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Course Management: A Missing Element on Tour?


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#1 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:25 PM

There have been a few threads and a number of posts discussing the USGA's dialing back equipment, extremely low scores at tournaments, how far tour pros hit the ball, and the like.

IMHO one of the things all these elements have in common is that course management seems to be disappearing as an integral part of the golf game, except in the majors, or at certain venues. What was once as important as good short game is fast becoming a foot note.

What can be done? In my opinion equipment doesn't need to be dialed back and courses don't need to be made and longer, however, course architecture does need to be changed.

I think it's really quite simple. Grow the rough, narrow the fairways, shave the banks around the greens, and the like. Not all PGA venues need to be set-up like the US Open, but they can be set-up in such a way where, 1) it's not bomb and gouge, 2) course management plays an important role once again in tournament golf, 3) accuracy is just as important as length off the tee and around the greens, and 4) a pro has to think his way around the course once again.

This doesn't require changing the grooves of wedges, changing the golf ball, changing the driver, or making courses longer.

All it requires is letting the grass grow in some areas and cutting it in others (I might have read that somewhere). Okay, that maybe an oversimplification, but you get the idea.

There, was that so hard?

What do you think?

Edited by Sean2, 10 March 2012 - 06:27 PM.

Hey...be nice.

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#2 Vindog

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:29 PM

This is why I love events like the Heritage and courses like Innisbrook and Riviera.
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#3 bobfoster

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:29 PM

At the risk of repeating myself ... I wrote a long bit about this in another thread:

Aaahhhh ... see, I think you've hit the core of the issue. We see these guys playing courses where they play once a year. Thing is, for these courses to actually be open ... they need to be filled with (paying) amateurs for the rest of the year. Yes ... you can toughen a course for a pro event ... grow out the rough, put a back tee box in, toughen the pin placements ... but there's limits to what you can do ...

What has happened (IMO) in the past 10-15 years is that the gap between pro and amateur has gotten a LOT bigger. When I first started playing (1960s) golf wasn't really a "sport". The guys would smoke (and occasionally even drink) on the course. A lot of them were actually in terrible shape. Due to Tiger (and a few others) ... we're in a new era. A lot of these younger guys are spending as much time in the gym as pro baseball or basketball players do. And the technology they train with is just amazing. Even aspect of the swing is analzed, adjusted, and refined. The result? The average amateur is often happy with a drive of 220 (not much of a change from two decades ago) ... and half the pros take a 5 iron from 220 ... and for the best ...  hell, I saw several 300+ yard 3Ws today for goodness sake (that's just sick).

So ... this divergance is naturally bringing up two issues: First, you can try to make the courses tougher. Problem is (as I mentioned) ... there's limits to how far back you can move tee boxes, or how many weeks you close before a tourney to grow the rough out to punishing levels. Doral (for instance) is a huge tourist destination. It doesn't stay in business because of the week of this tourney ...

Second ... if we're reaching a limit on how much adjustment can be done to courses, you can try to address equipment (yes, a single restriction on a ball would negate the need to build a new tee box 75 yards back for a tourney) ... thing is, it has LONG been a tradition in golf that there is a single set of Rules.

I believe the "bifurcation" issue is going to become a huge issue a few years from now. We saw the first hint of it with the wedge rule (where the pros were given 2 years to adopt the new rule ... and the average guy was given until 2024). I really do expect to see, in the next few years, discussions about whether there should be some seperate equipment rules for the pros vs. the amateurs. The USGA is really kind of caught ... it would NOT be good for golf to make it more difficult for amateurs to play (there's already enough troubles getting new players interested in the game). By the same token ... the pros are simply getting too good.

Just kind of babbling here ... but I think this is going to become a huge issue ...

#4 golfpros1

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:50 PM

View PostSean2, on 10 March 2012 - 06:25 PM, said:

There have been a few threads and a number of posts discussing the USGA's dialing back equipment, extremely low scores at tournaments, how far tour pros hit the ball, and the like.

IMHO one of the things all these elements have in common is that course management seems to be disappearing as an integral part of the golf game, except in the majors, or at certain venues. What was once as important as good short game is fast becoming a foot note.

What can be done? In my opinion equipment doesn't need to be dialed back and courses don't need to be made and longer, however, course architecture does need to be changed.

