Golf Restoration Solutions

Gather YE ALL, may we bestow upon ourselves to be keepers of the ancient game!

The founding and guiding fathers of golf, both deceased and alive now call upon a few good men to restore the values of the greatest game.

Let this forum be an open round table discussion aimed at solutions.
Let the members here be qualified enthusiasts for change.
Let us recruit more like minded individuals here with a common goal.

Never underestimate the power of a few good men.

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My thoughts of course are well known here… and for quite some time… but just to recap a few pillars of principle.

  1. The great historic courses built at a time when real estate was more affordable right in metropolitan areas or along once pristine coastlines should not be cast away as archaic or irrelevant for high level competitions.

  2. Golf was never intended to be played across 7500 to 8000 yard courses. The gear should match the course in a harmonious way. Most par 72 championship courses have 10 par fours that where originally designed to offer approach shots of varying distances typically three long irons (2, 3, 4), four mid irons (5, 6, 7) and three short (8, 9, W). The four par 3’s follow suit and the par 5’s are three shot holes, unless really attacked would offer a chance in two with a fairway wood or long iron to a green not specifically designed to accept a low trajectory entry. Think Augusta #13 and #15 coming in with a long iron over hazard from sidehill lie.

  3. Accuracy off the tee should be of great importance and this has always been and should continue to be the great leveler between strength and precision giving the radar like shorter hitters a possible foot up on the longer wilder hitters.

  4. Putting surfaces do not need to be so pristine and fast. Not always. Many of the great historic courses never envisioned
    the ball rolling at 13 or 15 on a stimpmeter. Larger undulations offered an appropriate challenge on the greens. Less than perfect greens required players to hit the ball closer to the hole to make birdies. While better putters will always have an advantage, it becomes much more of an advantage if the greens are like pool tables. I feel good greens… not perfect greens keep a nicer balance between putting and ball striking.

  5. Rules need to be simplified. I feel that a player should be able to play golf “by the rules” even if playing alone. For example. If playing alone, and you are on the green 60 feet from the cup… and you cannot see the hole… and you putt with the pin in… and your ball hits the pin… are you really taking a two stroke penalty on yourself? Silly things like that need to be cleaned up. The TRGA rules may be good, may not be good… but while some think such a thing as the universal drop procedure is too extreme, it has been very effective at the four events played. Regardless of what rules are in effect,
    I am against the idea of always using the default USGA rules because no one has taken the time to come up with something better. TRGA or not… I think something better can be authored.

  6. A high profile event such as at National Persimmon Open… or Tour, would be an excellent way to get the ball rolling into the consciousness of the public… media and so forth. It would show relevance and credibility, and give younger players another option to pursue if they feel the modern game is not for them.

  7. Fractioning of the game.
    Other sports have fractioned off their main game, and I see no reason golf should not either. Baseball - Softball, Football - Canadian Rules - Australian Rules. Billiards - 8 ball, 9 ball - three cushion, snooker etc. You get the idea.

  8. Affordability.
    Pristine course conditions take lots of money to maintain. Playing high profile events on less than perfect courses will actually bring more shotmaking into the game. Playing off hardpan, bad lies and so on… should be in intrinsic part of the game, and over time could help educate the golfing public that the lay out of the course trumps the conditioning of the course, and less money spent of maintenance should lower the cost of a round of golf.

  9. Stricter gear requirements. Woods should be made of wood. Irons made or iron. Remove the name “metal wood” from golfing vocabulary. The putter should be the shortest club in the bag.

  10. Add money and stir.
    Like “Field of Dreams” put up a decent purse and they will come. Persimmons, new rules… whatever, they will find their way to the first tee with a healthy purse to play for. The amateurs will always be inspired by watching the pros. A well constructed road map or business plan which is either aimed at investors, angel money or simply working off player entry fees are all possibilities.

  11. The power of the internet. Word can spread like wildfire with sites such as youtube or other social networking sites.
    A lot could be done here to generate interest, conversation, heated debate and so forth… but just getting people to think about these concepts can lead to positive steps down the road.

