Distance on tour

As I was watching the Northern Trust Open at Riviera this past weekend, I noticed some very interesting ‘shot tracer’ information on Bill Haas on Sunday… Haas hit this one particular drive 333yds, not short by any means. What struck me though was the carry distance: 241yds. I’ve been told that they dry out the fairways on tour so when the ball lands it hops like it would off a cart path, but 333 yds seems ridiculous. 241 on the other hand doesn’t seem all that bad as I would’ve guessed maybe 20 - 30 yards of roll out, which again seems reasonable at 260-270. Any thoughts on this? What does this mean about the golf ball?

what a great post. very interesting subject.

I saw this as well while watching. Sergio carried it 260 but then got like 60 yards of roll. I guess there are many ways to fix this. Making the grass in the fairway a little higher would help. This would also require less watering which is also a bonus. Not sure if changing the ball would effect roll. USGA could also put regulations on driver lofts. I have seen some people use 7 degree lofts. The easiest thing to do would be to either make the fairways narrower, or to change equipment.

My biggest concern is there really is not any risk to hitting your drives has hard as you want. The rough isnt high, so players can spin the ball out of the rough. Even if they get in the rough they tend to have a short iron so the rough doesnt really matter. Second pro’s are pretty much playing bunkerless golf. With the lenght these players have, the majority of them are driving bunkers and going over trees that were meant to be play. Most of these bunkers are at 260-280 which back in the day of persimmon was right where your drive would be. If you wanted to take the risk to fly the bunker then it was actually a risk and only a few could do it. Know pretyy much anyone can drive these bunkers. Courses are not even playing close to what they are suppose to play like.

I cant wait to go to Merion for the U.S. Open to see how such an amazing track will get destroyed due to new technology. Merion is only 30 minutes from my house :smiley:

241 carry? I think they might have made a mistake, or he really mis-hit it. They definitely set most of the tour stops up to promote lots of roll and make the drives go further, but those guys still carry it a whole lot more than 240. 30 or 40 yards of roll is pretty common at the WM Phoenix Open, as they cut the fairways really short and try to keep them firm. But from all the rounds I’ve watched from inside the ropes, there’s no way they carry it less than about 260 (and that would be for the short hitters). I’ve seen Haas hit driver up close, and he has the capability to carry it probably closer to 280 or more. I didn’t watch the Northern Trust though, so maybe guys were doing it intentionally because of the conditions.

One thing I have noticed though is that the TV coverage tends to exaggerate the iron carry distances of tour players. They intentionally don’t adjust for pin location, and sometimes even the tee box location. I guess the average viewer wants to hear about guys hitting 200 yard 8 irons.

I noticed this as well when watching Bill Haas on TV last weekend. The ball just kept rolling and rolling and rolling and rolling and rolling.



The LA Open moved to Riviera CC in 1973. The course was about 6900.
It took Hall of Fame players like Watson, Miller, Irwin to get into double digits.
Purtzer also in 77. It played long and correctly with persimmon and balata.

My view is that the course, while much longer in yardage actually plays much
shorter because of the frying pans and plastic golf balls. They are not coming into
the greens with lower trajectory shots as the course was intended.

In the 70’s, Riviera almost played like a US Open set up without the high rough typical of a US Open. If 6 inch
rough were out there… you wouldn’t see many breaking par back then either.

I wish I could’ve taken a picture of it. It was a live shot tracer graphic that showed 241 carry, 333 total. I remember being shocked just as dairic was… it seemed like a good shot, pretty high, but didn’t go very far in the air and just wouldn’t stop rolling.

I did find this, FWIW
pgatour.com/content/pgatour/ … 02409.html

Quite the opposite, if they try to overpower Merion, they’ll be going home on Fri… The tournament can be easily won without hitting a driver once. There’s absolutely no reward for going for the par 5’s in two there… Merion is tougher than people may think…

That’s assuming they set it up to play that way. Could easily become another Congressional if they keep the rough short. There’s no way they’ll set up the course in a way that won’t reward the “stars” on tour and make for good TV.

I’ve played there twice after the tweaks to make it play longer, I hit driver 3 times in both rounds, hole 4 ,5, and 18, distance won’t mean a thing because the way the fairways are angled and cut off forcing you to lay back , you can average 250 off the tee and score very well… I even hit 4 and 5 irons off tees to give me a nice angle to the green… Congressional was a different animal, you can hit driver there all day and they way it was set up it favored the bombers, not Merion… Favors accuracy and smart play… Even if the rough is short, good luck holding the greens there on the second shot. If you’re above the hole, forget it… It’s going to be a great tournament and show the world you don’t need 7500 courses to challenge the best players. I pick Tiger to win, because he’s such a smart player and will rarely hit driver… My other picks are Furyk, Sergio, heck if Fred Funk was playing I’d pick him too…

I hope you’re right. It would be fun to watch a real major, but given the USGA’s track record in recent years, I won’t hold my breath.

While this I am sure is exciting for a 12 year old, I think this really shows how the game has been dumbed down. I think back
to when I was 12 and there was no way any 12 year old would be qualifying for a PGA Tour event. There were just too many articulations needed to be refined and mastered even if you could propel the ball far enough to complete with adult tour players.