Connect with us

19th Hole

Distance increases “horrible” for all golfers, says USGA’s Mike Davis



From Tiger Woods, to tour heads, to company executives, everyone seems to be talking about rolling back the golf ball lately.

In a Saturday piece for the Wall Street Journal, Brian Costa talked to USGA chief executive, Mike Davis, and he offered his strongest statement yet about the need for variable-distance golf balls.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible…The reality is this is affecting all golfers and affecting them in a bad way. All it’s doing is increasing the cost of the game.”

There are a couple of avenues of approach to the “increasing the cost of the game” comment, but it’s difficult to argue with Davis; the trickle down to golfers of the lengthening and quickening of courses is lighter wallets.

Davis, understanding the delicate position the USGA is in, seems inclined to make strong suggestions and leave decision making (i.e. how “rolled back” golf balls are) to specific tours, events, amateur organizations, etc.

But as Geoff Shackelford writes in his breakdown of the WSJ piece, we’re at a tricky impasse.

“Every party involved has some incentive not to force the issue. If the governing bodies tried to mandate a more restrictive ball for all golfers, they would face a massive fight from equipment companies. Those companies thrive by making a hard game easier, not harder. The PGA Tour relies on eye-popping distance numbers to highlight the skill and athleticism of its stars, which isn’t always apparent to the naked eye.”

We can probably add that the most casual of fans like to see birdies and pin-seeking approach shots, the possibility of anything that reduces those quantities has to be anxiety provoking for a sport struggling with ratings.

That said, a consensus opinion delivered jointly by governing bodies, tours, and equipment would seem to be the most sensible (if unlikely) way forward.

What do you think about Davis’ comments, WRX members? If we’re going to see a limiting of the golf ball, what’s the best way to roll out the rollback?

Your Reaction?
  • 258
  • LEGIT41
  • WOW3
  • LOL9
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP15
  • OB8
  • SHANK180



  1. ML

    Nov 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    When Tiger was dismantling augusta in his prime was he saying “man we need to roll this ball back?” Was Jack in his prime??

    They get older and now its the ball, its the club, its the grooves, its the putter…. They stop winning and now everything is an advantage vs their era…

    Man my ride to work today would have been much better if only we would locked in the model T or horse drawn carriage….

    The only issue the USGA is concerned with as to cost is their bottom line. They don’t care about some guy slashing around a muni on the weekends… Mike Davis is a joke.

    Our course record (6900 yards) has been the same for 20 years. Tour players play it all the time.

    • Jooma

      Nov 23, 2017 at 12:18 am

      Great comment ML. They start to temper with equipment I quit the game.

  2. Uhit

    Nov 22, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    If it is really about distance, then you could apply a local rule at demand for a certain event and course setup, that sets a limit for the minimum allowed loft for this particular event!

    Example: 13 degree of loft as a minimum, which would increase spin and landing angle, thus restricting carry, and especially the roll on firm fairways.

    This wouldn´t influence other events, or courses, and would give the maximum flexibility in line with the course, the setup of the course, and the weather conditions, and wouldn´t cost anyone a single Cent.

    Simple as that!

    • DoubleMochaMan

      Nov 23, 2017 at 11:53 am

      I say restrict the pros to just using wedges and a putter. That’ll put them on par with the rest of the golfing population. 🙂

  3. Kenny

    Nov 21, 2017 at 10:02 am

    First of all, Mike Davis has shown poor judgement over and over again running the USGA. He needs to go. If they really want to dial back distances here are some tips. 1. Don’t try to keep the courses so “firm and fast”. That’s all we hear, “firm and fast”. The roll out on those fairways is ridiculous. 2. Grow some rough. Almost all tour courses have done away with significant rough to accommodate the long hitters who can’t hit it straight (Tiger, Phil). Make missing the fairway penal and we will see some these guys dialing it back to hit it straighter. USGA and PGA tour course setup can go along way correcting this issue.

