10 years-though for 30 years we've been told there's no more to come)


.....or 10% less




Erik,
I applaud your area for resisting adding length.
That's very, very unusual in my experience.
I played Gailes links in a Final Open qualifier and the back tees(which I never knew existed) added 5-600 yards.AND required a walk back of 40-100 yards every hole (many of the member tees required walks back as well from earlier lengthening)


Anecdotally, I can't think of one course in our area that hasn't added at LEAST 10 back tees-if not more.
Admittedly an affluent area on Eastern Long island-
but for comparison, in a less affluent area-the courses I'm familiar with in Aiken/Augusta share the same lengthening (Augusta CC +400, Palmetto +350, ANGC +500, Goshen +400, Forest Hills +400


and modern courses, because they stretch to 7400 yards feel compelled to have 5 or 6 sets.





Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 01, 2017, 09:59:39 AM
Jeff,


Please do not include me in the "less sets of tees were required" camp. As a simple country club player I enjoy the ability to mix up how our holes play from day to day. We have up to 9 sets of tees on every hole and even just this year I have played every one of them.


I think you may be spoiled if the firmness of your fairways is consistent. Or the temps, wind and your general health issues. Every day just can't be a 6500 yds from the right side of the fairway day.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 01, 2017, 10:52:03 AM
Jeff,


Please do not include me in the "less sets of tees were required" camp. As a simple country club player I enjoy the ability to mix up how our holes play from day to day. We have up to 9 sets of tees on every hole and even just this year I have played every one of them.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB2di69FmhE


"6 sets of tees?"
"We have 9 sets"
"Unless of course if someone comes up with 10 sets"
"NOOOoo no no-not 10 sets nobody's coming up with that"









Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 01, 2017, 11:01:32 AM
This just in.

The poll on my website indicates 100% of respondents think golf would be more fun if
Jeff, it'd be a lot easier to take your arguments seriously if you didn't behave like this, man. My site has thousands of active members and several hundred thousand unique visitors per month. My poll has a little bit of weight. Not a lot, but it's a data point, and the results are the opposite of what you suggest: that the tide has turned. I'm not giving it a lot of weight, but it gets more than your sarcastic poll of 1.

10% more distance for athletic golfers....?(give it 10 years-though for 30 years we've been told there's no more to come)
Jeff, serious question: how far do you think the median and top PGA Tour players will be hitting the ball in 10 years?

We haven't been told "there's no more to come" for 30 years. Give me a break. In the last ten years we've added virtually no distance.

I applaud your area for resisting adding length.
That's very, very unusual in my experience.
I don't think that it's that unusual. I think people over-estimate how many courses are being lengthened, or how many more are being lengthened. Courses have been lengthened since they were built. Courses were being lengthened in the 1950s. The 1960s. The 1970s. The 1980s.

I played Gailes links in a Final Open qualifier and the back tees(which I never knew existed) added 5-600 yards.AND required a walk back of 40-100 yards every hole (many of the member tees required walks back as well from earlier lengthening)
That stinks, but that's also a set of tees that affect a tiny portion of the game's players. I'm not willing to change the entire game for 0.001% of golfers.

and modern courses, because they stretch to 7400 yards feel compelled to have 5 or 6 sets.
And the Longleaf Tee System says courses should have seven or eight.

I'm not saying anything I haven't already said, so this is getting old, fast. Jeff, if you and others stop quoting and responding to me, I've got little to nothing more to say on this. What we discuss here will not affect what the USGA/R&A do or don't do at all.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on December 01, 2017, 11:46:04 AM
Jeff and others--


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like some core underpinnings of the argument in favor of rolling back the golf ball involve trying to mitigate such factors as:


- The fact that (often private, and upscale to boot) club golfers place too much importance on their course serving up a Tour-quality challenge for pros and elite amateurs, even when their course doesn't (and almost definitely never will) host Tour events


- The fact that low-handicap players wield a disproportionate amount of influence at these clubs


- The frustration some golfers express at being outdriven considerably by stronger and more skilled golfers than themselves


- The expense of adding new back tees as a reaction to how far an admittedly infinitesimal portion of the golfing public can hit the ball.


A common thread through these factors is that they are symptoms of a view of golf that we might say is a little off-kilter. It seems that intelligence, experience and deep thought about golf that informs the cogent arguments you and others make in favor of rollback and bifurcation could also be deployed to try and convince influential golfers and golf clubs that a continued obsession with reacting to what the pros do is making the game less enjoyable for the people paying the green fees and the dues.


Why is it necessary that the OEMs and the governing bodies must pay for the excesses of the keeping-up-with-the-Woodses clubs and their members by creating a years-long disturbance in the game?


Are you implying that these clubs and their members are too far gone, philosophically, to be reasoned with? And Mike Davis and the OEMs need to swoop in on their white steeds to save these golfers and golf courses from themselves?


Has the era of Big Golf Government begun?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 01, 2017, 12:02:48 PM
This just in.

The poll on my website indicates 100% of respondents think golf would be more fun if
Jeff, it'd be a lot easier to take your arguments seriously if you didn't behave like this, man. My site has thousands of active members and several hundred thousand unique visitors per month. My poll has a little bit of weight. Not a lot, but it's a data point, and the results are the opposite of what you suggest: that the tide has turned. I'm not giving it a lot of weight, but it gets more than your sarcastic poll of 1.

10% more distance for athletic golfers....?(give it 10 years-though for 30 years we've been told there's no more to come)
Jeff, serious question: how far do you think the median and top PGA Tour players will be hitting the ball in 10 years?

We haven't been told "there's no more to come" for 30 years. Give me a break. In the last ten years we've added virtually no distance.

I applaud your area for resisting adding length.
That's very, very unusual in my experience.
I don't think that it's that unusual. I think people over-estimate how many courses are being lengthened, or how many more are being lengthened. Courses have been lengthened since they were built. Courses were being lengthened in the 1950s. The 1960s. The 1970s. The 1980s.

I played Gailes links in a Final Open qualifier and the back tees(which I never knew existed) added 5-600 yards.AND required a walk back of 40-100 yards every hole (many of the member tees required walks back as well from earlier lengthening)
That stinks, but that's also a set of tees that affect a tiny portion of the game's players. I'm not willing to change the entire game for 0.001% of golfers.

and modern courses, because they stretch to 7400 yards feel compelled to have 5 or 6 sets.
And the Longleaf Tee System says courses should have seven or eight.

I'm not saying anything I haven't already said, so this is getting old, fast. Jeff, if you and others stop quoting and responding to me, I've got little to nothing more to say on this. What we discuss here will not affect what the USGA/R&A do or don't do at all.


Erik,
I would not understimate the value of these discussions(here and elsewhere), even though we disagree.Discussions on this very board by many industry experts (and not so expert) have led to significant changes in the evaluation and rating of courses, and have at least poularised classic design trends.Many of the so called quirky  ideas espoused here are now the mantra of former "signature" architects.
As course ratings have been affected, so has ensung architecture. Many GCA's have chimed in over the years and there are loads of connected industry lurkers, so I believe it is a good of place as any to discuss topics which affect the game and the architecture of courses.


And I can assure you we definitely disagree if you think a course having 7-8 tees per hole is a good idea, but that's a discussion for another thread even if related to how far the ball travels/course length.




The fact that I am not completely alone in my admittedly Quixotic quest to see scale restored by equipment rather than venue enlargement tells me some are reading/listening here and in other places, or coming to their own conclusions about the continued increases in distance.
I've been ranting the same thing for as long as I can remember and was decidely in the minority, even on this site-and especially with better players and pros.
Lately, that seems to have changed-especially with Tiger bringing it recently to the forefront.
I have no idea how many people agree with me and if I'm still in the minority, but that doesn't mean I'll be any less passionate about preserving the game from commercial factors that I believe devalue the game and could make it unsustainable in time. (if they haven't already).


New Championship Golf courses were 4500 yards in 1895.
They were 7000 yards in 1985.
They are 7500-7800 and as long as 8000 yards now.


Would 10000 yards in 2060 be stretch?


I can't tell you how many times I've heard there are no more gains to be had, then Freddy Couples gains another 3 yards (an exclusive couch workout I'm sure)and I get a nod and wink from my engineer friends at Callaway


I see a trend ....and for years, the USGA told us there was no statistical difference in the gains Tour players were making-but they were always forward-which add up.


Do you really think we've added "virtually no distance" (to better players) in the past 10 years? Simple better optimization would dispute that.







Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jason Topp on December 01, 2017, 12:05:20 PM

... could also be deployed to try and convince influential golfers and golf clubs that a continued obsession with reacting to what the pros do is making the game less enjoyable for the people paying the green fees and the dues.



I think the argument for a rollback is more compelling with respect to the distance amateurs hit the ball rather than pros.  A couple of years ago, I was playing in evening 9 hole beer league and one guy in the group who was approximately 4 over par through six holes announced he was going to wait for the green to clear on a 350 yard par 4.  Mind you, this event is a very crowded shotgun with groups of 5 so 9 holes was taking 3 hours.  I was irritated with him, but he waited for the green to clear.  He then launched his drive to the back fringe.  I am glad he waited.   
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 01, 2017, 12:18:27 PM
Jeff and others--


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like some core underpinnings of the argument in favor of rolling back the golf ball involve trying to mitigate such factors as:


- The fact that (often private, and upscale to boot) club golfers place too much importance on their course serving up a Tour-quality challenge for pros and elite amateurs, even when their course doesn't (and almost definitely never will) host Tour events


- The fact that low-handicap players wield a disproportionate amount of influence at these clubs


- The frustration some golfers express at being outdriven considerably by stronger and more skilled golfers than themselves


- The expense of adding new back tees as a reaction to how far an admittedly infinitesimal portion of the golfing public can hit the ball.


A common thread through these factors is that they are symptoms of a view of golf that we might say is a little off-kilter. It seems that intelligence, experience and deep thought about golf that informs the cogent arguments you and others make in favor of rollback and bifurcation could also be deployed to try and convince influential golfers and golf clubs that a continued obsession with reacting to what the pros do is making the game less enjoyable for the people paying the green fees and the dues.


Why is it necessary that the OEMs and the governing bodies must pay for the excesses of the keeping-up-with-the-Woodses clubs and their members by creating a years-long disturbance in the game?


Are you implying that these clubs and their members are too far gone, philosophically, to be reasoned with? And Mike Davis and the OEMs need to swoop in on their white steeds to save these golfers and golf courses from themselves?


Has the era of Big Golf Government begun?


Good post Tim,
The USGA is supposed to regulate the game-so yes big government.
They've just failed.
The governing bodies "thought" they were regulating the ball and equipment.
They just got outspent and were too stubborn to admit it until it was out of hand.
Now they are scared of losing their $300 million warchest.


While clubs have admittedly overreacted in cases, to preserve a similar challenge (a reasonable goal) for their better club and visiting players they chose to enlarge to fit the scale of where the ball was going.The best changes in my opinion are where they lengthen a select few holes by a lot which is cheaper and has impact.


To see Palmetto become a wedgefest in my lifetime has been disturbing and while its short game character and spicy green speeds render it still very challenging(seems we are transferiing the challenge to around the greens which impacts all players), there is no doubt a much less diverse and interesting challenge tee to green. And a nearly unfair challenge on and around the green for many players. So while the scores may remain the same (or even worse) the challenge changed.


The OEMs created the situation and there may be a reshuffling, but there's one every few years anyway. The idea that the business plan is that we all need a $500 driver ever year sickens me anyway.


The USGA admitted there was a distance problem when they went after grooves.
a stupid conclusion followed by a stupid solution and the manufacturers reclaimed the same spin within two years.
So I hold no confidence they will get it right on bifurcation and/or rollback.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 01, 2017, 12:23:34 PM

... could also be deployed to try and convince influential golfers and golf clubs that a continued obsession with reacting to what the pros do is making the game less enjoyable for the people paying the green fees and the dues.



I think the argument for a rollback is more compelling with respect to the distance amateurs hit the ball rather than pros.  A couple of years ago, I was playing in evening 9 hole beer league and one guy in the group who was approximately 4 over par through six holes announced he was going to wait for the green to clear on a 350 yard par 4.  Mind you, this event is a very crowded shotgun with groups of 5 so 9 holes was taking 3 hours.  I was irritated with him, but he waited for the green to clear.  He then launched his drive to the back fringe.  I am glad he waited.   


Yep, and there's rarely a happy ending.
Bad options there.
He can not wait and kill somebody.
he can wait and then top it, or hit it OB, all while the green ahead is now claer(leading to a lot of negative commentary),
 leading him to NOT wait next time and ...kill somebody


The farther the ball goes, the more time spent waiting to hit-which is usually follwed by a spray and 4-6 more shots-further slowing the game.
All because the scale of distance for that athlete is too large for the venues-even though his golf is average.



Rarely discussed because he's not in the .001 % I keep hearing about.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 01, 2017, 01:14:10 PM
And I can assure you we definitely disagree if you think a course having 7-8 tees per hole is a good idea, but that's a discussion for another thread even if related to how far the ball travels/course length.
Longleaf is primarily designed to help get juniors into the game (and to reduce the stigma for guys who should be playing shorter tees than they play, and to remove the idea that there are "ladies tees"). So yeah, we'll disagree there. They don't need tee BOXES, but they can benefit from having TEES.

So you're against getting juniors into the game and onto the golf course? I find that unlikely, despite what you just said…

The fact that I am not completely alone
I am not alone either.

Lately, that seems to have changed-especially with Tiger bringing it recently to the forefront.
It may have changed here, but I don't think it's changed across golf. I think most avid golfers still don't even agree that there's a problem.

Would 10000 yards in 2060 be stretch?
Yes, absolutely. We're running against the limits of physics and what the human body can do.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard there are no more gains to be had, then Freddy Couples gains another 3 yards (an exclusive couch workout I'm sure)and I get a nod and wink from my engineer friends at Callaway.
Could you answer my questions?
I see a trend ....and for years, the USGA told us there was no statistical difference in the gains Tour players were making-but they were always forward-which add up.
2 yards over the last decade isn't "adding up" very fast.

Do you really think we've added "virtually no distance" (to better players) in the past 10 years?
I don't have to "think" - I'm capable of looking at the stats on the PGA Tour site. 2 yards qualifies as "virtually no distance" to me. Yes.


Tim, +1.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 01, 2017, 01:14:14 PM
Jeff and others--


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like some core underpinnings of the argument in favor of rolling back the golf ball involve trying to mitigate such factors as:


- The fact that (often private, and upscale to boot) club golfers place too much importance on their course serving up a Tour-quality challenge for pros and elite amateurs, even when their course doesn't (and almost definitely never will) host Tour events


- The fact that low-handicap players wield a disproportionate amount of influence at these clubs


- The frustration some golfers express at being outdriven considerably by stronger and more skilled golfers than themselves

Admittedly I didn't read each post carefully, but I don't recall this being a topic.


- The expense of adding new back tees as a reaction to how far an admittedly infinitesimal portion of the golfing public can hit the ball.

I don't agree with this at all. Most people on this website seem to have a different experience than me.
 They claim to be hitting the ball longer now in their advanced age than they did when they were young.


A common thread through these factors is that they are symptoms of a view of golf that we might say is a little off-kilter. It seems that intelligence, experience and deep thought about golf that informs the cogent arguments you and others make in favor of rollback and bifurcation could also be deployed to try and convince influential golfers and golf clubs that a continued obsession with reacting to what the pros do is making the game less enjoyable for the people paying the green fees and the dues.


Why is it necessary that the OEMs and the governing bodies must pay for the excesses of the keeping-up-with-the-Woodses clubs and their members by creating a years-long disturbance in the game?


Are you implying that these clubs and their members are too far gone, philosophically, to be reasoned with? And Mike Davis and the OEMs need to swoop in on their white steeds to save these golfers and golf courses from themselves?

The clubs and their members are in conflict over this issue. Sometimes the course lengthening faction wins, sometimes the keep things static faction wins. Before there was not a conflict over this issue. When the lengthening faction wins and costs go up, members are lost to cost. When the keep static faction wins, members are lost to courses with more length. Regulating the equipment, as was done in the past, keeps the game the same and avoids such conflict.


Has the era of Big Golf Government begun?

Tim,

You might have missed post #117 which had nothing to do with "private, upscale to boot clubs".


I think this is the crux of the matter. What does "obsolete" mean, and for how many players are these courses "obsolete"?
...

Obsolete means you can't get players, because players will go to the longer (not necessarily better) newer courses.

The USGA is putting perfectly good courses out of business by letting the equipment manufacturers run all over any decent standard how the game historically has been played.

The USGA is creating a business model where building the latest newest long course will guarantee a segment of the golfing market. The new course doesn't necessarily have to compete on quality, it just has to be green. ;)

I would add that while the good players were hitting the spinning balata balls, more were perfectly happy at the shorter courses.

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 01, 2017, 02:02:42 PM
And I can assure you we definitely disagree if you think a course having 7-8 tees per hole is a good idea, but that's a discussion for another thread even if related to how far the ball travels/course length.
Longleaf is primarily designed to help get juniors into the game (and to reduce the stigma for guys who should be playing shorter tees than they play, and to remove the idea that there are "ladies tees"). So yeah, we'll disagree there. They don't need tee BOXES, but they can benefit from having TEES.

So you're against getting juniors into the game and onto the golf course? I find that unlikely, despite what you just said…

The fact that I am not completely alone
I am not alone either.

I would say you are in the majority
Lately, that seems to have changed-especially with Tiger bringing it recently to the forefront.
It may have changed here, but I don't think it's changed across golf. I think most avid golfers still don't even agree that there's a problem.


Agreed-that's why I'm preaching

Would 10000 yards in 2060 be stretch?
Yes, absolutely. We're running against the limits of physics and what the human body can do.


Pretty sure Hary Vardon said that in 1900      (Id say we're just beginning to see what human bodies can do)

I can't tell you how many times I've heard there are no more gains to be had, then Freddy Couples gains another 3 yards (an exclusive couch workout I'm sure)and I get a nod and wink from my engineer friends at Callaway.
Could you answer my questions?
  • Who was saying 30 years ago the ball was going as far as it could go?
  • How far do you think the median and longest players will be hitting the ball in 2027?
I see a trend ....and for years, the USGA told us there was no statistical difference in the gains Tour players were making-but they were always forward-which add up.
2 yards over the last decade isn't "adding up" very fast.

Do you really think we've added "virtually no distance" (to better players) in the past 10 years?
I don't have to "think" - I'm capable of looking at the stats on the PGA Tour site. 2 yards qualifies as "virtually no distance" to me. Yes.



Better players(who are just now being optimised)-not PGA tour players who were optimized by then and got their big gains 2000-2007
2 yards was "virtually no distance" to the USGA for years-yet it added up


Tim, +1.


Erik, it alarms me that Freddy Couple(the gym poster child) averaged 29 more yards at age 55 than he did at age 22, and 25 more than he did at age 32.
Better technique, athleticism, natural selection, a workout program I accept-that I don't accept.
and it has a negative impact on the spectator game(and the shrines we occasionally get to play)-depending upon your preference for ANGC at 7400 vs 6900 or Chambers Bay vs. Merion.




Too many times I've heard that there are no more gains to be had.


Sorry about the freaky font

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 01, 2017, 02:18:36 PM
Erik, it alarms me that Freddy Couple(the gym poster child) averaged 29 more yards at age 55 than he did at age 22, and 25 more than he did at age 32.
It doesn't alarm me. And I like Tim's last post, that you largely seem to have ignored.

And that two yards was over the last ten years. Not two yards per year for ten years, two yards total.