I think it's really quite simple. Grow the rough, narrow the fairways, shave the banks around the greens, and the like. Not all PGA venues need to be set-up like the US Open, but they can be set-up in such a way where, 1) it's not bomb and gouge, 2) course management plays an important role once again in tournament golf, 3) accuracy is just as important as length off the tee and around the greens, and 4) a pro has to think his way around the course once again.

This doesn't require changing the grooves of wedges, changing the golf ball, changing the driver, or making courses longer.

All it requires is letting the grass grow in some areas and cutting it in others (I might have read that somewhere). Okay, that maybe an oversimplification, but you get the idea.

There, was that so hard?

What do you think?


I don't think grass height will have much effect.  They only have 8 iron or less into like half the greens or more these days on 4s, and no effect on 3s, and you can lay it up for 5s.

You need to have tight tree lined courses with forced carries and smaller greens, then you even out the distance advantage.  Heritage is a good example of a "short" course that can still produce great champions (and not too many bombers win there ironically... usually precision players).

To your point, the distance game is getting a little old to watch.  It's nice to watch someone that can craft the ball around the course, and not just a 6foot 3-4 monster that hits home runs and sloppy wedges all day.  It's a part of the game that I miss watching.

They say Jack invented the bomb and gouge technique, but the way he played makes Luke Donald look like a wild man.  He played a controlled game.  These guys today play a totally different game that lacks complete control imo (not all, but too many of them for my taste).


BTW, Player was the original fitness era start, and Norman ran with it.  Tiger just copied everything Norman did via Butch advice imo, so he gets way too much credit for all this stuff about setting the fitness bar, practice drive, etc.  He just did what Norman did.

Edited by golfpros1, 10 March 2012 - 07:02 PM.


#5 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:56 PM

View PostVindog, on 10 March 2012 - 06:29 PM, said:

This is why I love events like the Heritage and courses like Innisbrook and Riviera.
Great venues Vin.

Hey...be nice.

#6 bunter101

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:03 PM

If you make the rough too long, the pro's will cry it's too 'unfair'. Remember Carnoustie 1999?

Course design(just adding length and no penalty bunkers) + Course setup < technology.

Golf is a game of accuracy and skill.. It's been turned into a game of how far you can hit it and then how accurate you are. There have always been guys that can hit a long way, but the technology in clubs mean that if they are in rough, it's not that much of a disadvantage as it used to be. Also these big long bunkers may be an easy way of covering a lot of peoples driving distances, but they are hardly a hazard in anyones book as there is practically no lip to them.

The new build courses are in the main, absolute garbage designs as they make them long to try and protect them from low scoring. In my book it's lazy. I reckon almost any seasoned golfer, with the backing that a new course gets from course design technology, COULD design a course around 6500 that would be as a test of golf equal to most championship courses.

Edited by bunter101, 10 March 2012 - 07:26 PM.


#7 MB GOLF

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:07 PM

Not sure of the age of all on here... but when was the last time you saw knock downs punch approaches and running shots up on a green once your drive lands in the rough?  

The history of the game was filled with Artists.... Those "artists" are gone (or let's say, their artistry is RARELY tapped).  Not saying today's player couldn't be a Seve (yes, he was an Artist), but due to agronomy advances, irrigation, DESIGN, and equipment... the days of watching or needing to be creative are done.  And those who missed it, missed the beauty of the game.  

Just my opinion.

Edited by MB GOLF, 10 March 2012 - 07:12 PM.


#8 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:08 PM

View Postbobfoster, on 10 March 2012 - 06:29 PM, said:

At the risk of repeating myself ... I wrote a long bit about this in another thread:

Aaahhhh ... see, I think you've hit the core of the issue. We see these guys playing courses where they play once a year. Thing is, for these courses to actually be open ... they need to be filled with (paying) amateurs for the rest of the year. Yes ... you can toughen a course for a pro event ... grow out the rough, put a back tee box in, toughen the pin placements ... but there's limits to what you can do ...

What has happened (IMO) in the past 10-15 years is that the gap between pro and amateur has gotten a LOT bigger. When I first started playing (1960s) golf wasn't really a "sport". The guys would smoke (and occasionally even drink) on the course. A lot of them were actually in terrible shape. Due to Tiger (and a few others) ... we're in a new era. A lot of these younger guys are spending as much time in the gym as pro baseball or basketball players do. And the technology they train with is just amazing. Even aspect of the swing is analzed, adjusted, and refined. The result? The average amateur is often happy with a drive of 220 (not much of a change from two decades ago) ... and half the pros take a 5 iron from 220 ... and for the best ...  hell, I saw several 300+ yard 3Ws today for goodness sake (that's just sick).

