Interesting stuff, thanks for posting Lag. I like Frank Thomas normally but I was a bit baffled at his point that if the authorities outlawed pro V1/x style balls he, and others, would stockpile them and continue to use them. I find it hard to believe that the 95% of golfers who play on sub 7,000 yard courses day in day out would really find there enjoyment of the game, or ability to play it, hugely affected by a roll back on the ball. In fact it is the average player that would benefit most as relative to his elite peers they would lose far less yardage. Is hitting an 8 iron rather than a wedge that boring? There seems to a collective hysteria / amnesia on this issue. Go take a Maxfli Revolution Multilayer 90 from approx 2003 (which I am sure wouldn’t need to be rolled back and is plenty durable enough) out for a round and tell me that it was less enjoyable than the current balls?
The plastic golf balls are horrible for the good players. I can’t imagine any good striker who thinks the new balls are more desirable than the balata’s. Why would you want the ability to shape shots taken away from you? On a proper golf course where you have to work the ball off the tee and into the greens, the balata ball had it all over the new balls. Of course they used to make the surlyn tough to cut ball, and the rock hard Monitor, Top flite, and Pinnacle ball for the lesser players who wanted durability over functionality. So 20 years ago you had the whole spectrum of options.
I still think they are missing the point because the real problem is the frying pan head driver and technologies role there is simply that they are making the heads too big out of material that is too light. A 46 inch shaft that weighs 10.5 ounces with the huge head on it may be a velocity marvel, but it is also an over acceleration blackhole. I would be surprised if the touring pros could even tell you where they hit it on the clubface within half an inch. Since there is zero skill needed to hit the ball on the clubface, even a first day beginner can swing has hard as they want at it with no fear.
Anytime you take the skill out of a game, you make that game less of a game.
The need for speed has always existed, but it used to be so small, and often psychological such as using a gamma fire insert in a persimmon.
If they would have capped the head size to keep emphasis on precision and balance in the golf swing, and capped shaft length to keep clubhead speeds down, I don’t think the ball itself would be as big of an issue.
I don’t think the modern golf balls go much farther off persimmon than balata. If so it is not much… and I think most good players would still use balata off persimmon or even the early metal woods. I can’t see a good striker wanting to give up their freedom to shape shots.
The golf swing itself has evolved in a negative way from the use of modern gear, and golf course architecture has evolved in a negative way from the modern gear also in an attempt to compensate for the ball going farther into wider open golf courses that are not as interesting to play as one that requires more articulate and precision shotmaking. Giant sized greens are another strange move I don’t understand. The green should be large enough to accept a long iron shot 5 times a round, but is not necessary for short iron shots, nor 5 pars. I like small greens for 5 pars to add the risk - reward element into the second shot from a fairway wood or long iron approach. Strategic bunkering or a hazard should add drama and excitement to the approach, not just flipping a 6 iron into a parking lot sized green on a fiver. How does that make the game more interesting for anyone? Certainly not the pros, amateurs or spectators.
Now that they have restrictions on head size and COR and the ball, and grooves… isn’t it a little late? What is the point of trying to enforce anything at this point? If technology has now gone to far… isn’t that going to kill the industry? People might stop buying the latest and greatest… and then you end up with a situation where a guy might be using a driver from 2010 in the year 2030. Similar to Jack Nicklaus using a 1950’s eye o matic persimmon in the 1970’s. So the whole thing ends up in the same situation.
I just don’t understand the point in stopping the evolution of technology if the whole goal of the game has been to cater to the masses, fill the pockets of the manufactures and obsolete the worlds greatest golf courses, and make the game as boring a possible. Shouldn’t they have done this 20 years ago?
Would any reader here not be interested in paying to watch Hogan play Snead in a US Open final or even Jack Fleck for that matter in a sudden death playoff in the US Open at Olympic Club with persimmon and balata and drives going only 260 off the tee? Would no one show up if the drives where only going such a short distance? Is it not possible that your average golfer might feel more akin to seeing pros hitting the ball a distance closer to what they do?
Why the hell is everyone so opposed to growing up the rough? You grow it and grow it until you reach a height where the winners are driving the ball fairly accurately.
Go back to:
When greens were long, bumpy, and not manicured
Fairways were not watered
No sand wedge
No wooden tees
Gutta purcha golf balls
No spiked shoes
Must chip over a component’s ball on the green
How far back do you want to go and cap things? 1980, 1950, 1920, 1890, 1800, or further back? What [so-called] advancements are okay, and what things are not okay? Based on what criteria? According to whom?
I suspect some tennis fanatics complained when tennis rackets moved from being made of wood to fiberglass and other exotic materials. Same for most other sports…
Go Low, I have never understood this argument. No one can deny that things change over time…does that mean we should accept everything with equanimity and a shrug of the shoulders? That we should see all change as organic and essentially harmless? What about if change is inspired by corporate interests distanced from the heart of the game? What if many of those leading practitioners of the game over the last 50 years say those changes are detrimental to it? What if many of those courses that provide the setting to the golfing folklore of the 20th century are rendered redundant or in need of major alteration by those changes? 6 hour rounds, astronomic fees, falling participation - are these good things?
