As a 26 year old mini tour player, please allow me to offer my take on all this, and I apologize if it gets lengthy....
To me the great shots that I remember pulling off was a "shot", meaning hitting the trajectory, the shape that window everyone talks about. Whether its skipping in a low fade to a back hole location or launching a moon ball draw around the corner. That's where I get my enjoyment ballstriking-wise. Now I understand that art is lost among many of my generation.
Regarding the equipment, it always seems to come down to two discussions, drivers and the ball. First off, the ball, does it go to far MAAYYBE, does it spin less, yes it does, but these statements how you can't curve the ball is false. Tell everyone 30 yard slicer the ball doesn't curve, I dont have Bubba clubhead speed but I can move it. I think what happened was during the transition in the golf balls, the tour players "feels" were off. The old feel for a 5 yard draw would barely move it, so they would complain the ball doesn't move, it does, their feels just had to change.
Regarding distance and drivers, I never saw them play live (wasn't born yet), however I have heard numerous stories of Arnold flying the green at Cherry Hill, or Jack launching it over the back of 18 at St. Andrews. All the best if each generation, Jones, Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus, Norman, Tiger, (choose your modern guy), have had a distance advantage over their peers. I have read of hogan winning the PGA long drive comps with pokes of 340. Those numbers have always been there. Jack played with so much reserve, he had those numbers when he wanted them.
Now for my concerns:
- Yes distance has stalled last few years, however I think there is another jump coming, and it doesn't get mentioned, heres why:
- average attack angle on PGA tour is still down, now we have a generation of players coming with their stock swing attack angles positive, there will be more guys bunched on the higher end of the scale then there are now
- All this talk about roll back, it wont work. Golf courses have adapted to the yardages, by their set up. Everyone knows Augusta so here's my example, yes there are some holes where Jack's era hit 7 irons in where they are using 9 irons now. Yet here's the thing, first of all, they are essentially the same club, loft-wise. Secondly, Jack's era the greens were slower, softer and the ball spun more making it easier to stop. Now you have firmer, faster greens with a ball the spins less, being hit by a club with the same loft, technically speaking the guys now are at a disadvantage to yester-year if you move them further back.
- you can't just call for roll back without multiple changes in course agronomy, course set up, course designs, that'll be a costly affair as well.
- make the ball a fraction bigger, I mean a fraction. Thats it. It will spin ever so slightly more making it slightly more difficult to control. Not so much off the tee (fitting fixes that), but on approach shots, putting more of a premium in being in the fairway, thus dialing back the aggression. Force players to hit "shots" again. You wont see monumental changes in driving distance but I think it's that subtle tweak that will dial everything back ever so slightly.
or on some layouts that are getting obsolete:
- graduated rough, however instead of width-wise off the fairway, do it down the fairway. Maybe tempting them to lay back. Remember, golf is a game of misses for these guys, and if the penalty is the same at 280 as 320, they might as well go. Force them to weigh risk vs reward.
Edited by Happyday_J, 08 January 2018 - 10:22 PM.