All in all, just a small site like ABS here has done a lot… but I think a key would be to get these smaller islands of discontent united in way onto a bigger more unifying platform such as Shackleford, Dirters Golf Club Atlas and so on.
Varying points of view or reference such as instruction, architecture, rules, and so on need a bigger universal umbrella to come together in a common good… understanding a clear set of core values being determined, but then working in a positive way keeping communication open and compromise encouraging productivity and effort to move the game back into sanity.

My naive two cents on taking back the game has a lot of downside that needs to be overcome.

Bringing back persimmon and working ball flight to access greens from difficult approaches seems more likely to happen in a venue apart from the PGA Tour, but how to attract influential allies and investors to risk reputations and assets to exploit a different venue? Getting courses for a persimmon tournament to grow punitive rough where recreational players will routinely lose balls and slow down daily play seems like a very hard sell to make with the course management unless there is seriously big money and/or prestige to be made from a special professional tournament to offset resistance of influential complaining members. Without the PGA Tour or USGA stamp of approval on a special classic gear tournament, are there courses that would allow knee high rough to be specially grown within a few feet of their fairways?

Professional star power is essential to attract substantial initial public interest and some of the financial resources that are already distracted by the “modern” game and its publicity/advertising big money market hogging machinery. To sustain and grow interest (where there is already so much competing entertainment) maybe there needs to be an edgy “OK Corral” or “High Noon” face-off between high profile players with persimmon, classic heavy gear and short putters versus players using modern gear. This showdown between persimmon and modern gear definitely would not be a pure return to classic golf, but could it help set the stage by warming up curiosity and interest?

A full tournament might not be necessary to get public/commercial interest rolling. Is pride entirely enough to get high profile competitors to participate without the possibility of winning a substantial purse or benefitting a philanthropic need? There may be high profile players that would love the raw edge of the whole thing if they believed the golf course would give classic and modern gear an equal playing field. If prize money is not substantial, the problem might be to get the modern equipment players to show up only to risk being smacked by someone, maybe a senior, using the older gear. Would modern equipment sponsors advise their players not to participate at all? Leaks about that could be great publicity.

If one or two tournaments can be set up where great flight bending control is REQUIRED BY THE COURSE ARCHITECTURE to beat modern equipment from the same tees, would there be enough viewer interest and commercial success to repeat or even grow the modern versus classic showdown in subsequent seasons? Would it be useful having events outside the U.S. or Europe? Could that expand interest leading up to the U.S., European, and Southern Hemisphere regular seasons? How could that be exploited? For these special tournaments, would using the simplified TRGA rules heighten curiosity and interest especially if the TRGA advantages (and the USGA controversial aspects) are played up in the pre tournament publicity and especially highlighted during the tournament? Does the USGA have great influence over television? Is this another source of difficulty and opportunity? Could this nudge the USGA to simplify their version of the rules?

Can any of this significantly effect the direction of golf for recreational players and the marketing goals of golf courses? If most recreational players’ first priority is to hit past other players off the tee or to hit as long as the pros, what would convince them persimmon gear is to their advantage? If achieving a better score from superior shot making is secondary until they reach their ball in a rocky gully or behind a bunch of trees and shrubs, what might persuade them to resist marketing for “modern” light frying pan equipment? As for a wide re-introduction of persimmon, perhaps the supply and manufacturing costs are unfavorable. Are there any production and marketing studies? Is the use of persimmon woods likely to remain mainly a personal choice? Hitting even slightly shorter with heavy persimmon may be unacceptable to recreational players because they generally do not expect enough accuracy coming from the small head to offset the loss of distance they fear. Perhaps this perception would change if the positive effect of ABS training emerges with convincing wins on tour and in amateur competitions and as players lose starting positions on their high school and college teams to ABS trained golfers without the lightweight perimeter weighted club heads, frying pan composites, and long putter shafts. For this to happen, it seems that courses will have to be placing a high premium on accuracy and without rewarding wild distance. Better golfers are usually resourceful, practical, and resolute. If they see themselves getting beat more than once by ABS skills, persimmon, and heavy gear, they will investigate to gain what they can.