    • Robert Parsons

      Nov 21, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Personally, I would probably drop 2-3 shots per round if I could play courses with the forgiving rough the pros play and the rollout on their fairways. Another couple with perfect rolling greens.

      They aren’t penalized for anything!

      Sergio flies the green and lands in the rocks. After 30 minutes of arguing about it, he gets to gently place it from a playable lie to chip on the green. No stroke penalty. Just get it close to the stands and you’re home free!

    • Chuck

      Nov 21, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      No, no, no. Kenny has it all almost entirely wrong.

      “Firm and fast” is the best golf. Firm and fast is what defines the world’s best golf courses; The Old Course, ANGC, NGLA, Hoylake, Sand Hills, Seminole, etc., etc. If a course isn’t firm and fast, you don’t have the ground game. You might as well be playing on a simulator.

      Any/every great golf course architect will tell you.

      Growing rough and making it penal is absolutely the worst idea in all of golf. You are tricking a course, just to battle technology-produced distance. It is a terrible idea, almost beyond words. You narrow fairways, and you narrow strategy. There are no more angles, no more choices, no more thinking. All there is, is hammering the ball down a single line.

      Read a book, or preferably about two-dozen books, on golf course architecture and strategy.

      • Darryl

        Nov 23, 2017 at 10:26 am

        Chuck, the flip side of that is that we rarely play in 80°F heat over here in Scotland, when we get a few dry days and some warm air, a lot of the courses we play at the 6200-6600 yard marks become a good bit easier as we can start pulling 3 iron on the tee because we know they will run out to 220-230 yards which reduces a lot of par 4’s on such courses to a 3 iron and an 8 iron. In these conditions most courses only defence is deep hay. But again, this only usually happens a couple of weeks a year in Scotland, sometimes the pros get lucky and it happens in the middle of July for The Open

  4. Tal

    Nov 21, 2017 at 7:43 am

    The distance argument is a joke! Who is the only player on the PGA tour to have shot a 58? Jim Furyk. He averages less off the tee than I do!

    Jack, Player, Woods and the USGA are acting like people are going round shooting in the 20s because the ball flies so far.

    All winding the ball back will do is make it even harder for the shorter hitters to compete and make sure no one wants to watch professional golf anymore.

  5. Andrew Cooper

    Nov 21, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Tour distances have more or less flat lined since the early 2000s (despite what equipment companies want us to believe) so the rules on drivers and balls have worked. The average tour player isn’t hitting distances beyond a typical high level amateur. That said, it would be interesting to know how the tour has spiked in smash factor? From 1.485 the best average in 2014, to 47 players averaging 1.50 (the theoretical max) or above in 2017?

    • Chuck

      Nov 21, 2017 at 8:58 am

      There are, of course, some very long-hitting amateurs. Which is why I, and most others invested in the ball rollback debate use the term “elites” to lump together the tour players and the top amateurs.

      And distance is a very big problem if you want to host something like a major NCAA tournament on a historic championship golf course.

      Your comment only highlights the urgency of the need to do something about golf ball distances. And as for distances “flatlining” since 2000, Geoff Shackelford took that one down last year:

  6. Robert Parsons

    Nov 21, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Neither the USGA nor the manufacturers want to limit the pros equipment or golf ball. They want a huge disparity in distance and accuracy from a PGA pro to an amateur golfer. That way, amateurs keep buying the latest and greatest in hopes of emulating the pros. It’s really the only factor that keeps the equipment industry alive. Regardless of equipment, the pros have something the rest of us don’t. Unreal talent!

    If all the pros were forced to use a certain set of clubs and balls, how many golfers would buy a new driver every year? What if weekend hacks could drive the ball as far as Dustin Johnson because he used a ball with limited flight?

    I don’t know what to do or if a problem really even exists in regards to equipment.