Tennis will never be the same again. The serve and volley no longer exists so all we get now is a slamming match from the back of the court. I think tennis would improve from returning to wooden racquets although by now it’s too late.
Tennis “WAS” a beautiful game…
Go back to:
1)When greens were long, bumpy, and not manicured - sounds like most of the muni’s I play on so I give a big YES to this. Miniature golf can still be found if that’s what we’re interested in.
2)Fairways were not watered - no problem with this either, but watered works too.
3)Hickory shafts - I say steel, but hickory if a player feels the need to get “exotic”. No graphite.
4)No sand wedge - No lob wedge for sure… but I say 56 degree max on any wedge.
5)No glove - I’m fine with this, but don’t think it’s a real issue. Do they REALLY do anything?
6)No wooden tees - I don’t see these as being too detrimental to the game. No “brush tees” though.
7)Gutta purcha golf balls - no… too expensive. I do like the idea of a “standard” ball though like virtually every other sport in the history of sport.
8)No spiked shoes - you can’t use them now for crying out loud! Or did you mean no “soft spikes”? I say we bring steel back (see #1 above).
9)Must chip over a component’s ball on the green - I say we put this back in for sure! How interesting would THAT be!?
10)How far back do you want to go and cap things? 1980, 1950, 1920, 1890, 1800, or further back? - I say 1980 or 1985.
11)What [so-called] advancements are okay and what things are not okay? - Anything that requires a COR measurement to determine it’s conformance is NOT ok to begin with. That probably takes cares of a lot of issues. If someone wants to make a 460cc persimmon head… knock yourself out!
12)Based on what criteria? According to whom? I’ll defer to the #1 player of all times (Nicklaus). I say we let him have a crack at an overhaul of equipment rules. He has a pretty good feel for what’s going on.
My responses to the questions in bold.
Things change…sure…however the true golfer who grew up in the era where golf was precision and not bombs away like today really has an argument.
The big problem was the Golf Associations who were meant to make the rules…DIDN’T…they bent over and copped what the equipment companies did without any vision or foresight down the road to the future and with no protection of the game’s integrity…they let the companies and their threatened lawsuits take over their only job…which was to make rules and govern those rules
So instead we now have:
*massive clubheads that mean you can swing like an axe murderer and make contact and hit the ball great distances even having a clubhead material which acts like a spring!!
- irons that still fly the correct distance whether you hit them properly or not
*8 million yard courses that cost a fortune to maintain which has also raised membership prices and the cost of being a golfer through the roof
- soft spikes are now in every club (no steel allowed!!) eliminating our grip with the ground whilst we swing because everyone is too concerned about a little spike mark here or there which actually helps a course long term by aerating on a daily basis
- we have PGA tournament courses that are made wider and wider to accommodate the crooked ball and the galleries and stands… so precision is not on the menu
*We have huge greens, perfectly raked bunkers, free drops for just about anything that doesn’t give you a perfect lie and even lift clean and place rules for PGA events if there is a threat of rain…because god help us if we get a speck of mud on the ball that could alter the ball flight!!
- Even golf carts to cruise around in to spoil the physical aspect of us and the course and it’s beauty and the flow of the game
It is quite pathetic…I actually can hardly stand watching golf on TV…except for The majors because they are at least a challenge on some occasions to the players because of the older style courses and their smaller contoured greens and we get to see a little bit of rough around the fairways and some run offs around the greens that players can’t cope with as well
Tennis became unwatchable many years ago when Ivanisevic could hardly hit a ground stroke for his first 10 years as a pro yet won his matches by hitting unreturnable serves based on pure power and nothing else. No touch. No flow. No thinking…just smash away…and they pay you money for this?
We are pretty much screwed because nothing will change much from here on…all they will do is realize it went too far and today’s standard will be the height of the bar forever because the golf associations have no balls to roll back anything. They like to talk about it but that’s all hot air and a compromise…
but what you now have is basically untalented golfers (insert sport here…tennis etc) who are in the elite of their sport for being totally one dimensional as players…they smash it and they putt and have not much else in between. It is a joke to see the way the game has gone. If we had the correct people in charge 20 years ago it would never have come to this.
Golf used to have integrity. The players upheld the traditions. They played golf for love and not money. They made money once they got good, but only for their on course activities, not for getting paid a million dollars to use a club.
The equipment companies took over in an instant. They saw the target…saw the $$$'s on offer…made up advertisements based on what was going to sell them the most items to the most people and the snowball chugging down the hill took off.