You also didn't answer my two questions.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Bob Montle on December 01, 2017, 04:31:07 PM


I'll stick with the R & D guy I spent a day with, who definitely had "degrees in the sciences."
He very patiently explained to a group of us how the equipment business works ... that they get an idea, but roll it out via a series of patents, to extend the life of the idea for several years longer.  If they just released something all at once, it wouldn't be too long before their competitors started anticipating the expiration of the patent, and just flat-out copied it, knowing it would be moot by the time it got through the court system.

He also explained that their R & D is usually 2-3 years ahead of their current product cycle, so if there were going to be major changes in equipment regulation, it would only be fair to have 3 years' advance warning, so they don't waste money developing stuff they won't be allowed to sell.  I guess that was one of the main issues with the Ping "square grooves" rule, and why they wanted them grandfathered in ... so they could sell all the stuff they were already making.

My son also has several engineering degrees and is an engineering patent lawyer to boot!
He agrees 100% with what you wrote, Tom.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 01, 2017, 04:39:31 PM
Erik, it alarms me that Freddy Couple(the gym poster child) averaged 29 more yards at age 55 than he did at age 22, and 25 more than he did at age 32.
It doesn't alarm me. And I like Tim's last post, that you largely seem to have ignored.

And that two yards was over the last ten years. Not two yards per year for ten years, two yards total.

You also didn't answer my two questions.


It's true the numbers show a small increase from 2007 to 2017, but I don't think it's relevant considering there was a 23 yard gain between 1997 and 2007. Even if you believe the gains will be minimal going forward, the horse has been out of the barn for a long time.



Andy Johnson brought up a fantastic point in his newsletter:


"In 1997, the average driving distance of the world's top 15 players was 272.23, and their average driving distance rank was 77.07. In 2016, the average driving distance of the world's top 15 players was 302.75, and their average rank in driving distance was 19.5.
[/size]
[/size]If this trend continues, golf will lose its variety in favor of homogenization. In fact, this homogenization has already begun. Today's professional game lacks an elite finesse player like Corey Pavin, Nick Faldo or Jim Furyk. And judging by the youngsters, there isn’t one coming."


I couldn't agree more with Andy.


http://www.friedegg.co/archives/the-golf-ball-debate


[/size][/color]
[/size][/color]
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on December 01, 2017, 05:06:31 PM
Jeff--


I appreciate your response. I'd like to take up "The Palmetto Problem," if I might...


You lament that Palmetto GC is a "wedgefest" these days. The club hosts one of the most prestigious amateur events every summer, and I noticed that in this year's Palmetto Amateur, just seven players broke par over 72 holes on a course that played just a shade over 6,700 yards, par 70. It's pretty clear from the scorecard that the main challenge at Palmetto is not length, and it's likely that players hit more short irons and wedges than at most courses. Still, the course holds its own for reasons you touched on.


But if Palmetto is becoming obsolete, despite the not-outrageous scoring, the question is: supposing a player is going to hit 18 approach shots in a round, what is the ideal distribution of clubs for those shots?


This question is very problematic, though, because answering it is necessarily prescriptive. To answer it, you must imply that there's a shot distribution that every course should strive to produce.


But if we want to see more interesting pro golf to watch on TV, we'd need a schedule's worth of courses that exhibited a range of different lengths, wouldn't we? Otherwise, the Tour would be boring because we'd be seeing a very narrow range of tests over a season. So a formula for approach shots is not the answer.


There's another problem. Even if you did have a single course that presented a perfect assortment of approach shot demands, it would only be perfect for a player who hits the ball a certain specific distance off the tee. And that's just not how golfers are, as a set - especially elite amateurs and pros. Yes, they all hit it pretty far (since hitting it past a certain minimum distance is one of many skills required to play highest-level golf), but nevertheless some guys hit it longer and a little less accurately, while others hit it shorter and straighter. By changing the golf ball, you're committing to an arbitrary range of acceptable driving distances. That's a constricting philosophy when we should instead be promoting variety.


When you talk about Fred Couples driving it farther now than he did in his 20s, I just don't think anyone's proved that that's necessarily a bad thing. We celebrate technological advances in most parts of our lives...why must we absolutely halt all innovation in golf in order to "return" to some mythologized past whose location no one seems to agree on?


What I'm getting at is that by arguing that it's wrong that the pros hit too many short irons these days, it seems you're committing to a narrow view of how the game should be played, which to me is the polar opposite of what we should be encouraging: a stretching of the conventional boundaries of what's considered compelling golf, especially at the lower end of the course length spectrum. If we let it be OK that the pros hit wedges into most greens at some courses, then isn't it easier to tell the rank-and file that it's OK to play a 5,500-yard course sometimes, where they'll get to hit those shorter clubs all day too?


By and large, "regular" golfers are (still) playing from tees that are too long for them. I can't tell you how many recreational players I've watched wear out their hybrids and fairway woods over the course of 18 holes. I think (and maybe you'd agree) that that's a worse problem than the pros hitting more wedges than they used to on Tour courses.


Which is why most everyone agrees that teeing it forward is generally a good idea. But if we declare, by rolling back the ball, that it's wrong for pros to hit a bunch of short clubs into the holes on their courses, and it's well-documented that workaday golfers are (too) greatly influenced by the pros, then doesn't forcing the pros to hit longer clubs work directly against the tee-it-forward project and the pace-of-play savings it's encouraged in recent years?


There are SO many questions and potential pitfalls surrounding equipment reform. The worst thing that could happen is that the governing bodies decide to do something, but their solution doesn't end up addressing the problem in a way that justifies the pain of enacting it, thereby further undermining those institutions. I am not at all confident that we have exhausted our hearts-and-minds options. Then, and only then, do I think we can be justified in calling for a retrofitting of golf equipment. We are not there yet.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 01, 2017, 06:41:24 PM
... the question is: supposing a player is going to hit 18 approach shots in a round, what is the ideal distribution of clubs for those shots?
...

Since the emphasis of this course is golf course architecture, let us hope that the course has the best 18 holes that can be fitted into the land available for the course. Given that, then the distribution of clubs is whatever the course gives you. Given that landforms are somewhat random, the holes on the course would be somewhat random. Therefore, the clubs needed would be somewhat random. However, if you let equipment continually grow how far the shots go, then you end up with a uniform wedgefest to borrow a term from Jeff.

If the land is such that it needs to be form to make a course, then TD has proposed building a course with equally graduated differences in lengths to each of the holes. The longest hole would be one that is perhaps just beyond what the longest can reach in two shots. So in effect he is proposing an equally uniform distribution of clubs used for approach shots. I don't know if he ever indicated that would be ideal, but it is such a strong concept with him that it is what he used for his Olympics golf course proposal.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tom Bacsanyi on December 01, 2017, 11:40:31 PM
Erik, it alarms me that Freddy Couple(the gym poster child) averaged 29 more yards at age 55 than he did at age 22, and 25 more than he did at age 32.
It doesn't alarm me. And I like Tim's last post, that you largely seem to have ignored.

And that two yards was over the last ten years. Not two yards per year for ten years, two yards total.

You also didn't answer my two questions.


It's true the numbers show a small increase from 2007 to 2017, but I don't think it's relevant considering there was a 23 yard gain between 1997 and 2007. Even if you believe the gains will be minimal going forward, the horse has been out of the barn for a long time.



Andy Johnson brought up a fantastic point in his newsletter:


"In 1997, the average driving distance of the world's top 15 players was 272.23, and their average driving distance rank was 77.07. In 2016, the average driving distance of the world's top 15 players was 302.75, and their average rank in driving distance was 19.5.

If this trend continues, golf will lose its variety in favor of homogenization. In fact, this homogenization has already begun. Today's professional game lacks an elite finesse player like Corey Pavin, Nick Faldo or Jim Furyk. And judging by the youngsters, there isn’t one coming."


I couldn't agree more with Andy.


http://www.friedegg.co/archives/the-golf-ball-debate (http://www.friedegg.co/archives/the-golf-ball-debate)






I'm a rollback guy, but Jordan Spieth is a finesse guy and THE finesse guy.  Sure 295 sounds like a lot, but that was 20 yards behind Rory and DJ on average, which means that they can put it by him by 50 or more at times.  I'm sure he would be Faldo-like in terms of distance if he were in that era.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 02, 2017, 12:34:10 AM

What I'm getting at is that by arguing that it's wrong that the pros hit too many short irons these days, it seems you're committing to a narrow view of how the game should be played, which to me is the polar opposite of what we should be encouraging: a stretching of the conventional boundaries of what's considered compelling golf, especially at the lower end of the course length spectrum. If we let it be OK that the pros hit wedges into most greens at some courses, then isn't it easier to tell the rank-and file that it's OK to play a 5,500-yard course sometimes, where they'll get to hit those shorter clubs all day too?



Tim,


The narrow view you are referring to is the view of every great architect from the golden age. The idea that a course should test all the clubs in the bag for most golfers is not Jeff's idea or my idea or anyone in favor of a rollback; it's the idea of the architect who built the course. Donald Ross talked about the most difficult test in the game was a long iron shot. Every single architect who built a par 4 over 400 yards in the 1920s envisioned a player having a mid to long iron for their second shot. Why are you trying to make it seem like people in favor of a rollback have a narrow view and are trying to dictate to the world what club a golfer should have into a green when the architect's original intent was for players to have a variety of clubs into greens?


It's not okay that good players have wedge into every hole because the great architects said it's not okay because that isn't interesting golf and I agree with them. If they wanted golfers to have wedges into every hole they would have built all their par 4s at 350 yards and less in the 1920s.





Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 02, 2017, 07:33:07 AM
Erik
30 years ago you either went distance ball or spin and pros self bifurcated.
Everyone assumex you just took the tradeoff.


As far as those saying the ball was maxed out that was more an 90s thing as every year when golf digest posted touur stats rising slightly , the usga would say it was statistically insignicicant.Admittedly most of the gains were 2000 (ball) and 2001-2005ish (club-R-7)
As Tom points out the manufacturers try to keep cycles incremental.
Im


As far as 2027 I say the ball will be going about the same for elite pros AFTER a rollback in 2022 of 10%.by 2025 the manufacturers will have figured out a way around it  (as they did with grooves)and players will ne more athletic


Dean Beman had a great quote yesterxay after lamenting that if he had never retired
he would have been a strong voice bcc against the advance of technology on tour.


He said--"as far as onjections to bifurcation-Whats more bifurcating than 4 sets of tees "
So we already have many sets of rules


Tim
High scores can occur on short courses from wickex rteen speeds and slopex greens.Thats protecting par,--not providing a varied challenge--two different things


Though  59 was shot  a few years back in the event

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 02, 2017, 07:47:52 AM
It's not okay that good players have wedge into every hole
They don't. At least eight times a round they have a mid- to long-iron: par threes and par fives. Tiger, despite his recent length, hit plenty of 6-irons and 7-irons the past two days. It's a lie to pretend that good players have "wedge into every hole." They don't. Eight woods/hybrids/long-/mid-irons, and then a mixture of 10 or so shots on the shorter end. One or two of those are going to be mid-irons.

30 years ago you either went distance ball or spin and pros self bifurcated.Everyone assumex you just took the tradeoff.

That's not the same as saying "the ball is maximized right now."
As Tom points out the manufacturers try to keep cycles incremental.

I don't think Tom's correct. Again, PGA Tour driving distances have increased 2-4 yards (median to top) in the last decade, while swing speeds alone account for the difference: 1-4 MPH improvements. So where have the incremental upgrades been for the past DECADE?
As far as 2027 I say the ball will be going about the same for elite pros AFTER a rollback in 2022 of 10%.by 2025 the manufacturers will have figured out a way around it  (as they did with grooves)and players will ne more athletic

Where do you think the pros will be driving it in 2027 if there's no roll-back, Jeff?

And if they're just gonna be right back where they are, how is that worth the disruption it will cause to golf? You honestly believe that, despite gaining roughly 2 yards in the last 10 years, they're going to lose 29 yards four+ years from now and then GAIN them right back in the six or fewer years that remain??

Man, get me some of what you're smoking!  ;)

Dean Beman had a great quote yesterxay after lamenting that if he had never retiredhe would have been a strong voice bcc against the advance of technology on tour.

Dean was short in his day. And he only has himself to blame: he could have foreseen the marriage of the Tour Balata with the Pinnacle Gold.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 02, 2017, 10:28:29 AM
It's not okay that good players have wedge into every hole
They don't. At least eight times a round they have a mid- to long-iron: par threes and par fives. Tiger, despite his recent length, hit plenty of 6-irons and 7-irons the past two days. It's a lie to pretend that good players have "wedge into every hole." They don't. Eight woods/hybrids/long-/mid-irons, and then a mixture of 10 or so shots on the shorter end. One or two of those are going to be mid-irons.






At least eight times? You are assuming every par 3 is a mid to long iron, which its not. At Augusta, 4 is a long iron, 6 is a 7 or 8 iron, 12 is a 9 iron, and 16 is an eight iron. 6 and 16 used to be mid irons, but they are not anymore. And why should par 5s play as long par 4s when that was not the architects intent? Nicklaus hit 3 iron into 13 in 1986 and 1 iron into 15 in 1975 in the final rounds. Faldo hit an incredible 2 iron in 1996 in the final round. 13 and 15 have turned into mid and short iron approaches, which is why they wants to move the tee even further back. Sergio hit 8 iron into 15 this year and the longer players routinely have less than 6 iron into 13.

Hogan and Nelson used to hit woods into 13. Why are you ignoring the architects original intent? The par 3s and par 5s were never intended to be the only time a player had to hit a 2 - 6 iron.


I get that distance has not gone up much in the last 10 years, but that only says the issue of courses not playing to the architects original intent for elite players has been going on for a long time and only now the governing bodies have decided to do something about it.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 02, 2017, 12:22:51 PM
It's not okay that good players have wedge into every hole
They don't. At least eight times a round they have a mid- to long-iron: par threes and par fives. Tiger, despite his recent length, hit plenty of 6-irons and 7-irons the past two days. It's a lie to pretend that good players have "wedge into every hole." They don't. Eight woods/hybrids/long-/mid-irons, and then a mixture of 10 or so shots on the shorter end. One or two of those are going to be mid-irons.


At 7300 yards at sea level, no one is maintaining that is a wedgefest.  ::)

Of course, were I to play it, I would have a wedge in to every hole.

2nd on 3s, 3rd on 4s, and 4th on 5s. ;D
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 02, 2017, 12:59:18 PM
Didn’t Dustin Johnson say something about not hitting more than a 6-iron for his second shot on a par-4 this year?


Ponder how far you hit a driver followed by a 6-iron and then relate that to overall course yardage’s.


Atb
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 02, 2017, 08:18:42 PM
At least eight times? You are assuming every par 3 is a mid to long iron, which its not. At Augusta, 4 is a long iron, 6 is a 7 or 8 iron, 12 is a 9 iron, and 16 is an eight iron.
And yet none of those are wedges, are they?

And players don't hit wedges into all of the par fours, either.

It's complete BS that players have "wedge into every hole." It makes your argument weak when it's easily dismissed like that. I don't care what people used to hit - that's not what you said. Players don't hit wedges into every or even "most" holes.

Didn’t Dustin Johnson say something about not hitting more than a 6-iron for his second shot on a par-4 this year?

People are also happy to point out that his 6-iron is a decades-old 4- or 3-iron.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 03, 2017, 12:48:05 AM
It's not okay that good players have wedge into every hole
They don't. At least eight times a round they have a mid- to long-iron: par threes and par fives. Tiger, despite his recent length, hit plenty of 6-irons and 7-irons the past two days. It's a lie to pretend that good players have "wedge into every hole." They don't. Eight woods/hybrids/long-/mid-irons, and then a mixture of 10 or so shots on the shorter end. One or two of those are going to be mid-irons.
...

It would help if you quoted things in context, assuming of course that you understand the context. Eric was discussing 350 yard vs. 400 yard and change holes. You know the holes that the modern PGA Tour player does play with a driver/wedge. He was not talking about a 7300 yard course in Bermuda, nor was he talking about tournament tees at Augusta National that were built to "Tiger proof" the course.

Furthermore, your "At least eight times a round they have a mid- to long-iron: par threes and par fives." is a totally specious argument. There is no preliminary shot on a par three to set up the approach, and the par fives are reached in two, so the third shot on a three shot hole is non-existent thereby eliminating the intended approach shot.

And finally, I find that when you don't acknowledge when you have been called out on a clear and unambiguous mistake to be "incredibly rude".
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 03, 2017, 11:42:36 AM
It would help if you quoted things in context, assuming of course that you understand the context. Erik was discussing 350 yard vs. 400 yard and change holes.
I don't think he was limiting it to those holes. Because what point is he making if he was? That when you design a hole that's eight clubs  or more (100+ yards) shorter than the longer holes with the same par, the game's best hit wedges into them? What's the point in talking about that? Of course they have wedges. Just as they did in the 1960s: a 350-yard hole was short then, too, even if they only hit it 250. Still leaves 100 yards. That's not a mid-iron. That's a wedge.

Furthermore, your "At least eight times a round they have a mid- to long-iron: par threes and par fives." is a totally specious argument.
The point I'd hoped to make is that their second shot on par fives are played with longer clubs. And on par-70 layouts, those par fives that become long par fours are played with longer irons, too. So we're already down to just 14 possible "wedge" holes and we only looked at the par fives.

And finally, I find that when you don't acknowledge when you have been called out on a clear and unambiguous mistake to be "incredibly rude".
I don't believe I've made a mistake here Garland. I make plenty, and my wife lets me know about most of 'em  :D but here I believe I simply took what he said differently than you. PGA Tour players have wedge into a minority of the 18 holes in a round and the stats bear this out.

I didn't see much of a point in talking about how PGA Tour players have wedges into short par fours. Of course they do. I'll stipulate to that. But courses are not made up of only 350-yard par fours, and PGA Tour pros in the 60s would also have wedges into those greens, too. So I saw little point in assuming he was talking about only holes of that length - it would be a silly point to make, don't you think? "Palmer would have hit wedge into this hole, but now players are hitting wedges, here, too." Particularly in light of the idea that the short par fours are often the most interesting and/or exciting to watch and the most beguiling to play. Do you attempt to drive it? Do you play short? Where? The 10th at Riviera serves as one of the better examples.

No, not all par threes are played with long irons, but I didn't say that. Length hasn't made the 12th at Augusta easier, and it would be foolish to change that hole to add length, so why bring it up? The truth is that a lot of par threes on the PGA Tour play as difficult holes. The short par three at Merion, which was an actual wedge, played difficult. Par three scoring on the PGA Tour is historically above par. Players aren't hitting many wedges into par three greens either.

So again, PGA Tour players don't hit wedge into every hole. I took that statement at face value because it doesn't make sense (to me) that Eric was talking about only 360-ish yard holes - holes into which Arnie would have hit wedge. No course is made up of only those holes, even if just for the ten par fours… and players have eight other holes where they're unlikely to hit only "driver-wedge" or "wedge." So I'll re-iterate my point: saying that today's players hit "wedge into every hole" (even if we take that to mean only 13 holes or so) weakens your argument.

PGA Tour players don't hit wedge into even a majority of the holes on golf courses. And even when they do, it's a 44-degree club, perhaps, and that used to be an 8-iron, right?  :)

And, at the end of the day, they're a teeny tiny portion of the game. I remain opposed to the idea that we have to modify the game to account for a tiny percentage. Golf isn't any other sport; we have one set of rules and really basically two (unified) ruling bodies.


Have a great Sunday, fellas.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 03, 2017, 01:24:54 PM
I think that, distilled down, the issue is this:

No roll back at the highest level and Erin Hills-8000 yards is the new normal, the accepted standard for the next generation of golfers, fans, architects, developers and club members.