  7. CB

    Nov 20, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Increase and create more OB areas. You go over the grandstand? OB. You go over the road between two holes and land on the other hole? OB.
    And raise the rough even on regular tournament courses, and tighten the fairways.
    The courses will seem longer just because they’re not getting any more roll in the rough any more.
    Thus, no need to lengthen anything.
    That should make it a premium to hit their own fairways and keep it in play, the scores will dramatically go higher and the players will think twice about just slashing it out there in hopes the volunteers find the ball.

    • Gorden

      Nov 21, 2017 at 12:48 am

      You know the Tour and equipment companies are not going to let courses be set up to stop low scores and long drives..they would be out of business in no time…How many fans would watch a regular tournament where the winning score is one over?? And who is going to buy balls and clubs that a pro uses to shot 2 over?? (NO ONE). example, I played a course that had so much ruff if you did not follow the fairway you were in big trouble….One week later a took 2 of my friends out to play the course and all the way 50 miles I told them you will see the greens on most holes but you cannot hit your tee shots at them even at 250 yards because getting in the rough is like a two shot penalty. When we arrived ALL the rough was cut down and I ask one of the guys working in a tour equipment van what happened….”They are playing a low level pro event and do you think the equipment companies are going to keep the players from shooting under par”.

      • CB

        Nov 21, 2017 at 12:17 pm

        That’s precisely the point. So what we’re saying is, they WILL make the courses longer because they would prefer to have no rough. Duh

  8. DoubleMochaMan

    Nov 20, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Dang! If they institute a “restricted distance” ball for the pros I will have to use the same… I still want to compare myself to the pros even though the comparison is not in my favor. I already hit limited distance balls on the range so I know how to lose 10-30 yards.

  9. David KLAFFER

    Nov 20, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    It’s about time to have a pro only ball. All forms of motor sport have a controlled tyre. Brings backs the skill of the player. We can’t afford to lengthen courses extra manpower,fuel,fertiliser the courses have boundaries and can’t afford to buy extra land to lengthen courses. . At the end of the day the golfer will continue to pay for these extra costs.
    Pro tour ball is the only way.
    Might the Masters tournament be the first to introduce a Pro ball. ??

    • IO

      Nov 20, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      I don’t feel there is any need for “pro only” equipment, all amateurs want and should be able to play what the “pros” are playing. Thats the beauty of buying equipment and pretending like you are a pro. Changing the speed of the courses tee to green in my eyes is whats missing, and thus pros should be faced with longer iron shots making the difficulty harder, hence the change in tee boxes. But when conditions are so fast and pros are driving everything to 130 and in from extended tee boxes, that defeats the purpose of extending the course length. They should be hitting say a 6-iron/7-iron into a green rather than a 9-iron or PW as any normal golfer would experience moving the tees back. Then there you have their showcase of skill, etc. because a longer iron should be harder to hit than shorter irons right? As would their distance off the tee with normal rollout, not 40-50+yds after landing.

      • ROY

        Nov 22, 2017 at 11:12 am

        No reason anyone can not but the “For Tour Use” ball, it just might go 20 yards short of the Pro V1 sitting next to it on the shelf

    • Jooma

      Nov 23, 2017 at 12:25 am

      A very good idea.

  10. David KLAFFER

    Nov 20, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    It’s about time to have a pro only ball. All forms of motor sport have a controlled tyre. Brings backs the skill of the player. We can’t afford to lengthen courses extra manpower,fuel,fertiliser the courses have boundaries and can’t afford to buy extra land to lengthen courses. . At the end of the day the golfer will continue to pay for these extra costs.
    Pro tour ball is the only way.

  11. IO

    Nov 20, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Equipment is all regulated to some point and all should be able to benefit even pros, perhaps the USGA should not set-up courses to play so firm in fairways and add some longer rough. The way these US Open courses and almost all PGA events are set-up, you have pros bombing 300+ drives like nothing because the balls rolls out sooooo far. It seems on television the PGA courses are so firm they allow the ball to rollout 20-30+ yards on average. Why not make the courses play slower like normal courses from tee to green, and use the different color tees/boxes to make the game harder as it was intended to do.