So ... this divergance is naturally bringing up two issues: First, you can try to make the courses tougher. Problem is (as I mentioned) ... there's limits to how far back you can move tee boxes, or how many weeks you close before a tourney to grow the rough out to punishing levels. Doral (for instance) is a huge tourist destination. It doesn't stay in business because of the week of this tourney ...

Second ... if we're reaching a limit on how much adjustment can be done to courses, you can try to address equipment (yes, a single restriction on a ball would negate the need to build a new tee box 75 yards back for a tourney) ... thing is, it has LONG been a tradition in golf that there is a single set of Rules.

I believe the "bifurcation" issue is going to become a huge issue a few years from now. We saw the first hint of it with the wedge rule (where the pros were given 2 years to adopt the new rule ... and the average guy was given until 2024). I really do expect to see, in the next few years, discussions about whether there should be some seperate equipment rules for the pros vs. the amateurs. The USGA is really kind of caught ... it would NOT be good for golf to make it more difficult for amateurs to play (there's already enough troubles getting new players interested in the game). By the same token ... the pros are simply getting too good.

Just kind of babbling here ... but I think this is going to become a huge issue ...
Bob, you raise some great issues, and frankly a couple I didn't even think about. For example, getting a course "tour" ready. That would hose the average golfer at a tourist destination, and those destinations wouldn't want to lose any income. Unless they could tout a tour ready course as an "attraction". :-)

If the USGA does dial back the equipment for the professionals it would be suicide for the game to do it for the amateurs. As you say, it's tough enough attracting new players, and despite the new technology golfers haven't really improved in the past two decades.

I don't know how they can make courses longer. Not everyone on tour can hit it 300 plus yards. I'd hate to see golf become a "long drive" tour. I still like to see course management, finesse, accuracy, and the like as part of the game, not just raw power.
Hey...be nice.

#9 golfpros1

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:12 PM

short courses with high rough do nothing but guarantee that a bomber probably wins unless a short hitter is spot on perfect

long courses with high rough do nothing but guarantee that only a bomber wins

short courses with tight thickly tree lined fairways and small greens guarantees a great ball striker wins

long courses with tight thickly tree lined fairways and small greens guarantees a bomber with great ball striking wins


it doesn't take length, and it doesn't take rough, and imo, adding those two things creates the opposite effect of what you want.  exception yes, but you get the point.  Rough and Length don't work, and we've got 20 years of course design to prove that.

People ask, why do they design courses without all the trees these days? That's easy, it costs more to make the course because you have to cut down half a forest to make the course, and environmental groups will have a heart attack. So they build courses in the middle of an open field, then plant a couple of random trees.  then you end up with the golf we see these days.... just saying.

Edited by golfpros1, 10 March 2012 - 07:25 PM.


#10 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:15 PM

View Postgolfpros1, on 10 March 2012 - 06:50 PM, said:

View PostSean2, on 10 March 2012 - 06:25 PM, said:

There have been a few threads and a number of posts discussing the USGA's dialing back equipment, extremely low scores at tournaments, how far tour pros hit the ball, and the like.

IMHO one of the things all these elements have in common is that course management seems to be disappearing as an integral part of the golf game, except in the majors, or at certain venues. What was once as important as good short game is fast becoming a foot note.

What can be done? In my opinion equipment doesn't need to be dialed back and courses don't need to be made and longer, however, course architecture does need to be changed.

I think it's really quite simple. Grow the rough, narrow the fairways, shave the banks around the greens, and the like. Not all PGA venues need to be set-up like the US Open, but they can be set-up in such a way where, 1) it's not bomb and gouge, 2) course management plays an important role once again in tournament golf, 3) accuracy is just as important as length off the tee and around the greens, and 4) a pro has to think his way around the course once again.

This doesn't require changing the grooves of wedges, changing the golf ball, changing the driver, or making courses longer.

All it requires is letting the grass grow in some areas and cutting it in others (I might have read that somewhere). Okay, that maybe an oversimplification, but you get the idea.

There, was that so hard?

What do you think?


I don't think grass height will have much effect.  They only have 8 iron or less into like half the greens or more these days on 4s, and no effect on 3s, and you can lay it up for 5s.

You need to have tight tree lined courses with forced carries and smaller greens, then you even out the distance advantage.  Heritage is a good example of a "short" course that can still produce great champions (and not too many bombers win there ironically... usually precision players).