The pros don’t ever have to hit it even one yard longer than they do now for this to become the reality; it already is the reality.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 03, 2017, 01:57:16 PM
No roll back at the highest level and Erin Hills-8000 yards is the new normal, the accepted standard for the next generation of golfers, fans, architects, developers and club members.
The next seven U.S. Opens are at:

2018 - Shinnecock
2019 - Pebble Beach
2020 - Winged Foot
2021 - Torrey Pines
2022 - The Country Club
2023 - LACC
2024 - Pinehurst

None of those courses are a terribly recent vintage.

PGA Tour players are not "the game." They're a tiny minority.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Hoak on December 03, 2017, 05:45:55 PM
I agree with Erik's comment that professional golfers are "not the game."  They are the tail on the dog, not the dog itself.  That to me is the relevant point, yet we seem to be fixated on this thread with the pros and the need to reduce the distance of golf balls because of them.
As I understand it, the average golfers in the US are not scoring any better today with the new equipment than they were 20 years ago. 
So why do we obsess over "obsoleted" courses, when it's only the very few that have the game to make them obsolete?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 03, 2017, 09:31:42 PM
Erik and Jim,

You are right. Pro golfers are not the game. I don't think anything should be changed for 99% of golfers. If you are a recreational golfer I do not think the USGA should tell you to play a reduced distance golf ball.

I am completely for a reduced distance golf ball for competitive amateurs and professionals. I am a scratch golfer and not nearly one of the best in my area and I do not play golf courses the way the architect intended because of distance. I live in the NY metro area and am lucky to play some of the best courses in the country. I play 6600-7000 yard courses and I almost never have a long iron into a par four. I hit more mid irons into par 5s for second shots than I hit long irons into par 4s. I have average length for a competitive amateur. I am a traditionalist and I think competitive amateurs should hit clubs into greens that the architect intended. If the USGA comes up with a solution that satisfies my preference without impacting 99% of golfers, why is that a problem?


Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 03, 2017, 10:15:57 PM
...
The "ever rising cost of the game" is attributable to a lot of things, which of course you know. Taking a stand against the things that raise the cost of the game is laudable IMO.
Is it laudable if you're ignoring 20 other things that are more responsible?

I did write things. As you can see. ;)

Take note Erik! You clearly did not carefully read what I wrote. It seems to me you responded based on what you expected I would write, not what I wrote.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 03, 2017, 10:45:55 PM
It would help if you quoted things in context, assuming of course that you understand the context. Erik was discussing 350 yard vs. 400 yard and change holes.
I don't think he was limiting it to those holes. Because what point is he making if he was?

Perhaps you should quit commentary and go back and read, and reread until you can both discern that he was making a point, and what that point was. Until then you keep farting into the wind with your posts that aren't even cognizant of what is being discussed as you do below.

That when you design a hole that's eight clubs  or more (100+ yards) shorter than the longer holes with the same par, the game's best hit wedges into them? What's the point in talking about that? Of course they have wedges. Just as they did in the 1960s: a 350-yard hole was short then, too, even if they only hit it 250. Still leaves 100 yards. That's not a mid-iron. That's a wedge.

What is this gibberish about 350 yard holes in the 1960s? What does that even have in the slightest with the ongoing discussion? Nevermind! Clearly it is just a distraction from the discussion so you can make a point that wedges used to be hit to par fours too.  ::)

...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pat Burke on December 04, 2017, 12:00:30 AM
we're starting to see colors!!!!
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 04, 2017, 12:32:17 AM
Garland, man, I'm not sure what you want. You said I took "It's not okay that good players have wedge into every hole" out of context. Then said the context was 350 and 400 yard holes… or something? I think you're misreading things, you think I'm misreading things.

Whatever point you're trying to make, I'll just concede. You win that one, whatever it is… Cheers.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 04, 2017, 10:10:18 AM
Jeff--


I appreciate your response. I'd like to take up "The Palmetto Problem," if I might...


You lament that Palmetto GC is a "wedgefest" these days. The club hosts one of the most prestigious amateur events every summer, and I noticed that in this year's Palmetto Amateur, just seven players broke par over 72 holes on a course that played just a shade over 6,700 yards, par 70. It's pretty clear from the scorecard that the main challenge at Palmetto is not length, and it's likely that players hit more short irons and wedges than at most courses. Still, the course holds its own for reasons you touched on.


But if Palmetto is becoming obsolete, despite the not-outrageous scoring, the question is: supposing a player is going to hit 18 approach shots in a round, what is the ideal distribution of clubs for those shots?


This question is very problematic, though, because answering it is necessarily prescriptive. To answer it, you must imply that there's a shot distribution that every course should strive to produce.


But if we want to see more interesting pro golf to watch on TV, we'd need a schedule's worth of courses that exhibited a range of different lengths, wouldn't we? Otherwise, the Tour would be boring because we'd be seeing a very narrow range of tests over a season. So a formula for approach shots is not the answer.


There's another problem. Even if you did have a single course that presented a perfect assortment of approach shot demands, it would only be perfect for a player who hits the ball a certain specific distance off the tee. And that's just not how golfers are, as a set - especially elite amateurs and pros. Yes, they all hit it pretty far (since hitting it past a certain minimum distance is one of many skills required to play highest-level golf), but nevertheless some guys hit it longer and a little less accurately, while others hit it shorter and straighter. By changing the golf ball, you're committing to an arbitrary range of acceptable driving distances. That's a constricting philosophy when we should instead be promoting variety.


When you talk about Fred Couples driving it farther now than he did in his 20s, I just don't think anyone's proved that that's necessarily a bad thing. We celebrate technological advances in most parts of our lives...why must we absolutely halt all innovation in golf in order to "return" to some mythologized past whose location no one seems to agree on?


What I'm getting at is that by arguing that it's wrong that the pros hit too many short irons these days, it seems you're committing to a narrow view of how the game should be played, which to me is the polar opposite of what we should be encouraging: a stretching of the conventional boundaries of what's considered compelling golf, especially at the lower end of the course length spectrum. If we let it be OK that the pros hit wedges into most greens at some courses, then isn't it easier to tell the rank-and file that it's OK to play a 5,500-yard course sometimes, where they'll get to hit those shorter clubs all day too?


By and large, "regular" golfers are (still) playing from tees that are too long for them. I can't tell you how many recreational players I've watched wear out their hybrids and fairway woods over the course of 18 holes. I think (and maybe you'd agree) that that's a worse problem than the pros hitting more wedges than they used to on Tour courses.


Which is why most everyone agrees that teeing it forward is generally a good idea. But if we declare, by rolling back the ball, that it's wrong for pros to hit a bunch of short clubs into the holes on their courses, and it's well-documented that workaday golfers are (too) greatly influenced by the pros, then doesn't forcing the pros to hit longer clubs work directly against the tee-it-forward project and the pace-of-play savings it's encouraged in recent years?


There are SO many questions and potential pitfalls surrounding equipment reform. The worst thing that could happen is that the governing bodies decide to do something, but their solution doesn't end up addressing the problem in a way that justifies the pain of enacting it, thereby further undermining those institutions. I am not at all confident that we have exhausted our hearts-and-minds options. Then, and only then, do I think we can be justified in calling for a retrofitting of golf equipment. We are not there yet.


So to summarize.
Allow continued tech gains....... ,build more and more new back tees......
And tee it forward ....:)


I
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 04, 2017, 10:25:45 AM
In the 50 years I have been playing golf I have seen 3 up tees built for every back tee. If you don't believe me just take a look at the scorecards at Bandon. https://www.bandondunesgolf.com/golf/golf-courses


If only my Mother had lived long enough to enjoy modern resort golf. 3920 yd tees...where is the outrage?!?!
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pete Lavallee on December 05, 2017, 08:59:30 AM
Erik, 


Can you name any golf course that’s considered great to good where the intent of the architect was to have players hit wedge to half the par 4’s, less than 6 iron to the rest of the par 4’s, reach 3 par 5’s with irons and reach the other with a wood? Because that’s where we are at now at the highest levels of golf. Didn’t designers always take that class of player into account and try to make the game somewhat similar to the one everyone else plays?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on December 05, 2017, 09:50:58 AM

So to summarize.
Allow continued tech gains....... ,

Sure, even though that's a misleading interpretation of the position opposing your own.

The side in favor of creating a major disturbance to the game has yet to prove that tech gains will continue ad infinitum. That's going to be very difficult to do in the face of all the data that points to a leveling-off, plus the obvious increases in injury to elite players.

build more and more new back tees......


NO...because we mortal golfers don't need to keep up with the Woodses. We may *think* we do because of a tendency to ascribe common-golfer meaning to the activities of the pros, but we really don't.

And tee it forward .... :)

YES...though your inclination to artificially toughen the game for the pros relative to the common golfer threatens to undo the gains that this concept has made.


Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 05, 2017, 11:57:12 AM
Erik, 


Can you name any golf course that’s considered great to good where the intent of the architect was to have players hit wedge to half the par 4’s, less than 6 iron to the rest of the par 4’s, reach 3 par 5’s with irons and reach the other with a wood? Because that’s where we are at now at the highest levels of golf. Didn’t designers always take that class of player into account and try to make the game somewhat similar to the one everyone else plays?


+1


We are there now with competitive juniors and amateurs, not just professionals. The last couple US Mid Amateurs each had a 500 yard par 4! This tournament is for middle aged working stiffs, not college players. Nothing wrong with making these guys play a reduced distance ball and let the other 99% enjoy the current golf ball. Other sports have differences between levels (wood bats vs aluminum, 3 point line for college vs NBA).
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pat Burke on December 05, 2017, 05:17:00 PM
Erik, 


Can you name any golf course that’s considered great to good where the intent of the architect was to have players hit wedge to half the par 4’s, less than 6 iron to the rest of the par 4’s, reach 3 par 5’s with irons and reach the other with a wood? Because that’s where we are at now at the highest levels of golf. Didn’t designers always take that class of player into account and try to make the game somewhat similar to the one everyone else plays?








We are there now with competitive juniors and amateurs, not just professionals. The last couple US Mid Amateurs each had a 500 yard par 4! This tournament is for middle aged working stiffs, not college players. Nothing wrong with making these guys play a reduced distance ball and let the other 99% enjoy the current golf ball. Other sports have differences between levels (wood bats vs aluminum, 3 point line for college vs NBA).


A clean proposal and thought....


But I just don't like telling a segment of the game that they must change THEIR game, equipment and approach so everyone else is happy.....
I'm ok with an overall rollback fwiw
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 05, 2017, 05:51:07 PM
Equipment & apparel companies spend millions in endorsements based on the belief that amateurs want to emulate the pros, ie that what we see on television influences not only our buying habits but our tastes and expectations.

I can’t see how the golf courses the pros play wouldn’t have some of the same influence on our tastes, expectations and (sooner or later) buying habits.

Erin Hills was exceedingly long; vintage courses hosting the US Open, especially if they can’t be further lengthened, will have lightening-fast greens. The game in the broadest sense is not well served, IMO, by emulating either quality.

A course I play built in the 30s is 6100 yards from the very back; the one from the 70s is 6500 yards; the one from the mid 90s is 7100 yards; and TW’s recently completed Bluejack National is, I believe, 7500+ from the back (about the same as Mr. Nicklaus' Ocean Course in Cabo). 

TW and JN know better than most that only the tiniest % of Bluejack’s members or Cabo's guests can/will ever play that yardage; and yet there it is — because of the changing tastes and expectations of the average golfer. 

Peter
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 05, 2017, 08:43:29 PM
Can you name any golf course that’s considered great to good where the intent of the architect was to have players hit wedge to half the par 4’s, less than 6 iron to the rest of the par 4’s, reach 3 par 5’s with irons and reach the other with a wood? Because that’s where we are at now at the highest levels of golf.
Again, I do not really care about the game's best 0.0001%, and I think far too many people worry too much about what they're doing.

The game's best have gotten a lot better.

I will take the opportunity, since you asked, to point out that some of the game's best holes are actually the short holes. The third at Augusta National (which could stand to be a bit shorter), 10 at Riviera…, etc.

95% of golfers are likely perfectly well challenged from 6500 or less… and don't have wedge into half of the par fours, etc.

The side in favor of creating a major disturbance to the game has yet to prove that tech gains will continue ad infinitum. That's going to be very difficult to do in the face of all the data that points to a leveling-off, plus the obvious increases in injury to elite players.

Right. If distance and technology are just going to keep increasing… where's the distance increase the last ten years? It's low single digits, and fully explained by a very modest increase in swing speeds. The data supports that we've reached a peak again, a post-solid-ball peak. Physics and the rules are acting as limiters.


As before, +1 to Tim's post(s).
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Matthew Mollica on December 05, 2017, 09:35:56 PM
Were physics and rules limiters in 1998?


MacKenzie wrote "there is no limit to science" more than 80 years ago.


The notion we have hit the limit of ball technology is foolhardy.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 05, 2017, 09:47:41 PM
The notion we have hit the limit of ball technology is foolhardy.
And yet… with millions or billions of dollars at stake, for a decade now, we've seen no advances.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 05, 2017, 10:01:22 PM
Why is it acceptable to have 4 sets of tees for the occasional hobbyists or those who never cared to excel at the game and not two sets for the most talented or hardest working players who take the game seriously? My friends and I love to play the tips at our championship course when the conditions warrant. i.e...Fast and firm like the pros play every week. I've never heard even the most selfish good player complain about the cost of maintaining the up tees for beginners.  Isn't anyone unwilling to pay a bit extra so people who enjoy the game at a different level than their own being selfish and short sighted?


Speaking of .001%...who do you think goes all the way to Bandon and plays the sub 4000 yd tees at that cost?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Sean_A on December 06, 2017, 04:16:37 AM
JakaB

I have no issue per se with your tips philosophy.  Its your club and your money.  However, I am not convinced golf as a business (but of course golf isn't a business on the club level) needs this approach of spending money for the very small majority of players on so many courses. Back in the day if you wanted to bash the ball you looked for a club with more yardage.  There wasn't the expectation that most clubs would offer the latitude of smash mouth golf.  I guess 7000 yard tees is progress. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 06, 2017, 08:11:39 AM
Erik,


Do you have any stats around the clubs chosen from the tee that represent driving stats?


There is speculation that guys are using 3-wood well more than they used to.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 06, 2017, 09:06:29 AM
Erik,


Do you have any stats around the clubs chosen from the tee that represent driving stats?


There is speculation that guys are using 3-wood well more than they used to.


Jim,


I think your statement is right. Erik keeps talking about how the average distance has only gone up a few yards over the past 10 years, which is correct.


But it seems to me that guys are hitting it much longer than they did 10 years ago. I can't recall anyone carrying their drives over 300 yards 10 years ago and now there are a bunch of guys that can.


I think the reason the average drive hasn't gone up much is because guys are hitting less club off the tee and bringing their average down. There is another stat that may prove this to be correct; % of drives over 300 yards.


In 2017 Rory hit 82% of his drives over 300 yards (1st place). Second place was 73% and third place was 72%. In 2007, Bubba was first with 72%. Second and third were 68%.


For average driving distance, Erik brought up median so lets look at 63rd place. In 2017, 63rd place hit his drive over 300 yards 46% of the time. This compares to only 36% of the time in 2007.


I think this stat tells a different story than average distance. A 10 point difference is pretty big and points to larger distance gains over the past 10 years than the average distance stat does.





Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Stephen Davis on December 06, 2017, 10:00:55 AM
Erik,


Do you have any stats around the clubs chosen from the tee that represent driving stats?


There is speculation that guys are using 3-wood well more than they used to.


Jim,


I think your statement is right. Erik keeps talking about how the average distance has only gone up a few yards over the past 10 years, which is correct.


But it seems to me that guys are hitting it much longer than they did 10 years ago. I can't recall anyone carrying their drives over 300 yards 10 years ago and now there are a bunch of guys that can.


I think the reason the average drive hasn't gone up much is because guys are hitting less club off the tee and bringing their average down. There is another stat that may prove this to be correct; % of drives over 300 yards.


In 2017 Rory hit 82% of his drives over 300 yards (1st place). Second place was 73% and third place was 72%. In 2007, Bubba was first with 72%. Second and third were 68%.


For average driving distance, Erik brought up median so lets look at 63rd place. In 2017, 63rd place hit his drive over 300 yards 46% of the time. This compares to only 36% of the time in 2007.


I think this stat tells a different story than average distance. A 10 point difference is pretty big and points to larger distance gains over the past 10 years than the average distance stat does.


Eric,


Great job! I agree that this is far more compelling than average driving distance. Thanks for posting this!
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on December 06, 2017, 10:39:22 AM
Erik,


Do you have any stats around the clubs chosen from the tee that represent driving stats?


There is speculation that guys are using 3-wood well more than they used to.


Jim,


I think your statement is right. Erik keeps talking about how the average distance has only gone up a few yards over the past 10 years, which is correct.


But it seems to me that guys are hitting it much longer than they did 10 years ago. I can't recall anyone carrying their drives over 300 yards 10 years ago and now there are a bunch of guys that can.


I think the reason the average drive hasn't gone up much is because guys are hitting less club off the tee and bringing their average down. There is another stat that may prove this to be correct; % of drives over 300 yards.


In 2017 Rory hit 82% of his drives over 300 yards (1st place). Second place was 73% and third place was 72%. In 2007, Bubba was first with 72%. Second and third were 68%.


For average driving distance, Erik brought up median so lets look at 63rd place. In 2017, 63rd place hit his drive over 300 yards 46% of the time. This compares to only 36% of the time in 2007.


I think this stat tells a different story than average distance. A 10 point difference is pretty big and points to larger distance gains over the past 10 years than the average distance stat does.
Eric--


You've demonstrated that more PGA Tour players hit lots of 300+ yard drives than did a decade ago. I assume you believe this is simply because the golf ball goes farther with 2017 technology than 2007 technology.


The reality is more complicated than that. In 2007, we were in the middle of the prime Tiger Era, when he was so feared that PGA Tour golf was still easy to see as a two-class system: Tiger and everyone else. The "everyone else" consisted largely of entrenched players who were still older and still playing more of a control-based brand of golf.


10 years later, the circa-2007 teenagers on whom Tiger's style of play and brand of golf domination had an indelible impact are fully-formed humans who modeled their own games on Tiger's. Given that, is it any wonder that there are more bombers in golf now?


Once again, we're seeing the golf ball blamed for a trend in elite golf on which the ball has had little to no effect. So I'll repeat the point I've been making: if you look at the evidence of what has gone on in the last decade or so in golf technology, the case for rollback and/or bifurcation just isn't that strong.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 06, 2017, 10:51:33 AM
Tim,


Do you think the decade before that would justify a roll back?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 06, 2017, 10:54:30 AM
The increase in endorsement money is also a factor. Do you think Taylormade is throwing money at a guy who can't hit it 300? The marginal players know this and crank it up when then are being measured. With all the money at stake don't kid yourselves if you don't believe every factor towards that long ball isn't being fudged. Slope, firmness, wind direction, etc...etc...