    • IO

      Nov 20, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      I think the distance would change for PGA pros if the ball does not take a 20-25yard 1st bounce when landing and then rollout another 20-30yds. Thats about 50+yds on the ground. A very small % of them actually carry the ball much longer than any proficient, middle-aged, low handicap golfer. But with the roll-out the numbers are completely skewed. Much like BD57 says, they shouldnt be cutting PGA fairways to the length that the common golfer plays on putting greens. Extending a course to almost 8,000yds but then creating conditions to have drives rollout to 340-370yds is not combating any distance issue and yes increasing the cost of play

      • IO

        Nov 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm

        Henrik Stenson hits a 3-wood off the the tee, he has been using the same Callaway Diablo Octane Tour 13.0* 3-wood since its release in 2010. How does he gain 10yds on average over the last 7years while also getting 7 years older if it were not for the fact that courses are playing too fast/firm on tour fairways? It is not the ball, if it were the ball and how manufactures claim you increase distance (2-7yds), Stenson would have added by now about 20-30yds in 7 years on top of the. Courses are simply playing too fast on tour

  12. robin

    Nov 20, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Wasn’t Tiger the one who help get rid of the anchor putter. Now that he’s old and slow, now he wants this.
    I guess now that testing for drugs no more superman sauce.

    • shakingmyhead

      Nov 21, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Man, it’s amazing how people will twist every single golf-related discussion to how it’s all Tiger’s fault. I’m never sure if these people are closet racists, or just stupid.

  13. Bobby Wallace

    Nov 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Funny how average scores are not going down? Lets make this crazy hard game even more difficult, that will get more people playing! The USGA are a bunch of morons.

  14. TommyL

    Nov 20, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Issue is also environmental – clubs chopping out more growth to reach holy grail 7,000+yds; then we flock to the tips and take 5 hours.
    Afraid I find boom and wedge pro tournaments tedious- I’d rather watch Spieth, Zach Johnson etc work a strategy than the sluggers wait for their putting boots 5 weeks a year. Would love to see more Trevino, Seve skills deciding tournaments.

  15. Ken

    Nov 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I never understood why people feel that increased distance require a longer golf course. There is a reason why you don’t hear long drive champs and PGA Tour champs being spoken in the same breath. The game is not about distance it is about the score compared to your competition. Sure distance helps, but whether the winner is 20 under or 4 over, what matters is that they scored low enough and performed well enough to win the tournament.

    There are also other ways to handle this distance “problem”. Grow out the rough, tighter fairways, increased bunkers and hazards. Basically add more ways to penalize poor golf shots. Additionally, if 90% of players are capable of reaching the par 5 in two, then make it a par 4 for the tournament

    Here is another argument against increasing course length, Yankee Stadium was built in 1923 and had a center field of 408 feet – unchanged in the new stadium. Today baseball players hit more home runs, but we don’t increase the size of the field we just accept it as the new norm and enjoy the spectacle. At the end of the days, what matters most is the skill compared to the competition.

    • Chuck

      Nov 21, 2017 at 8:42 am

      But we don’t introduce new improved baseballs and bats every year. If golf were like baseball, we’d be playing with the same drivers used in the 1920’s. And when there are even the most subtle changes to baseball manufacture (as there were this year), there are large complaints and studies done to return performance to meet the existing playing fields; we don’t lengthen the field. Which is what we’ve been doing to golf courses, at a truly alarming rate.

  16. Bob Jones

    Nov 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I can’t see why my hitting a 400-yard par-4 hole with a drive and a 4-iron, when 40 years ago I hit a drive and a 3-wood and was still short, is “horrible” for me, but as long as they fiddle with professional golf and leave my golf ball alone, that’s fine with me.