The Golf Assoc at this time were really just a group of amateur golfers designed to manage a few events, drop a few things in the rule book each year based on occurrences around the world that were new and a rule had to take effect from it and turn up for a red wine and a steak dinner at a few meetings throughout the year. Once a Solheim who had money spewing from his rear end came at them, they were toast to begin with. they didn’t have the funds to fight him so they backed off and here we are…
Unfortunately our entire society doesn’t want to put the effort in any more. They want everything now …cell phones, e-mails, online banking, instant instant faster quicker…etc etc… the world has become lazy and fat and a far worse place by letting everyone else do the work on their behalf with technology and no extra effort needed… it’s a shame because there is so much talent going unused in so many fields all over the globe. people that could possibly make a difference but never will…yet we have a Facebook founder who made a program for a computer that sells you nothing and provides no product whatsoever…and he is making a billion dollars and sucking people into a web of contacts and acquaintances that we never really wanted in the first place…
Where’s Doc Brown and his Delorean so one of us can go back and set things straight?
There is a beautiful aesthetic that is gone from the game… for most players… not for me… but for most…
Modern golf courses look like flat target driving ranges. Homogenized fairways and greens with ski moguls down both sides,
few trees, and huge greens that make no sense to shape a shot into. The new players are missing the beauty and organic nature of the game and most will never play a true golf course.
The first course designed in America by Dr. Alister MacKenzie The Meadow Club. I had the good fortune to play here recently with an ABS Pro.
No houses around the course… nicely blended with nature and the beautiful surroundings. Pulling out a shining persimmon and some great looking classic blades. Made for a great day…
but that’s just me.
Outdating golf courses like this for competition makes zero sense.
I bought some new persimmons this week from a collector… and all I can say is these things are just wonderful.
I like the look and the feel, and they play nicely. Look and feel are completely overlooked, as is the sound a club makes.
A lot of things are missing from the game now. It’s not just the wind tunnel results from a frying pan driver.
I have this question that I always ask myself and am seeking an unbiased answer. Lets say the PGA/USGA organizes a persimmon event on a 6600 yards classic course. Would the pros have to hit driver at all as most of them can hit long irons or 5 woods 270, so in the long run would that not make the driver obsolete??
I don’t think many tour pro’s could hit a long iron or a persimmon 5 wood 270 to be honest, certainly not on a consistent basis. Given bladed irons and persimmon woods and a similar ball I see no reason to believe that today’s tour pro’s would hit it much further than their predecessors on average despite the fact that so many live in the fitness trailer these days. I believe there were plenty of viable tour courses playing 6,600 - 7,000 back in the day. The affect of higher quality greens might have a more profound effect on scoring I would guess.
Macs, the distances would change proportionately assuming it’s not just the drivers that would change. 270 with a persimmon and balata is a pretty hefty blow, so there’d be very little point in leaving them with their modern 3 woods and hybrid irons which would actually go further. Also, I don’t necessarily think that getting the driver back in the hands of golfers is the goal as such, it’s really more about making the courses play as they were designed to play. I think the driver would definitely be more in play as a result, and the demand to hit it better would increase, but that’s really just all part of it.
The last hole of one of the local munis I play is a perfect example. It loops side by side with the first, so if you’re done late in the day you can head down the first and back up the last in the late dusk. I played it a few weeks ago with modern gear, but I always have my Persimmon in the bag. Anyway, after the round I felt there was 10 or 15 minutes of light left so I headed down the first to do the loop. I’d sort of thinned my drive playing the last the first time round as I tend to get a bit unsure in the half light. From where I hit my drive I had 127 to go, and hit wedge. When I played the after round loop, I played it with persimmon, and with the previous time in mind, I really wanted to stick with the shot and hit the drive well just to see- on the last, that is. I hit one out of the screws and had 168 left to the hole. Seeing as I always use balata when hitting Persimmon, and the fact that it was chilly, I chose a 5 iron and hit it very crisply just past the pin. The difference between a 5 iron every time and a wedge every time, is just massive over the course of 10 or so rounds, even psychologically, never mind physically.
Anyway , I’m not sure how this all relates to your question, but it seems relevant to the overall point of the thread…
Technology versus Tradition…let’s include NASA to the list as well
Anyone know the make of the clubhead and ball?
Looks like Alan Shepard needed some Mod 1 work.
Thanks IOZ for the assistance…you 'da man!
I think your overview of playing those holes is quite telling and highlights what Lag tries to espouse when he talks about how the game has changed (for the worse).
Why some can’t see those obvious points is baffling to me. Do they really believe that the equipment changes have “advanced” the game? A classic case of idiocracy as far as I’m concerned.
Range Rat: 1:07 to 1:10 I see module 2 footwork and PV5!
Dynapower Button Back was the iron used to play the first shot on the moon. I believe it was a 7 iron. I also seem to recall that the ball was a Titleist.
I’d say that Bobby Jones lessened the difficulty of the game when he decided to use that new fangled club designed to get out of the sand better.