Nigel Islam

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Editorial in Golf Digest
« on: January 10, 2013, 09:08:58 pm »
     I was finally reading GD last night after spending two weeks taking in the rankings, and Jerry Tarde suggested that the belly putter and groove issues were essentially test cases for the USGA to take on the much larger issue of rolling back equipment. I have often wondered why they chose to go after those seemingly less significant issues without addressing the ball, but if their plan is to set precedent in an event to roll back the ball then I am all for it. I would take back some of the thoughts that have crept into my head about the USGA, but its almost a case of too little too late. Does anyone think they are actually going to do this in a successful way?

A.G._Crockett

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 10:14:37 pm »
     I was finally reading GD last night after spending two weeks taking in the rankings, and Jerry Tarde suggested that the belly putter and groove issues were essentially test cases for the USGA to take on the much larger issue of rolling back equipment. I have often wondered why they chose to go after those seemingly less significant issues without addressing the ball, but if their plan is to set precedent in an event to roll back the ball then I am all for it. I would take back some of the thoughts that have crept into my head about the USGA, but its almost a case of too little too late. Does anyone think they are actually going to do this in a successful way?

I read that editorial, and founding interesting and somewhat plausible.

BUT, and this is a large but, unless he has inside info at the end of the day I'm not sure I can buy his premise.  The groove rule makes far, far better sense if you believe that the USGA is NOT going to do anything to the ball or further bifurcate than if you accept Tarde's idea that it is some sort of precursor to a ball change. 

As to the other rule change, if you take it by itself it is NOT an equipment rule, which the USGA has taken great pains to point out.  I see no real difference between this ruling and the change they made when Sam Snead putted straddling the line of the putt.  Putting has nothing to do with the golf ball issue, then or now.

As to the possibility that water issues will lead to a change in the golf ball so that courses can be shorter and less water used, the logc doesn't hold water for me, pun intended.  Proponents of a shorter golf ball seem to me to mostly interested in protecting courses that already exist; they want Merion to be relevant for championship golf, but aren't really advocating 6000 yd courses to save water.  Since there is little new construction going on right now, and isn't likely to be any time soon, I stuggle to see how the USGA would help the water situation by a  ball rule that would only impact courses that already exist.  But tha's just me...
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

PPallotta

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 11:17:05 pm »
Nigel, AG - I think you are both being too generous to Mr. Tarde in your interpretations of the editorial and what's behind it. It struck me more as a moment out of "1984" - a re-telling (and revising) of history with a straight face.  To suggest some insider information and to imply some long standing disapproval of the USGA's lack of control over runaway technology is easy enough for Mr. Tarde to do, but it is all the more galling for that -- especially since anyone likely to be reading him has spent years wading through thousands and thousands of ads about and articles on (thinly disguised press releases, really) the latest and best technology, and why we should all be dumping the irons and drivers we bought last year for the hybrids and drivers that came out this year, and that promise evern greater distance.  Golf Digest needs ads - fine; it needs to promote equipment companies - fine; but please, please don't use the ediorial page to try to 'brand' said magazine as anything other than what it is, and has been, and continues to be, i.e. the loudest shill and carnival promoter for the very thing it now pretends to decry.

Peter

Tom_Doak

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 11:19:24 pm »
I've been told for years that they would address other issues first (grroves, long putter, etc.) and see where it got them, and then deal with the ball at the end, depending on how those other factors have had an effect.

But, Peter makes a nice point, too.  In fact it is not just the magazines who talk about the issue out of both sides of their mouths.  One reason we couldn't reach more consensus about the modifications to The Old Course at St. Andrews is that lots of architects make a nice living out of changing courses to "deal with technology", and they like the recurring work.

A.G._Crockett

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 12:41:03 am »
Nigel, AG - I think you are both being too generous to Mr. Tarde in your interpretations of the editorial and what's behind it. It struck me more as a moment out of "1984" - a re-telling (and revising) of history with a straight face.  To suggest some insider information and to imply some long standing disapproval of the USGA's lack of control over runaway technology is easy enough for Mr. Tarde to do, but it is all the more galling for that -- especially since anyone likely to be reading him has spent years wading through thousands and thousands of ads about and articles on (thinly disguised press releases, really) the latest and best technology, and why we should all be dumping the irons and drivers we bought last year for the hybrids and drivers that came out this year, and that promise evern greater distance.  Golf Digest needs ads - fine; it needs to promote equipment companies - fine; but please, please don't use the ediorial page to try to 'brand' said magazine as anything other than what it is, and has been, and continues to be, i.e. the loudest shill and carnival promoter for the very thing it now pretends to decry.

