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19th Hole

Tony Finau says he’s hitting 8-iron the same distance he did at 16; no need to roll back ball

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Tony Finau is currently second on the PGA Tour in driving distance. He pounds his driver an average of 317.6 yards off the tee.

18Birdies’ Josh Hayes spoke with Finau on the aptly named 18Birdies podcast about distance in the game and proposals to roll back the golf ball.

“Where are you at with the distance debate?” Hayes asks. “Do we need to roll the ball back? Do we need to leave it alone?”

Finau says we should leave the ball alone, saying “We have to believe in evolution,” and adding, “athletes get better and stronger. To this, Finau adds the thought that technology gets better and players have more knowledge and technology at their fingertips to enhance performance.

“Things progress…part of that is guys hitting the ball farther,” Finau says. “Maybe there’s a debate that the average is a little bit longer, but guys have been hitting it far for a really long time. John Daly was hitting it 300 yards 15-20 years ago.”

He did make an interesting point with respect to distance across all clubs.

“If I look at how far I hit an 8-iron today, I was hitting my 8-iron the same distance when I was 16 years old…I don’t know if the debate is about the ball or the driver. From what I hear, it’s the ball, and I don’t know if I believe that. The only club I’m hitting farther is the driver.”

Finau also mentioned that he doesn’t think rolling back the ball will help grow the game or make it attractive to new players, “Kids like to hit it far…hitting it 280 yards isn’t even cool,” Finau said, adding, “It’s not as fun to watch someone hit it 280 yards as it is to watch Dustin Johnson.”

Finau agreed with Josh Hayes that the responsibility to challenge players lies with the PGA Tour and course setups, rather than with governing bodies imposing regulations.

You can check out the full pod below

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Certainly, it’s interesting to hear what one of the Tour’s most impressive natural athletes and longest hitters has to say. Do you agree with his remarks? Should his opinion carry extra weight given his “bomber” status? Less? Let us know!

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Uhit

    Apr 29, 2018 at 4:24 am

    Our golf club is planning to move the tee boxes closer to the green of our second longest par 4…
    …because the reality shows, that currently (with our current equipment) almost no one is able to reach the green in two, or to cut the dogleg – with current balls!

  2. Rekklss

    Apr 25, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    OMG. Tony hits his 8 iron the same distance ? No one talks about the LOFT.
    I think consensus is … grow the rough more … like 6″ deep … around 300 to 350 yards as well as the rough around the greens. This solution is so obvious … the USGA & R&A … bunch of lawyers trying to leave their ‘mark’ on our game. Just grow the rough !

  3. Donn Rutkoff

    Apr 25, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Leave equip alone. Pros play such a diff skill level. They almost never hit longer than a 8 iron on a par 4. I think pro tournaments should be on courses where they can put higher risks around 300 yards out on a few holes to make more players hit longer 2nd shots. Hazardize up the long distance landing areas from the tees. I think we fans would like to see more skilled iron shots to the green and not the monotonous driver. wedge, on par 4s.

  4. Kirk

    Apr 25, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Get rid of the dam face flexing – club face material should have to be 1cm thick rigid material – then we will see if these guys are any good!!!

  5. TigerJr

    Apr 24, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Fowler plays a 43.5″ driver…..allot of the guys out there dont play over 45″. This is so dumb….the middle of the face doesnt matter at 460 or 430cc

  6. Maxfli HT

    Apr 24, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    But when he was 16, was Tony only making half swings like he does now?He is basically swinging at 70% of what he could right now.

  7. GolfGolfGolf

    Apr 24, 2018 at 8:54 am

    just stop with the distance talk. Leave it alone… If anything someone needs to look at Langer still anchoring. They messed up that rule. Should’ve limited the length of the putter. My 2 cents

  8. Gill Weir

    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Harbor Town is proof that you do not need to roll the ball back. Golf is hard enough WTF are these people thinking?

  9. Tim Armington

    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Leave the ball alone and leave the clubs alone. Fans dont want to pay good money to come out and watch DJ bomb it 275!
    If anything…put more of a premium on accuracy. Grow the rough and narrow the fairways a little. Not to the point where tour guys are hitting iron off every tee, but enough to where a shot hit long but off line is penalized a little bit. Its a very fine line, but the guys that will ultimately make the decision are very intelligent people.

  10. John

    Apr 23, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I just dont understand… why? They want to alter the rules of the entire game possibly even bifurcation because the egos of the people who own golf courses are getting bruised? It’s insane…. I dont want to hit it shorter, but i also don’t want to play a different game to the pros – my interest in golf will waiver if i’m playing a boosted ‘amateur ball’ or if i’m hitting it shorter. Who cares if people who look like athletes are shooting -10 instead of -5? How many fat guys you see out there these days?

  11. ROY

    Apr 23, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    But is he more accurate now?? Almost every PGA player will tell you they were longer in college than on tour – learned that accuracy is far more important. So at 16 was he hitting an 8 iron 175 yards with a 95% swing, and today hits one 175 with an 80% swing??

  12. Blake

    Apr 23, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Totally agree its the driver. There should be tour only heads of smaller size. what size that is is up for debate.