With three negatives I don't even know what I'm saying..but that's my point. Everything is presented to us to make us want to buy more.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 06, 2017, 11:09:09 AM
But Tim: you and Erik keep referencing 'the last 10 years', as if that's the key point in the argument. But is it, really? (I mean, what's special about the last 10 years as opposed to, say, the last 20?) And even if I grant you the point, the implication/subtext seems to be that there's no use in a roll-back *now*, since distance gains at the highest levels have tapered off. Maybe they have - though clearly not before an almost 8,000 yard course was designed and built and hosted a US Open, and not before TW designed and built a 7500+ yard private course solely for members play. Which is to say: the dramatic distance gains over the last 20 years (perhaps, I'd guess, equal to or greater than all the gains achieved in the 50-60 years before that combined) have already impacted/influenced both the professional and amateur games, and will continue to do so. So the key point, it seems to me, is this: do we all accept this as the new normal (especially for golfers your age and younger)? Or do we instead listen to golfer-architects like Tiger and Jack when they say that the distance the pros are currently hitting it is (negatively) influencing all levels of the game by fostering the design/re-design of golf courses that are too long and too expensive to maintain and that require too much time to walk/play and too many inputs?
Peter       
PS - just noticed that, as usual, Jim can say in one line what I did in 10!

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pete Lavallee on December 06, 2017, 12:39:20 PM
Can you name any golf course that’s considered great to good where the intent of the architect was to have players hit wedge to half the par 4’s, less than 6 iron to the rest of the par 4’s, reach 3 par 5’s with irons and reach the other with a wood? Because that’s where we are at now at the highest levels of golf.
Again, I do not really care about the game's best 0.0001%, and I think far too many people worry too much about what they're doing.

I will take your lack of an answer to mean you do agree that the architects who designed the courses the PGA Tour play on did not intend for them to have it quite so easy!

Quote
The game's best have gotten a lot better.

As the NRA would say they are not better, just better armed!

Quote
I will take the opportunity, since you asked, to point out that some of the game's best holes are actually the short holes. The third at Augusta National (which could stand to be a bit shorter), 10 at Riviera…, etc.

Many of these holes are disappearing from modern courses in an attempt to get the overall yardage into the 7500 yard sweet spot! If it weren't for principled architects like Doak and C&C we might never see good short holes on newer courses; not every architect had the balls to tell the owner that they are not interested in building 7500 courses that will receive little or no play from the back tees.

The trickle down effect is real, newer courses are effected by how far elite golfers hit the ball. This limits options for enjoyment for regular golfers. 7500 yard courses are just not as fun to play from the 6200 yard tees as ones designed in the 6800 yard range. I'm open to examples of 7500 yard courses that are really fun to play from the white tees; feel free to list some. To argue otherwise is a bit myopic.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 06, 2017, 12:51:13 PM
.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Matthew Mollica on December 06, 2017, 01:43:44 PM
I'd go further than the last 20 years Peter. Consider the last 100.
The notion that distance gains have hit a ceiling because some dubious statistic hints at that through the last decade is simply naive at best.
One could have said distance gains had been maximised ten years after the introduction of the Haskell, only to see the entire game change later. Erik and Tim's position could have been adopted some time between 1970 & 1990 - again erroneously.
The distance many many players hit the golf ball in this  day and age is simply too great. This has been a concern for a long time, and distance advancements have continued at a marked rate when we take a long range view.
Geoff Ogilvy suggested a fortnight back that golf has outgrown its stadiums. He is right. And this phenomenon does not just affect the pro game. Some of the greatest minds in the game expressed the same concern well before WWII. Behr, MacKenzie, Darwin, Jones, Thomas, Longhurst. The list goes on. Yet some here would have you believe they know better. I find it astonishing.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 06, 2017, 01:56:05 PM
Pete,


I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and cannot think of a 7,500 yard course within 100 miles of here. I'm sure there's one, but I think you set up a false hypothetical.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 06, 2017, 02:12:09 PM
Matthew -
not to minimize the nuance & details in various posts from all involved, but I think your last lines point to the essential difference in opinion/approach in this debate:

One side is saying: "The greatest minds in the game past and present have been expressing this same concern for decades - it's time we finally do something about it...especially at the pro level because of its real and multi-faceted influence on the rest of us"

The other side is saying: "The greatest minds in the game past and present have been expressing this same concern for decades - and yet golf continues to flourish and is now better than ever...especially for the average player who comprises 99.99% of all golfers" 

Perhaps a difference in approach that simply can't be broached, or at least (judging from 16 pages of post) resolved on the basis of reason alone

Peter     

Jim: perhaps I did, I'm not sure - but with the class of vintage courses in the Philly area that might not be a good example either; and I did go and check the yardages at some of JN's recent resort courses in Cabo and of TW's Bluejacket course, as I thought these two 'types' of courses would be good barometers for what the public has come to expect (or at least what developers think they've come to expect): both of them over 7500 yards. That's a heck of a long golf course...   
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 06, 2017, 02:44:04 PM
Peter, I was referring to Pete Lavallee with his question about playing a 7,500 yard course from 6,200. My answer they're no fun because there are none.


"None" is obviously a stretch. None that have stood the test of time as a going business concern? Perhaps...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 06, 2017, 02:57:32 PM
I'd go further than the last 20 years Peter. Consider the last 100.
The notion that distance gains have hit a ceiling because some dubious statistic hints at that through the last decade is simply naive at best.
One could have said distance gains had been maximised ten years after the introduction of the Haskell, only to see the entire game change later. Erik and Tim's position could have been adopted some time between 1970 & 1990 - again erroneously.
The distance many many players hit the golf ball in this  day and age is simply too great. This has been a concern for a long time, and distance advancements have continued at a marked rate when we take a long range view.
Geoff Ogilvy suggested a fortnight back that golf has outgrown its stadiums. He is right. And this phenomenon does not just affect the pro game. Some of the greatest minds in the game expressed the same concern well before WWII. Behr, MacKenzie, Darwin, Jones, Thomas, Longhurst. The list goes on. Yet some here would have you believe they know better. I find it astonishing.


+1
a simple look at a graph of course length (both championship and new/renovated)
would demonstrate a constant push longer (regardless of your opinion that we shouldn't be pandering to the .001%-we already are)


and then there's this...
https://mygolfspy.com/blue-oceans-balls-the-story-of-oncore-golf/ (https://mygolfspy.com/blue-oceans-balls-the-story-of-oncore-golf/)


and Tim, the notion that human athletes have neared their limits is an equally curious position
Let's suppose that football becomes verbotem due to concussions (a real possibility) and Tiger's comeback is crazy good-inspiring many.
Suddenly we have elite and large(would be) linebackers, defensive ends, running backs, quarterbacks from all over the country starting golf at age 6.


Puny Ricky and Rory flying it 330 will seem like child's play for the elite that emerge based purely on current equipment from an early age and a better, bigger and larger pool of athletes choosing golf.


and finally, the notion that "my side" would be "creating a major disturbance in the game"

Haven't we already had that with more expensive equipment, bastardized courses. new 7500-8000 yard courses, constant new building and renovations-all while participation has been falling rapidly for 15 years?


Moving up a tee or two and stopping the land grabs to expand/build more doesn't seem like a "major disturbance". We already had that.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 06, 2017, 03:24:51 PM
A lot of replies, many asking me questions or responding to me, so I apologize again for how I tend to "multi-quote." It's just how I have always used forums, and I think it beats posting more frequently to respond to things individually. I've tried to limit it to some main points.

Do you have any stats around the clubs chosen from the tee that represent driving stats?
The PGA Tour chooses holes on which the vast majority of players hit driver. And PGA Tour players hit more drivers than ever these days, so it's not too difficult. But they pick long par fives or par fours where players are almost certainly hitting drivers.

But it seems to me that guys are hitting it much longer than they did 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, how something "seems" to you is not a fact nor a convincing argument.

I think the reason the average drive hasn't gone up much is because guys are hitting less club off the tee and bringing their average down. There is another stat that may prove this to be correct; % of drives over 300 yards.
Not on the measured holes. Do the longer players occasionally hit 3W on these holes? Sometimes (still rarely). But the median player basically doesn't. They're hitting driver more often. They understand now more than ever the added value of being a few yards closer to the green than they can get with their 3W.

For average driving distance, Erik brought up median so lets look at 63rd place. In 2017, 63rd place hit his drive over 300 yards 46% of the time. This compares to only 36% of the time in 2007.
Median is 95th as there were 190 qualifying players. Jason Dufner is 95th with 35.14%.

I could make the case that these stats, combined with driving distance, speak to the idea that players are hitting more drivers than ever, and hit 3W more frequently in 2007 than they do now. That also backs up the experience I have in working with some of the guys on Tour, or talking with the instructors of other guys. They understand more now than ever the value of getting closer to the hole.

The reality is more complicated than that. In 2007, we were in the middle of the prime Tiger Era, when he was so feared that PGA Tour golf was still easy to see as a two-class system: Tiger and everyone else. The "everyone else" consisted largely of entrenched players who were still older and still playing more of a control-based brand of golf.
Exactly. The modern player is more aware than ever of the value of hitting it far.

Once again, we're seeing the golf ball blamed for a trend in elite golf on which the ball has had little to no effect. So I'll repeat the point I've been making: if you look at the evidence of what has gone on in the last decade or so in golf technology, the case for rollback and/or bifurcation just isn't that strong.
It's not a strong case, I agree. We get arguments like how it "seems" to people, not very many actual facts.

But Tim: you and Erik keep referencing 'the last 10 years', as if that's the key point in the argument. But is it, really? (I mean, what's special about the last 10 years as opposed to, say, the last 20?)
It's just the point in time I chose. Going back to 1907 seems a bit ridiculous, right? 1917, 1927… 1937… all kinda silly, right? So any point chosen is somewhat arbitrary. In 2007, my memory is that those calling for a roll-back were much smaller in number… yet that number has grown since then. Yet players aren't hitting it farther than 2007.

Practically speaking, I like 2007 over 1997 because the "genie" of solid balls was out of the bottle. I think putting it back in would prove nearly impossible. So, I pick a time year after about 2002, and a decade is a nice round number.

Maybe they have - though clearly not before an almost 8,000 yard course was designed and built and hosted a US Open, and not before TW designed and built a 7500+ yard private course solely for members play.
What percentage of golfers need to play the 7500+ tees at either of the courses to get a good challenge?

Which is to say: the dramatic distance gains over the last 20 years (perhaps, I'd guess, equal to or greater than all the gains achieved in the 50-60 years before that combined) have already impacted/influenced both the professional and amateur games
I don't really agree that it's affected "the amateur game." One set of tees at a TW course that virtually nobody will play doesn't mean much. Avalon Lakes in Ohio is 7551 yards, used to host an LPGA Tour stop (not from 7551!)… and almost nobody plays those tees, ever. Our conference championship was at about 6700 yards.

and will continue to do so.
If they want to spend their money doing that, what's it to us? 90%+ of the golfing public is probably served with 6500 yards or less.

Tim said it better a few times already: if a club tries to "keep up with the Woodses," that's their business.

Or do we instead listen to golfer-architects like Tiger and Jack when they say that the distance the pros are currently hitting it is (negatively) influencing all levels of the game by fostering the design/re-design of golf courses that are too long and too expensive to maintain and that require too much time to walk/play and too many inputs?
Who anointed either of those guys the spokesman for "all levels of the game"? Who says Tiger knows what play is like at "all levels of the game." His exposure to "all levels" might be limited to roughly 15 pro-am rounds with rich CEOs per year. You likely give their opinions more weight because they agree with yours.

I will take your lack of an answer to mean you do agree that the architects who designed the courses the PGA Tour play on did not intend for them to have it quite so easy!
I didn't answer because I don't really care about the 0.001% of the golfers. But if you need an answer… how about Oakmont? The average U.S. Open contestant doesn't hit wedges into half of the par fours there, even though several of the holes were designed to be short: 10, 2, 14, 17. And I didn't even have to leave my state… just a quick drive down I-79.

As the NRA would say they are not better, just better armed!
No, the game's best have gotten better. It's foolish to think otherwise. In every other sport, athletes have gotten bigger, faster, stronger. The same is true in golf.

The notion that distance gains have hit a ceiling because some dubious statistic hints at that through the last decade is simply naive at best.
Funny how the stat is great when it supports your arguments, but "dubious" when it does not. It's a measure of driving distance. It's a pretty good stat.

One could have said distance gains had been maximised ten years after the introduction of the Haskell, only to see the entire game change later. Erik and Tim's position could have been adopted some time between 1970 & 1990 - again erroneously.
No. They couldn't have.

There was no ODS when the Haskell was around. There were no limits on CoR in 1970. It didn't take much imagination - at all - to imagine that longer, lighter drivers could hit the ball farther. That optimizing launch conditions could launch the ball further. That a PGA Tour pro playing a Pinnacle could launch the ball further. Actually, what did the Long Drivers hit back then? They weren't balatas.

Rocky Thompson used, what, a 50" driver, right?

Conditions are different now. We understand how to maximize launch conditions. We have the ODS and CoR rules. We have a rule governing the length of clubs. Materials will probably get a bit lighter (but lighter clubs lead to tougher to control clubs, so the tradeoff likely won't wander too far from where we are now - the lightweight drivers aren't at all popular on the PGA Tour). But we can't do much more to optimize launch conditions. Driver faces can't get bigger. The ball can't travel faster.

Will we look back in hindsight and say "oh man we missed that?" Maybe. But I'd suggest not, because the conditions are not at all the same as they were in 1910, 1940, 1970, or 1990. Neither are the rules. Physics and the rules are effectively capping things.

Why hasn't driving distance increased in the last 10 years, despite our increased knowledge of materials, equipment, launch, fitness, the importance of distance to making millions of dollars for 0.0001% of golfers, etc.? Why?

The distance many many players hit the golf ball in this  day and age is simply too great.
Matthew, as you know, that's only your opinion. Mine's different. I disagree with not only your definition of "too great" but also your definition of "many players."

I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and cannot think of a 7,500 yard course within 100 miles of here. I'm sure there's one, but I think you set up a false hypothetical.
Because 99% of golfers don't need 7500 yards, and those courses realize that.

Jim: perhaps I did, I'm not sure - but with the class of vintage courses in the Philly area that might not be a good example either; and I did go and check the yardages at some of JN's recent resort courses in Cabo and of TW's Bluejacket course, as I thought these two 'types' of courses would be good barometers for what the public has come to expect (or at least what developers think they've come to expect): both of them over 7500 yards. That's a heck of a long golf course...   
You're talking about one or two courses. And those tees were made because they had the land, and they wanted to build them.

Nobody has given any evidence to show that a majority or even a large minority of courses in the U.S. are expanding to even 7000 yards, let alone 7500.

and then there's this...https://mygolfspy.com/blue-oceans-balls-the-story-of-oncore-golf/ (https://mygolfspy.com/blue-oceans-balls-the-story-of-oncore-golf/)

What about that, Jeff? The OnCore balls - at about 2x the cost of a Pro V1, and 3-4x the cost of a Snell, Vice, etc. - don't go any further. They're just another premium golf ball.



Let's suppose that football becomes verbotem due to concussions (a real possibility) and Tiger's comeback is crazy good-inspiring many.
Suddenly we have elite and large(would be) linebackers, defensive ends, running backs, quarterbacks from all over the country starting golf at age 6.
We already have that. Tiger already inspired a bunch of those players, and your plan not only hinges on the NFL going away, but also on the fact that "stronger" = "faster" which it does not. Jamie Sadlowski won long drive contests because he was FAST, not because he was 230 and could bench 500 pounds (or whatever).

Again, apologies for the long post. I'll gladly drop out of the conversation if y'all wish. I've not really said anything new, and Tim is saying similar things far better than I have. If you'd like me to drop out, please, just stop quoting me or asking me questions. :)   If you're okay with me replying, keep doing those things.

I too care about golf. I just disagree that the massive disruption and change of bifurcation OR a roll-back - each with as yet unknown and unintended consequences - is at all worth it.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 06, 2017, 03:39:16 PM
A lot of replies, many asking me questions or responding to me, so I apologize again for how I tend to "multi-quote." It's just how I have always used forums, and I think it beats posting more frequently to respond to things individually. I've tried to limit it to some main points.

Do you have any stats around the clubs chosen from the tee that represent driving stats?
The PGA Tour chooses holes on which the vast majority of players hit driver. And PGA Tour players hit more drivers than ever these days, so it's not too difficult. But they pick long par fives or par fours where players are almost certainly hitting drivers.

But it seems to me that guys are hitting it much longer than they did 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, how something "seems" to you is not a fact nor a convincing argument.

I think the reason the average drive hasn't gone up much is because guys are hitting less club off the tee and bringing their average down. There is another stat that may prove this to be correct; % of drives over 300 yards.
Not on the measured holes. Do the longer players occasionally hit 3W on these holes? Sometimes (still rarely). But the median player basically doesn't. They're hitting driver more often. They understand now more than ever the added value of being a few yards closer to the green than they can get with their 3W.

For average driving distance, Erik brought up median so lets look at 63rd place. In 2017, 63rd place hit his drive over 300 yards 46% of the time. This compares to only 36% of the time in 2007.
Median is 95th as there were 190 qualifying players. Jason Dufner is 95th with 35.14%.

I could make the case that these stats, combined with driving distance, speak to the idea that players are hitting more drivers than ever, and hit 3W more frequently in 2007 than they do now. That also backs up the experience I have in working with some of the guys on Tour, or talking with the instructors of other guys. They understand more now than ever the value of getting closer to the hole.

The reality is more complicated than that. In 2007, we were in the middle of the prime Tiger Era, when he was so feared that PGA Tour golf was still easy to see as a two-class system: Tiger and everyone else. The "everyone else" consisted largely of entrenched players who were still older and still playing more of a control-based brand of golf.
Exactly. The modern player is more aware than ever of the value of hitting it far.

Once again, we're seeing the golf ball blamed for a trend in elite golf on which the ball has had little to no effect. So I'll repeat the point I've been making: if you look at the evidence of what has gone on in the last decade or so in golf technology, the case for rollback and/or bifurcation just isn't that strong.
It's not a strong case, I agree. We get arguments like how it "seems" to people, not very many actual facts.

But Tim: you and Erik keep referencing 'the last 10 years', as if that's the key point in the argument. But is it, really? (I mean, what's special about the last 10 years as opposed to, say, the last 20?)
It's just the point in time I chose. Going back to 1907 seems a bit ridiculous, right? 1917, 1927… 1937… all kinda silly, right? So any point chosen is somewhat arbitrary. In 2007, my memory is that those calling for a roll-back were much smaller in number… yet that number has grown since then. Yet players aren't hitting it farther than 2007.

Practically speaking, I like 2007 over 1997 because the "genie" of solid balls was out of the bottle. I think putting it back in would prove nearly impossible. So, I pick a time year after about 2002, and a decade is a nice round number.

Maybe they have - though clearly not before an almost 8,000 yard course was designed and built and hosted a US Open, and not before TW designed and built a 7500+ yard private course solely for members play.
What percentage of golfers need to play the 7500+ tees at either of the courses to get a good challenge?

Which is to say: the dramatic distance gains over the last 20 years (perhaps, I'd guess, equal to or greater than all the gains achieved in the 50-60 years before that combined) have already impacted/influenced both the professional and amateur games
I don't really agree that it's affected "the amateur game." One set of tees at a TW course that virtually nobody will play doesn't mean much. Avalon Lakes in Ohio is 7551 yards, used to host an LPGA Tour stop (not from 7551!)… and almost nobody plays those tees, ever. Our conference championship was at about 6700 yards.

and will continue to do so.
If they want to spend their money doing that, what's it to us? 90%+ of the golfing public is probably served with 6500 yards or less.

Tim said it better a few times already: if a club tries to "keep up with the Woodses," that's their business.

Or do we instead listen to golfer-architects like Tiger and Jack when they say that the distance the pros are currently hitting it is (negatively) influencing all levels of the game by fostering the design/re-design of golf courses that are too long and too expensive to maintain and that require too much time to walk/play and too many inputs?
Who anointed either of those guys the spokesman for "all levels of the game"? Who says Tiger knows what play is like at "all levels of the game." His exposure to "all levels" might be limited to roughly 15 pro-am rounds with rich CEOs per year. You likely give their opinions more weight because they agree with yours.