Peter
Peter,
I take your point, and very much agree.  I'm not a "fix the golf ball!" guy, but the irony of the golf mags in any way taking the pulpit on that subject isn't lost on me.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Dan_Callahan

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 01:34:07 am »
Kind of like the hypocrisy of the baseball writers voting Barry Bonds National League MVP seven times yet then turning around and saying that because of steroid use he should not be in the hall of fame.

Dan Kelly

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 01:46:33 am »
Golf Digest needs ads - fine; it needs to promote equipment companies - fine; but please, please don't use the ediorial page to try to 'brand' said magazine as anything other than what it is, and has been, and continues to be, i.e. the loudest shill and carnival promoter for the very thing it now pretends to decry.

Peter

Peter --

Agree completely with your essential point -- with one important quibble:

Golf Digest surely does need equipment advertising, but it does not need (and never did need) to "promote equipment companies" in order to get those companies' ads. It needed to promote its readership, to get those ads.

Too often, obviously, as with most publications dependent on advertising, journalistic standards go out the window when the subject is the advertisers' products.

Dan
"There's no money in doing less." -- Joe Hancock, 11/25/2010

PPallotta

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 03:07:37 am »
Dan - you're right, and indeed that's what drives me the most crazy (as a reader and writer both), i.e. there is no need for so many poorly written "articles" - most of them no more than barely concealed company press releases with quotes and stats already built right in; it often feels like the GD writers haven't even changed the font, metaphorically speaking, of their source material. And why? Well, only laziness and/or a corporate decision not to take the risk of offending even the touchiest of potential advertisers can explain it. 

Peter

Tom_Doak

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 03:13:08 am »
Dan - you're right, and indeed that's what drives me the most crazy (as a reader and writer both), i.e. there is no need for so many poorly written "articles" - most of them no more than barely concealed company press releases with quotes and stats already built right in; it often feels like the GD writers haven't even changed the font, metaphorically speaking, of their source material. And why? Well, only laziness and/or a corporate decision not to take the risk of offending even the touchiest of potential advertisers can explain it. 

Peter

I don't have direct experience with GOLF DIGEST, but the other magazines I'm familiar with have ALL been terribly afraid of offending potential advertisers and very cozy with them.

Of course, it's not as bad as in Washington, D.C.

Nigel Islam

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 03:17:57 am »
These are great points. The article did not sit too well with me for some reason, and your comments are helping to realize why I was disturbed by it. I want them to roll back the ball, and play tournaments on classic courses. Unfortunately I am way too naive and trusting, because as with health care, compromised changes only make the problems worse.

PPallotta

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 03:28:57 am »
Tom - you have much more experience in this (i.e. with magazines that is, not with cozying up to advertisers) than I do. But while I can understand the wide-spread 'fear', I really can't understand the form its taken and how it manifests -- i.e. it's as if magazines go out of their way to actually create opportunities/articles through which to show how afraid they are. It's as if you went into a meeting with a potential client and, wondering if you'll impress him and win the job, decide to bring in golf architecture books by Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus just to prove how much you care/afraid you are of not impressing him. Both on principle and in terms of (long term) practicability, this just seems crazy!! "So many, I had not thought the equipment companies had undone so many."True, not as bad as Washington -- but I used to hold writers up to higher standards than politicians.  

Peter

Nigel Islam

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 05:55:09 am »
My thought is if they do take on the ball (which I personally think they should aggressively do) it will not be effective. The groove rule has not changed anything except make wedges look uglier. What any of this has to do with H2O is beyond me.

Ian Andrew

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 07:44:52 pm »
They've dropped the hint a few times. They coyly tell a group “not to say anything”, but we all know that they need the idea to be "leaked" allowing for some feedback too. The theory is that under the guise of "Sustainability" they will take on everything from water, to the use of fertility and pesticide first to establish the moral high ground. And then come back and say rolling back the ball will take on the economic sustainability of the game. It won't change a thing, the equipment companies will go to court regardless.

Go to court. The pressure should come from us. I for one will not buy any equipment EVER from any company that opposes a role back in court. If I have to play a hickory shaft and a Spalding Dot for the rest of my life on principal, that works for me.

What’s interesting is this would actually cost "me" work and affect my practice since it would remove the need for lengthening and addressing architecture left behind by technology. And I’m "still" good with that. The game is bigger than the USGA, golf equipment companies, architects etc.