To your point, the distance game is getting a little old to watch.  It's nice to watch someone that can craft the ball around the course, and not just a 6foot 3-4 monster that hits home runs and sloppy wedges all day.  It's a part of the game that I miss watching.

They say Jack invented the bomb and gouge technique, but the way he played makes Luke Donald look like a wild man.  He played a controlled game.  These guys today play a totally different game that lacks complete control imo (not all, but too many of them for my taste).


BTW, Player was the original fitness era start, and Norman ran with it.  Tiger just copied everything Norman did via Butch advice imo, so he gets way too much credit for all this stuff about setting the fitness bar, practice drive, etc.  He just did what Norman did.
I agree with you. Reading your post I'm reminded of Donald Ross designed courses. We have a number of them in my area. You really have to think your way around (well I do anyway). Lots of trees, corners to go around, small greens. Donald Ross was a wiley craftsman and an artist.

Hey...be nice.

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#11 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:17 PM

View Postbunter101, on 10 March 2012 - 07:03 PM, said:

If you make the rough too long, the pro's will cry it's too 'unfair'. Remember Carnoustie 1999?

Course design(just adding length and no penalty bunkers) + Course setup < technology
I remember, but my question at the time was if they all have to play it how can it be unfair?
Hey...be nice.

#12 PGArox

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:20 PM

Courses like Valderrama and Harbour Town are often sited in disussions like these.  The problem, however, is that those two courses...and courses like those two...represent a small percentage of the total courses available for the pros.

Furthermore, you can't play Harbour Town golf every week.  Part of its attraction is that we see it so rarely.  And would the players really want to play that style course all the time?

Regarding course set-up, there are limits to how far you can take it.  At what length does rough become too penal?  How narrow can fairways be before it becomes a joke?  How hard (firm) can greens get before they cease rewarding well-executed shots?

Remember, golf should be fun, for both the players and observers.  No one desires to get beat up week after week.

Also remember that a great course tests every skill and every club, including the driver.  It is unwise to take the driver out of the players' hands, or limit the options to use it.

Donald Ross was once asked, of all the singular shots in golf, which one most reveals a high level of skill and talent.  His answer was the ability to hit a long iron, unteed, accurately and consistently.

This is why I believe length is very important.  You must not take driver out of the players' hands, but you also must challenge today's pros with a much greater number of 4-iron and 3-iron approaches into par 4's.

#13 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:23 PM

View PostMB GOLF, on 10 March 2012 - 07:07 PM, said:

Not sure of the age of all on here... but when was the last time you saw knock downs punch approaches and running shots up on a green once your drive lands in the rough?  

The history of the game was filled with Artists.... Those "artists" are gone (or let's say, their artistry is RARELY tapped).  Not saying today's player couldn't be a Seve (yes, he was an Artist), but due to agronomy advances, irrigation, DESIGN, and equipment... the days of watching or needing to be creative are done.  And those who missed it, missed the beauty of the game.  

Just my opinion.
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Hey...be nice.

#14 Vindog

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:26 PM

View PostPGArox, on 10 March 2012 - 07:20 PM, said:

Courses like Valderrama and Harbour Town are often sited in disussions like these.  The problem, however, is that those two courses...and courses like those two...represent a small percentage of the total courses available for the pros.

Furthermore, you can't play Harbour Town golf every week.  Part of its attraction is that we see it so rarely.  And would the players really want to play that style course all the time?



Yeah I agree.
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#15 golfpros1

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:28 PM

I learned the game with one iron in a hay field, and you had to figure out how to get the ball to do what you wanted.  Today, players can't even figure out how to get the ball close if they are "in between clubs".  Seve could play the whole course with a 5 iron if he wanted to.... that's golf!


#16 Vindog

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:28 PM

maybe a tangent here, but bunkers aren't even hazards anymore.  Players hit INTO bunkers rather than rough many times.

Jack tries at the Memorial to make them had to get out of, but there's only so much you can do
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#17 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:32 PM

View Postgolfpros1, on 10 March 2012 - 07:12 PM, said:

short courses with high rough do nothing but guarantee that a bomber probably wins unless a short hitter is spot on perfect

long courses with high rough do nothing but guarantee that only a bomber wins

short courses with tight thickly tree lined fairways and small greens guarantees a great ball striker wins

long courses with tight thickly tree lined fairways and small greens guarantees a bomber with great ball striking wins


it doesn't take length, and it doesn't take rough, and imo, adding those two things creates the opposite effect of what you want.  exception yes, but you get the point.  Rough and Length don't work, and we've got 20 years of course design to prove that.