  17. BD57

    Nov 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    It’s only “horrible” if par MUST win the US Open.

    The players are getting bigger and stronger. With the available technology, all of them are getting to where they can tune their drivers to get optimal launch conditions.

    The AVERAGE person gets none of those advantages, and still finds golf to be extremely difficult.

    If they must “do something,” there are plenty of things to consider:

    Stop cutting tour fairways to heights which us “normals” consider “putting green height.” It’d reduce roll out on the pros tee shots, and they’d not have as much control of the ball – of course, that’s an artificial means of holding them back.

    Reduce the maximum length of drivers to, say, 44 inches – not a huge change, but it’d shorten things up a bit.

    Dial back the maximum size of drivers to, say, 430 cc – again, not a huge change …

    If you touch the ball, “Not much” – not “15%” or whatever people are talking about. 5% would be more than enough. On what’s now a 300 yard drive, that takes it back to 285. For a “Normal” hitting a shot 200 yards, that’s 190 . . . we hit one more club; the further down we go in the bag, it becomes negligible. Yes, we’d notice it, but it wouldn’t blow up our game like 15% or whatever would.

  18. Nick

    Nov 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Make the golf ball slow again

  19. Tom54

    Nov 20, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I don’t see any reason to change a thing. The pros play courses every week that are prepped for them. They play it normally at its maximum distance because they are the best in the world. Lengthening them won’t matter, look at US Open this summer. Maxed out at 8,000 yds no rough and Koepka handled it ok. We amateurs simply move up to the proper tees. No need for our tee shots to go any shorter just to reign in the pros. Remember for every week the pros have 100 plus in their tournaments there are millions of us who are out there trying our best to emulate them. It’s not all about how far the pros hit it, it’s how well they shoot the scores they do that we all marvel at

    • jack

      Nov 20, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      sorry it was 7800 yards and had numerous holes with steep slopes in the landing areas making the holes play much shorter.

  20. Tyler Brooke

    Nov 20, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    If I can’t carry it 310 then no one should be able to .

  21. Joe Perez

    Nov 20, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Affecting ALL golfers??? Ina BAD way??? I’m 59, and average just over 200 yards with my driver, which, believe it or not, makes me kind of an average recreational player ( It seems to me that the real improvements over the last 10 years has been in the physical shape players are now in, not to mention their relative size compared to past decades. These guys are now MONSTERS. Tiger himself seems dwarfed when standing next to some of these guys. I don’t the ball has anything to do with guys like Luke Donald finding it impossible to win majors. The ONLY people who are really hurt by distance gains are the blue-blooded robber-barons in the grill rooms of their private hoity toity golf clubs that have previously hosted major championships, but can no longer do so. Since the only way someone like me would ever be able to walk through the door at any of these places (and the service entrance at that) would be if I were there to shampoo the rugs, I won’t waste any sympathy on them.

    • Joe Perez

      Nov 20, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Poor typing skills. Space between “1n” and “a.” I don’t THINK the ball has anything to do…

    • Tyler Brooke

      Nov 20, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      Your theory holds water but i know many guys who are 5’10 150 pounds and bomb the ball over 300 yards. The springy drivers are part of the reason but the modern golf balls are the result of the massive distance increases.

  22. Doug

    Nov 20, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    One potential solution. Reduce the number of allowable clubs from 14 to 8. Would take way some specialization (ie 64 degree wedges) and require players to dial back/up shots. Would save $$ on clubs,too.

    • Scott

      Nov 20, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Doug, I like that. Have the pros play with less clubs. Automatically more shot creativity. And really doesn’t hurt the amateur, let them have 14.

  23. MikeJ

    Nov 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Used to be there were two types of golf balls.

    One type went a long way but didn’t spin much great for average golfers. The other pro type spun more and less distance and the better players used them, it was a fair tradeoff.

    Now the longest balls also spin the most due to technology.

