News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Patrick_Mucci

Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« on: February 18, 2003, 02:10:43 PM »
The February 8th edition of GolfWeek had an article entitled,
"State of the game, Roundtable"
Eight individuals from different backrounds participated in a roundtable discussion.

GolfWeek posed the following question to them.
"In another forum at the PGA show, it was suggested that the notion of a stepped-back "Tour Ball" for elite comptetion be revisited. †Is that viable ?

Seven of the roundtable participants responded.

If anyone could post the responses, or provide access to the article it would be helpful.

It would seem that the manufacturers see a "common" ball as the death knell to increased or even static sales. †What I'm surprised at is the response from non-manufacturers, and the claim that the good of the game would be hurt by a common ball or a limit on distance.

In reading this article in conjunction with James Achenbach's article, which appears on the last page, entitled,
"The Sunny Side of the USGA" does anyone think that distance will be technologically frozen or dialed back ?

Is it only a small cadre of architecture buffs and golfers that seek caps or limits on distance ?

Are the odds OVERWHELMINGLY AGAINST YOU ?

Please read the articles before responding, thanks.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:02 PM by -1 »

JSlonis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Distance - The odds are against you
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2003, 02:51:16 PM »
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Distance - The odds are against you
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2003, 03:21:00 PM »
No golf course architects...no defenders on this panel to counter their views.  It was a technology free for all.  Was this the winning statement?

"STINE: But you also donít have to lengthen the course for the professionals, in order to keep them from driving it 500 yards off the tee. There are other ways of keeping them from doing that, and making a par 5, a par 5, then just backing up the tee another 50 yards or whatever. I think that gets overdone. Why donít we just put some traps in? Why donít we plant a couple of trees? Why donít we have some crossovers? Then they wonít hit those. It will still be golf like weíve known it, like they play in the British Open. They donít adjust those courses, and they play just fine with the new technology."

Gee.  I thought they'd been adding length to the Open courses.  

Well, hard and brown would be nice...but that's a proven no-sell for inland courses, and my question to Stine is: How are we going to get wind machines that big, silent...and hide them from view?


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

George Pazin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Distance - The odds are against you
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2003, 03:46:49 PM »
Thanks for the link, Jamie.

I guess my only real question for these guys is whether or not they really believe all these advances have really helped the average golfer.

Sooner or later the disconnect with the pro game is gonna have some fallout. I used to watch or tape every tour event on Sunday & many other events as well. Now I'm bored by the driver wedge barrage. If Tiger's not playing, I'm probably not watching - he's the only thing worth watching to me.

All these technological advances have advanced the pro game, & seemingly most of the members of this site, but I wonder if it has filtered down to the average player.

The distance question isn't really a simple one. Sure, it's more fun to hit the ball further, but I hate to see what happens to the classic courses. Either they get ripped up or they become "lesser" courses by the top players by virtue or lower scores or more boring play (ie. driver/wedge on parade).

Greens fees also seem to be pretty high for most golfers, but I believe in supply & demand, so I think this problem will resolve itself, though it may take a few years.

And even 300 yard drives for Joe Golfer will get old if everyone's doing it. Relative distance is what impresses people. I've played with plenty of golfers at my local muni who are impressed with how far I hit the ball, and yet I've played with members of this site that blow the ball past me like I'm hitting a marshmallow. And they tell me they've played with others who are much longer than them. It's all relative, but it seems to me most of the technology of late has really helped the big boys more than the average golfer.

I don't see much downside to a competition ball.

It is flat out impossible for me to believe the ball manufacturers can't cost effectively produce these balls, seeing as how they produce prototype after prototype for the big boys. However, I don't know how the general public would react to a comp ball - would they support it, would they change their buying habits? I don't know &, I suspect, neither do the manufacturers, which must be the real reason they don't want a comp ball.

I think the quick answers given at the beginning of the interview (ie - "who's complaining about the distance? I know my friends aren't") aren't really indicative of someone who has really thought the problem through. They seem kind of shortsighted to me.

