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The Ball Goes Too Far


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#1 johnnypro

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:47 AM

I used to think Nicklaus was just blowing smoke when he argued the ball should be rolled back 5% - 10% but, after watching Firestone this past weekend, I have to agree with him. The freaking ball just goes too far. I know the equipment and teaching methods and physical fitness also play a part but can anyone who has seen golf at Firestone over the past 20+ years believe what these guys were hitting for second shots on most of the holes? Can anyone remember when 18 was a drive and a 4 or 5 iron? Or when even the thought of reaching 16 in two was a daydream?

I know you can't stop progress and you can't build 9,000 yard golf courses but, IMO, something should be done to not have these guys hit driver + wedge on 480 yard par 4's.

If not dialing back the ball, does anyone else have a suggestion?  Limit them to 10 clubs?


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#2 the bishop

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:52 AM

I'm not saying there haven't been improvements to the ball because there obviously have.  But what you are talking about are a combination of not only improvements in the ball but also club technology and modern agronomy.  Those fairways are like freshly oiled bowling lanes.
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#3 gvogel

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:53 AM

 johnnypro, on 08 August 2017 - 09:47 AM, said:

I used to think Nicklaus was just blowing smoke when he argued the ball should be rolled back 5% - 10% but, after watching Firestone this past weekend, I have to agree with him. The freaking ball just goes too far. I know the equipment and teaching methods and physical fitness also play a part but can anyone who has seen golf at Firestone over the past 20+ years believe what these guys were hitting for second shots on most of the holes? Can anyone remember when 18 was a drive and a 4 or 5 iron? Or when even the thought of reaching 16 in two was a daydream?

I know you can't stop progress and you can't build 9,000 yard golf courses but, IMO, something should be done to not have these guys hit driver + wedge on 480 yard par 4's.

If not dialing back the ball, does anyone else have a suggestion?  Limit them to 10 clubs?

IF the USGA/R&A can change the grooves on the wedges for elite players, they can also dial back the COR of driver and fairway wood faces for the same players.  .700 might be a good place to start.
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#4 North Butte

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:55 AM

I was watching a NASCAR race and thinking the same thing. With those big old motors, no wonder they go too fast. Either they need to build five mile long tracks or else put governors on the cars. I say they need to limit them to 100hp and 70mph and make 'em drive like I do!
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#5 noahdavis_7

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:56 AM

 the bishop, on 08 August 2017 - 09:52 AM, said:

I'm not saying there haven't been improvements to the ball because there obviously have.  But what you are talking about are a combination of not only improvements in the ball but also club technology and modern agronomy.  Those fairways are like freshly oiled bowling lanes.

ABSOLUTELY. I have the same ss as most of those guys (114-120), and I average around 285-290 with my driver. In large part because I get very little roll. Some balls I hit 290 on the courses I play would go 330 on theirs.

It's the courses, not the ball. Dialing down the ball would be awful for the game...

Edited by noahdavis_7, 08 August 2017 - 09:58 AM.

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#6 hardcaliber

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:57 AM

I agree 100%

There is a huge list of reasons why dialing down the distance would be good for the future of golf.

A ball that went 10% less far would also by necessity have less side to side dispersion correct?  You would probably have to make the fairway's more narrow, but again I think smaller courses across the board would be much better.

Edited by hardcaliber, 08 August 2017 - 09:58 AM.


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#7 North Butte

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:01 AM

Yes, anything that leads to narrowing fairways and growing in the rough is a huge benefit to the game.
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#8 BeerPerHole

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:04 AM

I was at the Barracuda Championship this weekend and watching the players reach a 636-yard hole in two. But, in crossing the fairway I could tell that it was hard and mowed like a green. But, still... In this discussion the 300 pound gorilla in the room is the simple fact that we are discussing altering the game for everybody based on what these few super-human pros are doing. Trust me...you and I don't hit the ball like these guys. How do you solve that? Does it need to be solved? Don't know.

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#9 Shilgy

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:08 AM

 North Butte, on 08 August 2017 - 10:01 AM, said:

Yes, anything that leads to narrowing fairways and growing in the rough is a huge benefit to the game.
Except of course to those who are not at pro level.

 noahdavis_7, on 08 August 2017 - 09:56 AM, said:

 the bishop, on 08 August 2017 - 09:52 AM, said:

I'm not saying there haven't been improvements to the ball because there obviously have.  But what you are talking about are a combination of not only improvements in the ball but also club technology and modern agronomy.  Those fairways are like freshly oiled bowling lanes.