  13. Sven Hallauer

    Apr 23, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    I totally agree with what Tony says. If excessive distance is an issue on Tour then the Tour should limit driver head sizes, and maybe limit the max shaft length. For example changing the max head size to 430cc instead of the current 460cc will limit forgiveness and size of the sweat spot thus reducing average driver distance. Similarly limiting shaft length to a max of 44″ from the current 46″ would limit driver club head speed thus limiting the max distance the ball could travel. Changing the ball is a non-starter as it separates the Pros from the Amateurs in ways that will reduce fan connection with the sport.

    • ROY

      Apr 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      SO you think pick up basketball suffers since most pick up games dont have a 24 second shot clock, same as the pros??

      • punny

        Apr 24, 2018 at 12:24 am

        hahahah, worst analogy ever. At least say not regulation size backboard or college 3 point line in local pick up game.

        This about equipment.

    • J Zilla

      Apr 23, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      The pros ability alone separates the connection between them and the fans.

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19th Hole

I wasn’t ready for the 2019 Rules of Golf

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We weren’t ready. We thought we were, but we weren’t.

For the last year, the USGA reminded us that in 2019 Rules of Golf were coming, but we didn’t listen. We heard the flag stick could remain in and we heard that you could take a penalty drop from knee-height.

But we didn’t listen.

I bet none of you have even practiced using your putter to flatten the entire green between your ball and the cup. You can do that now.

I’m also sure that you and I will continue to hover our club in all hazards, er, penalty areas. Yeah, we’re calling it a penalty area now.

The USGA went to the extreme depths of changing words all to simplify the game for you.

I don’t think the USGA listened either.

The rule changes were intended to speed up play and simplify golf for amateurs. Seems like a good idea. In turn, they may have bamboozled the PGA Tour while confusing the only amateurs who kind-of, sort-of knew the rules.

The pros didn’t need a new rule book, the amateurs just needed a simple one.

Us “locals” as the USGA refers to amateurs, do have one extremely fluid perk. When hitting a ball OB, or following a lost ball, you can drop with a two-stroke penalty instead of walking back to the tee. This of course, is dependent on your course, head professional, tournament conditions, and other factors including and not limited to what phase the moon is in.

If that’s somewhat confusing, read up, ask about your local rules, and buy a few extra sleeves. Reason being, in 2019, the limit on searching for a golf ball has been cut from five to three minutes.

2019-rules-of-golf

But wait, there’s good news.

Thanks to the USGA, if you accidentally move your ball as you frantically high-step through fescue, it’s no longer a penalty! What an exciting 180 seconds that will be!

If you somehow don’t find your golf ball in the hazard penalty area, the USGA tried to help us out, which they did, yet regrettably took away a more iconic portrait on the golf course.

The rigid, stoic stance and forceful drop of a ball at shoulder-height.

And we let it happen.

Now, we’ll watch a defeated man deliberately bend to his knees and gingerly drop his ball…Which, by the way, appears to be a convenient way for cheaters to “take a drop” that ideally doubles as “identifying my first ball”.

Don’t even get me started on the back issues this could flare up.

We heard in late 2018 that Bryson DeChambeau would use the flagstick when the odds were in his favor. He even laid it out simply for us.

“It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick.”

Simple.

We didn’t listen Bryson, we didn’t believe. We also have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

But hey, as Bryson would say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Yeah, he’d clearly never say that, but here’s to hoping!

We heard he would do it, but we didn’t believe it. We had to see to believe. What we saw was DeChambeau first in strokes gained putting in the very first round he was allowed to do it.

Obviously, this trend will continue for DeChambeau, and others may join in, because what is golf if not a constant chase for a marginally better opportunity at success.

Watch your back, because those others that may join in could be closer than you think. You may turn around to find a fellow member asking for the flag on their next 12-footer.

It should be a fun year of commentary and confusion at your local club and on the PGA tour. Professionals will have constant questions for rules officials, and commentators will consistently question Bryson’s methods.

There is one real question I hope is answered this April.

What will we do when Bryson banks in a downhill putt at No. 2 of Augusta?

Will we be ready? Will Augusta?

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19th Hole

Tweets of the Week: Justin Rose shows off his Honma clubs, Justin Timberlake does Happy Gilmore and Barack Obama’s new swing

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ho-sung-choi-swing

Over the last seven days, Matt Kuchar brought home the bacon at the Sony Open, while golf fans got a look at plenty of new equipment releases for 2019. But here’s some things you may have missed, and some of the quirkier moments from the world of golf dished out in the Twittersphere in the last week.

Justin Timberlake’s Draw

Ten Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, and he can hit a perfect draw Happy Gilmore style. Bit annoying.

Rose Showcases His New Honma Clubs

Still waiting to make his first start of 2019, the World Number 1 is ready to go as a member of Team Honma.

Chez Reavie Goes Bananas

In case you missed it, Chez Reavie became the first player since the PGA Tour began keeping records to make three eagles on three par 4’s in a single round. The fact that he holed out each one from the fairway is quite incredible.

Obama’s New Swing

Barack Obama has had a bit more free time over the past couple of years, since, well you know, he’s not running the country anymore. How do you rate his swing, GolfWRXers?