But what the heck do I know? There's plenty of people on this site who seem to disagree with everything I post.:)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Distance - The odds are against you
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2003, 05:33:16 PM »
Pat,
The distance issue has little importance for casual, everyday rounds of golf. I see thousands of shots hit from our first tee every season, the vast majority of which are in no danger of overpowering our rather short (3.028yds) Raynor/Banks layout. With soon-to-be-used †hi-tech measuring equipment the balls everyone seems worried about will either fall into the USGA standard or be deemed unusable in their competitions. If the Tour chooses to continue using the USGA guidelines then we are left with a non-issue. The Tour most likely recognizes that if every player gets incredibly long because of the ball their product will become a bore to watch and they'll lose viewers(translation- $$$$) and that is not going to happen. That, I feel, would be the only scenario to bring about a competition ball, possible loss of revenue.
As for the classic courses becoming passe', if I'm asked to drive out to LI and tee it up at NGLA I sure ain't gonna say "no thanks, your course isn't challenging enough for me because it's too darn short". ????Am I wrong?????

George Pazin
This past season I finally talked 82 year old Don Humeston into trying a sleeve of Precept "Laddies". I told him they'd be free if he didn't see a difference in his distance. He paid for them at the end of nine holes.
Equipment is an area where certain "improvements" will always mean different things for different players. Good quality equipment is not expensive, especially when measured against prior years and adjusted for inflation. You can buy an eighteen pack of balls of superior quality for $1.00 @ ball and a set of Top-Flite irons, 3-PW, for $310.00. In 1976 dollars that's $.33 1/3 and $100.00 respectively.
Cavity backs, metalwoods, graphite shafts and soft cover hi traj balls all have significant benefits for the average player. High COR, maximum launch angle, frequency matched shafts and hard cover lo traj balls are significant for a select few. Performance tweaking is only meaningful for someone at or near the top of their sport.


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:02 PM by -1 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Distance - The odds are against you
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2003, 06:03:13 PM »
Jim Kennedy,

I don't think the Tour has that "forward looking ability" you allude to, and I definitely think that the player's vision tends to be self directed and far more limited.  They couldn't care less at what happens ten years from now.  Their focus is on winning money and endorsements today.

Golf was never meant to be an easy game.

Nor, was it meant to be a game you could buy.

Sadly, that's changed, and continues to change.

Technology is replacing skill and making architecture obsolete.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Bruceski

Re: Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2003, 06:46:01 PM »
Patrick,

Do you believe the record number of first-time PGA Tour winners last year reflects "technology replacing skill"? I'm not convinced of this...

I still believe that the most skillful players (Woods, Els, Mickelson, Singh, Goosen, Garcia, and Harrington) are dominating the PGA Tour, and thus the technology improvements aren't dramatically allowing average pros to win tournaments more than they did 15 years ago. †It's the "rising tide" effect...

Can you name an average pro who is obviously overachieving (winning more or getting top 10's) because of his equipment?

The most valid argument for dialing back the ball, in my opinion, is that the variety of shots exhibited in any given event has become more limited (this is a corollary to the golf course lengthening phenomenon). Thus, golf is less interesting to watch as a spectator.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2003, 07:05:48 PM »
Pat,
I think you are partially wrong about the Tour. The players may not all have such forward vision even though they may spend 40 years or so making money on the tours, but the business that is the Tour has many employees and they are not without power.

Golf is still hard. You can only buy some game and that is limited to a bit of length, a bit of help with mishits, and a bit of help getting it airborne.
You cannot buy the ability to score off a rack, that takes lessons and practice.
I'll give you an example. I sold a top of the line set of Callaway irons to a member. I tried to show him that his irons were good enough but he had to have the Callaways. One thousand dollars and six months later he could hit it a little farther, straighter and higher but his scores were no better than before.
At the start of the next season he came in and made a long term committment for lessons. It cost him the same amount as the Callaways and four months later he dropped seven strokes off his handicap.

Technology will never be more important than, or a replacement for skill.
The first day that a golfer looked at what was ahead of him and could choose to sail the ball on a high trajectory rather than along the ground was the day architecture changed. That wasn't yesterday.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2003, 07:29:16 PM »
Jim Kennedy,

I maintain that if blades and woodies were the only clubs available it probably would have taken a lot more than 6 months to drop his handicap 7 shots.

There can be no doubt that 325 to 470 cc forgiving club faces and longer, super shafts allow players to swing a lot harder at the ball, resulting in greater club head speed which translates to more distance.

If some of these guys swung that hard at an old woodie, flak jackets and helmets would be stocked in pro shops everywhere.

Years ago I played with a fellow that for 20 years I had been outdriving by a good margin.  That day he was up to me and past me, with his new high tech driver.  Two days later, and a little lighter in the wallet, the disparity in distance was re-established.

Guys are creating swing speeds with self correcting clubheads and shafts and aerodynamically enhanced golf balls.  In fact, it's hard to work the ball today, much harder than it was 30-40 years ago.

A cap on the length of the club, and club head size are steps in the right direction.  
Today the equipment, tomorrow... the ball.

Bruce,

I wasn't referencing PGA Tour players, the greatest players in the world, who possess incredible skills.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2003, 08:17:36 PM »
Pat,
You mentioned nothing about the effect your buddies extra distance has on his score. The difference in having an eight iron approach vs. a six iron is not much unless a player has control of the shot.  
I gave you an example of a man who had no appreciable gain in distance who lowered his score through lessons and practice even though he only generates a whopping 85 MPH with his driver, no flak jacket needed.  He would have done the same thing no matter what materials his clubs were made from, just as others have improved throughout the game's history.
It's meaningless to compare today's equipment to  blades and woodies, we aren't going back there anytime soon, are we? And quite frankly wooden headed drivers with their bulge and roll were self correcting a long time before clubmakers began shifting the metal around in modern day clubs. Not only that we see some of the best players using blades and now there are more companies with blades on the market than inthe past 30 years. What's to complain or worry about?????
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

George Pazin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Distance - The odds are against you
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2003, 10:46:53 PM »

Quote
George Pazin
This past season I finally talked 82 year old Don Humeston into trying a sleeve of Precept "Laddies". I told him they'd be free if he didn't see a difference in his distance. He paid for them at the end of nine holes.
Equipment is an area where certain "improvements" will always mean different things for different players. Good quality equipment is not expensive, especially when measured against prior years and adjusted for inflation. You can buy an eighteen pack of balls of superior quality for $1.00 @ ball and a set of Top-Flite irons, 3-PW, for $310.00. In 1976 dollars that's $.33 1/3 and $100.00 respectively.
Cavity backs, metalwoods, graphite shafts and soft cover hi traj balls all have significant benefits for the average player. High COR, maximum launch angle, frequency matched shafts and hard cover lo traj balls are significant for a select few. Performance tweaking is only meaningful for someone at or near the top of their sport.

Very good points. I've only played the game for about 7 years now, so I admittedly don't have much of an historical background when it comes to equipment. I've tried most balls & hit them all about the same. I've also only played with relatively new technology. I suppose the point I was making re: the average player is more related to the distance enhancing part of the equation. I think most of the tweaking on this end has helped the higher end players more. My fellow hacks at the local muni I play at most often are hitting it pretty much the same as they did 7 years ago when I started.

As I stated, the distance question is not an easy one, IMO. In fact, for me there is virtually no effect - it doesn't matter what the pros do & I'm not a member of a private club, so I don't have to worry about my course being altered. However, I like to think that I'm a thoughtful individual (though I'm sure most would disagree, given my past history in most of these discussions:)) & it does concern me when I see constant modifications of courses, which seem to be principally focused with combatting the ever increasing lengths the golf ball travels. It pains me to see the Rivieras and Augustas of the world ripped up, which I do not think would have happened (at least not as rapidly) if the golf ball were restrained just a little.

Why was an overall distance standard ever adopted, if there wasn't some underlying need to control distance?

If anyone could convince the individuals in charge not to modify the courses in question whenever someone shoots a low number, or whenever someone approaches a previously long par 4 with a sand wedge, then I'd say fine, have at it, do whatever you want. I think a competition ball would be an easier sell, but I could certainly be wrong in this regard.

Many of the people in the interview work for companies that are in dire need of growth in the game. Seems to me real meaningful growth can only come at the low end - more beginners, casual players teeing it up a little more often. Few of the people on this site are going to tee it up more frequently. I don't think this growth will be achieved by watching pros hit the ball 280, 290, 300, 310, 320... A little restraint on the ball might result in shorter courses, which to me means shorter rounds & lower fees. Or maybe not. I don't see much down side to at least trying. I think if I were the USGA I'd at least start floating the idea of a competition ball, just to start planting seeds.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

David_Elvins

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2003, 05:35:59 AM »
There have been many threads about the golf ball †over the last year or so and I have stayed out of them all so I am not sure why I am chiming in on this one. †But my question is, to counter the distance factor would it be viable to ban clubs made of titanium rather than wind back the ball? †Why isnt this being talked about more? †Surely the ablitly to use a lighter, stronger metal to construct golf clubs has had a greater effect on the distance that the ball travels than the changes in ball design?