ABSOLUTELY. I have the same ss as most of those guys (114-120), and I average around 285-290 with my driver. In large part because I get very little roll. Some balls I hit 290 on the courses I play would go 330 on theirs.

It's the courses, not the ball. Dialing down the ball would be awful for the game...
At 175 ball speed(which you would be if you were on tour with that swing speed) the guys on tour would carry it a bit over 300. Now the total looks correct-no?
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#10 starsail85

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:09 AM

I've played for 20 plus years now and hit it no further than I did in about 2002

It's the player

How about we stop facilitating big hitting and punish inaccuracy

JS won the open hitting 42% of fairways

All lengthening courses does is push the player requirement for power hitting . Guys are hitting t as hard as they can and training to hit it even further , because the course set up demands it

How about actually grow some rough and shorten the courses? Think the best players then are all going to be the power hitters ?

It won't be long before the PGA tour is more like the long drive circuit

Let's bring precision back into the game

Edited by starsail85, 08 August 2017 - 10:10 AM.

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#11 hardcaliber

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:39 AM

A few people have brought up the point that what the pros do and what average players do are two completely different things.

That is totally true but dialing back distance would probably be even more beneficial for the amateur recreational game.  Several great municipal golf courses in my city have recently had to renovate because they are just too short for better recreational players using modern equipment.  The renovations were costly.  In my opinion they detracted from the character and design of the course. Fees also went up, which is probably bad for just about everyone in the current golf economy.

Just too many benefits to get into all of them.

Regarding the NASCAR analogy, it is my understanding that NASCAR has extremely rigid regulations regarding what can and cannot be done to the car in order to keep the speed at a level which is most beneficial to the product.  Baseball, football, and basketball all tweak the rules and equipment parameters occasionally when things become unbalanced.  Tweaking the parameters of the golf ball is no different.

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#12 MtlJeff

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:43 AM

The infrastructure already exists to support the pro tour and 99.8% of golfers don't hit it anything close to too far. This topic always strikes me more as older players pining for the old days (which is common in every sport, and other walks of life too) as it is an actual problem we need to deal with.

But on the topic, dialing back the ball isn't even a permanent solution. People will continue to get stronger and faster. There are LD guys like Jamie Sadlowski who has already played in web.com events, it's certainly possible that a couple of guys with his SS make it to PGA level. Than what? Reduce the ball again?

They need to figure out how to make distance less appealing in course design if they want less bombing, not challenging people to hit it further and then acting shocked when they do. People can achieve remarkable things when they are challenged to achieve them. I would say we haven't even nearly reached distance levels that pros could conceivably hit so dialing back a ball 5-10% isn't a solution
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#13 Yrrdead

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:46 AM

I think you need to dial back the lawn mower first.
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#14 Petunia Sprinkle

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:50 AM

More right angle doglegs and taller trees should do the trick.

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#15 mosesgolf

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:53 AM

Firestone has a lot of elevated tees so driving yardages there are jacked up.
A recall a friend of mine who played in Washington State and said it was all carry over there.  Almost no roll due to soft fairway.  In So Cal most courses will give you some good run out while PGA Tour encourage more roll out of all.

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#16 nochct1

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:59 AM

View Postnoahdavis_7, on 08 August 2017 - 09:56 AM, said:

View Postthe bishop, on 08 August 2017 - 09:52 AM, said:

I'm not saying there haven't been improvements to the ball because there obviously have.  But what you are talking about are a combination of not only improvements in the ball but also club technology and modern agronomy.  Those fairways are like freshly oiled bowling lanes.

ABSOLUTELY. I have the same ss as most of those guys (114-120), and I average around 285-290 with my driver. In large part because I get very little roll. Some balls I hit 290 on the courses I play would go 330 on theirs.

It's the courses, not the ball. Dialing down the ball would be awful for the game...

Why would a different ball be awful? The ball companies would produce a pro version of their golf balls. The pro version would fly 20% shorter. The long players still have an advantage. But the courses wouldn't have to change. No need to add new bunkers, tees etc. It would also bring shot making back to golf. While they're at it, they can ban hybrids and Wedges over 56 degrees.

They don't want to slow down the fairways because the tour guys would dominate on courses where they have no fear of the ball rolling into the rough.

And before you argue that golf should have the same rules and equipment for everyone, just remember that almost all of the other major sports have different rules and equipment at the pro level.

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#17 farmer

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:12 AM

Boy, I'm glad someone finally started a thread about this.