    Reduce the size of driver heads and roll the ball back so no more expensive changes need to be made to classic golf courses.

  24. Mhendon

    Nov 20, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    What distance increases are we talking about, the one that happened 13 years ago when the ProV1 was introduced or the fictional one since. Driving distance avg on tour hasn’t change significantly since 2004. I’m pretty sure golf anouncers B.S. the distance players are hitting their drives during televised coverage to hype the game and try and create viewer excitement for TV ratings. The stats on PGA just don’t match what they claim during broadcast or what I see in person.

    • Scott

      Nov 20, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      The pros would not be getting the roll I saw this past weekend on the swamp I play. Rain and wind raise scores. The pros hate slow greens, so slow them down to a 7, make them “hit” a putt. The courses are designed for low scores. Change the course and the scores will go up. No distance issues.

  25. Ernie Taormina

    Nov 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    How much further can a golf ball realistically be hit? How close are we to reaching the practical limit that a human can hit a golf ball given current restraints on clubs? What does physics say?

  26. Andrew

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Collectivist mindset idiots. “All” includes my 90 year old dad. Please explain to him how horrible the game is for him now, a man who doesn’t hit the ball far enough to prove a “distance increase”.

    The game should be very hard for pros. Make them work for a living and lets see how good they really are today. No more disneyland courses and titanium drivers.

  27. Gord

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    The majority of golfers don’t get to play on PGA level courses that are immaculately groomed. The focus of golf should be on the majority of players (who fork out money for everything), not a handful of elite athletes who want everything primed and pristine. Stop making longer courses, make them more challenging (for the pros anyway). This way, clubs and balls won’t matter as much.

  28. Matt

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Just do it, USGA. Skill-based ball games benefit from a degree of standardisation and respect for tradition, particularly at the highest level of play.

  29. Milo

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    What a bunch of dumb first world problems from overpaid people who probably don’t actually but in a days work.

    • C

      Nov 20, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      You do know this is a golf forum, right?

    • DoubleMochaMan

      Nov 23, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      “What a bunch of dumb first world problems from overpaid people who probably don’t actually but in a days work.”

      Don’t you mean “… putt in a day’s work”?

  30. Ryan

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Dial back balls for pro’s to pre-1997.

  31. Bob Castelline

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    We keep assuming the equipment is causing a colossal increase in distance, but the stats suggest otherwise. The average PGA Tour driving distance in 2017 was only a half-yard longer than it was in 2005, when 460cc drivers first came into being. Virtually no change in 12 years. The truth is that PGA Tour players are simply better than they’ve ever been. They’re stronger, they’re in top physical condition, and they use Trackman to understand the physics of hitting a ball a long way and hone their swings to match. It’s folly for amateur golfers to think they can keep up with that. We need to put down the testosterone cocktail and play the tees that match our game. Maybe the USGA’s time and energy would be better spent on an education campaign that stresses playing the appropriate tee. Do that, and we’ll all lose fewer balls and discover that our 5-year-old drivers work just fine.

  32. NolanMBA

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I’m short enough off the tee…

  33. Rich Douglas

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Distance is a huge issue in golf. Unfortunately, money drives equipment in golf, unlike almost every other sport.

    Equipment companies rely on churn: golfers replacing their old sticks with new ones. That means continuous improvement (or hype when improvements are hard to find). While it would be nice to see accuracy emphasized, golfers demand distance improvements. So they get them. But….

    Most golfers cannot fully utilize the potential distance gains in their clubs. They’re not that good. They’re not the ones making golf courses obsolete–it’s the professionals, guys who DO max out their clubs’ potential.

    If you dial back the ball, everyday golfers won’t notice very much, but professionals will. DO IT!

  34. Mike Cleland

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Well, why don’t you do something about it. You guys are the “rule making body”… seems like all you do is talk about it.

