Masters 2014

They are hitting the ball so far, there is no more thought on hitting the ball into the correct side of the fairway to articulate the approach. They just swing as hard as they can, hope it lands somewhere on the golf course, then play their short iron shot.

What did Bubba hit into all the greens on the back nine?

9 iron
8 iron
9 iron
9 iron
6 iron
9 iron
punch out
9 iron

I’m sure this is what Jones and MacKenzie had in mind when they designed the course.

From a ball striking perspective, the high level mastery and skill lies in driving the ball straight and having the ability to execute long iron shots.

The Masters used to be loaded with long iron approaches. Now it just plays similar to any other tour event. The greens are a bit more severe… but other than that. No difference. So what do we get? A leader board that looks no different than any other week. If the greens were slower and flatter, they would all be shooting 20 under. Merion at 6800 was a much more interesting test. They had to drive the ball straight, and play their irons into the correct part of the greens. It ate the guys up. Bubba was 13 over by Sunday, and Spieth was 13 over and heading home Friday evening at Merion. It was 6850 on Sunday. We probably won’t ever see that again. It wasn’t popular. Too many players and fans complaining. But that was a much more Masterful test of a players skill set… and that’s not even putting the classic gear back in their hands.

that back 9 was so boring, I found myself watching Sex in the City. :confused:

What made The Masters special in the previous generations was that it first and foremost was played as the traditional game of golf. Golfers would argue that Golf was the most difficult game ever invented, and the most encompassing of the human condition. A golf ball by it’s nature could be curved more than most any other ball, and the ball was also propelled the farthest compared to other balls in other sports. We already won the distance war back when the game was invented.
Golf was played on the largest manicured field. It encompassed beauty in and across a natural setting. It involved the elements.

The Masters event evolved from this once great golf course. The course was designed accordingly and in perspective to how far the golf ball would travel when struck professionally. In the 1930’s they already had a ball that went farther than a baseball, or a soccer ball or a basketball or a football or a rock you could throw. Augusta was a masterful layout. It’ wasn’t built with 25 bulldozers… but instead, flowed across a very undulating piece or property that also had a creek running through it. It was very well thought out. The placement of the bunkers, and the shapes of the greens were designed for not only angles of approaches but also for trajectory of approaches based upon the common distance of a professional strike.

Jones extended great tradition to the game. The design help by Mackenzie was appropriate. The property was beautiful and the time of year to host the event was deliberate. The game had depth and the course offered an even deeper look into the possibilities of refining the skills and strategy of a master player and shotmaker. The greens were not lightening fast… but had undulation. As players skills improved by the decades, the greens got trickier also. But as things did change, the set up of the golf course was always to reward the better striker who could also position the ball around the course strategically.

The width of the fairways was NOT necessarily intended to favor the long hitter exclusively, but were presented that way to offer options for the various pin placements that could be accessed from different positions on those fairways.

If Bubba was the only player that figured out how to drive a golf ball 340 yards… then great. But there are plenty of players now doing that. Spieth a kid just out of high school hits a drive on #1 way too far right. Clearly disappointed in the result after his swing… but hit the ball so far that the bunker right was taken out of play and he had only a wedge in from an area that was never intended to receive a golf ball. #1 was supposed to be a long to mid iron approach shot. One could lay up short of the bunker and go down the right side, and have a better angle in with a longer iron… or play left and be farther down the fairway with a more difficult angle at the green.

I could go hole by hole, and I probably should. Golfers who are interested in the game of golf, need to understand this stuff if they are going to properly appreciate how the game was designed and the legacy left not only by the great players of the past, but also the designers of courses and gear for that matter.

What is going on in golf and at The Masters in particular is not holding to the spirit and values of the game and that event in particular.


That is the word that comes to my mind when reading and thinking about what Lag has written here and in other threads.

Merriam-Webster defines this word as “the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something.”

So who is stewarding the game today? And, who stewarded the game during the heart of the persimmon age?
Or more in line with the definition of the word — Who is protecting and being responsible for the game today? Who protected and was responsible for the game during the heart of the persimmon age?

The answer to both undoubtedly comprises multiple groups of stakeholders: amateur players, professionals (club pros and touring pros), organizations (PGA, USGA, R&A, etc), and a number of other collectives. And to discuss this subject, and really analyze it and its history, as probably a worthy subject of a PhD dissertation.

But what I thought of, when trying to analyze this from my own life experience with the game over 40+ years, is equipment (clubs and balls) and who sold it, 40+ years ago and today.

In the span of a generation, the sale of equipment migrated from the pro shop to the superstore.
A pro shop — a PGA club pro, apprentices, and members — is a much different entity than a corporation with hundreds of stores across the continent.
It is likely that these two entities have differing, and perhaps even competing objectives when it comes to the game.