People ask, why do they design courses without all the trees these days? That's easy, it costs more to make the course because you have to cut down half a forest to make the course, and environmental groups will have a heart attack. So they build courses in the middle of an open field, then plant a couple of random trees.  then you end up with the golf we see these days.... just saying.
I understand what you're saying, but don't know if I necessarily agree. For example, if the rough is thick enough the bomber may not be able to get to the green, where the accurate shorter hitter may have the advantage. There are too many variables. But you do bring up some interesting scenarios.
Hey...be nice.

#18 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:37 PM

View PostPGArox, on 10 March 2012 - 07:20 PM, said:

Courses like Valderrama and Harbour Town are often sited in disussions like these.  The problem, however, is that those two courses...and courses like those two...represent a small percentage of the total courses available for the pros.

Furthermore, you can't play Harbour Town golf every week.  Part of its attraction is that we see it so rarely.  And would the players really want to play that style course all the time?

Regarding course set-up, there are limits to how far you can take it.  At what length does rough become too penal?  How narrow can fairways be before it becomes a joke?  How hard (firm) can greens get before they cease rewarding well-executed shots?

Remember, golf should be fun, for both the players and observers.  No one desires to get beat up week after week.

Also remember that a great course tests every skill and every club, including the driver.  It is unwise to take the driver out of the players' hands, or limit the options to use it.

Donald Ross was once asked, of all the singular shots in golf, which one most reveals a high level of skill and talent.  His answer was the ability to hit a long iron, unteed, accurately and consistently.

This is why I believe length is very important.  You must not take driver out of the players' hands, but you also must challenge today's pros with a much greater number of 4-iron and 3-iron approaches into par 4's.
Agreed. Not often do we see players hitting long irons into greens. I have no interest in seeing professionals getting beat up week after week, I'd would just like to see a bit more strategy involved in the professional ranks.
Hey...be nice.

#19 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:40 PM

View Postgolfpros1, on 10 March 2012 - 07:28 PM, said:

I learned the game with one iron in a hay field, and you had to figure out how to get the ball to do what you wanted.  Today, players can't even figure out how to get the ball close if they are "in between clubs".  Seve could play the whole course with a 5 iron if he wanted to.... that's golf!
I read somewhere he learned to play golf with only one club because that's all he had. Obviously you came from the same school. :-)
Hey...be nice.

#20 bunter101

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:46 PM

View PostVindog, on 10 March 2012 - 07:28 PM, said:

maybe a tangent here, but bunkers aren't even hazards anymore.  Players hit INTO bunkers rather than rough many times.

Jack tries at the Memorial to make them had to get out of, but there's only so much you can do

Not a tangent at all Vindog. I expanded my original post to encompass this.
These fairway bunkers that cover 30,40,50 yards are in the most part a complete waste of sand. There is no real lip on them so it may limit your yardage down but they aren't a penalty or a hazard. Go to a proper links course and it's a punishment when you go in them.


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#21 golfpros1

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:48 PM

View PostSean2, on 10 March 2012 - 07:32 PM, said:

View Postgolfpros1, on 10 March 2012 - 07:12 PM, said:

short courses with high rough do nothing but guarantee that a bomber probably wins unless a short hitter is spot on perfect

long courses with high rough do nothing but guarantee that only a bomber wins

short courses with tight thickly tree lined fairways and small greens guarantees a great ball striker wins

long courses with tight thickly tree lined fairways and small greens guarantees a bomber with great ball striking wins


it doesn't take length, and it doesn't take rough, and imo, adding those two things creates the opposite effect of what you want.  exception yes, but you get the point.  Rough and Length don't work, and we've got 20 years of course design to prove that.

People ask, why do they design courses without all the trees these days? That's easy, it costs more to make the course because you have to cut down half a forest to make the course, and environmental groups will have a heart attack. So they build courses in the middle of an open field, then plant a couple of random trees.  then you end up with the golf we see these days.... just saying.
I understand what you're saying, but don't know if I necessarily agree. For example, if the rough is thick enough the bomber may not be able to get to the green, where the accurate shorter hitter may have the advantage. There are too many variables. But you do bring up some interesting scenarios.