There must be ABS participants and observers that have real experience, influence, and power resolving stuff like this and will dare to step up to restore opportunities to play both the game and gear that current marketing has abandoned and rolled over.

1teebox

I certainly like this idea… maybe shoot a pilot video…maybe a Ryder Cup style or better ball match on a great track between maybe Bradley and I and two younger players. Maybe we could find a couple guys who have won on tour, but have lost their cards… but might still have some name recognition? I’d be down for that. It would be fun, and could be a good youtube vid to circle around the web. Of course we would need to win the match! We could keep playing matches until we won one of them then post it! :sunglasses:

I think four cameras, two on the tee and two in the fairway or at the green would suffice. If you shot two of them from up on step ladders… the kind you use to paint inside the house would give a somewhat pro look to the shoot… or at least in a classic way… like the Shell’s matches. Edit it together and post it on youtube… might raise a few eyebrows.

I don’t see the USGA or R and A budging one iota on much of anything. An over bloated monopoly filled with arrogance and blind to it’s own original objectives. If we look at history, monopolies don’t have much of an ethical track record. The fact that there is no competing organization is the problem.

A little internet TV show showcasing some of the old vs new matches might draw some former marquee players to do it just for fun and support the cause. I think Clampett, Mark Brooks, Mac O… would be interested… and then of course they would talk about what a good time they had… especially if the won… even if it was for pizza beer money in the beginning… it would not be a bad start. Not too expensive to send a couple guys plane tickets and put them up in a Hotel for a couple days of shooting… imovie and other programs can do a pretty good job of editing and making a decent looking production.

A contemporary of mine suggested shooting a match, then giving it away to various local networks as free programming… even for late night TV… if it gains interest… then it could be sold later down the road.

Don’t know about persimmon and balata Lag. It’d be nice of course but I feel specifying old manufacturing materials is making people think they’re heading back into the dark ages.

You’re already up against the masses who feel empowered by technology. It makes them feel ‘with the times’. My mother just can’t wait to tell people how she gets to miraculous places with her car GPS.

People like to show they have wealth and spending $500 on a piece of metal that cost $20 to produce shows they have money to waste.

People like to show they are wise investors and the $500 driver is something they can illustrate was a wise investment when the inevitable great round comes up next.

People like to show they are cool and use the trendy brands used by the best.

So I believe restricting the equipment to persimmon characteristics is more the go and let people realize themselves the beauty of persimmon. Allow the manufacturers metal so people have a chance to buy something new and cheap.

There are lots of big names who hate where distance has taken the game, but they’re not demanding persimmon and balata. They just want distance controlled. It’d be a waste not to have them on side.

I agree with Steb. Let the COR be restricted to that of the persimmon.(I think it is 0.78) and the size to (250 CC) for the driver. And simillarly the ball. Then let people decide what material they want to use. If wood has an advantage in that comparison, people will gravitate to it. I think the one big aim should be to limit the distance and not seem to cling on for nostalgia as that makes you look too fringe and out of times.

I think it will be a good idea to bounce this idea around at Mike Maves/Steve Elkington’s site as they now claim to be golf’s biggest social network.

I think both Maves and Elk would support the general idea. I’m a member over there too, and if we decide it’s a good idea and know what we want to say, I’d be happy to get the ball rolling.

Pro baseball and cricket for example are still using wood at the professional level. It pretty much takes care of the COR issues without having to access high tech testing equipment to control the manufactures.

I agree, convincing the masses to switch back to what they would believe to be archaic gear is not in any way realistic.

I don’t know how many golfers there were playing the game in 1970 or 1990, but I think the game exploded in the 90’s … as the number of golf courses seemed to quadruple or maybe even 20 fold. For instance, I think there are over 50 courses now in LV.

When I played there in college I think I could name them.
LVCC
Sahara CC
Tropicanna
Desert Inn
LV Muni
Craigs Ranch
Dunes

Could golf have exploded in the Tiger era with Tiger using persimmon and not using Metal Woods?