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#18 noahdavis_7

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:18 AM

View Postnochct1, on 08 August 2017 - 10:59 AM, said:

View Postnoahdavis_7, on 08 August 2017 - 09:56 AM, said:

View Postthe bishop, on 08 August 2017 - 09:52 AM, said:

I'm not saying there haven't been improvements to the ball because there obviously have.  But what you are talking about are a combination of not only improvements in the ball but also club technology and modern agronomy.  Those fairways are like freshly oiled bowling lanes.

ABSOLUTELY. I have the same ss as most of those guys (114-120), and I average around 285-290 with my driver. In large part because I get very little roll. Some balls I hit 290 on the courses I play would go 330 on theirs.

It's the courses, not the ball. Dialing down the ball would be awful for the game...

Why would a different ball be awful? The ball companies would produce a pro version of their golf balls. The pro version would fly 20% shorter. The long players still have an advantage. But the courses wouldn't have to change. No need to add new bunkers, tees etc. It would also bring shot making back to golf. While they're at it, they can ban hybrids and Wedges over 56 degrees.

They don't want to slow down the fairways because the tour guys would dominate on courses where they have no fear of the ball rolling into the rough.

And before you argue that golf should have the same rules and equipment for everyone, just remember that almost all of the other major sports have different rules and equipment at the pro level.

LOL... "And boy here's Dustin Johnson with a CRUSHED 270 yard drive! Unbelievable!!" .... It is already hard enough to attract new people to the game. Let's make it significantly less exciting. That's it
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#19 JaNelson38

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:20 AM

View Postjohnnypro, on 08 August 2017 - 09:47 AM, said:

I used to think Nicklaus was just blowing smoke when he argued the ball should be rolled back 5% - 10% but, after watching Firestone this past weekend, I have to agree with him. The freaking ball just goes too far. I know the equipment and teaching methods and physical fitness also play a part but can anyone who has seen golf at Firestone over the past 20+ years believe what these guys were hitting for second shots on most of the holes? Can anyone remember when 18 was a drive and a 4 or 5 iron? Or when even the thought of reaching 16 in two was a daydream?

I know you can't stop progress and you can't build 9,000 yard golf courses but, IMO, something should be done to not have these guys hit driver + wedge on 480 yard par 4's.

If not dialing back the ball, does anyone else have a suggestion?  Limit them to 10 clubs?

Why should we punish these guys for being good?

Three guys out of 76 made it to double digits under par at Firestone, and half the field ended up over par.  You're making it sound like these guys cut up Firestone like it was a muni track.

The fact that the technology is so good combined with the fact that these guys are so talented should be CELEBRATED, not held back.  Its quite similar to NASCAR....NASCAR began to die as a popular sport after Earnhardt died when the sanctioning body began looking for ways to go slower and change the makeup of the stock cars in the name of safety.  Now, their ratings and attendance are at all-time lows, and sponsors and teams are pulling out of that sport left and right, because the product sucks.  That's what you gotta remember...in the end, all professional sports are entertainment products.

If we start trying to reign in these guys because some of them hit the ball a long way and the game is different now than 25 years ago, you're just punishing the talent that is currently being showcased.  Guys of all kinds of distance levels are still winning or playing very well on Tour.

Edited by JaNelson38, 08 August 2017 - 11:27 AM.


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#20 nix

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:20 AM

View PostNorth Butte, on 08 August 2017 - 09:55 AM, said:

I was watching a NASCAR race and thinking the same thing. With those big old motors, no wonder they go too fast. Either they need to build five mile long tracks or else put governors on the cars. I say they need to limit them to 100hp and 70mph and make 'em drive like I do!

You realize that NASCAR is the worst  choice for a comparison here? The engines and technology are severly limited vs what teams could do if they could use modern technology. They purposfully use older technology. AND they do use governors during a few races to further limit the speeds on some tracks.


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#21 Jasonic

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:21 AM

View Postnochct1, on 08 August 2017 - 10:59 AM, said:

View Postnoahdavis_7, on 08 August 2017 - 09:56 AM, said:

View Postthe bishop, on 08 August 2017 - 09:52 AM, said:

I'm not saying there haven't been improvements to the ball because there obviously have.  But what you are talking about are a combination of not only improvements in the ball but also club technology and modern agronomy.  Those fairways are like freshly oiled bowling lanes.

ABSOLUTELY. I have the same ss as most of those guys (114-120), and I average around 285-290 with my driver. In large part because I get very little roll. Some balls I hit 290 on the courses I play would go 330 on theirs.

