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19th Hole

Apparently, the USGA wanted to roll back the golf ball as early as 1936



The golf ball distance debate, stoked to a healthy blaze recently, has been going on since well before pros were belting drives 300 yards.

Indeed, in the transition from the the featherie to the gutta percha ball or from that mound of sap to the Haskell Flyer and similar, one imagines furious debate. But credit to John Strege at Golf Digest for uncovering this gem from the 1936 edition of Golfing.

“During the National Open the United States Golf Association and the leading golf ball makers had a meeting at which time the USGA voiced the opinion it would be inadvisable to attempt to build any greater distance in the golf ball.”

Forget rolling back the ball! The USGA didn’t want the thing to roll any further forward…in 1936?

“The first day of the Open, Paul Runyan, one of the shortest hitters in big-time golf, got an eagle three on the 602-yard eleventh at Baltusrol. That gives you an idea of what confusing details attend this matter of ball legislation. Runyan also was the 1935 winner of the Radix cup for the year’s lowest medal average. Johnny Revolta, who won more prize money than any other player during 1935, is not much longer than Runyan.”

A 602-yard par 5! Even Little Poison and other short hitters were lighting up the 600-yarders in ‘36.

“And to make this thing still more bewildering: the last time the USGA adopted specifications to keep the ball short, the net result was to stir manufacturing ingenuity to the extent that yards were added to the distance of balls, and obsolescence expenses estimate to more more than a half million dollars were added somewhere in the golf ball bill.

Thus, legislation (and limitations), and manufacturer efforts to get around the intended consequences of such limitations by pursuing new technologies, are nothing new.

“Four years ago data was compiled from the handicap lists of New York, Chicago, Detroit and several other district associations, indicating that 92% of the golfers score more than 90. Which again shows that the golf ball problem — if there is one —probably is to reduce the number of sliced, hooked and topped shots rather than the distance of the comparatively few shots hit hard and straight.”

Indeed! Where is that hook-proof ball! If only ball companies had been working on the problem since 1936 we’d all be hitting it straighter than Moe Norman.

What do you think about Strege’s excavation, GolfWRX members?

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  1. Rich Douglas

    Mar 4, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    The ball isn’t the problem. The only place where the ball creates problems is at the very top of the professional game. Yes, modern pros overwhelm some courses. But even then, the best courses hold up. Remember Merion?

    For the rest of us, the ball really doesn’t matter much. Oh, sure, single-handicappers benefit from multi-layer, urethane-covered balls…if they’re fit correctly. But the average hacker can’t access those layers anyway and likely plays the wrong ball for him/her. Those folks are better off saving a few bucks and hitting a TopFlite Gamer or whatever else is on sale at WalMart.

    Innovations in balls, clubs, and other equipment really mean very little to more than 90% of golfers who can’t leverage them anyway. Sure, Jim Bob Hacker doesn’t slice it into the woods as often. He can now hit it straight into those woods. Either way….

    • KaboomBaby!

      Mar 4, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      Have fun using your Wal Mart clubs and Top Flite balls. I prefer PXG sticks and Pro V1x’s. I look good and play even better.

      • Dave

        Mar 5, 2018 at 11:53 am

        I wish I had the $$ to play those overrated sticks!

      • Nigel Kent

        Mar 5, 2018 at 1:50 pm

        What’s your real name ? I’ve searched all the result sheets for last weekend , can’t find any top 4 players using that combination .

  2. ChromeDomeDavis

    Mar 3, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    If the ball is rolled back 11.8% our historic courses will be saved. Regular hard working stiffs will be able to afford this game. The top 30% should be taxed so those making under $30,000 have free education and country club memberships. All of you country club conservatives will have to get over it find a new sport to infiltrate. #BernieSanders2020

    • d

      Mar 5, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      I make six-figures and am a member of a country club, and I voted for Bernie. Your stereotyping doesn’t help the cause. #BernieSanders2020

  3. Nack Jicklaus

    Mar 3, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    I miss wooden woods and balata but I would just be happy if balls don’t get hotter in the future.

  4. CB

    Mar 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    They didn’t have the technology or policing of the technologies back then as we do now, so nobody but the player and the guy who supplied said “ball” would know if the ball was juiced and “special” in terms of not being the same as other balls on the market

  5. Martin

    Mar 2, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Last British Open played over the Old Course St. Andrews didn’t have really low scores though the course was really short one and all best players participated.

    I think if they go back with what the ball can do in terms of the distance it will damage this sport. Who will want to play different ball than the one pros play. This is sick idea.

  6. GW

    Mar 2, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Does this mean I will be able to hit the juiced up balls the pros play even farther with my 85 mph swing? I better buy one of those ProV1X instead of the el cheapo balls I currently use and still play in the 90s…. ya think?!!

    • sid

      Mar 2, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      This forum is only for golfers swinging over 100 mph….. and planning to buy PXGs.