I want to write “just do it,” but perhaps that’s not the best thing to conclude with.  ;D
Golf Architects are judged on the chances and risks they take with their art. Taking none is a choice and that work is rightfully dismissed

Tom_Doak

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2013, 01:19:37 am »
I want to write “just do it,” but perhaps that’s not the best thing to conclude with.  ;D


Or, you could wonder what will be "the #1 ball in golf" after the rollback. ;)

Nigel Islam

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2013, 02:31:29 am »
I want to write “just do it,” but perhaps that’s not the best thing to conclude with.  ;D


Or, you could wonder what will be "the #1 ball in golf" after the rollback. ;)

Wouldn't Titleist make more money marketing a whole new set of golf balls? And if they did not have the best product they would just buy the company and/or the patent. Unless of course Nike beat them to it..........

Tom_Doak

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2013, 07:06:41 pm »

Wouldn't Titleist make more money marketing a whole new set of golf balls? And if they did not have the best product they would just buy the company and/or the patent. Unless of course Nike beat them to it..........

More money?  Only if there were more golfers.

The leader in market share never ever wants to upset the status quo by changing the rules.  Acushnet have always been the guys dragging their feet the hardest on the ball issue and would likely be the first to sue if they thought it was going to cost them market share.  You are right that they are positioned to still be #1 with any ball spec, but that's still not as safe of a position as they're in today.

Of course, it's just like everything else in America ... we can't do anything to address any of our problems, because some big company might make less than they do now.

Niall Carlton

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2013, 08:33:04 pm »
Go to court. The pressure should come from us. I for one will not buy any equipment EVER from any company that opposes a role back in court. If I have to play a hickory shaft and a Spalding Dot for the rest of my life on principal, that works for me.


Ian

What do you play with now, and if it isn't hickory shafted clubs and Spalding Dot golf balls, why not ? Don't mean to sound cheeky, but if you mean that pressure should come from the consumer then why wait for any court case.

Niall

Garland Bayley

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2013, 05:52:54 am »
Go to court. The pressure should come from us. I for one will not buy any equipment EVER from any company that opposes a role back in court. If I have to play a hickory shaft and a Spalding Dot for the rest of my life on principal, that works for me.


Ian

What do you play with now, and if it isn't hickory shafted clubs and Spalding Dot golf balls, why not ? Don't mean to sound cheeky, but if you mean that pressure should come from the consumer then why wait for any court case.

Niall

I'm with Ian. I will not play any ball from a company that opposes a ball roll back in court. And it doesn't matter what other equipment I use, because, this is a ball issue. The only other thing that matters is that I won't play Ping irons, because what they did before in court on the groove rule.
"I've worked in an economy that rewards someone who saves the lives of others with a medal, rewards a great teacher with thank-you notes from parents, but rewards those who can detect the mispricing of securities with sums reaching into the billions." Warren Buffet, My Philanthropic Pledge

Nigel Islam

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2013, 10:01:30 am »
Yes it is most defintely a ball issue to me too.

Sean_A

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2013, 01:57:58 pm »
Go to court. The pressure should come from us. I for one will not buy any equipment EVER from any company that opposes a role back in court. If I have to play a hickory shaft and a Spalding Dot for the rest of my life on principal, that works for me.


Ian

What do you play with now, and if it isn't hickory shafted clubs and Spalding Dot golf balls, why not ? Don't mean to sound cheeky, but if you mean that pressure should come from the consumer then why wait for any court case.

Niall

That was my thought as well.  Many golfers who want the rollback are some of the weakest willed people I know.  They talk out of one side of their mouth while reaching in the their wallet to buy the latest and greatest.  This would already be a non-issue if golfers put their money where their mouth is many years ago.  Of course, its much easier to blame someone else and expect someone else to instigate change.  My verdict, when golfers care enough about the issue to allow their so-called competitive edge to take a hit by altering their purchasing habits, things will change. 

If the pro tours were smart (practically anything would help make their product more viewable)  they would instigate the change and force the USGA to either challenge manufacturing companies or accept defacto bifurcation.  Augusta is in the same unique position in having the power to force the USGA's hand.  Still, I think the biggest problem with the distance issue is the reaction of those in charge of courses.  Folks still haven't learned, after 100 years, that you can't combat better equipment with added yards.  Its just a shame that so many fall in step with those clubs which host pro tours.         

Ciao
Realistic Next Dozen: Roaring Gap, Orchard Lake, Moortown, Lindrick, Blackmoor, Welshpool,  Mimosa Hills, Leckford, Royal Guernsey, Royal Jersey, Raleigh CC & La Moye

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2013, 02:37:07 pm »

Sean,

your argument is the same as that used by most of the big corporations i.e. 'we (big corporations) only follow and fulfill the demand of the supplier'. This is of course absolute rubbish as it is not the consumer developing new products and then lancing an advert campaign to create demand for the new product.