It's the courses, not the ball. Dialing down the ball would be awful for the game...

Why would a different ball be awful? The ball companies would produce a pro version of their golf balls. The pro version would fly 20% shorter. The long players still have an advantage. But the courses wouldn't have to change. No need to add new bunkers, tees etc. It would also bring shot making back to golf. While they're at it, they can ban hybrids and Wedges over 56 degrees.

They don't want to slow down the fairways because the tour guys would dominate on courses where they have no fear of the ball rolling into the rough.

And before you argue that golf should have the same rules and equipment for everyone, just remember that almost all of the other major sports have different rules and equipment at the pro level.

Dial back the wedges now??

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#22 North Butte

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:21 AM

Aside from the inevitable handful of Internet cranks, nobody's going to pay money to watch the best players in the world NOT hit it a long way. The only thing a 20% golf ball rollback would accomplish is letting a few 60-year-old guys say, "See I told you these modern players are awful compared to Jack and Hogan".
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#23 sekrah

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:24 AM

People looking for solutions in all the wrong places.

Long drives are inherently more inaccurate.

- Narrow the fairways. Taper if necessary.
- Deepen rough.  No "1st cuts" in the 325-350 yard strike zone that these guys are landing.

That's the only way to combat length.  Make going long a risky proposition that the golfer needs to consider.  Everything else (Lengthening courses to 9000 yards, stopping technology, etc..) is a pipe dream.  If they can hit it 350 onto a 20-yard wide section of fairway, they deserve to win.

Why is this so difficult to understand?

Edited by sekrah, 08 August 2017 - 11:32 AM.


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#24 nix

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:26 AM

Courses need wider fairways, less rough and more angles into greens for strategy. Shorter driving equipment would allow courses to be improved in a way that is beneficial to the game for those watching and playing.

Narrow target golf is boring.

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#25 darredondo09

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:26 AM

I really struggle to see the harm with the distance pros are hitting the ball. They play against the field, not really against par. So if someone can drive 3 par fours on the course, that just means everybody else has to do it and they become de facto par threes, problem solved. If a 600 yard par five is reachable in 2 for enough players, the same thing happens and you've got to make 4 or lose a stroke to the field. I guess you can argue course records will be messed with, and I agree with you there, but is it really worth saving records to limit the distance? I personally don't think so. The really important records (major wins, total wins, etc.) will not be harmed because those are products of beating the field, not the course.


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#26 North Butte

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:27 AM

Narrow fairways and deep rough were the formula for several decades of extremely boring US Open setups.

If you want the only thing that matters to be hitting the fairway, just paint OB lines 15 yards left and right of center. Then you can enjoy watching a bunch of guys hitting rope-straight 5-irons off every tee and the winning score will be an oh-so-exciting 7 over par (par of 70 by fiddling the scorecard on a couple of the Par 5's, natch).
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#27 nattybohknows

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:29 AM

Being I cant drive the ball like a pro- I would prefer not to be punished by having equipment make it harder
Being that I cant afford to play PGA courses- I am fine with them making them more challenging- not longer

Punish the ones who go longer.  Trees, Water, Rough should be the ticket.  Although I still think there is still drama in the current generation of golfer- there is no dominant one right now week in and week out so i am not sure how much them hitting it far damages the game.

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#28 ClintDagger

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:35 AM

I'm always surprised at how people freak out over this topic.  I don't know what the answer is, but to me it's a legitimate debate.  I'm not sure why they don't have the manufacturers produce a less "hot" ball and pick a tournament or two to try it out and see what the result is.  All of the older guys talk about the tradition rich courses that are now obsolete, put one of those in the rotation in silly season and try out a less juiced ball and see what happens.  It might add a little intrigue to a time of year where a lot of fans are checked out.

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#29 MadGolfer76

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:38 AM

Looking at the overhead footage, I would hazard a guess that course setups are more the culprit than anything else. It you don't want pros hammering it 330, then put a dogleg in there or don't cut the fairways so short.
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#30 QuigleyDU

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:39 AM

i think that there are a things you can do that do not include lengthening fairways or rough. sand traps, water, forced layups because the fairways end etc. all things that can be done. heck shorten the holes to the point that they are drive-able but the penalty for missing is basically an automatic bogey.

Edited by QuigleyDU, 08 August 2017 - 11:42 AM.

driver: SRIXON Z745
fairway: NIKE VAPOR 13*
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BALL; VICE PRO PLUS/CALLY CHROME SOFT X/SRIXON Z STAR

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