The clamoring for some kind of roll back of the golf ball is becoming louder by the day. So many big names have added their opinion from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods. After reading Jim’s post at The Grateful Golfer, I decided to add my take.
I think the first question is what is the problem with players hitting the ball so far? In my view, the sustainability of golf is at stake. Right now many classic courses cannot host pro events anymore without increasing length. This usually changes the character of course. Not to mention longer courses require more water, money, and work to maintain. In the current environmental state of the globe I don’t think we should be using more of our resources.
As a golf fan I enjoy some long drives, but I don’t enjoy courses being pitch and putt. That is just my opinion, but I think golf fans would enjoy it if we could hold big events at some of the world’s classic courses without relying on weather or absurd rough to mount a challenge to the players.
So that is the issue I see, but what is the solution? I’ll give you a few options and my thoughts. I’ll be the first to say that I am not going to cite hard data, but it is out there. Do the research and come to your own conclusions.
Roll back the ball
I think this will open opportunities to return to classic courses, increase sustainability, and reduce the need to have super long courses. The problem is that amateurs may feel like they don’t relate to pros, but do they really anyway? I don’t relate to 350 yard drives. If they feel this way it may hurt participation in the game.
Smaller wood sizes and increased iron lofts
In theory the ball would spin more and have shorter flight. Also we would have irons that are closer to what they say they should be instead of a 9 iron with 7 iron loft. Now I think it would be naive to say that the OEM’s wouldn’t fight this hard. Everyone loves lawsuits!
It always baffles me how pros get so much roll at courses they play. I never get that at my home course and I don’t feel like we over water. Somethings can surely be down to slow down the fairways. If this results in more water usage though it may not be worth it.
I think the best fit is some type limited flight ball. The other options are fine, but less clear cut. We can standardize the limits on the ball so all the manufacturers can still compete.
This ball still gives the advantage to longer hitters, but they won’t hit it 350. The problem I see is where to stop using it. Do we go to just pro events or down to college? I certainly don’t want to be limited since I may hit it 260. So the answers are not easy, but I think we have to start having the discussion. Let me know what you think.