    • Chuck

      Nov 22, 2017 at 10:04 am

      I only wish that all of the equipment manufacturers (cough, ACUSHNET, cough, cough) respected that rule making authority and wouldn’t threaten the USGA with ruinous litigation over the exercise of that authority.

  35. Rea Schuessler

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Golf is a skill in which the player is rewarded for the lowest score posted. The argument that distance is what moves the needle is a false narrative. The USGA and the governing bodies have done a terrible injustice by allowing golf to get to this point. The stronger, faster and highly skilled athlete will still win and everyone that really loves the game will still play. The longer players will still be the longer players and they will be appreciated .The new golfers coming into the game and the current golfers will continue to play on the field as provided because it is such a great sport!

  36. Al

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Simple solution, move up to the next tee. I’m tired of seeing weekend golfers play from the tips.

  37. Dj

    Nov 20, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    No arguments here. Ball is out of control, but so are tour conditions where fairways are cut to most other courses green speeds. 300 carry, 360 yard total drives are ridiculous. Not sure I’ve ever gotten more than 20 yards of roll on courses I play

  38. Gary

    Nov 20, 2017 at 11:58 am

    It’s a “chicken/egg” situation. Golf ball companies promote longer distance balls and golf club companies promote longer hitting clubs (although all they did was reduce the loft angles). USGA could have taken a more proactive look 20 years ago, but chose to do nothing. Golf courses felt that they had to lengthen to stay with the ball and club advances. So the USGA created their own problem.

  39. DaveT

    Nov 20, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I think Shackelford’s comments are on the mark. The message I get from them is:
    Leave everything the way it is — including the courses. Let the tour players put up fantastic numbers on TV. Don’t worry about it! Let the duffers (the vast majority of golfers, including me) continue to play existing equipment; we have a hard enough time without making our shots shorter.

    The reason Davis thinks things are “horrible” is because the USGA thinks its job is to protect par — not to promote the game. If you don’t believe this, watch the US Open and the games they play to keep scores up, especially relative to par.

    • Jim

      Nov 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Seems like the USGA does everything it can to encourage the continuing down spiral of golf. Rules, equipment, cost.

  40. Alton Pohl

    Nov 20, 2017 at 10:50 am

    I’ve been saying this for years. Clubs and equipment are getting so outrageously priced to try and keep up with technology that a lot of your weekend players are either leaving the game or using and keeping their clubs longer. Manufacturers are building to the skills of tour players and they can either afford it or they don’t have to pay at all for equipment. Even golf clothes and shoes are so high priced. Something has to change.

    • Frank W Stoner

      Nov 20, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      I think Alton is Spot on. The high cost of both clubs and a decent ball are out of
      reach for a lot of potential young players. Unless the manufacturers and the the USGA start to realize that the majority of players today are older or retired. Distance is something for these players is attained only at the bar or breakfast gatherings. Increase in distance requires more club head speed which is much more difficult to attain in your later years. I don’t care what kind of ball you manufacture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

19th Hole

Strokes gained surprise: More distance off the tee doesn’t pay for pros



Writing for, strokes gained inventor/guru, Mark Broadie, filed an interesting (as you would expect) look at driving distance gains on Tour.

No, no, don’t worry. This isn’t a diatribe on the ball going too far, but rather, a look at the players who picked up the most yardage in 2016-2017. Even more interestingly, however, Broadie then examines how the increase in distance translated into a player’s improved performance in strokes gained: off-the-tee…or didn’t as the case seemed to be.

Broadie, “compared driving stats for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, looking at all tee shots on par-4 and par-5 holes,” adjusting for course effects. Check out the professor’s chart.

Broadie’s conclusion: “Added distance doesn’t necessarily lead to lower scores, if too much accuracy is sacrificed” (unless you’re Kyle Stanley).

You can check out Broadie’s full piece and explanation for that conclusion here.