Double Hit Rule

This video has caused much confusion over the past week on social media. The double hit rule may have changed in 2019, but this attempt is still illegal. Impressive either way you look at it though.

 

 

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19th Hole

Exploring Ireland: Where to golf, drink and stay on the Emerald Isle. Pt. 4. Bearna Golf Club, Galway

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In these series of articles, I will be taking you around the Emerald Isle providing you with great golf courses to visit in some of the loveliest spots in Ireland. I’ll also be highlighting the best and most authentic Irish bars in these spots, as well as places to stay, eat and how to get there. Whether you’re taking a golfing holiday to Ireland in 2019 or are interested in doing so sometime in the future, I’ll make sure to let you in on the best places to spend your time.

In Part Three of our Exploring Ireland Series, we went west and focused on Spanish Point Golf Club in Clare. Now it’s time for Part Four, and we’re staying on the west coast and taking the short trip up to County Galway.

Galway city is famous for its bustling nightlife, and in terms of bars to choose from, there are few better places in Ireland. Whether it’s a quiet night out and a meal, enjoying a few pints with some live traditional music, or a wild all-nighter you’re looking for, Galway certainly has you covered. Conveniently, the city also homes some top golf courses, which makes it a must-visit destination for anyone coming to this island.

Bearna Golf Club, Galway

@kevinmarkham

Galway Golf Club and Galway Bay Golf Resort are usually the two golf courses that people think of when they mention this county. But lurking under the radar is Bearna Golf Club, which will provide you with just as incredible an experience as those two courses, at a lower price.

Located within a 15-minute drive of Galway City, Bearna GC offers an authentic Irish golfing experience. Surrounded by bogland, you can expect your nose to take in all of the scents of Ireland as you navigate your way through the rugged land of humps, gorse bushes and ditches that will give your game a real workout.

@kevinmarkham

Creeks will appear on most fairways, so don’t expect to be able to turn up and grip it and rip it. Bearna is a golf course that is going to make you think, and with the challenges provided, will most likely test your patience as well as your skill.

The track offers five different sets of tees, all of which provide for a fun test. The course ranges between 4,897 yards and 6,271 yards and plays as either a Par 72 or 71 depending on the tees you choose. Thirteen holes feature water, and the one relief that you will find here that is different than other courses in the area is the lack of fairway bunkers.

@IrishGolfPhotos

Robert J. Browne designed the course back in 1996, and as well as the feeling you will have of being amongst nature, you will also have impressive views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and the famous Burren.

During the week, 18 holes around Bearna GC will set you back just under $50, while to play on the weekend the rate rises to $75. Don’t be surprised if after your round you want another crack at this deceptive course.

Food & Drink – Tig Coili, Galway

@DBloom451

There is no “best pub in Galway.” The city has an inordinate amount of amazing watering holes to spend your night, and it just comes down to personal taste and what experience you are looking to have for your night. As someone who loves the feel of an old traditional Irish pub though, Tig Coili gets my vote.

@stacy_sobieski

Located in the Latin Quarter of Galway City, this place will often have swarms of people flooding out from the bar onto the street. Traditional music plays here every night, with 14 music sessions each week. The pub prides itself on its music, with pictures of famous musicians that have played here in the past covering the walls.

Also, Tig Coili’s pint of Guinness is renowned for being one of the best in the area, and it’s what 90 percent of folks will be drinking for the night here.

@MeetInGalway

As for food in Galway, it can only be oysters. Described by multiple top chefs as the “best flavoured in the world,” the oysters here come from Galway Bay and are so popular in the city that should you visit here in September you can enjoy Galway’s three day Oyster festival.

You can hop into most bars in Galway serving food and throw back half a dozen oysters, but if you want to experience them for a sit-down meal then go and visit Oscars Seafood Bistro, where the flavour will blow your socks off. An early bird two-course meal of half a dozen oysters and a plate of steaming hot mussels with fries will cost just $20. The perfect drink pairing for oysters? Guinness. Ideal.

Where To Stay

My recommendation is to stay in the center of Galway. We’ve gone traditional in our visits to Donegal and Clare, but for Galway, the city is so alive that you will want to stay right in the heart of it. The Jury’s Inn is a solid option, which will leave you within walking distance of the best bars, restaurants and sights to see in the city. A double room here will set you back in the region of $100 a night.

@WriterVicYates

If you like to shop then visit Quay Street, where you can take in the shops while plenty of buskers on the street entertain you, while the bronze statue of Irish writer Oscar Wilde and Estonian writer Eduard Vilde is an imposing outdoor sight that is a trendy spot for a photo.

@IndoSport

But as we’re sports lovers, then when in Galway do whatever you can to catch a game of hurling. Galway’s hurling side are currently one of the best teams in the land, winning the All-Ireland title in 2017, and they possess some of the most passionate fans. Just try not to mention the last final when you get here.

How to Get There

Galway is about as accessible as it gets from anywhere in the island. You can take the train from any major city in Ireland, and it’ll take you right into the city center of Galway. A direct train from Dublin City will arrive in Galway in just over two hours.

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19th Hole

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