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Barney Adams on changing the golf ball to reduce distance

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The subject has been bandied about for years—a shorter ball, two balls one for the tour and one for amateurs. I will unequivocally state that I’m 100 percent against either approach. 

The first reason is historical and maybe the weakest. Golf is one of the few games where amateurs can play the same equipment, same courses lacking only the skills of the professionals. It’s this relationship that has been a significant factor in driving participation of the financial backbone of amateur golf.

To cop an old phrase, “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” Further, if something is done that essentially makes courses play longer, it’s playing with fire. The game has lost thousands of its most loyal participants over the last 20 years and making courses longer and more difficult isn’t on page one of the manual to change that trend.

The second and much stronger reason is basic economics. There are companies that have invested tens if not hundreds of millions over the years to produce optimally performing golf balls within the posted rules. Their efforts are closely examined by the enforcers of the rules and not put to market without a passing grade. To say to them, “Well the game has changed; what you’ve done is no longer applicable. Here are the new rules.” Further, these rules have the effect of making ball-to-ball performance very similar so that market advantage you have so carefully cultivated will be greatly diminished. I cannot fathom this approach without foreseeing it as the basis of lawsuits for years to come. You could make the same argument if there were to be a similar approach on the club side.

The same would apply to players. I hire a trainer, spend hours working out, eating carefully, all with the same objective: to gain an advantage by being able to drive the ball well past my players. Now you want to change the ground rules and eliminate my advantage—let me introduce you to my attorney. 

So, what’s the next step? 8,500-9,000 yard tour courses—that is if they have room—strategically placed pot bunkers, essentially a one-stroke penalty, tricking up landing areas making luck too significant.

Or a subtle but very effective procedure. Back in my very early days, golf balls were balata, and I remember two things. If you looked at them funny, they responded with a smile, the kind that made them unputtable. Subsequent designs went from rocks to today’s ball—delightfully stable but still completely playable. Huge drives on Tour today are fades that straighten out hitting fairways with forward roll.

Never happened in the old days. Fades were soft, landed, and didn’t go very far. Slices were fades out of control, and while undesirable, they had a chance of being found and played. Hooks were anathema, the shot makers hit draws and got the advantage of extra roll. When draws became hooks more often than not they did not finish in a desirable area. “You can talk to fades and draws; hooks don’t listen.”

This was all relative to the high spin rate produced by the balata ball. And therein lies the path to my solution. I’m not advocating a return to balata. I’m saying today’s ball making expertise can produce a ball that loses nothing in distance but adds spin, which is a way of saying it emphasizes shotmaking. This may be as direct as changing the dimple pattern.

This change would strike directly to the heart of the long hitter who naturally produces the most spin. He (or she) could not simply depend on clubhead speed—it would have to be balanced by shotmaking skill. We aren’t changing the course, we aren’t producing a short-hitting ball, we are emphasizing shotmaking. No distance loss for amateurs, just more understanding that it’s about controlling your ball.

We retain the good things about the game without a lawsuit infested upheaval.  

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Barney Adams is the founder of Adams Golf and the inventor of the iconic "Tight Lies" fairway wood. He served as Chairman of the Board for Adams until 2012, when the company was purchased by TaylorMade-Adidas. Adams is one of golf's most distinguished entrepreneurs, receiving honors such as Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1999 and the 2010 Ernie Sabayrac Award for lifetime contribution to the golf industry by the PGA of America. His journey in the golf industry started as as a club fitter, however, and has the epoxy filled shirts as a testimony to his days as an assembler. Have an equipment question? Adams holds seven patents on club design and has conducted research on every club in the bag. He welcomes your equipment questions through email at [email protected] Adams is now retired from the golf equipment industry, but his passion for the game endures through his writing. He is the author of "The WOW Factor," a book published in 2008 that offers an insider's view of the golf industry and business advice to entrepreneurs, and he continues to contribute articles to outlets like GolfWRX that offer his solutions to grow the game of golf.

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Brysoon McFaldough

    Dec 17, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    I have the best and simplest solution: determine the winner of every tournament based on the player with the lowest number of strokes. That way, driving the ball far isn’t the only metric, it’s an advantage only balanced by irons, wedges, short game and putting. And a course can’t be “obsolete”, because whether the ball is driven 250 or 350, whether the approach is 5 iron or SW, everyone plays the same course and can use the same equipment, the difference being their ability and effort.

    Oh, right, that’s what it already is.

    • Maximillian

      Dec 17, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      Brysoon,

      you’re a doofus. Any player who can drive it past 300 should be penalized. Who cares is that’s natural ability or hard work? Shorter hitters have a disadvantage and course designers’ egos are being damaged beyond repair. Who will protect the egos of the private club members whose courses are no longer “too tough for the pros”?

      Any player who drives it past 300 should get a 2 stroke penalty (and a $10,000 fine paid to the course architect). Any player who can’t hit it 300 should get a free drop at the 150 marker.