By the way, if you’re wondering how Chappell picked up 10 yards off the tee, his coach, Mark Blackburn, told Broadie it was

“A perfect storm of equipment, ball and a swing change,” Blackburn replied. “He switched drivers, changed to a less ‘spinny’ ball, and lengthened his swing. More hip turn around the trail leg allowed him to load more efficiently and then explode into his lead leg.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members?

And if you’re wondering about the equipment in question, here’s Chappell’s WITB. He switched to a 2016 TaylorMade M1 from a Nike Vapor Flex 440, it seems, but was pictured most recently with a 2017 M1.

Your Reaction?
  • 10
  • LEGIT8
  • WOW1
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Tiger Woods’ extreme competitiveness, not surprisingly, extends to H-O-R-S-E



Tiger Woods is competitive. Tiger Woods doesn’t like to be beaten at anything. These are eternal truisms in the Tiger Woods story.

If you play the 14-time major champion in, say, ping pong, don’t expect to win. If you face off against the 79-time PGA Tour winner, however, if you have the skills of Air Joe LaCava, you could notch a victory, or nine, but don’t expect it to sit well with the Big Cat. And certainly don’t expect him to feed you!

Here’s what happened, according to Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, who recently appeared on the “Inside the Ropes” podcast on Sirius XM.

Squaring off in everyone’s favorite equine-named playground game, LaCava beat Woods in nine straight games of H-O-R-S-E. La Cava, reportedly, relied on a smooth mid-range game to take down Tiger, who was jacking up threes.

“He did not talk to me the rest of the day. I didn’t even get the old text, ‘Dinner is ready,’ because I stay across at the beach house. I didn’t even get that text that night. I had to get takeout,” LaCava said. “He didn’t announce he wasn’t [talking to me], he just didn’t. And I’m telling you, it was nine games in a row. I’m telling you, he’s so competitive, even at something like that.”

Cold. But would you expect anything less? You don’t win the U.S. Open on one good leg in excruciating pain fueled by an average blend of competitive juices. In fact, if we learned Woods had softened in his old age and, say, let LaCava win, that’d be serious cause for concern.

Check out the clip below.

Your Reaction?
  • 14
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW2
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK7

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Phil Mickelson has been ranked in the OWGR top 50 for 24 years. Impressed?



Animalgolfs points out an interesting end-of-the-season factoid: Phil Mickelson has been ranked inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the past 24 years. Also interesting: Mickelson has never been ranked No. 1.

It’s an impressive accomplishment, even allowing for the fact that the ranking wasn’t invented until 1986, right?

Most GolfWRX members think so.

Grm24 writes

“It’s an amazing number. As with the number total number of weeks Tiger was ranked #1 in the OWGR that will likely never be touched, I do not for foresee any current player finishing in the OWGR top 50 for the next 24+ years. An excellent tribute to Phils longevity and overall play.”

Bye agrees

“That’s seriously impressive, especially when you add in how much the equipment has changed during that time.”

JerseyBoy says

“He’s in my top 5. Love to watch him. And he is doing all that with an Autoimmune Disease which is amazing in and of itself.”

However, not everyone is impressed by the left-hander’s achievement. Ferguson, who is not a member of the Phil Mickelson Fan Club, says (pulled from several posts)

“And this statistic, while worthy of a mention, is not that outstanding when considering it is based on a world ranking system that started in 1986.

“He (Phil) had the skills but never had the potential. He lacked the mental capacity to stick to a consistent game plan week after week, and execute. He made a lot of bad choices.

“Phil was a circus act, replete with pompous showmanship. Sure, he was good for the TV audience – we all like to watch a guy with no self control. He could have been number one had he stopped trying to be so darn fabulous all of the time.”

Eventually, Ferguson says that Mickelson is a great player, one of the top-25 of all-time, but that he sees little value in this particular achievement.

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Is Mickelson’s achievement closer to Tiger Woods’ cut streak or “who cares?”

Check out the forum thread and have your say.


Your Reaction?
  • 18
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

19th Hole