I think the additional influx of golfers over the last 20 years have been driven by a very different motivating factor than
individuals that gravitated to the game from the caddy yards, or as a father- son generation pass me down game. Golf was
more of a niche sport, but we can see big crowds following around the tour events many decades ago.

Personally I think a mistake was made in the late 70’s when metal woods were allowed into the game. But they didn’t really change the game… so no one really put up much of a stink about them because persimmon players were still winning a decade later.

I think the head size is the number one problem. With a smaller head, not many players even on tour would be able to control the ball with with a 46 inch shaft and 10 ounce dead weight.

In the age of early metal wood drivers… the only reason my contemporaries played them was they felt they could hit them off the fairway easier. Not a game changer. I had one I would use from time to time but it made zero difference in playability. It looked like a persimmon with a fake wood grain finish on it also, molded off a vintage MacGregor head. The owner of the company was from Japan and was a member at my club.

I agree with Bradley in that I don’t notice the new ball rocketing off the face of a persimmon any more than a balata did.
In the age of balata, they did make “durable” balls with surlyn covers and some would go farther like the old Top Flites, Molitar or Pinnacle balls. Good players didn’t use them because they wouldn’t spin and you couldn’t shape shots with them very well. There was some debate then about players switching balls during a round because some guys would pull out a topflite on a long par 3 so they could use an iron. They would go about a club longer off a long iron… not so much with the shorter irons. Just very hard unfriendly rock balls. To me… all the new balls feel like these balls and don’t play any different than those old surlyn balls of the past… long flying rocks with no feel.

The first real high tech driver I saw was a Yonex graphite head and shaft combo with a giant head that Todd Hamilton showed up with at PGA Tour Q school. We were paired together the first two rounds and he was suddenly hitting the ball 20 yards by me or more… when I used to hit it by him by just a bit. He was telling me how this saved his game and he was able to win in Japan with it.

I remember seeing it and thinking… this is not good… I hope the USGA acts and bans this quickly… obviously they didn’t.

I think there are two ways to look at this in the bigger picture.

Try to persuade the masses, the existing governing body and tour to change?

Fraction the game into another version as other sports have.

To me the later seems more realistic.

How have other sports succeeded at separation?
We see a trend in human nature certainly within religion and politics usually motivated by some kind of discontent.

Would be interesting to investigate the history of say Australian Rules Football, or Arena Football… or how other sports fractioned from the standard game.

Golf has always been viewed as a game of the wealthy… so I would think the money is there. Would seem much more difficult to start a professional woman’s softball league.

I also want to make it clear that the purpose of this discussion is to discuss ideas, and no one should feel compelled to agree with my views or Bradley’s just because this is currently being discussed on a ABS board. This is here now… only out of convenience. I think this should have it’s own website, and forum area at some point that is not only skewed here by the local popular opinion.

Elk recently invited me onto his Secret In The Dirt forum to throw some stuff around and also maybe attract some new students…I think from my short time there that there is a major grasp of this concept about equipment and courses but people don’t have anywhere to go with it, except to throw their thoughts out once in a while.
I think the first objective would be to enhance the TRGA site and build awareness and have more discussion on it from all fronts not just from an ABS perspective or ABS site. I will add some stuff over at Elk’s site also and promote the TRGA event in Vegas when we have it organized and see if we can’t build it up into something bigger and let the apples start filling up the cart. There are more people out there who believe in this opinion but they need to be lead to the water so they can drink it

EDIT: Perfect timing…Maves just mentioned someone challenged him to a persimmon/blade contest…so I have already thrown the Las Vegas Classic Club event out there on the site in relation to his post…we shall see where it leads and if any questions come from it…

I suspect some of the veterans… and only some of them might fear not being able to go back and hit persimmon and blades.
The better strikers would not have a fear of that… but some of the guys would. Most pros would not want to embarrass themselves by going out and shooting a pair of 79’s or worse. Teaching pros worry about their reputations and many won’t ever be seen even playing the game. Guys on tour now (any tours, mini, foreign) are probably not seeing anything to be gained especially if there is little or no purse to play for.

