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This position paper is one of Arnold Palmer’s most important contributions to the future of golf

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There are no shortage of excellent remembrances of Arnold Palmer on this the first anniversary of his passing. Viewing Palmer’s life and legacy through the lens of equipment, there’s enough to fill a multi-volume work.

However, an episode in 2000 and 2001, Palmer’s endorsement of the non-conforming Callaway ERC II for recreational play (and the ensuing furor), is too often swept under the rug. The King’s acknowledgment of realities the USGA and others resist remains as important today as it was 17 years ago.

In discussing whether the ERC II, with its taboo COR numbers, should be played by non-competitive golfers, Palmer pointed out the elephant in the USGA Handicap room

“For many, many years’ golfers have been establishing handicaps based upon scores achieved in recreational rounds of golf where the Rules of Golf have not been strictly followed.”

He also looks declining participation in the face. And although Palmer stopped short of calling for bifurcation, this blistering passage from a position paper he wrote for the Golf Channel remains spot on and is worth quoting at length.

“It has been said that I have played more rounds of golf with mid to high handicap golfers than any golf professional in history. I suspect this is true. Over the years I have played in thousands of pro-ams, competed in the Bay Hill Shoot Out with amateurs of all skill levels two or three times a week for many years, and have played in countless outings with my corporate sponsors, such as Pennzoil, Cooper Tire, and Verizon, and their customers.

“From this exposure to so many golfers of all skill levels over such a long period of time, it is to me an incontestable fact that there are two quite different games of golf being played in the United States and, for that matter, throughout the world. In this regard it is important to note that research shows only 14% of U.S. golfers shoot 85 or below, 44% shoot between 85 and 100, and 42% shoot over 100!

“Among most amateur golfers, particularly those who shoot 90 or above, it is common practice to avoid stringent enforcement of the rules in the interest of making the game more enjoyable to play. Mulligans, ‘hit `til you’re happy’, ‘gimme’ putts, preferred lies, and ignoring the stroke-and-distance rule are common everyday practices at municipal courses and, indeed, at most country clubs everywhere.

“I view the use of the ERC II in recreational play as no different than any of these other infractions of the rules that are routinely accepted in recreational play. Indeed, it seems to me that it is less objectionable inasmuch as it simply gives a player a chance to drive the ball farther and doesn’t necessarily guarantee a lower score on the hole. The player still must get the ball to the green and into the hole. On the other hand, mulligans and gimmes are, by their very nature, stroke savers.

“It is useful and important to remind ourselves of the genesis of the concern that the golf ball is traveling too far. Professional golfers were reaching such prodigious lengths that there was a growing concern that many historically great tournament golf courses could become obsolete. This is a legitimate concern, but its relevance to the use of a non-conforming driver by any golfer is remote at best. First of all, if there is any problem with extra distance off the tee, it relates to professional golfers only. Secondly, the lengths which these professional players are hitting the ball is not confined to the driver, but applies to all other clubs in the bags as well.

“And, finally, there are other reasons for this increased length beyond technological improvements in clubs. Principal among these are the technology of the golf ball and the superb physical condition of today’s professional golfers and today’s courses. The bottom line on this is that there are very, very few, if any, amateur players who pose any serious threat to the obsolescence of any golf course anywhere.”

The USGA, on the other hand, argues that any round where a player is keeping score is “competitive.” It follows, then, that they expect the Rules of Golf are followed to the letter of the law in all posted scores. This is insane. Palmer’s position was one of sense in the face of ivory tower lunacy. It remains so.

Palmer never faltered from his initial endorsement of the ERC II for recreational use. In wrapping up the position paper, Palmer wrote.

“ I approve of the ERC II for recreational/leisure play. I do not do this for money or for any reason other than my lifelong interest and love of the game. At a time when the game is not growing, when there are more former golfers than active golfers, it seems clear to me that everyone who loves the game and wants to see it grow must support reasonable efforts to make the game more enjoyable, more fun.”

Again, Palmer was right on the mark then. He based his opinion on a both a bounty of first-hand experience and respect for the game. Non-conforming drivers didn’t catch on, but the soundness of his argument means the King continues to speak to us as we debate imposed limits, the distance of the golf ball, participation, the Rules of Golf, etc, after his passing.

The full text is well worth a read as you remember Mr. Palmer today. And if you’d like a refresher on the ERC II issue, this CNN Money article from 2001 outlines things nicely.

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19th Hole

The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (8.22.19)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Which one you taking, WRXers?

Some awesome shots of World Woods GC in Florida courtesy of Zoe.

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Although World Woods is a bit of a drive from Tampa, it is well worth the trek north for a great round of golf! The whole area had a crazy amount of rain the past couple of weeks, but besides a few flooded bunkers you wouldn’t have known (at least the Pine Barrens course)- evidence of great course drainage. The whole round I had to remind myself I was in Florida and not North Carolina. The course is tight, tree lined, and so many waste bunkers that each golf cart comes with its own sand rake. Don’t be deterred by the description though. There are plenty of “redemption” holes which help to keep scores low. I only had time to play the Pine Barrens course, but look forward to coming back to the area to try the Rolling Oaks course. The great rack rate and the proximity of other great golf courses makes this a great location for a future FL golf trip (who’s in?!? ????).

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Stunning design from Bettinardi.

Atlanta-themed ballmarkers from Swag.

How do you like the neck on this flat-stick from Olson, WRXers?

Beautiful face work on this lefty putter from Tyson Lamb.

Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (8.21.19)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

New additions on the way from UST Mamiya Golf Shafts.

How do you like this creation from Cushman Custom Golf, WRXers?

Cheetah Fur covers from Swag.

Slick looking new additions from Haywood Golf.

Great shot of the par-3 seventh hole at Stonewall Golf Club from Will.

Max Homa giving Eddie Pepperell a run for his money with his social media witticisms!

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Haha we salute you ???? ????

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Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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19th Hole

The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (8.20.19)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Torched blue Coronado Two flat-stick from Embrace Putters.

Stunning looking restoration job on this Allendale flat-stick from Tyson Lamb.

Great shots of Manufacturers Golf & Country Club in Pennsylvania courtesy of Andy Kerestesy.

Sweet looking Avengers flat-stick from Olson Putter Co.

Skull putter neck from Kraken Golf, what do you say WRXers?

American Flatsticks showcasing their new putter covers which will be dropping this Wednesday.

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Just in time for the final leg of the @fedex cup we are introducing our first Mallet Headcover. Both the Blade and Mallet will be available Wednesday at 8am PT / 11am ET @americanflatsticks. . . . Don’t forget, each cover purchased during the three weeks of the playoffs gives you an entry into our custom Headcover Giveaway. As a reminder, we will randomly draw one order at the end of the playoffs and the winner will have the opportunity to design a cover and get 5 of them to share with friends. . . . #chickfila #golfswag #titleist #golftips #atlanta #putter #picoftheday #pga #golf #fedexcup #instagolf #PGATOUR #LPGATOUR #cow #americanflatsticks #eastlakegolfclub #golfwrx #Handmade #tigerwoods #eatmorechicken #funny #golfchannel #gibbonshandmade #tigerwoods #golfstagram

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Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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