I will take your lack of an answer to mean you do agree that the architects who designed the courses the PGA Tour play on did not intend for them to have it quite so easy!
I didn't answer because I don't really care about the 0.001% of the golfers. But if you need an answer… how about Oakmont? The average U.S. Open contestant doesn't hit wedges into half of the par fours there, even though several of the holes were designed to be short: 10, 2, 14, 17. And I didn't even have to leave my state… just a quick drive down I-79.

As the NRA would say they are not better, just better armed!
No, the game's best have gotten better. It's foolish to think otherwise. In every other sport, athletes have gotten bigger, faster, stronger. The same is true in golf.

The notion that distance gains have hit a ceiling because some dubious statistic hints at that through the last decade is simply naive at best.
Funny how the stat is great when it supports your arguments, but "dubious" when it does not. It's a measure of driving distance. It's a pretty good stat.

One could have said distance gains had been maximised ten years after the introduction of the Haskell, only to see the entire game change later. Erik and Tim's position could have been adopted some time between 1970 & 1990 - again erroneously.
No. They couldn't have.

There was no ODS when the Haskell was around. There were no limits on CoR in 1970. It didn't take much imagination - at all - to imagine that longer, lighter drivers could hit the ball farther. That optimizing launch conditions could launch the ball further. That a PGA Tour pro playing a Pinnacle could launch the ball further. Actually, what did the Long Drivers hit back then? They weren't balatas.

Rocky Thompson used, what, a 50" driver, right?

Conditions are different now. We understand how to maximize launch conditions. We have the ODS and CoR rules. We have a rule governing the length of clubs. Materials will probably get a bit lighter (but lighter clubs lead to tougher to control clubs, so the tradeoff likely won't wander too far from where we are now - the lightweight drivers aren't at all popular on the PGA Tour). But we can't do much more to optimize launch conditions. Driver faces can't get bigger. The ball can't travel faster.

Will we look back in hindsight and say "oh man we missed that?" Maybe. But I'd suggest not, because the conditions are not at all the same as they were in 1910, 1940, 1970, or 1990. Neither are the rules. Physics and the rules are effectively capping things.

Why hasn't driving distance increased in the last 10 years, despite our increased knowledge of materials, equipment, launch, fitness, the importance of distance to making millions of dollars for 0.0001% of golfers, etc.? Why?

The distance many many players hit the golf ball in this  day and age is simply too great.
Matthew, as you know, that's only your opinion. Mine's different. I disagree with not only your definition of "too great" but also your definition of "many players."

I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and cannot think of a 7,500 yard course within 100 miles of here. I'm sure there's one, but I think you set up a false hypothetical.
Because 99% of golfers don't need 7500 yards, and those courses realize that.

Jim: perhaps I did, I'm not sure - but with the class of vintage courses in the Philly area that might not be a good example either; and I did go and check the yardages at some of JN's recent resort courses in Cabo and of TW's Bluejacket course, as I thought these two 'types' of courses would be good barometers for what the public has come to expect (or at least what developers think they've come to expect): both of them over 7500 yards. That's a heck of a long golf course...   
You're talking about one or two courses. And those tees were made because they had the land, and they wanted to build them.

Nobody has given any evidence to show that a majority or even a large minority of courses in the U.S. are expanding to even 7000 yards, let alone 7500.

and then there's this...https://mygolfspy.com/blue-oceans-balls-the-story-of-oncore-golf/ (https://mygolfspy.com/blue-oceans-balls-the-story-of-oncore-golf/)

What about that, Jeff? The OnCore balls - at about 2x the cost of a Pro V1, and 3-4x the cost of a Snell, Vice, etc. - don't go any further. They're just another premium golf ball.



Let's suppose that football becomes verbotem due to concussions (a real possibility) and Tiger's comeback is crazy good-inspiring many.
Suddenly we have elite and large(would be) linebackers, defensive ends, running backs, quarterbacks from all over the country starting golf at age 6.
We already have that. Tiger already inspired a bunch of those players, and your plan not only hinges on the NFL going away, but also on the fact that "stronger" = "faster" which it does not. Jamie Sadlowski won long drive contests because he was FAST, not because he was 230 and could bench 500 pounds (or whatever).

Again, apologies for the long post. I'll gladly drop out of the conversation if y'all wish. I've not really said anything new, and Tim is saying similar things far better than I have. If you'd like me to drop out, please, just stop quoting me or asking me questions. :)   If you're okay with me replying, keep doing those things.

I too care about golf. I just disagree that the massive disruption and change of bifurcation OR a roll-back - each with as yet unknown and unintended consequences - is at all worth it.


Erik,
Tiger taking Ricky away from Motocross is hardly a huge/fast athlete taking up golf.just fast.
DJ maybe, but golf still is a second or third choice amongst real athletes that can star at the college level and beyond.
Surely you would agree that the long drive guys are bigger than tour pros(Sadlowski notwithstanding-of course you could always argue that hockey made him fast and that it was a better background than golf for speed).
Eventually(especially if other sports decline) that will be the tour norm, just like baseball has gone to bigger athletes.
But good on them if they do.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 06, 2017, 03:47:36 PM
Everyone is so scared that someone else might enjoy the game a way they don't and they're  going to have to subsidize it. The game was never built for selfish people.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Rick Lane on December 06, 2017, 03:49:07 PM
Instead of "rolling back" the ball or bifurcating, is there a way to "limit" the current ball technology, like they did with COR?    Just stop here how far a ball can rebound?   And have the ball mfrs compete on spin, aerodynamics, feel, given that limitation?   Is that even possible? 
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 06, 2017, 03:54:32 PM
Instead of "rolling back" the ball or bifurcating, is there a way to "limit" the current ball technology, like they did with COR?    Just stop here how far a ball can rebound?   And have the ball mfrs compete on spin, aerodynamics, feel, given that limitation?   Is that even possible?


Rick, there are limits.
But the people writing the rules aren't as well funded as those improving tech within those rules.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 06, 2017, 04:05:30 PM
Everyone is so scared that someone else might enjoy the game a way they don't and they're  going to have to subsidize it. The game was never built for selfish people.
You might be right; I’ll have to think about that possibility.
But there is also the principle: don’t build what you don’t need.
Peter
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pete Lavallee on December 06, 2017, 04:05:57 PM
Pete,


I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and cannot think of a 7,500 yard course within 100 miles of here. I'm sure there's one, but I think you set up a false hypothetical.

Jim,

A quick search provided this:

Ace Club   7500
Trump National   7409
Aronomink   7190
Pine Valley   7190
Commonwealth   7100

So there is one! I would suspect Aronomink and PV could find a few extra yards if needed.TN is quite close!


Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Clayton on December 06, 2017, 04:16:44 PM
Erik,


Would the 'massive disruption' of bifurcation (or just going back to a reduced distance ball for all) equate to the disruption the US inflicted on the rest of the world (not Canada or South America) when we all had to switch to the 1.68'" ball in the early 80s?


With the stroke of a pen everybody in theory lost 20-25 yards and manufacturers of balls had to retool factories.
It was a good decision but surely one more disruptive that what we are talking about. And for some years the game was bifurcated as top amateur events mandated the big ball a few years before the change and the 'foreign' tours had players using both sized balls.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 06, 2017, 04:33:46 PM
Everyone is so scared that someone else might enjoy the game a way they don't and they're  going to have to subsidize it. The game was never built for selfish people.
You might be right; I’ll have to think about that possibility.
But there is also the principle: don’t build what you don’t need.
Peter


I was lucky enough to play Whisper Rock a few years back and was in the group behind Phil Mickelson. I kept watching him leave the green we were approaching and walking out into the desert. It made no sense until I realized he was playing a set of back tees that he enjoyed. Didn't do a damn thing to hurt me or the member that subsidized those tees. I also doubt that Phil cares that his dues went to maintain the tees I enjoyed.


On another note, I'm Freddie's age and he hit the ball further than me when we were kids and hits it even further than me now. I'm happy for him. I figure I have and still do enjoy quite a few more meals in private at great restaurants than he...so lets call it even.


While you say "don't build what you don't need"...I prefer, "If you only build what you need you will soon find yourself sleeping in your car"
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 06, 2017, 04:54:26 PM

… how about Oakmont? The average U.S. Open contestant doesn't hit wedges into half of the par fours there, even though several of the holes were designed to be short: 10, 2, 14, 17. And I didn't even have to leave my state… just a quick drive down I-79.



It's ironic that you are picking a course that over the last couple decades added 300 yards and reduced par by 1 because of technology. We watched Dustin Johnson have a LW into the 1st green in the 4th round 2016 and Angel Cabrera have a PW into 18 in 2007 in the 4th round.


Below are the clubs Johnny Miller used to shoot 63 in the final round in 1973.


1. 469 yards, par 4 Driver, 3-iron to 5 feet, birdie
2. 343 yards, par 4 Driver, 9-iron to 1 foot, birdie
3. 425 yards, par 4 Driver, 5-iron to 25 feet, birdie
4. 549 yards, par 5 Driver, 3-wood, bunker shot to 6 inches, birdie
5. 379 yards, par 4 Driver, 6-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts, par
6. 195 yards, par 3 3-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts, par
7. 395 yards, par 4 Driver, 9-iron to 6 feet, 2 putts, par
8. 244 yards, par 4 4-wood to 30 feet, 3 putts, bogey
9. 480 yards, par 5 Driver, 2-iron to 40 feet, 2 putts, birdie
10. 462 yards, par 4 Driver, 5-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts, par
11. 371 yards, par 4 Driver, wedge to 14 feet, birdie
12. 603 yards, par 5 Driver, 7-iron, 4-iron to 15 feet, birdie
13. 185 yards, par 3 4-iron to 5 feet, birdie
14. 360 yards, par 4 Driver, wedge to 12 feet, 2 putts, par
15. 453 yards, par 4 Driver, 4-iron to 10 feet, birdie
16. 230 yards, par 3 2-iron to 45 feet, 2 putts, par
17. 322 yards, par 4 1-iron, wedge to 10 feet, 2 putts, par
18. 456 yards, par 4 Driver, 5-iron to 20 feet, 2 putts, par


The skill that Miller displayed shooting 63 at Oakmont using the clubs that he did for his approach shots is no longer required for any competitive golfer, not just professional. I am a competitive golfer and I've never had to hit clubs like this into greens even though the architect intended for me to do so.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 06, 2017, 05:08:01 PM
Jeff, man, I get off the train when the counter-argument involves crazy hypotheticals like most other sports failing, and the athletes who liked those other very, very different sports taking up golf instead.

Instead of "rolling back" the ball or bifurcating, is there a way to "limit" the current ball technology, like they did with COR?    Just stop here how far a ball can rebound?   And have the ball mfrs compete on spin, aerodynamics, feel, given that limitation?   Is that even possible?

We're already there, and those limits are already in place. Remove them and Titleist could probably release a ball that goes 50 yards farther in a year. The ODS, club rules, etc. all govern this stuff.


Would the 'massive disruption' of bifurcation (or just going back to a reduced distance ball for all) equate to the disruption the US inflicted on the rest of the world (not Canada or South America) when we all had to switch to the 1.68'" ball in the early 80s?

Don't know. Wasn't really paying attention to golf in the early 80s. It was a different time. The game was still relatively small back then, especially abroad. In the U.S., most players were using the 1.68 already, no?


The disruption would be bigger now. Much bigger. More players. More of a "voice" (forums, social media, etc.). More money involved.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 06, 2017, 05:09:39 PM
I am a competitive golfer and I've never had to hit clubs like this into greens even though the architect intended for me to do so.
Good for you.  :)  Really.

Would you change 2 at Oakmont to add length so players didn't hit wedge into it? Does it bother you that Johnny Miller had what would be a modern-day wedge (by loft) in 1973? You wouldn't, because it would screw up the hole. So okay, if you wouldn't modify that green, then you agree that using "wedge into that hole" is hardly a foolproof way of determining whether a hole is good or not. There are great holes out there that are driver-wedge.

I don't care much about 0.01 or 0.001% of golfers. I don't think it's worth it - at all - to disrupt the game to cater to or care about them.

Sorry. I just don't, and rather than come with facts, you continue to make some sort of argument like it should just be obvious or something that I'm on the wrong side of this one.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 06, 2017, 05:22:09 PM
Below are the clubs Johnny Miller used to shoot 63 in the final round in 1973.

1. 469 yards, par 4 Driver, 3-iron to 5 feet, birdie
2. 343 yards, par 4 Driver, 9-iron to 1 foot, birdie
3. 425 yards, par 4 Driver, 5-iron to 25 feet, birdie
4. 549 yards, par 5 Driver, 3-wood, bunker shot to 6 inches, birdie
5. 379 yards, par 4 Driver, 6-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts, par
6. 195 yards, par 3 3-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts, par
7. 395 yards, par 4 Driver, 9-iron to 6 feet, 2 putts, par
8. 244 yards, par 4 4-wood to 30 feet, 3 putts, bogey
9. 480 yards, par 5 Driver, 2-iron to 40 feet, 2 putts, birdie
10. 462 yards, par 4 Driver, 5-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts, par
11. 371 yards, par 4 Driver, wedge to 14 feet, birdie
12. 603 yards, par 5 Driver, 7-iron, 4-iron to 15 feet, birdie
13. 185 yards, par 3 4-iron to 5 feet, birdie
14. 360 yards, par 4 Driver, wedge to 12 feet, 2 putts, par
15. 453 yards, par 4 Driver, 4-iron to 10 feet, birdie
16. 230 yards, par 3 2-iron to 45 feet, 2 putts, par
17. 322 yards, par 4 1-iron, wedge to 10 feet, 2 putts, par
18. 456 yards, par 4 Driver, 5-iron to 20 feet, 2 putts, par




Thanks for posting this Eric. I vaguely recall the event on TV although not much, other than the odd putt, of JM as he finished pretty early. I’ve sometimes wondered when the subject of JM’s 63 comes under discussion what clubs he hit so it’s nice to see them tabulated.
When I look at the yardage’s, clubs hit etc above, and take about 80 yds off the length of each hole it kind of equates to the clubs numerous folk I play with these days hit on holes, but then again JM was decidedly good and despite improvements in equipment and changes in iron lofts over the decades the folks I usually play with are the opposite of young and powerful!
Atb




Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 06, 2017, 05:32:31 PM
I am a competitive golfer and I've never had to hit clubs like this into greens even though the architect intended for me to do so.
Good for you.  :)  Really.

Would you change 2 at Oakmont to add length so players didn't hit wedge into it? Does it bother you that Johnny Miller had what would be a modern-day wedge (by loft) in 1973? You wouldn't, because it would screw up the hole. So okay, if you wouldn't modify that green, then you agree that using "wedge into that hole" is hardly a foolproof way of determining whether a hole is good or not. There are great holes out there that are driver-wedge.

I don't care much about 0.01 or 0.001% of golfers. I don't think it's worth it - at all - to disrupt the game to cater to or care about them.

Sorry. I just don't, and rather than come with facts, you continue to make some sort of argument like it should just be obvious or something that I'm on the wrong side of this one.


Erik, I am coming to you with facts. It's a fact that Johnny Miller hit the clubs above in the final round of the 1973 US Open. I'm willing to bet that Ben Hogan won having to hit similar clubs in 1953, and the same goes for Jack and Arnie in 1962 and Larry Nelson in 1983. The point is that golf courses were designed to test a certain skill (mid and long irons) that is not being tested like it once was.

Obviously I wouldn't change the 2nd hole at Oakmont because it was the ARCHITECT'S INTENT for players to have a wedge into the green. I completely agree with you that some of the best holes in the world are designed for players to have wedges into greens (you picked 3 at Augusta and 10 at Riviera, which i completely agree with). The problem is you need variety and if you have 5 holes that were designed to be drivable par 4s on one course that would get boring and those great holes wouldn't be as special for the same reason why the Masters wouldn't be special if you played it 4 times per year. You need variety.

You continue to say you don't care about the pros and I only bring up my own game because this isn't just about pros. I sit at a desk all day, don't work out, and technology has allowed me to never have a long iron into a par 4. Even when you include amateurs you are right that its still a very small percentage. I don't see how making this small percentage play a different ball than the other 99% disrupt the game in any way. It hasn't affected baseball or the NBA.


Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 06, 2017, 05:55:11 PM
It's a fact that Johnny Miller hit the clubs above in the final round of the 1973 US Open. I'm willing to bet that Ben Hogan won having to hit similar clubs in 1953, and the same goes for Jack and Arnie in 1962 and Larry Nelson in 1983. The point is that golf courses were designed to test a certain skill (mid and long irons) that is not being tested like it once was.
I'm not debating those facts. They are facts. Cool. What you're doing though is using those facts to form your opinion that golf is somehow in a "bad way" right now because of how a tiny percentage of golfers play the game.

I don't really care what clubs Johnny Miller OR Dustin Johnson hit into the holes. The best golfer won that week, and had the USGA official done his job on the sixth, it would have been a thrilling U.S. Open. I do care, when I play Oakmont, how it plays for me. And how it plays for Dave, who was top ten in driving distance on the Web.com Tour one year (when it was the Nike Tour), against whom I'm usually playing.

The problem is you need variety and if you have 5 holes that were designed to be drivable par 4s on one course that would get boring and those great holes wouldn't be as special for the same reason why the Masters wouldn't be special if you played it 4 times per year. You need variety.
I agree you need variety, but I'm not aware of a course played by the tiny fraction of players at the top which has five drivable par fours. Or even really three.


And I'm not aware of a course played by that tiny minority of holes that are wedges the majority of the time. And even if there are a few… see above: I simply don't care that much about that tiny minority.

You continue to say you don't care about the pros and I only bring up my own game because this isn't just about pros. I sit at a desk all day, don't work out, and technology has allowed me to never have a long iron into a par 4.
I hit the ball pretty far too, and I've had hybrid into some par fours I've played. #10 at Whispering Woods here in Erie plays about 485 yards. I regularly have between a 4-iron and a 6-iron into #1: it plays uphill, the fairway is soft, it's into the predominant wind (455 yards or so). The course has you hit nearly every club in the bag and plays to 6750 yards or so.

Even when you include amateurs you are right that its still a very small percentage. I don't see how making this small percentage play a different ball than the other 99% disrupt the game in any way. It hasn't affected baseball or the NBA.
Again… it wouldn't be limited to just the small percentage. It would keep bleeding down. In no time it would be the "ball that real golfers use." You'd have 9 handicappers playing it because if they use the "cheater ball" their manhood is questioned.

Maybe? Yeah, it's a hypothetical, and I hate those… but the point is that neither you nor I can really predict what would actually happen by some magical "roll-back" or bifurcation. It has the potential to really screw things up for a lot of people, and a long time. So the juice had better be worth the squeeze, and I just don't think it is.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Matthew Mollica on December 06, 2017, 06:08:12 PM
Would it matter to you Erik if the US Open field of 156 players fought for the trophy over four days at TopGolf? I mean, the best golfer would win, after all...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 06, 2017, 06:12:47 PM

… but the point is that neither you nor I can really predict what would actually happen by some magical "roll-back" or bifurcation. It has the potential to really screw things up for a lot of people, and a long time. So the juice had better be worth the squeeze, and I just don't think it is.


I think we found some common ground....we really don't know how it will play out.

How do you think things could get really screwed up and who could lose in bifurcation?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 06, 2017, 07:47:53 PM
TopGolf isn't golf, Matthew.