However… dangle a decent carrot out there… even a “one off” winner take all event, and I really believe there would be no problem filling up a decent field… especially in a place like Las Vegas. To me the key is a guaranteed purse. Come to Las Vegas, take a shot at $20K. Maybe a letter over to Steve Wynn and see if he might be interested in funding such an event to promote his Casino. It’s the only one on the strip now with a hotel and golf course. Maybe 20K is not enough, but at some point $50K or $110K or $500K guys start coming out of the woodwork and jumping on airplanes for McCarron airport in January.

I think it would be exciting stuff… and no doubt, again at some point… the media would want to cover the event. Maybe not for 5K winner takes all but I would think 100K and it gets some coverage.

A one off event, winner takes all would be a lot easier to fund than trying to pay down 10 places. Of course a tour you could not do that… because guys need to make a living and pay their expenses. I had a long talk with former Canadian Tour Commish Ken Tarling and he made the point very loud and clear that the long term survival of a tour is going to depend more on 60th place money than 1rst.

BUT… to get the ball rolling… a one off event with a nice first place "winner takes all is interesting to the public and press I think. It wouldn’t be too difficult for a player to round up a few bucks around the local golf course and raise money for a plane fair, some kind of entry fee, and a cheap hotel room downtown for $29 a night at the Fremont Hotel to take a crack at it…

Not sure what amount you would need to put up… but at some point it’s an exciting venture.

I think the organizers, me, us or someone else can really call the shots… persimmon, blades, ball, new rules… whatever…
and see what happens if you get some marquee players and a bit or real press coverage. Persimmons will come out of the closets… plenty of them around still to equip thousands of players. Once the vibe hits the streets, production could be ramped up again but that is another issues down the road.

If it goes off… or goes viral in the golf community… bang… new game is on the table… motivation to practice with the classic gear for the next year… talk of more events… tours… and so forth… and I really think the press could do wonders with a lot of free publicity and word of mouth conversation. Shoot it with HD cameras from Ladders … edit it … post it on the web on all the golf sites… interview the winner holding the check and popping champagne corks all night at the casinos
maybe throw a couple attractive gals into the mix for a photo shoot… they did that for me when I won the Conference Championship in college at the Tropicanna. :smiley:

At this point I just really see something like this working better initially to get the ball rolling rather than trying to fund a tour right off the bat. If this works… and gains some attention… then it would be a nice little gem to show to prospective investors down the road for something more national or international.

I feel the name TRGA would be a hindrance. ‘Traditional’ only appeals to a very small crowd, most of which are amateurs.

I think the name has to highlight that this is a much harder version of golf than the standard game, so it makes golfers on the regular tours feel like they’re playing an easy version. World #1 golfer would soon become known as world #1 in the easier version. It would become apparent that people playing the regular tours would be chasing the money rather than showcasing their ability.

Something like ‘Precision Golf Classic’

And maybe a motto:

“These guys are better”

or

“Ability, not equipment”

Some really good points here. The slogan “These guys are better” is perfect. If persimmon could be established as “golf as it was meant to be played” rather than “traditionalist golf” I think that would be a positive step toward mainstream acceptance.

“Precision Tour… These Guys are Better”

That’s great…
Some kind of spin off from this logo with Precision Tour could be really powerful…
A bit confrontational which I personally like.

some one quickly register that slogan.

I love the Hogan silhouette logo…

I think the name “Persimmon Tour” has a better ring to it than “Precision Tour” but either will work.

I think a bit of a confrontational or controversial edge is a great way to stir up some attention. If we could make some short videos with the “These Guys are Better” slogan, it would create a buzz on the internet.

I think there is a tendency to rehash all the old arguments… which most here already know.
Anyone here have experience working or organizing as a team leader, taking input from a collective and processing it into something tangible that can later be streamlined into possible solutions?

I remember taking classes in business school, but probably was spending too much time doodling stick figure swing sequences on my notebook. :sunglasses:

:idea…new qualification, in order to be on one of the governing bodies of the sport you must be over 75 years of age. These people would still remember what golf is :smiley: