Table Tennis has changed the ball twice in the past 25 years. (There are 5 times more table tennis players worldwide than golfers). First in 2000 the ball went from 38mm to 40mm. This was done to ‘slow down’ the ball and make for longer rallies. At the elite level, the game had been dominated by the serve and return, making for boring/short matches. Then the construction (material of the ball) changed from celluloid to a poly plastic ball in 2014. This was proposed because celluloid has toxic properties but secondarily the new poly ball is a bit slower. The ‘debate’ about the proposed changes were highly charged, but today Table Tennis has benefited from these changes at both the elite level and the recreational level.
For those not familiar, Table Tennis equipment is highly expansive. A single manufacture/brand offers 5 or 6 dozen blades (the wooden part) and nearly a hundred different rubbers. The manufactures were the most vocal about the changes because they had to reformulate/engineer their equipment offerings. But after the ITTF made the rule changes, the manufactures profited greatly. Thus, I don’t understand why golf equipment brands are so reluctant to change; imagine the advertisements “Big Betsie, Designed to maximize the ‘New Ball.’”
From an Architectural viewpoint, I don’t know why anyone would boo-hoo bifurcation. I found myself playing a couple of rounds this month at Hot Spring Village, Arkansas. I played with a couple that registered 300+ rounds last year. They didn’t bother to play 2 holes on their ‘home’ course because they couldn’t reach the fairway, nor the green from the end of the fairway. Golf Architecture had failed them. The designers (Ault, Clark, and Associates) were more concern with other things than the enjoyment of their clients. (I asked the pro how many rounds played from the tips 7100 yards, he laughed and said less than one percent play from the 6200 yard tees) Would having an elite ball prevent this kind of malpractice? Probably not, but I do believe it could continue to dissuade penal architecture and 7500 yard courses… which I would consider both positives.