And Eric, you seem to have missed the "neither you nor I can really predict" part.

I've said all I can say that's original several pages ago. Good luck, everyone.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 06, 2017, 11:47:56 PM
Jeff, man, I get off the train when the counter-argument involves crazy hypotheticals like most other sports failing, and the athletes who liked those other very, very different sports taking up golf instead.

Instead of "rolling back" the ball or bifurcating, is there a way to "limit" the current ball technology, like they did with COR?    Just stop here how far a ball can rebound?   And have the ball mfrs compete on spin, aerodynamics, feel, given that limitation?   Is that even possible?

We're already there, and those limits are already in place. Remove them and Titleist could probably release a ball that goes 50 yards farther in a year. The ODS, club rules, etc. all govern this stuff.


Would the 'massive disruption' of bifurcation (or just going back to a reduced distance ball for all) equate to the disruption the US inflicted on the rest of the world (not Canada or South America) when we all had to switch to the 1.68'" ball in the early 80s?

Don't know. Wasn't really paying attention to golf in the early 80s. It was a different time. The game was still relatively small back then, especially abroad. In the U.S., most players were using the 1.68 already, no?


The disruption would be bigger now. Much bigger. More players. More of a "voice" (forums, social media, etc.). More money involved.


Erik,
"Crazy hypotheticals?
If you think football isn't in trouble, you haven't been paying attention at all. Participation is down 19 plus % for ages 6-13, and down 26% for ages 13-17.
Those athletes will gravitate to something, and my guess is golf will pick up more than a few outstanding athletes, especially where football is biggest-in warm weather states.
Not sure where you think NFL players come from but in case you haven't noticed, that's shrinking fast too.


The disruption from bifurcation "would be much bigger?" hmmm...
More money is completely relative-I can assure you that money mattered just as much to affected players in the 80's, if not more--and changing the size of the ball and the ballflight took some serious getting used to, and some players never made the adjustment.To say that "golf is bigger now" is quite naive, especially in the home of golf, where they didn't need the wave of Tiger inspired "golf is cool" boom to fill their many, many courses that are far over a hundred years old.Knuckleheads tweeting about it doesn't make it bigger than the the throngs who came out and witnessed and followed the results of golf events dating back to at least the turn of the 20th century.


You keep going back to not caring about the .0001% and how their games are impacted.
So why would bifurcation be a problem?-if it would just be the .0001% affected.


I actually do care about the ".0001%", both for the entertainment value of watching them compete and display skills, and for the fact that they absolutely drive policy at nearly ALL courses (whether we think that's correct or not)
So I care deeply about the ".0001 %" and am confident that bifuraction would be a non event to them in a few weeks(just like adjusting to altitude or cold weather) while promoting sustainability and responsibility in our game, and promoting actual physical skill development rather than simply speed and technology.


And history rejects your argument that technology and human performance are capped-even if you cherry pick a short recent time period and chooice of recent stats, there are still ongoing gains-to say nothing of weekly anecdotal examples of unprecedented length displays-especially on courses players are allowed to display their power and not be hemmed in by deep rough or cross hazards.


Good discussion though and I've heard some interesting points.It is interesting to see how many voices with a vested interest in the golf business (golf professionals and especially architects who could benefit from more course renovations) drawing a line in the sand-especially lately.No doubt we'll see those with more money in the game (Titleist etc) fight it, but there are always shifts in that landscape, and they may need to get ahead of it, rather than fight what could eventually be an unpopular battle were they to get nasty. (Those of us on the other side haven't really enjoyed the "disruption"and change of a game we care about either.)
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Clayton on December 07, 2017, 03:13:06 AM
Don't know. Wasn't really paying attention to golf in the early 80s. It was a different time. The game was still relatively small back then, especially abroad. In the U.S., most players were using the 1.68 already, no?

Erik


It was a different time - but to suggest the game was 'relatively small - especially abroad' is a massive misinterpretation of the game outside of America.Arguably it was a bigger game then than now in Australia,New Zealand and Britain.Everybody was using the 1.68' ball in the US - but not a single amateur (aside from a few top players) outside of the US  was using it.They all - millions of them - gave up 25 yards overnight almost without complaint. American's would be more liable to complain because they tend (generalisation) to be more bothered about distance than players from elsewhere. It's because they have had 'distance' jammed down their throats by manufacturers for ever.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 07, 2017, 08:53:30 AM
Mike,


I don't know what the underlying justification for migrating to the big ball was as opposed to the small ball but the concepts are completely reversed. You've indicated it was non-issue to consolidate...fine. But that's really polar opposite from the proposal here. Here, the suggestion is to break apart, to fracture, one of the key synergies of the game, that of playing the same rules / equipment / courses.


That's why some of us can recognize/acknowledge the statistics about driving distance and sustainability and architectural intent and still think bifurcation would be a mistake and a full roll back, while less bad, might still be unnecessary. Emphasis on 'might'...I wouldn't oppose a roll back, just think it's unlikely to have the desired effect.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Hoak on December 07, 2017, 09:17:07 AM
Jeff and others--Many people on this thread keep talking about bifurcation, implying that it would be as simple as the USGA setting new equipment rules for the .0001%.  The PGA Tour has said that they will not go along with any roll-back of the ball.  They almost didn't go along with the long putter rule.  Granted, the USGA can set equipment rules for its tournaments--but what happens in all the other non-USGA tournaments?  Thinking that bifurcation can actually happen is a dream.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 07, 2017, 09:26:31 AM
Jeff and others--Many people on this thread keep talking about bifurcation, implying that it would be as simple as the USGA setting new equipment rules for the .0001%.  The PGA Tour has said that they will not go along with any roll-back of the ball.  They almost didn't go along with the long putter rule.  Granted, the USGA can set equipment rules for its tournaments--but what happens in all the other non-USGA tournaments?  Thinking that bifurcation can actually happen is a dream.




I think the USGA will only do it if the R&A is on board and I think Augusta will be on board also. If you get the PGA now you have the all the majors and that could really force the PGA Tour's hand. The players have a say and they want to keep getting endorsement money from the manufacturers but I haven't really heard any players say they are opposed to it.


I didn't see the PGA Tour make a comment about this one way or the other.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 07, 2017, 09:28:15 AM
Eric,


How could a roll back possibly help the PGA Tour?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 07, 2017, 09:41:14 AM
Eric,


How could a roll back possibly help the PGA Tour?




I think there's a good chance the USGA, R&A, and Augusta are on the same page. If they get the PGA now you have all four majors using a reduced distance ball. In that scenario, I believe the better players will want to play the reduced distance ball all year round to give them the best chance to play well in the majors. If the better players carry more weight than the average players and the players as a whole want to the play the reduced distance ball, the PGA Tour is partially governed by players and is run for its players so they will do whatever the players want. I don't think the PGA Tour has a dog in this fight; it's the players that will determine what it does.


I think it could get interesting with the best players vs the average players because the best players care about the majors and the average players want to keep getting X from the ball manufacturers.


I think the USGA, with its association with the R&A, and Augusta's desire to keep the integrity of its golf course in tact, could really make everyone else go along.

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 07, 2017, 10:10:08 AM
I think you need to take an honest assessment of the business the PGA Tour, and it's players, are in.


If Augusta went to a rolled back ball, the top players would simply take off the couple weeks leading up to it to practice. They would not go into the standard Tour events with a ball going 10% or 20% shorter than most of the field. No shot...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 07, 2017, 10:48:35 AM
  Thinking that bifurcation can actually happen is a dream.


That was the standard party line when this thread started in 2004 and for the last 13 years.
It may be different this time.


It's being discussed by very influential people-it never was before other than by us curmudgeons.


The next 2 threads below this are
"Golf is sinking in Scotland"
and "Matt Lauer's Favorite golf holes"
followed closely by "Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf-ummm land....umm...new back tees.....ummm....$500 drivers"
and "2017 Best New Courses" a list so short they had to create 3 subcategories.

So unthinkable things CAN happen-and generally quicker than thought possible....

Both biifurcation and/or a rollback make waaaaaay more sense than barring anchoring and pre 2010 grooves....(neither condition ever once caused modification of or lengthening of a golf hole)





Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 07, 2017, 11:33:17 AM
Erik,
"Crazy hypotheticals?
Yes, the falling of the NFL and that the kids who would grow up to play, what, linebacker grow up to play high-level golf is a crazy hypothetical.

More money is completely relative
It isn't. There's much more money in the game - even weighed against inflation, etc. - than there was in the 70s and 80s.

So why would bifurcation be a problem?-if it would just be the .0001% affected.
It wouldn't be just the 0.001%.

And history rejects your argument that technology and human performance are capped
And the last ten years supports it. Which is exactly how things work. Fill a bottle slowly and right until the time it's full, it's going to show a history of having more room.

It was a different time - but to suggest the game was 'relatively small - especially abroad' is a massive misinterpretation of the game outside of America.
Share some facts; I think you're wrong. The game is much, much bigger now than in the 1980s outside of the U.S.

Now, Jeff and others, please respect the fact that I'd like to stop participating in this topic. I'm not saying anything new, and repeating myself isn't really doing anyone any favors. :)  I've enjoyed the discussion to this point, but I just don't like repeating myself. And Tim is often, by not responding to every little thing, saying it better than I have anyway.  ;D
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 07, 2017, 11:43:58 AM
Erik,
"Crazy hypotheticals?
Yes, the falling of the NFL and that the kids who would grow up to play, what, linebacker grow up to play high-level golf is a crazy hypothetical.

More money is completely relative
It isn't. There's much more money in the game - even weighed against inflation, etc. - than there was in the 70s and 80s.

So why would bifurcation be a problem?-if it would just be the .0001% affected.
It wouldn't be just the 0.001%.

And history rejects your argument that technology and human performance are capped
And the last ten years supports it. Which is exactly how things work. Fill a bottle slowly and right until the time it's full, it's going to show a history of having more room.

Now, Jeff, please respect the fact that I'd like to stop participating here. I'm not saying anything new. Nor are you.


That is quite an eloquent way of saying you'd like to have the last word.
Very creative.
It's a discussion board-that's what we do.
Respectfully, no one is stopping you from your preferred course to "stop participating here"
Nor is anyone suggesting it-your choice.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 07, 2017, 11:46:12 AM
That is quite an eloquent way of saying you'd like to have the last word.
It's not. Carry on. Take the last ten thousand words… I'm just asking that those words not be directed at me, ask me questions, etc.

Take care.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 07, 2017, 12:06:17 PM
I think you need to take an honest assessment of the business the PGA Tour, and it's players, are in.


If Augusta went to a rolled back ball, the top players would simply take off the couple weeks leading up to it to practice. They would not go into the standard Tour events with a ball going 10% or 20% shorter than most of the field. No shot...


I agree you with, no one is going to play in an event with a reduced distance ball when the field is playing a regular ball.


Augusta is not going to go at this alone, just like the USGA won't go at it alone. But when you combine Augusta, the USGA, and the R&A, that becomes pretty powerful. The best players will not want to have to adjust 3 times per year (or 4 if PGA goes along). The best players will want the PGA Tour to adopt the reduced distance ball if all the majors require it in my opinion. Then it becomes a battle between the players. If the players come to a consensus that they want the reduced distance ball, the PGA Tour will do what its members want.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 07, 2017, 12:16:03 PM
It takes about a dozen or so shots to adjust from 5000 ft of elevation to zero...from 80 degs to 40. Please.


As a side note in 1974 the small ball was made nonconforming for the Open. Not until 1990 was it outlawed entirely. I never found the small ball worth an extra 20 yds, but then again I never get 20 yds out of a new driver either.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pete Lavallee on December 07, 2017, 12:29:27 PM
Erik,

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a native of New Bedford Ma. where Titleist is made. I am a loyal patron and wouldn't even think of trying another ball let alone use it. That being said I think Wally stance is dead wrong. Titleist made the best wound ball, the best 3 piece ball and they should be able to make the best reduced flight ball as well. Why they are so scared of loosing market share is crazy.

You are a Golf Pro and I assume have your name on the back your golf bag. What Equipment Co. do have on the side of it?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 07, 2017, 01:39:38 PM
Interesting to see this thread being resuscitated after 13 years in a coma.  I was involved in the 2004 thread largely flippantly given that in the Golden Age of this forum (1999-2002) we had already sorted this issue.  To paraphrase, the answers were and are:


1.  The USGA was and is morbidly afraid of lawsuits, given their failures in the Polara and Ping issues.
2.  Somewhere along the line in the 1980's and 90's, the USGA decided that it was their holy mission to "grow the game, even though the demographics were not in their favor.  Average member ages increasing every year.  High and increasing costs of membership and participation (clubs, balls, apparel, shoes and other accoutrements);  cheaper and more time friendly recreational for younger families; etc.
3.  The people who are in charge of growing the game (the pros and the greenkeepers) are poorly paid and still considered serfs by the powers that be.
4.  Paradoxically, the pros need to sell sweaters, tees, course books, poker ships, lessons and BALLS to make a living, but if a rollback brings the price of all sleeves to <$5, there goes the biggest earner for most pros (I speculate--am I wrong?).
5.  Going  back to the Golden Ages threads, the simplest answer for the question above, is The Augusta Conspiracy.  Announce a roll back to the ProV1 (or equivalent whatever) and set a date for compliance, maybe this year, maybe next.  Few if any playing pros will decline to play and we'll be seeing more Faldoesques 2-iron off the pine straw and fewer anybodies bombing and gouging their way around the course.  The punters see it and demand the "Masters Ball," slowly but surely.  Eventually most courses who have platinum back tees in the woods or gorse will stop maintaining them and leave them to nature.


Oops!  Just woke up from a happy dream.  What did I say?


Rich
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 07, 2017, 01:53:18 PM
You said that if Augusta decides to mandate a rolled back ball for their event, the only friction in the system will be how soon you and I can find a sleeve at the local golf shop...
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 07, 2017, 02:09:43 PM
Would the game of golf truly suffer if the traveling major championships were no longer played on the great courses?


Erin Hills
Chambers Bay
Congressional
Torrey Pines






Quali Hollow
Valhalla
Atlanta Athletic
Hazeltine
Sahalee




I suspect the Open Championship has a stronger (more consistently great) cast of venues than the two traveling majors in the states, but the point is; the administrators are already venturing to non-great courses to host. Has it hurt? Why would it hurt if the majors went to average courses built to handle the traveling circus?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 07, 2017, 02:28:40 PM
Would the game of golf truly suffer if the traveling major championships were no longer played on the great courses?


Erin Hills
Chambers Bay
Congressional
Torrey Pines






Quali Hollow
Valhalla
Atlanta Athletic
Hazeltine
Sahalee




I suspect the Open Championship has a stronger (more consistently great) cast of venues than the two traveling majors in the states, but the point is; the administrators are already venturing to non-great courses to host. Has it hurt? Why would it hurt if the majors went to average courses built to handle the traveling circus?


Yes, it would hurt.
As golf continues to expand to large scale venues, golfers come to accept 5-6 hours as the norm which promotes playing less often or cartball.
The more we normalize big, sloggy spread out routings, the more we all suffer, and the more such courses are copycatted/tolerated.
To say nothing of how spectating both live and on TV become boring and/or an endurance test.


Give me Merion or Pebble as a legitimate US Open test, or the great courses of the Open rota, or ANGC(a big scale to start with) without the new bottlenecking sloggish walkbacks (2,7,8,9,11,13?)


Is there room for new courses for championships?
absolutely-because more could be built on a manageable scale if they weren't worried about building more tees in in 5-10 years
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 07, 2017, 02:37:32 PM
You said that if Augusta decides to mandate a rolled back ball for their event, the only friction in the system will be how soon you and I can find a sleeve at the local golf shop...supplier,


Hi Jim


IMO there will be a fair amount of friction for a year or two, as the players will keep playing what they have been playing (partly due to feel and partly due to the dosh they get from their suppliers) and punters begin to realize that they get nothing out of ProVi's and wonder why they are paying 3X more than they should.  The real key will be when the PGA makes the Augusta Ball mandated at the Players.  Sawgrass can't be stretched much more and rolling back would make this event closer to becoming the "5th Major" (given that the rest of the rota are still bomb and gouging beyond what we mortals can do).  Also, the Players is moving to Mid-March in 2019, which would make it a great warm-up for the Masters, if both mandated the ball.  Harbourtown might just jump on the bandwagon, too, who knows wnhat next?


Rich
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 07, 2017, 02:46:04 PM
Would the game of golf truly suffer if the traveling major championships were no longer played on the great courses?


Erin Hills
Chambers Bay
Congressional
Torrey Pines






Quali Hollow
Valhalla
Atlanta Athletic
Hazeltine
Sahalee




I suspect the Open Championship has a stronger (more consistently great) cast of venues than the two traveling majors in the states, but the point is; the administrators are already venturing to non-great courses to host. Has it hurt? Why would it hurt if the majors went to average courses built to handle the traveling circus?


I have no problem with the US Open (and PGA, but they'll probably be the last to concede, or maybe even carve out a niche for a 7500-8000yd major for the "old" balls).  As for the USGA Open, build new concepts such as Erin Hills and Chambers Bay, but scale them back to the new ball, which makes their efforts much closer to bringing the average or potential golfer back to our courses..


Rich

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JMEvensky on December 07, 2017, 02:47:34 PM

You said that if Augusta decides to mandate a rolled back ball for their event, the only friction in the system will be how soon you and I can find a sleeve at the local golf shop...supplier,


Hi Jim


IMO there will be a fair amount of friction for a year or two, as the players will keep playing what they have been playing (partly due to feel and partly due to the dosh they get from their suppliers) and punters begin to realize that they get nothing out of ProVi's and wonder why they are paying 3X more than they should.  The real key will be when the PGA makes the Augusta Ball mandated at the Players.  Sawgrass can't be stretched much more and rolling back would make this event closer to becoming the "5th Major" (given that the rest of the rota are still bomb and gouging beyond what we mortals can do).  Also, the Players is moving to Mid-March in 2019, which would make it a great warm-up for the Masters, if both mandated the ball.  Harbourtown might just jump on the bandwagon, too, who knows wnhat next?


Rich




Isn't this a subset of the Goodale Unification Through Bifurcation Theory (tm)?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 07, 2017, 02:59:01 PM
[quote author=JMEvensky link=topic=8094.msg1557653#msg1557653 date=15126760

Isn't this a subset of the Goodale Unification Through Bifurcation Theory (tm)?



Mr Evensky


You are obviously not following my non-existent blog, which has now morphed into Goodale Unification Through Bifurcation Universal Theory (TM), which is now GUTBUTT Morphology, LLC


Thank you for your thoughts.


r
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Pete Lavallee on December 07, 2017, 04:19:15 PM
Would the game of golf truly suffer if the traveling major championships were no longer played on the great courses?


Erin Hills
Chambers Bay
Congressional
Torrey Pines

Quali Hollow
Valhalla
Atlanta Athletic
Hazeltine
Sahalee

I suspect the Open Championship has a stronger (more consistently great) cast of venues than the two traveling majors in the states, but the point is; the administrators are already venturing to non-great courses to host. Has it hurt? Why would it hurt if the majors went to average courses built to handle the traveling circus?

Jim,

The answer would be yes, IF the USGA was OK with a score significantly below par. No matter what they say you know Mike Davis is trying for even par to win the US Open. Erin Hills backfired and maybe that was the catalyst to realize that length alone won't keep these guys from going low.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Mike_Clayton on December 07, 2017, 05:02:39 PM
Erik,


Maybe it's bigger now outside of the US - It certainly in in Asia - but to suggest the game was 'relatively small' outside of US in the 1980s is just silly. They are two completely different things.
And it still begs the question of the Rest of the World giving up 25 yards (in theory) because America forced it upon them in the early 80s.
I'm not sure why American golfers cannot endure the same without great complaint in order to defend the intent of the great architects and the great courses without adding hundreds of yards - space so many of these great courses outside of America don't have.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 07, 2017, 05:28:33 PM
This just came across my Facebook feed linked to Shackelford's site.