Two different stewards with perhaps vastly differing definitions of what stewardship of golf means. Or should mean.

The pro shop and the structure of both private and public golf clubs existed 40+ years ago and today.
The superstore didn’t exist then.
Where I grew up, the ony place to buy top rate equipment 40+ years ago was a pro shop.
Today, there are multiple superstores within a radius of 50 miles there.

The game has radically changed, and the rate of change has been exponential, facilitated in part by the increasing availability of equipment and the increasing wealth of the consumer.

Classic tracks are the collateral damage of all of this, and it is a real shame.

Thinking about Lag’s attempts to manufacture a different golf ball and having a persimmon tournament played by today’s top touring pros…
I don’t think that somebody like Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus is the answer, partly because they themselves have too many conflicting objectives at play.

I think that the Augusta National Golf Club itself could organize and put on something like this.
Talk about money and connections and influence in the game…

And it would be the perfect place to have such a tournament.

And big ideas can come from relatively small places.
Like ABS.

I was just watching an early Shell Wide World of Golf match with Byron Nelson and Gene Littler playing at Pine Valley. Talk about a punishing course that would really reward good ball striking. The rough is very unforgiving there, as most of it is more sandy wasteland than tall grass. If ever there was a course for holding any kind of contest requiring ball striking I think Pine Valley would be the place.

This is going to get interesting in the next five years or so, esp. at this property. They have run out of room to stretch it even more, what are they going to do, put trees and shrubs on rollers and place them in strategic positions? These guys aren’t getting shorter. Somewhere in China is a 6’7" kid who is bombing it like no one has ever seen. The Masters will have to change its name to The Blasters. The course is officially obsolete, a museum piece. Actually, the horse left the barn long ago. It’s legacy is just some black and white history shoved in a file cabinet in some far off warehouse. Someday, some historian will unearth it and bring it to light and people will say, ‘oh, how very quaint.’ I’m feeling ill. That’s my Masters hangover.

They will have to pinch in the fairways, and grow some rough. I don’t think that destroys the integrity of the course. It should impact a guy on top of his game, but it would mean there would be a lot more score in the 80s. I know it would take on a bit of a US Open feel, but I don’t think they need to grow it that much because the greens are so severe.

And of course they could create their own golf ball.

Yes, and other measures. Grow the fairways and rough, pinch them in. Either slow down green speeds in general on Tour at all stops immediately, or slow down greens at Augusta, which they’ll never do. It’s part of the branding and lore. And/or mix green speeds over the 18 holes. But of course taking any of these measures, including a Masters ball, screams anachronism. It will have the vibe of an oldtimers baseball game. Shame.

Narrowing the fairways would keep scores up. They didn’t shoot super low this year. That is not so much the issue, it’s HOW the course is being played. Hole by hole it just makes no sense anymore. The wide fairways allowed for more angles… with an eye first on trajectory and shot shape into the days pin position. Hitting high flighting short irons into all these greens takes that most important element out of the event. They put more importance on the flowering shrubs and dumping tons of food coloring into Rae’s Creek so the water looks blue instead of the muddy brown it actually is.

The size of the hole, the size of the clubs and the COR of the ball should all be held in the same regard. It is in many other sports.

I think Norcalvol nailed it with the Stewardship concept. It’s gone. No stewardship in golf now.

I watched the documentary on Arnold, and it’s great… everyone should or probably has watched it by now. But I will say this, Arnold will not allow hats on in his clubhouse. Why? Tradition, respect, whatever the reason, it’s his event, and players respect him and the event and don’t wear hats inside. Arnold is very firm about this.

I’m puzzled as to why he would not have the same priority toward the game and how it is played… gear, ball etc. Why not just say at my event, you don’t wear hats in the clubhouse, and you play the game properly with persimmon and these balatas. I have a check for 2 million to the winner in my office Sunday afternoon and a free ride home on my personal jet.

They mentioned how he often would go against the grain in business decisions and he would say “I got to where I am because I hit a lot of shots through groves of trees”

Arnold talks about the “spirit of the game”. He’s been a trendsetter, and most consider him the most influencial figure in the history of golf.

Palmer, Jack, these guys were persimmon players. They didn’t win their big events with modern gear. They made money with the new stuff on a business level… but then what is the talk about the spirit of the game. In his own words,
“in the spirit of the game… it was just as much fun with the old stuff”.

So the only conclusion I can make is that it’s just not a big enough priority to these elder statesmen. They are more concerned about not wearing hats in the clubhouse.

I get it if their words are consistent with their actions. In other words, if they fully supported the modern game, it’s growth, the ball, the clubs etc… however, they then scream “roll back the ball” and so on. It’s extremely contradictory to their actions.

Do they not know?

I once read a Buddhist proverb that said:

To know, and to not act, is to not know.

LOL … l-ferrell/