      Also, grow the rough to 2′ and make any grooves on wedges illegal.

      Also, ban all players over 6’2″ and body fat less than 25%.

  2. Keith

    Dec 17, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    What about having a specially made golf ball for major tournament only similar to tennis.

  3. Keith

    Dec 17, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    You say “Golf is one of the few games where amateurs can play the same equipment”. I beg to differ here because pros clubs particularly drivers are made exactly to the pros specifications. These drivers yo don’t find in the pro shop or golf store.

    • Maximillian

      Dec 19, 2020 at 1:54 am

      Amateurs CAN play the same equipment; there are plenty of clubfitters who can build you a club to tour specs. You can have a putter made to your exact specs from scratch.

      Being too cheap to do it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

  4. George

    Dec 17, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    The PGA is trying to ruin golf. People want to see the low scores and want to use the same equipment to see how they compare. Who cares if they shoot 40 under? Seriously? Old dudes gonna ruin the game. Rhinos.

  5. Ken Moum

    Dec 17, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Barney, as the USGA proved in 1930 when they increased the size of the ball to its current 1.68″ and dropped the weight to 1.55 oz.

    The resulting product was called the “balloon ball” and the weight was quickly put back at 1.62 oz. But those were wound balata balls.

    With today’s balls a lighter standard would do everything you’re asking for. As clubhead speeds went up, the ball would curve more.

    But the REAL benefit is that it would make it easier for Jr. golfers, women and seniors to get the ball airborne and keep it airborne. It might even increase their distance.

  6. greg

    Dec 16, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    Kyle

    You nailed it. This is only an issue in tournament golf. All others need not apply.
    For select tournaments, no drivers allowed, a two wood or other fairway wood as a tee shot option.
    Please leave the ball alone.

  7. matt

    Dec 16, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Is Barney doing ok? Just wondering if someone in his inner circle needs to have an intervention. Did he just argue (and I’m honestly asking, this is incomprehensible drivel) that we cannot change the ball, but we need to change the ball.

    • Bsrney Adams

      Dec 16, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      I now hold the record for most interventions that haven’t worked My regular golf buds dropped me. Playing as a single, early evening tee time.

  8. don

    Dec 16, 2020 at 11:17 am

    oldandgrey I would leave everything alone. when Bryson starts to win every week then maybe do something. Been playing on and off since 1961. The problem is with the average golfer trying to be something that will never happen. everything is distance. Now that my drives are mostly all under 200 yds I started to use forward tees. now golf is fun again. every oldtimer I know inflates his game must be a mental defect with the truth. every time I play younger or older I’m almost eighty, in the club they all drive it 230 to 250 or so but on the course they hit it under 200 or off to the right or off to the left. One of the biggest problems is men trying to be what will never happen. Just go out use the forward tees and have fun..

  9. Kyle EricSon

    Dec 16, 2020 at 2:25 am

    So my solution is slightly different … limit the number of clubs to only 12. I don’t think most pro’s would want to eliminate any of their short irons or wedges, so maybe they’d eliminate a couple of the longer clubs (driver, utility iron, 2 iron, etc.) and then tee off with 2 or 3 woods. Of course these guys still bomb 3 woods but it would reign in the distances somewhat. Just my two cents …

  10. happyday_j

    Dec 15, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    If the only move is by increasing spin on the golf ball, that will only make the game easier.

    Guys will just play a lower spinning driver head to get the same launch characteristics that they have now. So distance of the tee being reduced by spin get negligible.

    However now your increasing spin on all other shot, which therefore means more control, sort of like when then tried to reduce spin by changing the grooves…

    • 2over

      Dec 15, 2020 at 10:53 pm

      Brilliant. Having grown up playing balata balls I’ve long maintained this is the way. in the 80’s, early 90’s a really good player could take the spin off the long clubs and hit draws for distance. Guys who merely had clubhead speed saw a lot of up shooting spinners that went nowhere especially into the wind.

      You could make a ball that would still go far for the player who can hit up on the driver with a square face and minimize spin…

    • Johnny5

      Feb 26, 2021 at 1:34 pm

      Wrong. Having a driver that spins less means you are playing either lower lofts or a driver with forward CG. Either of those options decrease backspin, but INCREASE sidespin. Add in a ball with more spin to that and it will be very difficult to hit the ball straight. Old clubs could work around this with the higher gear effect but today’s clubs have much less gear effect to work with.

  11. Tim

    Dec 15, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Easiest way to control distance is to limit the tee height when teeing up the ball. This is equivalent to MLB lowering the mound height to get more action from the hitters. I’ve seen some videos address tee height and there can be 15 yd difference between teeing the ball low vs high. It’s a cheap answer that doesn’t cause mass rollbacks of the club or ball.