Bamberger says it as clearly, as eloquently, as logically, and yes, as romantically as I've seen it in print. He references the self bifurcation I referred to earlier (balata vs. two piece surlyn in the 60's and upward decades)





http://www.golf.com/tour-news/2017/11/30/case-introducing-reduced-flight-ball-majors-and-case-against-it (http://www.golf.com/tour-news/2017/11/30/case-introducing-reduced-flight-ball-majors-and-case-against-it)

Wally Uihlein is concerned one type of player will be favored over another.
Shocker-we have that now-and most of the shorter hitters have been driven out.
Yet they all still manage to play a ProV1.
Uihlein is talking his position-as expected.


So the guys who brought us a ball that goes 10-15% farther than it used to ,.....can't find a way to create an equitable ball/balls that travel shorter.
i.e. everybody hits it 10% shorter
I find that hard to believe-certainly a conversation could be had before they fire up the lawyers.


Somehow golf was able to be played by experts with balata and blades, while higher handicappers used two piece surlyn and cavity backs.


Why not now?


Damn-just as I start to get old injured and short off the tee....maybe balatalike will give me a reason to tee it forward and walk shorter distances.
Crazy I know.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 07, 2017, 05:33:42 PM
Who is going to be the expert police? I'll quit before I let some asshole judge me.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 07, 2017, 06:26:05 PM
I see myself walking off the 18th and some kid with his shirt buttoned to the top meets me in the parking lot. He informs me.."Mr. Kavanaugh, we have been observing your play and have found it to be "below par" for the equipment and tees you have been using. Here is a "free" sleeve of balls that have been determined to improve your enjoyment of the game. Oh, and btw...we'll know next time you are on the course which tees, how many and how long it takes you to play. Have fun!!!"


No way I ever play again.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 07, 2017, 07:10:19 PM
I see myself walking off the 18th and some kid with his shirt buttoned to the top meets me in the parking lot. He informs me.."Mr. Kavanaugh, we have been observing your play and have found it to be "below par" for the equipment and tees you have been using. Here is a "free" sleeve of balls that have been determined to improve your enjoyment of the game. Oh, and btw...we'll know next time you are on the course which tees, how many and how long it takes you to play. Have fun!!!"


No way I ever play again.


I'll take the other side of that bet
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 07, 2017, 07:27:23 PM
Who is going to be the expert police?


My understanding is that the first three anointed experts are going to be Tom Paul, Pat Mucci and Tommy Naccarato and they are going to be there the next time you show up on the first tee of a course designed by Seth Raynor and if you do not take the proper line off the tee, you will be sent into the naughty corner in the locker room.


Slainte
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Ken Moum on December 08, 2017, 12:53:16 AM



Jeff, you're too young...


From about 1900 to sometime in the 1960s EVERYONE played balata balls and blade irons.  'Cause that's all there was.


The first Surlyn covers came out in the mid 60s and the Spalding introduced the two-piece ball in the early 70s.


FWIW, I'm not sure they'll get any credit, but the first Surlyn covered balls I ever saw were made by Ram.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 08, 2017, 07:42:56 AM
From about 1900 to sometime in the 1960s EVERYONE played balata balls and blade irons.  'Cause that's all there was.
The first Surlyn covers came out in the mid 60s and the Spalding introduced the two-piece ball in the early 70s.
FWIW, I'm not sure they'll get any credit, but the first Surlyn covered balls I ever saw were made by Ram.


My recollection is that some brands of balata ball were easier to cut than others. Did some maybe have different size cores or thicker covers than others?
I also recall some one-piece all rubber balls - soft, very durable, would spin like hell but didn't go as far as balata.



Nice short video of how golf balls used to be made - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-0U_R8zwkk


And from an earlier period - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF913Ju4F28


atb
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 08, 2017, 07:48:09 AM
Dai


I think that you are remembering your early golfing experiences when the "gutty" was all the rage.


ATB


Rich
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 08, 2017, 07:52:33 AM
Tweed jacket and a pinch of sand Rich!
Hit some shots with my hickories yesterday. First time in a while. Enjoyable as ever.

atb
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 08, 2017, 08:12:34 AM



Jeff, you're too young...


From about 1900 to sometime in the 1960s EVERYONE played balata balls and blade irons.  'Cause that's all there was.


The first Surlyn covers came out in the mid 60s and the Spalding introduced the two-piece ball in the early 70s.


FWIW, I'm not sure they'll get any credit, but the first Surlyn covered balls I ever saw were made by Ram.


all true
started in 1974 at 11 and even then all blades pretty much.
I just was attempting to point out many, many poor players played blades and balata long after there were options.


Just doesn't seem like there'd be much disruption at all-unless you were a manufacturer or tour player disproportionately aided by current equipment.
Funny how a rollback or bifurcation would be "disruptive and unpredictable" but the roll "forward", the last 20 years, with all its consequences, is supposed to be totally accepted, despite the incredibly negative consequences it has sown.


The world shed no tears for me when bifurcation took away my Eye 2 wedges-yes I'm bitter :)
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Eric LeFante on December 08, 2017, 08:52:31 AM

Funny how a rollback or bifurcation would be "disruptive and unpredictable" but the roll "forward", the last 20 years, with all its consequences, is supposed to be totally accepted, despite the incredibly negative consequences it has sown.



Great point Jeff.


I think Tiger was a loser with improved equipment. He was so much better than everyone else the first 5 or so years he was on tour. Everyone had steel shafts through the bag and the driver heads were 275 cc and under. He was longer than just about everyone and relatively straight with the 43" driver.


I'm sure everyone remembers Phil's comment in 2003 about Tiger's "inferior equipment". Tiger took much longer to adapt to the 45" graphite shaft 460 cc driver. Everyone else saw immediate improvement and Tiger didn't really adapt as well as the others.


People used to talk about Tiger's long irons rivaling Nicklaus; he could hit any shot he wanted with his 2 iron. Hybrids really took away that advantage.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 08, 2017, 09:16:39 AM
RIP architectural intent. I'm sorry that so few, even here, have shed any tears at your loss.
You were a very fine idea, and a charming companion to so many golfers, for so many for decades - but your time has now passed.
Mr. Jones loved you, and Mr. Hogan and a young Mr. Nicklaus too. He was long off the tee, but he too knew and honoured you. 
But to the young golfers today, well, to them you're like a quiet old man, sitting on a park bench in the middle of New York city, feeding bread crumbs to the pigeons: if they notice you at all, they might sense at some level that you have a long and interesting story to tell -- but they have no idea what it is, and so they quickly move on.
And those in charge today? I'm sorry to tell you, but they simply believe that they know and love golf better than you do.
(Or I should say: "better than you *did*" - look at me, still using the present tense, as if you're still with us.) 
They'll stretch Shinnecock to 7500 yards so that golfers land their drives in the same place as ever; but of course, they're now coming in with 4 clubs less than originally intended, so greens are made to play like polished linoleum.
Yes - there are a few loving and committed doctors, struggling to resuscitate you: Doctor Warne and Doctor Clayton, for example. They went to the finest schools, and have trained extensively and specialized in architectural intent.
But I have to be honest: I think they're fighting an uphill battle. It's money these days - it's all about money. No one values or cries over a 'concept' anymore. You are (or were) a great concept -- but in a money-driven world even the best concept is too subtle, too insubstantial. The sad truth is: you're not profitable enough, architectural intent. 
So, anyway -- RIP my old friend.
Maybe my grandchildren will see you again one day --  when every course is 8700 yards long and some young architects and golfers (studying the old dusty tomes) re-discover the joys of your company. 
     
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: MCirba on December 08, 2017, 09:29:33 AM
RIP architectural intent. I'm sorry that so few, even here, have shed any tears at your loss.
You were a very fine idea, and a charming companion to so many golfers, for so many for decades - but your time has now passed.
Mr. Jones loved you, and Mr. Hogan and a young Mr. Nicklaus too. He was long off the tee, but he too knew and honoured you. 
But to the young golfers today, well, to them you're like a quiet old man, sitting on a park bench in the middle of New York city, feeding bread crumbs to the pigeons: if they notice you at all, they might sense at some level that you have a long and interesting story to tell -- but they have no idea what it is, and so they quickly move on.
And those in charge today? I'm sorry to tell you, but they simply believe that they know and love golf better than you do.
(Or I should say: "better than you *did*" - look at me, still using the present tense, as if you're still with us.) 
They'll stretch Shinnecock to 7500 yards so that golfers land their drives in the same place as ever; but of course, they're now coming in with 4 clubs less than originally intended, so greens are made to play like polished linoleum.
Yes - there are a few loving and committed doctors, struggling to resuscitate you: Doctor Warne and Doctor Clayton, for example. They went to the finest schools, and have trained extensively and specialized in architectural intent.
But I have to be honest: I think they're fighting an uphill battle. It's money these days - it's all about money. No one values or cries over a 'concept' anymore. You are (or were) a great concept -- but in a money-driven world even the best concept is too subtle, too insubstantial. The sad truth is: you're not profitable enough, architectural intent. 
So, anyway -- RIP my old friend.
Maybe my grandchildren will see you again one day --  when every course is 8700 yards long and some young architects and golfers (studying the old dusty tomes) re-discover the joys of your company. 
   

+1,000,000
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 08, 2017, 09:41:26 AM

Funny how a rollback or bifurcation would be "disruptive and unpredictable" but the roll "forward", the last 20 years, with all its consequences, is supposed to be totally accepted, despite the incredibly negative consequences it has sown.



Great point Jeff.


I think Tiger was a loser with improved equipment. He was so much better than everyone else the first 5 or so years he was on tour. Everyone had steel shafts through the bag and the driver heads were 275 cc and under. He was longer than just about everyone and relatively straight with the 43" driver.


I'm sure everyone remembers Phil's comment in 2003 about Tiger's "inferior equipment". Tiger took much longer to adapt to the 45" graphite shaft 460 cc driver. Everyone else saw immediate improvement and Tiger didn't really adapt as well as the others.


People used to talk about Tiger's long irons rivaling Nicklaus; he could hit any shot he wanted with his 2 iron. Hybrids really took away that advantage.


It's always justified by "making the game fun".
Whenever I hear that agenda driven BS, I think of Callaway with their nonconforming driver using that as their mantra.


Yet participation continues to dwindle.


We continue to pander to the "make it fun" masses(rules changes, waffle sized clubs, blah blah blah)while ignoring the core golfers who have stayed loyal to the values of the game(and denying new golfers those same experiences). Meanwhile, we build hard long courses that slow the game, take longer to play, and cost more-because we're having so much fun. And wonder why new golfers think we're crazy to take an entire day playing.


But we're supposed to believe the ball's not going farther, and we're not deskilling it-but yet it's been made more fun.


I'm pretty sure I was having fun with my Wilson Staff in 1974 or 1991 with my Cleveland Classic-and I know it was more fun not to walk backwards to every tee-and hunt for my ball in the "par protecting" gunch.


Peter-nice post.Our posts were about to pass.


As I think and try to justify the new normal, as I age, I guess with bifuraction I could simply continue to play the hot equipment and stay back or same tee relevant.
I suggested this in a an earlier thread-Have less sets of tees and play different length balls with your favorite equipment.
As Sean points out, we don't have to participate in the arms race, but for those who compete-they do- and even as I phase off that stage-selfishly, I would enjoy seeing great players play classic courses with some semblance of skill, dignity and historical perspective-not smashmouth-cheater line-green reading book golf.(and all of its defensive game slowing side effects)







Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 08, 2017, 10:02:54 AM

Jeff -
I think that the new normal can influence us (i.e. amateur-average golfers) in ways that we don't even realize.
You mention sets of tees.
When I first got to this site, I read many posts criticizing the-then big name signatures for building courses with 5 sets of tees (instead of 3). A decade later, some of today's leading architects are designing highly-rated courses with 6 sets of tees, and there is hardly a peep about it.   
Why?
I think it's because a decade or so of watching the pros hit and hold every green with aerial shots using little more than 8 irons has influenced all of us.
In other words, we now half-expect 6 sets of tees on every new course so that each and every one of us can have that same experience/sense of the game, i.e. hitting a lot of greens with relatively short irons from wherever we happen to find ourselves on -- or even off -- the fairways.
I could be completely off base with that theory. But if I try to understand what most of us mean when we talk about having "fun" on a modern golf course, it sure does seem to be something like that.
Someone like JK will say: yeah, we want to make birdies.
Yes, I want to make birdies too. But I'd like to feel like I've earned them.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 08, 2017, 10:23:14 AM
Peter,
See my response to the lowering of par thread.


yep new normal sux at many places.
Fortunately there are plenty of courses that still keep it simple.
I think how many sets of tees a course has say everything I need to know about whether I'm going to enjoy it or not.


I was kind've hoping to go out the way I came in-hitting 4 woods into greens and having a deft short game.
Now kids play from 150 and seniors have tees with neutral colors so they can keep their manhood hitting 7 iron in after teeing off in front of the women's tees.


Interesting that we talk about variety and lack of homogonization, yet we glorify courses that have tees to present the exact same challenge to golfers throughout their golfing life.


Used to love playing with that old guy who ran that 4 wood up through a gap and kicked my arse.Similarly,the first time I played with Charles Howell he was hitting 2nd and 3rd shot 3 woods inside my second and third shot wedges. Nowadays, growing up he'd have set of tees that would allow him more "fun"

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 08, 2017, 10:23:37 AM
We are currently in a world of one ball and nine tees of varying length. It appears we are headed for one tee and nine balls each of varying lengths. As a golfer improves they will be given a ball that travels less far. As a golfer gets worse, or ages, they will be given a ball that travels equidistant to when they were younger. No class of golfer hits it any further than any other. Architecture reigns supreme as we all play one universal unquestionable strategy.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 08, 2017, 10:38:10 AM
We are currently in a world of one ball and nine tees of varying length. It appears we are headed for one tee and nine balls each of varying lengths. As a golfer improves they will be given a ball that travels less far. As a golfer gets worse, or ages, they will be given a ball that travels equidistant to when they were younger. No class of golfer hits it any further than any other. Architecture reigns supreme as we all play one universal unquestionable strategy.


Well summed up.
far mores sensible than giving tees and shots.


Surely the gambler in you sees opportunity in this John

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Hoak on December 08, 2017, 10:42:03 AM
Jeff, I hear your point on "fun" being elusive and unquantifiable.  But it can be defined that the average score for all amateur golfers of all levels has not decreased over the past 10-20 years despite the increase in equipment technology.  Some months ago, it was reported that the R&A was experimenting with a ball that decreased distance for all players by 8%.  That would mean that the average golfer who drives it 200 yards, now hits it 184 yards.  Is that acceptable to you?  It wasn't to most people I know.
So, if it is not, that means that unless we want to decrease participation in the game even more, we need to focus on bifurcation, not an overall reduction in length for all golfers.  And I am making a judgement--based on all I have read and heard--that bifurcation with the PGA Tour in agreement is doubtful.  I guess maybe I'm just objecting to the title of this thread (which I know came from several years ago)--it's not the USGA opposing a rollback that is the issue; it's other players that are to blame if there is blame.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 08, 2017, 10:50:27 AM
Jeff,


The gambler in me tries to limit the opportunities for cheating. People already "throw off" to acquire higher handicaps. What makes you think that those same people won't be found playing balls not commiserate with their abilities?


We like to play what is called "Capitalist Golf". The better you play the more you win. No subsidies or handouts. If you start losing you might have to: lose some weight, don't stay out all night drinking, go to the short game area for a couple of hours, practice, take a lesson, buy some new clubs, etc...etc. It's all healthy for the loser and good for the game.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 08, 2017, 11:06:18 AM
Jeff,


The gambler in me tries to limit the opportunities for cheating. People already "throw off" to acquire higher handicaps. What makes you think that those same people won't be found playing balls not commiserate with their abilities?


Or worse yet establish a handicap with a shite ball-cheaters gonna cheat


We like to play what is called "Capitalist Golf". The better you play the more you win. No subsidies or handouts. If you start losing you might have to: lose some weight, don't stay out all night drinking, go to the short game area for a couple of hours, practice, take a lesson, buy some new clubs, etc...etc. It's all healthy for the loser and good for the game.


If more people played your game, we'd have no need for 6 sets of tees.


Golf's the only game where you can really suck for a period of time, and be the favorite the next time out-via extra shots
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 08, 2017, 11:10:19 AM
The 8% scenario mentioned by Jim above is one I haven’t heard before.

Is it really 8% for all though? Won’t there be a sliding scale dependent on swingspeed?


Also, no slight intended, but for the top-n-duff with an occasional decent shot player, does it matter if playing with a 100% ball or a 92% ball?

One other point....aren’t most shots played during a round putts and short game shots? Can’t see the stats on these being effected by a rolled-back ball ..... or for that matter by a bifurcated ball either!

Atb
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 08, 2017, 11:14:35 AM
If our course was presented to the members in the same condition as it is to the pros we would not need 6 sets of tees. Make the pros play slug and plug every week and no one will be building any more back tees.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Hoak on December 08, 2017, 11:30:18 AM
Thomas, I don't know the physics of the -8% ball, but as I understood it, it goes 8% less for all players regardless of swing speed.  All golfers would use the same ball; no bifurcation.  Maybe someone else on here knows what happened to that experiment from a couple of years ago?
In any case, it sets up a decision--Do you want a ball that equally hurts all golfers--or do you want to have different balls for skilled players vs. the rest of us?  Or do you just want to leave things as they are?
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Jim Sherma on December 08, 2017, 12:34:25 PM
Simplest method would seem to be managing the aerodynamics via dimple coverage, size and depth. If the octahedral pattern with small dimples, like the Top Flite circa 1970, became the standard the manufacturers could still compete but with less aerodynamical optimized balls. If a standard is chosen that requires higher spin rates to work well then the manufacturers would all move in that direction. If the octahedral pattern is too restricting then maybe the pattern that the Tour Balata one generation after the octahedral pattern.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 08, 2017, 02:14:31 PM
But it can be defined that the average score for all amateur golfers of all levels has not decreased over the past 10-20 years despite the increase in equipment technology.
Sorry, still staying mostly out of it (but still reading)… but had to comment on that. That's a myth, and untrue. The average handicap has dropped several strokes in the last 10-25 years.

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/hotlistevolution-0902 (https://www.golfdigest.com/story/hotlistevolution-0902)

Quote
Despite decades of naysayers and experts alike suggesting that the average handicap is not dropping, has not dropped and never will drop, the fact is, it has. Let's say that again: The average handicap of all golfers -- men, women and children -- has decreased consistently for the past 15 years. The average handicap today is two strokes better than it was in the early 1990s, according to research provided to Golf Digest by the USGA's Golf Handicap & Information Network (GHIN).

The article is from 2009, but the drop has continued, at least according to my golf association's data. Though I'd like to credit improved instruction, that's just because I'm in instruction, and I'm sure the actual cause is VERY multi-faceted.