I agree with you, providing they are hitting over a 8 iron... problem is they don't all the time these days.  I played some crazy us open rough at torrey one time, and you literally could not advance the ball more then 100 yards on any swing, and zero control and spin.  maybe if they played us open rough each weak, but I don't think they'll go that far.

#22 MtlJeff

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:50 PM

to me, the most absolutely comical thing about "purists" and retired-greats-turned-course-designers-who-now-complain-people-hit-it-too-far (read into that what you will), is that this is a problem that was 100% created by they themselves. Look in the mirror, course architects and USGA setup committees!

There is this theory that's been kicking around for quite some time now known as darwinism. The gist of it is that living things will adapt to their surroundings in order to prosper. Now for golfers, once Tiger Woods came onto the scene and courses started getting "tiger proofed" (oops i mean set up so that only Tiger could win because the courses now required the exact thing he was better then everyone else at), it became pretty apparent that to succeed on tour you needed to start bombing the ball. So pros hit the gym, kids in college hit the gym, shafts got longer, heads got bigger etc etc etc....And now we keep lengthening courses and then acting shocked when people keep hitting it further

I made this comment in another thread about a year ago. Let's say all food on earth was on 10 foot high shelves.....100 years from now, do you think the average vertical leap of humans will be a lot higher?

Shortening the courses and doing things that the OP suggests is the only real way to solve the distance "problem". No, Bubba wouldn't win every event on a 7000yd course by hammering drives 350yds. Because instead of having 230yds in Brian Gay would now have an 8 iron in hand from the fairway. Make 7000yds the max distance of a tour event and kiss guys like Bubba goodbye over time

Edited by MtlJeff, 10 March 2012 - 07:56 PM.

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#23 bunter101

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:52 PM

View PostSean2, on 10 March 2012 - 07:40 PM, said:

View Postgolfpros1, on 10 March 2012 - 07:28 PM, said:

I learned the game with one iron in a hay field, and you had to figure out how to get the ball to do what you wanted.  Today, players can't even figure out how to get the ball close if they are "in between clubs".  Seve could play the whole course with a 5 iron if he wanted to.... that's golf!
I read somewhere he learned to play golf with only one club because that's all he had. Obviously you came from the same school. :-)

He used to play on the beach with a 5 iron head he found and shaft he made with a bit of wood.

I'm pretty sure there was a tv program when i was a kid and it was basically a 1 club challenge. I'm sure Seve with a 5 iron springs to mind. A slightly older UK resident may be able to shed some light on it.

#24 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:57 PM

View Postgolfpros1, on 10 March 2012 - 07:48 PM, said:

View PostSean2, on 10 March 2012 - 07:32 PM, said:

View Postgolfpros1, on 10 March 2012 - 07:12 PM, said:

short courses with high rough do nothing but guarantee that a bomber probably wins unless a short hitter is spot on perfect

long courses with high rough do nothing but guarantee that only a bomber wins

short courses with tight thickly tree lined fairways and small greens guarantees a great ball striker wins

long courses with tight thickly tree lined fairways and small greens guarantees a bomber with great ball striking wins


it doesn't take length, and it doesn't take rough, and imo, adding those two things creates the opposite effect of what you want.  exception yes, but you get the point.  Rough and Length don't work, and we've got 20 years of course design to prove that.

People ask, why do they design courses without all the trees these days? That's easy, it costs more to make the course because you have to cut down half a forest to make the course, and environmental groups will have a heart attack. So they build courses in the middle of an open field, then plant a couple of random trees.  then you end up with the golf we see these days.... just saying.
I understand what you're saying, but don't know if I necessarily agree. For example, if the rough is thick enough the bomber may not be able to get to the green, where the accurate shorter hitter may have the advantage. There are too many variables. But you do bring up some interesting scenarios.

I agree with you, providing they are hitting over a 8 iron... problem is they don't all the time these days.  I played some crazy us open rough at torrey one time, and you literally could not advance the ball more then 100 yards on any swing, and zero control and spin.  maybe if they played us open rough each weak, but I don't think they'll go that far.
I don't think they will either. But, perhaps make it more interesting?
Hey...be nice.

#25 MB GOLF

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:59 PM

Look... this "issue" we're discussing is the net result of ONE thing that occurred in 1982.  Can anyone guess?

Take a shot...


If you came up with an answer that is related in any way with the initials, T  P  C  and the C didn't mean Championship.  You got it.