Footnote: In 1996 †I played to a handicap of 9 and drove the ball 265 max with a 230 average. After a few years off, today I play off closer to 20 and regularly drive the ball over 320 with about a 275 average. †I went back to play my old course the other day and hit 9 iron into a (downwind) par 5 that I had never reached in two with an iron before. †Anyone who says technnology changes the pros' game more than the average players' isnt being honest with themselves in my opinion.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:02 PM by -1 »
Ask not what GolfClubAtlas can do for you; ask what you can do for GolfClubAtlas.

JohnV

Re: Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2003, 11:52:17 AM »
David, obviously all that extra length has helped your handicap.  ;)

While I don't like the concept of having two balls, one for higher level competitions and one for regular play, I like it better than rolling back the ball for everyone.  I think it would be easy to come up with a ball that went a shorter distance, say 270 vs the current 296 ODS and make it available as an alternate.  Then the PGA Tour could require that ball.  Manufacturers could still go all out to make the best one for their staff of pros and others who wanted it.  Perhaps the tournament ball could be marked in a special way so that we can always know that it is being used.  A bright red stripe all the way around might do it. :)

At the same time, the courses could be re-rated for the new ball so that there would be two sets of ratings for each tee.  A player could choose to play either kind of ball and still post legitimate scores for handicap purposes.  The better players would probably use the competition ball and the others would use the distance ball, just like the old days when balata ruled the world.  In club competitions, it might be that they would play a scratch or championship flight with one ball and the rest of the flights with the other one.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

JakaB

Re: Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2003, 12:19:10 PM »
How is it a 20 handicap drives the ball 320 yds and I can't drive a green at the course I grew up on that I used to drive on a regular basis 25 years ago....Could it be an athletic person in 34 - 34 levis hits it further than a cynical pile of mush wearing 42 -32's.  I don't even care to explore why a mans inseam shrinks when his waistline expands....but am I the only guy living who is losing distance in the face of technology...I hope not.

JohnV....thanks for proposing ideas that complicate this wonderfully simplistic game....I would hate to have finally found some contentment in my ideals of fairness and luck without having more sets of rules imposed on me that could only at best confuse the purpose of competition on a recreational venue.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

RJ_Daley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2003, 01:22:07 PM »
JohnV, you are to be commended for your thoughts on getting America out of the economic doldrums and back to work.  At least your thoughts may be a full employment act for course raters, and everyone from top to bottom in the ball manufacture and marketing realm.  I like the ideas really, except the red stripe.  ;) 8)

Major league baseballs and pro footballs have an official stamp on them to verify their approved specs, but that doesn't keep amatuers and kids from playing with non-pro regulation balls.  Perhaps in golf, the two rating system for handicaps and course ratings based on conforming and non-conforming balls might be OK, so long as you can get everyone in your match, 4some, or event to agree to play the same ball and use the appropriate handicap and rating criteria.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

JohnV

Re: Distance - Are the odds against you ?
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2003, 01:40:09 PM »
Jakab and Dick, remember that I said I'd rather see this than just rolling back the ball, but I don't like either one particularly.  The average golfer has enough trouble with the game without pushing him back 20 or 30 yards off the tee and another 10 or 15 on the second and third shots.  For some of us that might be nice since it would mean we wouldn't go as far into the woods, but most people wouldn't like it.  I'm afraid that just rolling back the ball would cause a revolt among the average golfers who would continue to play longer balls and hurt the USGA's credibility even more than some here think it has already been hurt.

My idea for handicapping and the like was just to allow people to choose which ball they wanted to use and still be able to post scores.  Otherwise, Sammy Sandbagger would play all his non-competitive rounds with the short ball, build up a higher handicap and then go play in events where he could use the longer ball and clean up.  Likewise, Vern Vanity would use the long ball to establish a handicap that he couldn't play to with the short one and waste a lot of my time at USGA qualifiers and the like shooting 10 strokes higher than he "should" be able to.

I don't think it would take much to re-rate the courses for the shorter ball.  A temporary rating could be done with just yardages and then get it caught up during the next cycle.

Jakab, don't feel bad, I used to hit balata balls 150 yards with a wedge back in 1980.  Now I hit the new wonder balls 135 with a wedge that is really a 9-iron in loft.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back