No more comments from me on the topic, but… I wanted to bring that point out. The average golfer IS getting better. Please help that myth die. It's simply, from what I've seen, repeated so often everyone just believes it, but nobody actually looks to verify whether it's true or not. It's not true.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 08, 2017, 02:49:22 PM
Erik,
It would make sense that the average handicap is dropping-though hard to measure. As a teacher, I hope that's the case.
Equipment is easier to hit, clubs are better fit, instruction is much better, the ball goes further via clubs/balls.Greens are smoother, shorter tees are more available.
I think course ratings go higher on some courses also so scores may not be that much lower.
On the modern monstrocities, I also wonder if there are more "x"s which would've been 12's that go down a max score of say 6 or 7, but might've been 8's on a old school course.
For sure there are more better players (5 hdcp and below) than ever .


I do wonder how much of this is due to certain players quitting.
It would seem when the game was growing it would be hard for the average handicap to decrease with new higher handicappers always entering.
When the game is shrinking, there are less new players coming in, and those who continue to play are probably better players.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 08, 2017, 06:35:11 PM
But it can be defined that the average score for all amateur golfers of all levels has not decreased over the past 10-20 years despite the increase in equipment technology.
Sorry, still staying mostly out of it (but still reading)… but had to comment on that. That's a myth, and untrue. The average handicap has dropped several strokes in the last 10-25 years.

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/hotlistevolution-0902 (https://www.golfdigest.com/story/hotlistevolution-0902)

Quote
Despite decades of naysayers and experts alike suggesting that the average handicap is not dropping, has not dropped and never will drop, the fact is, it has. Let's say that again: The average handicap of all golfers -- men, women and children -- has decreased consistently for the past 15 years. The average handicap today is two strokes better than it was in the early 1990s, according to research provided to Golf Digest by the USGA's Golf Handicap & Information Network (GHIN).

The article is from 2009, but the drop has continued, at least according to my golf association's data. Though I'd like to credit improved instruction, that's just because I'm in instruction, and I'm sure the actual cause is VERY multi-faceted.

No more comments from me on the topic, but… I wanted to bring that point out. The average golfer IS getting better. Please help that myth die. It's simply, from what I've seen, repeated so often everyone just believes it, but nobody actually looks to verify whether it's true or not. It's not true.


Erik


When you talk about handicaps are you talking about the USGA system?  If so, I'm sure that much of any recent improvement relates to the modern technology of being able to post your scores over the internet without any corroboration or signatures of fellow players.  Not only that, but the tchnology that allows medicore players to hit more greens in regulation also alllows for more sweeping away putts that go 4 feet past or short of the hole.  I'll believe USA statistics when they/we (I'm an American) base statistics on rounds played strictly by the Rules of golf.


Rich
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 08, 2017, 07:05:23 PM
Thomas, I don't know the physics of the -8% ball, but as I understood it, it goes 8% less for all players regardless of swing speed. ...

I believe that is aerodynamically impossible. If it went 8% less far for the high speed swingers, I might suggest it would be perhaps 5% less far for the slower swingers. My very layman's understanding is that the faster the ball speed, drag increases disproportionally more.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 08, 2017, 07:17:59 PM
I find it hard to believe that the skill level of the average golfer is increasing. I even find it hard to believe the scores of the average golfer are improving.

I would find it easier to believe that the participation rate of the average golfer is decreasing.

The average golfers is now being sold clubs that are an inch longer than the traditional clubs before club manufacture began to go high tech. I.e., graphite shafts are being used.

The average golfer used to be able to hit his 7 iron well. Now he can hardly hit a 7 iron, because it really is a 5 iron, which he could not hit well back in the old days.

The average golfer is being sold a bill of goods by telling him he needs a lob wedge, which he can't even hit as well as he could hit that old 5 iron.

The biggest lowering of my handicap came when I went back to the old shorter length, steel shafted clubs. Also went to jumbo grips. Don't know how much that helped, but I always had found standard sized grips to be ridiculously small after having played baseball as my primary summer sport.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 08, 2017, 08:16:45 PM
Pete,


I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and cannot think of a 7,500 yard course within 100 miles of here. I'm sure there's one, but I think you set up a false hypothetical.

Had Merion had the property available, the USGA would have wanted extensions approaching 7500 yards would it not have?

After all, extensions took Pinehurst to 7562, Congressional to 7574, Bethpage to 7426, and Torrey Pines to 7698.

Another factor that may have been at play is that shortly after the distance explosion demonstrated by the optimization of the use of the new ball was the great recession, and the significant reduction in players. Philly would probably be better served by making the current courses viable than by trying to find the land to build new courses at great expense.

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 08, 2017, 08:17:43 PM
It's quite simple. Entitled millenials are not above carrying false handicaps. They grow up learning that everyone wins. They don't even know it is cheating.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 08, 2017, 11:24:03 PM
Re: are we getting better?

The majority of golfers in North America don’t maintain a handicap.

Well, that’s not quite true. From what I’ve seen, we do maintain a handicap. Our handicap is that we’re terrible golfers.

I mean, just awful. And about exactly as awful as the majority of golfers have always been. 

And if we putted out everything and played by the rules and kept score properly, the majority of that majority (of awful golfers) would never break 100. Ever.

Jeff and Erik and Rich - they run in different circles than I do. They and everyone they know is taking/has taken lessons, and/or maintains a handicap, or they’re British.

They are thus shielded (and blind to) the sheer terribleness of most of North America’s 30 million people who play golf. Calling us golfers is stretching the word almost beyond recognition.

As Nicklaus said: what the modern golf ball and the 46 inch titanium driver means to the majority of average golfers (who are awful) is that they now slice it even further into the woods.

You think you can’t get a banana ball with modern equipment? Think again — as well as countless smothers and shanks and duffs and pull-hook-fat-low-slices. Luckily, the majority of golfers grant each other mulligans, and don’t watch the drops too carefully. Average golfers score a lot of “doubles” that way.

(Btw a rarely mentioned benefit of playing persimmon — I don’t hit it far enough to hit it out of bounds. I come by my double bogeys fair and square!)

You know what's made the modern game more "fun"? It's not the equipment -- it's that a lot of courses (especially public and daily fees) have learned how to cheat, how to trick us.

From "the blues" the hole is 390 yards, says the card. But it actually isn't. It's 370 yards. And then the tees are up, so it's 360 yards. And it's downhill -- all the way to the 150 yard marker.

The average golfer with his new driver who just hit it to the 150 marker thinks he hit it 240 yards -- not bad, he thinks, not my best but not bad....and so he's having fun! But what we'll never realize is that, actually, we probably just carried it more like 190, and it rolled out (downhill) for a 200 drive. 
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Bryan Izatt on December 09, 2017, 04:14:43 AM



A few years ago the USGA Quintavalla study demonstrated that higher swing speeds actually suffered a small decline in the yards gained per mph of swing speed.  They attributed this fall off to increasing inefficiency of the strike as club head sppeds got higher.  For the most part though, the red line in their chart following shows that the yards gained per mph is pretty much linear at 3 yards per mph. 


I took the liberty of adding three other lines.


(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4599/38890410082_f7ac7115c1_o.jpg)




The blue line is a mythical wet dream for the 99% and the ball companies (who would make a fortune marketing such a ball) which would give slower swingers a step up in trying to catch the big hitters.  In my opinion, this ball will never exist - it defies the laws of physics.


The yellow line is what the 10% roll back crowd want to happen - a ball that dials the top back 30 yards and the 90 mph hitter on 22 yards.  This effectively changes the slope of the line - again I don't think that'll be physically possible. 


The orange line is what will most likely happen in a 10% roll back at the top end.  The 90 mph swinger will end up somewhere around 190 yards.  Not very appealing to me at least.


By the way the way the easiest way to regulate, implement and enforce a roll back would be to reduce the initial velocity and ODS standards and make the ball either a bit bigger to increase drag or make the ball lighter.  No need to get into spin or dimples or other impossible to regulate areas.


Is it possible that balls could experience another quantum leap in distance under the current regulations?  Not likely in my opinion.  The current initial velocity and ODS standards mean that a ball can't get any faster off the club head and still conform.  Unless someone can invent a ball that has improved aerodynamics that reduce drag then I don't see how a ball will travel further if it's launched with an initial 174 mph.  Current practice has optimized the launch angle and spin rate for maximum distance.


The only loophole that I see that exists is that new, stronger, lighter materials are used in drivers so that they can be swung under control at higher than 120 mph.  There are, of course, already long hitting pros that swing faster than 120 mph, and achieve ball speed that exceed the initial velocity of 174 mph.  The USGA and the R&A could close that loophole by just maintain their initial velocity and ODS standard where they are but have them tied to a 130 mph swing speed.


I suspect that the creep in the PGA Tour average distance is the result of survival of the fitest - longer players are joining the tour and knocking off shorter hitters.  I also suspect that would happen whether the courses are longer or shorter.  Length is a competitive advantage.


As a sidelight, I spent some time this week in a simulator with a Slazenger Supremo persimmon driver I picked up in Scotland this summer, Callaway Epic Sub-zero and a Bridgestone E6 and an old Tour Balata 90 and Professional 100.  The latter two have dried out over the years and have lost a gram or 2, so they may not be representative.  I also used a graphite shafted Wishon cavity back thin faced 7 iron that had the old standard loft and my current Mizuno JPX EZ 7 iron that is 3 degrees stronger (so close to a 6 iron from the old days).


Fifty years ago in my prime I used to hit my Wilson Staff 7 iron 150 yards.  The Wishon 7 iron was on average maybe 10 yards shorter that my prime despite the graphite shaft and thin face.  The EZ was right around 150 yards.  So, clearly I've lost distance to age.  :(


The sim I was in measure ball speed pretty accurately.  With the Epic I was getting ball speed around 135 mph and occasionally as high as 140 mph.  That translates to about 220 yards in the real world.  The long hitter on tour get up to 175 mph ball speed and above, so 40 mph higher than me, so they should be 110 to 120 yards longer.  That sounds about right.


With the persimmon driver and the modern Bridgestone, the ball speeds were around 120 to 125 mph, so 10 - 15 mph less.  That should translate to say 35 less yards.  It is difficult to pick up the relatively heavy and a lot smaller persimmon driver and hit it solid, although I could do it in the 1960's.


In my prime I used to drive it about 225 yards, so I haven't lost much, if any distance with the modern driver, although I have lost it with the irons. 


I tried the Tour Balata and Professional with the persimmon driver and there was a slight loss of 2 or 3 mph in ball speed - surprisingly small considering the age of the balls.


The conclusion I would draw from this is that the driver is just as much, if not more of a culprit than the ball in the distance gains.


At my age and current playing abilities and length I'm not interested in a roll back.  I don't play competitively and I don't think I would have more fun if I was regulated back to driving the ball 190 yards.  I'm already moving up a tee.  I don't play any of the classic courses that are being desecrated, in the view of many, to compete with the distance of the elite few, so I'm not really concerned about that either.  My current modern home course has tee decks that go back to 7500 yards and nobody plays them, not even in the Canadian Open Monday qualifier.  I doubt there'd be much saving in maintenance by letting them go fallow.  Perhaps they make a good nursery to patch up other tees that need work.


As for bifurcation, I can't see any reason why the PGA Tour, who are in the entertainment business, would want to make their players shorter.  Distance sells, I think.



Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 09, 2017, 09:30:32 AM
Bryan,
Very interesting and thorough analysis.
Thank you.


I do understand that no one wants to be 10-20 yards shorter overnight.
There may not be an existing tee at your course that allows you to play the exact game you've been playing if there were a rollback.
Interesting that yours is yet another course that I keep hearing is so rare that has a 7500 yard set of tees.
You provide compelling evidence that a rollback may not be perfect-especially for aging players like you and I.


I would offer that the current situation is not perfect either-or at least the reaction by course operators to technology's gains.
I do know many tennis players who dropped the game when it became so serve oriented and that they have made ball adjustments in an attempt to restore some of tennis' former lure. I would bet that was distressing to a powerful server.
I also know bowlers who dropped out when technology obsoleted a lot of their skill and high score and perfect games became commonplace.
In neither case is my evidence anything other than anecdotal.


Maybe the genie's too far out of the bottle-If we lose longtime players like yourself because the game is less fun-that's a problem.
I would argue that the distance loss would be the same relative to other players and a shorter set of tees would to some degree maintain the challenge---but the LAST thing I want to advocate is building MORE tees to accomodate that as you already have a back set laying unused. I certainly can't tell you how to feel about playing a different game and hitting it shorter.


I will tell you I have a few reduced flight balls that I have played with my regular driver that cut me about 15% where I ended up hitting it about 225-230.
I moved up a set of tees, found the walk FAR better as less up and back walks,and suddenly the course had wider corridors and wider fairways, with the scale of the course far more. The jump up in tees wasn't perfect, as they are not exactly proportional on each hole (thank God) but on average I hit about the same clubs in-the difference is, I was much more often in play off the tee with 15% more width. In fact the game felt very similar to how I played in the late 80
s and 90's when wildness caused me to use a 3 wood quite often for control off the tee.




Scale-in my opinion is what has been lost-especially for younger long ball mid-high handicappers who have trouble keeing it within the corridors.


I do think this lends itself best to classic courses where scale is being rapidly lost, but I can also see a case where Bryan might want to maintain his current distance as scale may not be a problem at his age.
As I've stated before, I really see no problem with 2, 3 or 4 types of of ballsbeing mainstream either.(current balls we'll call 100%ers,90%ers and 80%ers for Super elite macho guys)
I can see a group of low handicappers going out at current 6300 Southampton or 6400 yard Palmetto and declaring "Tips and 90%ers", the same way we I grew up often playing "one foot in the rough" at Augusta CC.

I will say I'm sick of FONT bifurcation when typing on this site!!!


As far as handicaps, they are a joke anyway for nearly all and they are what the player wants them to be. A UK type of system that counts tournament scores rather than BS casual rounds would be effective for the group I mention above.(as well as most groups)


So IMHO bifurcation is probably best, but I see a path where self bifurcation, or event mandated bifurcation could be interesting and fun for many levels of players-especially for those fortunate to be at classic shorter courses.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 09, 2017, 09:37:31 AM
Yes - very good to see you posting, Bryan.
I always enjoy your details, insights and analysis.
You’ve made me want to get to an indoor hitting bay/simulator. It’s been more than a decade since I last measure my swing speed. (Wait - maybe I don’t want to know....)
Peter

Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 09, 2017, 10:01:30 AM




I will tell you I have a few reduced flight balls that I have played with my regular driver that cut me about 15% where I ended up hitting it about 225-230.
I moved up a set of tees, found the walk FAR better as less up and back walks,and suddenly the course had wider corridors and wider fairways, with the scale of the course far more. The jump up in tees wasn't perfect, as they are not exactly proportional on each hole (thank God) but on average I hit about the same clubs in-the difference is, I was much more often in play off the tee with 15% more width. In fact the game felt very similar to how I played in the late 80
s and 90's when wildness caused me to use a 3 wood quite often for control off the tee.




Scale-in my opinion is what has been lost-especially for younger long ball mid-high handicappers who have trouble keeing it within the corridors.





Jeff,


A few comments back you mentioned how you wanted to be that old guy who kept the ball in play and beat the younger longer hitters. That old guy who beat us when we were young and stupid. Now it feels like you want to protect the young long hitter from himself by introducing virtual width through technology.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 09, 2017, 10:17:32 AM
Well summed up again John-though I enjoy playing with that old guy, I doubt I'll ever be im as I'm pretty wild.


Not introducing width, but rather RE-introducing width.




That said, I think if I played Victoria National I'd want to play the 4000 yard tees with a 60% ball
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 09, 2017, 10:18:22 AM
I am glad that we have established that if the ball is rolled back fairways will be made narrower to present an equal challenge at those courses that want to remain competitive.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: jeffwarne on December 09, 2017, 10:21:56 AM
I am glad that we have established that if the ball is rolled back fairways will be made narrower to present an equal challenge at those courses that want to remain competitive.


That may well be the case at Huge scale Erin Hills and Chambers Bay-built to host "modern" championship
not so much elsewhere as narrow fairways are a misguided reaction to hot technolgy
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 09, 2017, 10:37:10 AM
Looks like we are both being selfish. I don't want the short straight hitter punished and you want the long wild hitter rewarded. I've got to admit, life from the fairway is pretty sweet. Like you said earlier, the guys making a living don't hit driver all that often.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: JMEvensky on December 09, 2017, 11:40:46 AM
Yes - very good to see you posting, Bryan.
I always enjoy your details, insights and analysis.
You’ve made me want to get to an indoor hitting bay/simulator. It’s been more than a decade since I last measure my swing speed. (Wait - maybe I don’t want to know....)
Peter


+1 on Bryan posting.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: Ken Moum on December 09, 2017, 11:51:01 AM

The yellow line is what the 10% roll back crowd want to happen - a ball that dials the top back 30 yards and the 90 mph hitter on 22 yards.  This effectively changes the slope of the line - again I don't think that'll be physically possible. 

I think there is a way, and I've been preaching it for several years.  Make the damned ball a little bit lighter!

This is simple ballistics.  If you reduce the cross-sectional density of a projectile without chagin its shape you reduce its ballistic coefficient.  A projectile with a lowed ballistic coefficient  has a higher negative acceleration.

Over distance it loses more of its initial velocity that a projectile with a higher BC.

Where this comes into effect with golf balls (and the shotgun pellets I'm familar with) is that as velocity increases so does drag.

Given two spheres of equal weight, launched at different velocities, the faster one has more drag and loses speed at a higher rate. at some point they'll be going the same speed.

If you reduce the weight, this happens sooner.  So a light ball would "hurt" a Tour pro more than it would a Sr. women with 50 mph. clubhead speed.

More importantly, the lighter ball would, have a tendency to curve more (Think of a baseball and whiffle ball). This would especially be true as ball speeds increased.  That would also affect the Tour pro more as his ball would be going so fast, and flying so far. IMHO, the result would be that players would either have to gear down like to pros of the balata era, or they'd have to play balls that had less spin.  Just like the decision between balata and Rockflites.

Also, the lighter ball would react slightly more to backspin while it was in the air, giving the shortest hitters a little more carry.  OTOH Tour pros would find it harder to keep the ball from "ballooning."

Finally (I think) the lighter ball would sit up just a little better on the fairway, making it easier for the slowest swingers (women and seniors) to get in the air.

The trick, I'm pretty sure, would be to find the "sweet spot" where the ball did the things I have described above without creating the reviled "Balloon Ball" of 1930  (See Jon Van B's essay on it http://golfclubatlas.com/in-my-opinion/john-vander-borght-the-balloon-ball/ (http://golfclubatlas.com/in-my-opinion/john-vander-borght-the-balloon-ball/))

Personally I think it would not be as light as 1.55 ounces, but given that ball maker's ability to control spin these days it might be that, or even lighter.  One caution from Jon's essay is that too light makes it impossible to control in the wind.

If anyone thinks that getting a lighter ball would be a strain on manufacturers, remember that golf ball materials are pretty light, and from what I can understand, they add heavier material to get them up to 1.68.

I think that going lighter would absolutely bring "shot making" back to pro golf as the guys who can control spin and velocity would get back some of what they've lost to the bombers.

The longest players would still be longer than anyone, because there's not enough difference in speed on Tour to compress the differences.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of a lighter ball is that it would give the ball makers a chance to do some real innovation. Dramatically new dimple patterns, significant differences in weight distribution for balls for different levels of players, experiments with cover materials to achieve the optimum balance between spin and directional control.

We HAVE to do it.

As for bifurcation, I can't see any reason why the PGA Tour, who are in the entertainment business, would want to make their players shorter.  Distance sells, I think.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 09, 2017, 12:08:14 PM
Nothing anything any of you do is going to stop people from altering their personal private property.
Title: Re: Why is the USGA opposed to a rollback of the ball ?
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 10, 2017, 03:48:31 PM
I would think the performance of Lexi this week could put the talk of bifurcation to rest.