Whether we like to admit it or not most people will by what they are told and accept the bogus claims of manufacturers even though they as a user do not really believe the claims. As to the point made about not switching, you can only chose to stay with a product if the manufacturer still produces them. Even if Ian wanted to play with a Spalding Dot he would have major trouble finding them. I loved the Ford Capri. It is the best affordable car ever produced and was still very much in demand when Ford STOPPED producing them. It had nothing to do consumer demand. The same goes for any product. There is no such thing a consumer demand shaping the market, it is marketing. This is what the marketing manager of any company will tell you  ;D and I bet you won,t find a single 'consumer demand' manager to contradict them ;)

Jon

Sean_A

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2013, 03:02:56 pm »
Jon

Jeez - your argument is a sad indictment of golfers.  At least I hold out hope that golfers will think for themselves - eventually.

Ciao 
Realistic Next Dozen: Roaring Gap, Orchard Lake, Moortown, Lindrick, Blackmoor, Welshpool,  Mimosa Hills, Leckford, Royal Guernsey, Royal Jersey, Raleigh CC & La Moye

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2013, 03:24:16 pm »
Jon

Jeez - your argument is a sad indictment of golfers.  At least I hold out hope that golfers will think for themselves - eventually.

Ciao 

How so Sean?

How can the consumer not been able to buy the product that he likes because it is not produced be seen as a ' sad indictment' on them? As I said this goes for most products not just golfing ones, so I was not singling out the golfer in particular.

Why do you think the tour pros should make a stand and bite the hand that feeds them by apposing industry or by trying to force the USGA to alter the rules that have nothing to do with them? The USGA is an amateur body not a professional one which would be the PGAs and PGA Tour. I do agree with you that ANGC could have a tournament ball though but in the end it is down to the USGA and the R&A to sort this out.

Jon

Sidney Lin

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2013, 03:39:18 pm »
Interesting reading this topic. I have been a subscriber to Australian Golf Digest for about 10 years. There is some quality articles but there are some sad indictments on golf. I sarcastically live in anticipation in finding out who are the biggest advertising spenders each year also disguised as the so called hot list.... Never seen a Miura or an Epon in there!

On the topic of controlling equipment, this is something I do not support at all. You see if a corporation or an individual could be bothered to invest valuable time and financial resources in developing, selling, advertising and satisfying customers (this last point is a mute point), then good on them let them. Cause if it's not spent on our great game of golf they will spend that on another sport like tennis, sailing, soccer, formula one, swimming, polo whatever so just feel blessed that they chose golf. Makes our game better, more valuable and more enduring. Look at the sports that do not get those dollars, squash, volleyball, darts, tenpin bowling....

As for the so called classic courses being ripped up by pros and elite amateurs, go ahead! The fact that the majority of golfers will struggle to par half the holes let alone shoot under par means the courses are fine as they are. Adding yards does not compensate for having to fade or draw a drive. Well placed bunkers and green complexes take care of the long hitters. You still have to putt the ball into the cup. No super duper driver or ball does that for you. The player holder the putter does that.

Let us sit back and enjoy golf pros shooting the odd 59 and celebrate it. Let's not stymie progress. Look at Americas Cup sailing, they have embraced the tech race as has other sports. This protecting par for 144 players that play a pro tournament each year is rubbish.

If Gary Woodland and Jamie Sadlowski were winning every tournament at -64 each week then we have a distance problem and our golf courses are too short. Fact is guys like Tom Watson contend for the Open championship, Fred Funk wins a Players Championship etc etc. It's not a distance problem it's a whining problem we have on our hands!

As for calling for the Ford Capri to comeback... Wow! Petition the white house for that one!

Sidney Lin

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Re: Editorial in Golf Digest
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2013, 04:07:54 pm »
If it really is the ball that is the problem, why not make the ball bigger. Yes add another 25% diameter to the ball. This will slow the ball in the air by adding drag hence reducing distance. At the green, a larger ball will make putting easier I assume as it will break less on a slope... Have to test that theory...  It may make putting more difficult as trying to slot a larger ball into the same sized cup is theoretically more difficult. Would make watching the game easier for spectators as a larger ball is easier to see. Risky shots through trees have a higher chance of hitting trees etc

Only change to courses is to make the pin 50% thinner to let the ball fit between the cup edge and flag for the odd albatross or eagle...

Ball makers however maybe presented with an opportunity to put more in the ball. Larger size means also the ability to load more technology into the ball. Taylormade will make a 52 layer ball no doubt. Bigger ball may go straighter too as less side spin could be imparted... All questions to ask a physics professor.

Other option is make professionals play with non dimpled balls. Shorter drives, putts that break like billiard balls and roll 40 foot past the hole, back spin is a thing of the past..

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