  7. Buford T Justice

    Mar 2, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    So, Jack didn’t want to address the 50 year old problem in 1986 when his Drives were in excess of 300 yards at the Masters.

    So, Jack didn’t want to address the 60 year old problem in 1996 when he was designing 7,000 yard courses, and profiting from the housing boom. Meanwhile, folks were still driving the ball in excess of 300 yards, just as Jack did in 1986.

    Now Jack wants to address a faux-problem that he benefited from while he was playing, and while he was raking in the cash as a course designer (over 7,000 yards per, BTW).

    Makes perfect sense, No?

    • Philip

      Mar 2, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      Sure … because Jack knows that those 7,000 are not in as demand and are too expensive to maintain; however, if the ball was rolled back his company could target shorter courses and have access to the market that would never do a 7,000 plus course … there is always an agenda when the effort to push a point does not hold up to the logic.

      • sid

        Mar 2, 2018 at 6:42 pm

        But golf has become a recreational activity for the rich elite so they can afford to support a 7000+ country club course.
        Just look at the equipment manufacturers who are promoting more expensive golf clubs. They are not for the 90% of golfers who can’t break 100 and only golf occasionally. Golf is catering to the top 1% where price means nothing.

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19th Hole

GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (06/05/20) – Scotty Cameron, TaylorMade Tour, GC Quad



At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member jadedennill – Scotty Cameron CX-01

What a great price for a limited edition putter. This Scotty Cameron CX-01 is only 1 of 500 and offers a very unique look in a higher MOI blade design.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Scotty CSX-01

Member nc2lane – Foresight GC Quad

This ad feels like the classic episode of “The Simpsons,” where the family travels to a quiet east coast beach town and Lisa reinvents herself for the summer. To reinvent her look she takes her mom shopping for clothes and while off-camera you here “Mom come quick BRING MONEY!”

Well, you better bring the money, because state-of-the-art launch monitors don’t come cheap, but you certainly get what you pay for with the GC Quad from Foresight.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: GC Quad Launch Monitor

Member TheGriftKings – Unicorn 2015 8.5 M2 Driver

This is still one of the best and most sought after TaylorMade tour issue drivers of all time. This head is in amazing shape—basically new and at 8.5 degrees of loft, it’s even rarer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TaylorMade M2 Driver

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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19th Hole

Check out Tiger Woods’ incredible handicap index history from his entire career



Ever wondered what Tiger Woods’ handicap index has been throughout his career? Well, one statistician, Lou Stagner of Decade Golf, did some serious number crunching and the results are fascinating. 

From 1996 right through to today, Stagner used course rating and slope for each course in his research and calculated a differential for each round to find out what Tiger’s index would have been each year of his pro career.

You can see the impressive results in the graph below.


The results show that Woods was at his very best handicap wise in 2008 when he bossed a +9.4 index, his average index was +6.7 throughout his career, his current index is 6.5, and as Stagner noted, he was +7 or better for 35% of his handicap revisions.

It’s also worth noting that the results are not adjusted to tournament conditions. Not bad, eh?


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19th Hole

Henrik Stenson: Fan-less Ryder Cup is better than nothing




On Thursday, ‘Henrik Stenson Almost An Hour’ podcast presented by Callaway Golf aired for the first time, with the Swede sharing his thoughts on his playing schedule going forward, the tour’s return as well as a potential spectator-less Ryder Cup.

On the new bi-weekly podcast, Stenson described the potential of a Ryder Cup with no fans as being “very blunt”, but did stress that even a spectator-less Ryder Cup is better than no Ryder Cup at all.

“For the atmosphere and for the feeling, for us as players that would be, very blunt, it would be something that you can’t really imagine at this point.

Then looking at the bigger picture, if that’s the only way that the Ryder Cup can go ahead, and if it’s not an option to play it next year with crowds, with fans, then I would prefer to play a Ryder Cup than to not play a Ryder Cup.”

Stenson revealed he wouldn’t be returning to the U.S. until mid-July, and he’s expecting the first couple of week’s back to be “messy” as the players and officials adjust to the new conditions.

“I’ll sit out a few weeks and see how everything gets going. I think it might be a little bit more messy the first couple of weeks as well before everyone finds their bearings with testing and everything.

So I’ll watch it from the couch the first couple of weeks and most likely then with the current restrictions I will travel over in mid-July to Lake Nona. I’ll have a couple of weeks of practice and then I’ll tee it up at the WGC FedEx tournament in Memphis.”

Once the 44-year-old does get Stateside again, you can expect to see him often as he plans to play “every week up until Christmas.”

“And once I get over and start playing, I can pretty much play every week up until Christmas. Because (there’s) going to be lots of golf tournaments, and it’s not going to be a shortage. So I’m just kind of tweaking my return a little bit and will probably play a bit more in the fall.”

‘Henrik Stenson Almost An Hour’ podcast presented by Callaway Golf will air every other Thursday here.


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