When the tour saw the "OHHHH MYYYYYYY" reaction of fright to THEIR new golf course by the golfing and non golfing public, they scratched their chins and said to each other across the big oak desk, "Simthers, we might be on to something".... It was a freak show.  Remember?  People didn't care what they shot, they just HAD to play it.  And the tour said, "we could have more of these.  Get me more overseed, water the piss out of them to keep them greener than another course on tour, toss in some mounds, firm bunkers, rail road ties, etc.... after all, if it worked in Jacksonville... it will work anywhere".  And from there, every designer set out to capture a bit of Pete Dye's "stuff".... don't believe me?, what came next?  You got it, a big ol' PGA West, complete with every big name in the business.... all sterile tracks with one way to play them, hit ball from A to B... hit ball in bowl C, birdie.  Miss bowl C and you are getting "aaahhhh, OHHHHHH's" from the gallery of peanuts.  

Soon after, a lot of great courses disappeared from the tour and replaced by some TPC at Whatever.  Atlanta played a GREAT track for years... it was the OG course of the TPC Championship and home to the Atlanta Classic... replace by a course that has TPC in the name and that didn't last long.... The Nelson was a better tournament at Preston Trails.  I am sure there were politics involved for leaving, but the Sports Club was a second rate track until recently when they actually gave it a finish.  Those holes sucked for years.  The Trail was a better track.

All the TPC's in Carolina. Conneticut, New York.... Blahhhh, sterile pigs compared to those courses replaced.  Hell, the Honda has burned through 2 TPC piglets in 10 years.

When the TOUR became a development company, the game became Bang a Rooo Banzi.

Again, just my opinion.

Edited by MB GOLF, 10 March 2012 - 08:07 PM.


#26 Vindog

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:05 PM

View PostMB GOLF, on 10 March 2012 - 07:59 PM, said:

Look... this "issue" we're discussing is the net result of ONE thing that occurred in 1982.  Can anyone guess?

Take a shot...


If you came up with an answer that is related in any way with the initials, T  P  C  and the C didn't mean Championship.  You got it.

When the tour saw the "OHHHH MYYYYYYY" reaction of fright to THEIR new golf course by the golfing and non golfing public, they scratched their chins and said to each other across the big oak desk, "Simthers, we might be on to something".... It was a freak show.  Remember?  People didn't care what they shot, they just HAD to play it.  And the tour said, "we could have more of these.  Get me more overseed, water the piss out of them to keep them greener than another course on tour, toss in some mounds, firm bunkers, rail road ties, etc.... after all, if it worked in Jacksonville... it will work anywhere".  And from there, every designer set out to capture a bit of Pete Dye's "stuff".... don't believe me?, what came next?  You got it, a big ol' PGA West, complete with every big name in the business.... all sterile tracks with one way to play them, hit ball from A to B... hit ball in bowl C, birdie.  Miss bowl C and you are getting "aaahhhh, OHHHHHH's" from the gallery of peanuts.  

Soon after, a lot of great courses disappeared from the tour and replaced by some TPC at Whatever.  Atlanta played a GREAT track for years... it was the OG course of the TPC Championship and home to the Atlanta Classic... replace by a course that has TPC in the name and that didn't last long.... The Nelson was a better tournament at Preston Trails.  I am sure there were politics involved for leaving, but the Sports Club was a second rate track until recently when they actually gave it a finish.  Those holes sucked for years.  The Trail was a better track.

All the TPC's in Carolina. Conneticut, New York.... Blahhhh, sterile pigs compared to those courses replaced.

When the TOUR became a development company, the game became Bang a Rooo Banzi.

Again, just my opinion.
I'll have to take your word for it on the historical accuracy...

...but that was a fun post to read  :drinks:
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#27 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:08 PM

View PostMtlJeff, on 10 March 2012 - 07:50 PM, said:

to me, the most absolutely comical thing about "purists" and retired-greats-turned-course-designers-who-now-complain-people-hit-it-too-far (read into that what you will), is that this is a problem that was 100% created by they themselves. Look in the mirror, course architects and USGA setup committees!

There is this theory that's been kicking around for quite some time now known as darwinism. The gist of it is that living things will adapt to their surroundings in order to prosper. Now for golfers, once Tiger Woods came onto the scene and courses started getting "tiger proofed" (oops i mean set up so that only Tiger could win because the courses now required the exact thing he was better then everyone else at), it became pretty apparent that to succeed on tour you needed to start bombing the ball. So pros hit the gym, kids in college hit the gym, shafts got longer, heads got bigger etc etc etc....And now we keep lengthening courses and then acting shocked when people keep hitting it further

I made this comment in another thread about a year ago. Let's say all food on earth was on 10 foot high shelves.....100 years from now, do you think the average vertical leap of humans will be a lot higher?

Shortening the courses and doing things that the OP suggests is the only real way to solve the distance "problem". No, Bubba wouldn't win every event on a 7000yd course by hammering drives 350yds. Because instead of having 230yds in Brian Gay would now have an 8 iron in hand from the fairway. Make 7000yds the max distance of a tour event and kiss guys like Bubba goodbye over time
And, Jeff, that would be a great equalizer. I know I didn't articulate it as well as I wanted to, but I don't want to see professional golf reduced to only those can hit it 350 yards off the tee, but that's where it's headed. Everyone, everyone talks about how important a great short game is, but all anyone cares about is distance.  

Your Darwinistic analogy is a good one. I just hope it doesn't end up being applied to golf.
Hey...be nice.

#28 bobfoster

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:09 PM

All in all, I fully agree with what you're saying. Not just in terms of watching, but in playing too. It is probably because I'm now in my 50s ... I'm simply not as long as I once was (the body changes over time, no matter what you do, you lose flexibility and muscle strength - it is inevitable). However, I can still manage a single digit cap, and often beat guys a lot longer, because age also delivers a lot of experience ... course management because a huge compensating factor. I just don't make stupid mistakes anymore (god, thinking back to some of the shots I tried in my twenties almost cracks me up ... ;)). Risk/reward shots are made based on rationality, not testosterone.

I love courses that give preference to judgement and shot making over pure raw distance ... both to play, and watch. Not saying it is not fun to watch Bubba hit a drive 350 yards ... but bomb-and-gouge is not the same precision game I loved watching a couple of decades ago.

Same thing, in fact, has happened with tennis. I used to watch Conners and McEnroe have the 30 - 40 shot volleys that would go on all over the court. Then, equipment and conditioning changed ... these days, guys are hitting serves 130, 140 MPH. A great number of points are over in two or three shots.

I'm just not sure there's a solution to this.

#29 Sean2

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:28 PM

I'm in my mid-50s as well. Last year I played in a team match play event. My partner was (is) in his late 50s. We made it to the finals. Our championship match was against two youngsters in their early 20s that could easily out drive us by 70 yards.

However, we won the match after 21 holes. Why? Course management and a better short game. They were good golfers, we just stayed patient.

Golf is, and should be, a multifaceted game. Had they, and me and my partner, been touring professionals, they undoubtedly would have won. We wouldn't have been able to compete against that kind of distance disparity. If the course set up was a bit more "difficult" we might have had a chance.
Hey...be nice.

#30 Sing Golfer

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:31 PM

View PostSean2, on 10 March 2012 - 06:25 PM, said:

There have been a few threads and a number of posts discussing the USGA's dialing back equipment, extremely low scores at tournaments, how far tour pros hit the ball, and the like.

IMHO one of the things all these elements have in common is that course management seems to be disappearing as an integral part of the golf game, except in the majors, or at certain venues. What was once as important as good short game is fast becoming a foot note.

What can be done? In my opinion equipment doesn't need to be dialed back and courses don't need to be made and longer, however, course architecture does need to be changed.

I think it's really quite simple. Grow the rough, narrow the fairways, shave the banks around the greens, and the like. Not all PGA venues need to be set-up like the US Open, but they can be set-up in such a way where, 1) it's not bomb and gouge, 2) course management plays an important role once again in tournament golf, 3) accuracy is just as important as length off the tee and around the greens, and 4) a pro has to think his way around the course once again.

This doesn't require changing the grooves of wedges, changing the golf ball, changing the driver, or making courses longer.

All it requires is letting the grass grow in some areas and cutting it in others (I might have read that somewhere). Okay, that maybe an oversimplification, but you get the idea.

There, was that so hard?

What do you think?

I think the answer is even simpler - change the courses.

The vast majority of events are played on resort courses (often TPC). The vast majority of the best events are played on 'proper' golf courses. Riviera, Muirfield Village etc.

Of course, this is not in the PGA's interest, so it won't happen.  

We are in the middle of the Florida swing with boring, boring courses that don't really look any different week to week.

Simple solution - won't happen though.




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