  12. Lg

    Dec 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Just ignore the ball. Go back to the rule we had in the early 2000’s where am’s were playing Hi-Cor drivers and pro’s weren’t. In other words reduce the CT for the pro’s drivers, 3 woods and driving irons. They’ll still look cosmetically the same as those played by recreational golfers, but just with thicker clubfaces. There’s 20 yards straight away. Then go to a 44″ shaft limit, again it won’t affect sales because a company can still say that this pro plays this or that etc etc.
    Then for gods sake can we slow the fairways down, just do what the do at Augusta, slightly thicker fairways grown back towards the tee…and no this won’t favour the player who carries it further because all the evidence suggest that the like of Rory, Bryson get more roll after the ball has landed. Put these together and you have 20-30 yards and the game is relevant again!

  13. ben

    Dec 15, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    I think you miss the point when adressing the problem this way. If you play shorter, the game becomes even harder for the short hitters… The only way to made it fair is either to limit swing speed with radars (and give a penalty each time the radar bips) or put more obstacles and penalty areas betwin 320 and 370 yards…

  14. Peter Steward

    Dec 15, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Never understood why that problem is so difficult to solve. Just don’t cut the fairway in the driver landing zone from 300 – 330 yards two weeks in advance of a PGA tournament. Every player will avoid hitting driver on those wholes. Problem solved. Cut the grass monday morning after the tournament and members and guests can play on as usual. Shorter balls are not the way to go. Ever hit balls on a range that had these 20% or 30% length reduced balls because the range is too short in size? Been on a range in Dublin that had 50% reduced length balls. Total crap, everybody hates that. For a reason, it is just no fun.

  15. USGA would-be

    Dec 15, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    This is stupid. Just mandate a condition of competition that you must play with a 60-compression ball. This goes away immediately.

    • matt

      Dec 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      yup… long hitter would still be long – although the gap would narrow… we could play faster, find stray shots quicker, reduce course size, reduce maintenance costs. If you’re the longest hitter in your group you’ll retain your status – people would adjust in about 2 weeks. Don’t get why people shudder at the idea. Really short hitters wouldn’t even lose distance, a lower compression ball is what they need anyhow.

  16. Kevin Ricciardelli

    Dec 15, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Another way to reduce distance among the fastest swingers is to limit the size of the clubheads. I don’t think that Bryson would want to swing that hard with a 275 or 300 cc driver head. Far less MOI means less control.

  17. Jon

    Dec 15, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    Make the cup smaller for the pros.

  18. gordy3279

    Dec 15, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    here’s a pretty simple fix. Keep the ball the same but require pros to play smaller heads and steel shafts in all their clubs. Like baseball between college and the pros. College baseball players play aluminum bats and pros play wooded. The ball is the same. I guarantee if the pros played smaller heads with steel shafts swing speeds would go down. No way you get 130+ swing speed with a 275cc head and a steel shaft.

  19. Statmagic

    Dec 15, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Which golf ball manufacturer is going to the be the first to say “our ball doesn’t go as far”?

    What exactly is the total available market for those who purchase that ball? I’m going to venture a guess and say there is no market for that ball.

  20. Ben

    Dec 15, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Making the ball balata again won’t do much. About 15 years ago, my friend found some Tour Balata 90s in his dad’s garage so we took them out. This was peak Pro V1 years, which hasn’t changed if you’ve seen videos online. The ball did spin more but the distance wasn’t all that different. With the driver maybe 10 yards, irons were about 5. But the short game was so much easier because you can spin the heck out of it. I don’t see how rolling back the ball or putting limits on the dimples will do anything. A dimpleless golf ball flies really straight. So now you’re giving the big hitters even more advantage by limiting the dimple pattern. Just let golf be golf. People are playing like crazy, even in a pandemic and people are watching it on tv too. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  21. Statmagic

    Dec 15, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Barney poking that snake with a stick.

    I guess everyone is just bored these days and need to rehash the same old stuff.

  22. Scott Shields

    Dec 15, 2020 at 11:47 am

    The solution is easy:

    Grow out the rough ….

    Soften fairways …

    Harden greens ….

    Make bunkers actually hard to hit from by either not racking them or making them waste bunkers….

    You won’t need to change the length of any course when missing fairways actually becomes punitive.

    As far as the ball goes, what’s done is done, just restrict further increases to what’s already out there, you certainly can’t take away from what exists.

  23. TonyK

    Dec 15, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Dimple (aero) regulation is the easiest.

    It is possible to not affect pretty much any club but the driver only with higher swing speed 110+.

  24. WRXFan

    Dec 15, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Please stop giving this guy credibility. he had one good golf invention 25 years ago, and that was it.

    • gwelfgulfer

      Dec 15, 2020 at 3:28 pm

      This… The hypocrisy is awesome when a former owner of an equipment company that tried to push boundaries and create equipment that would make the ball go further, crying about the ball going further… Barney failed and was taken over/bought out, yet here wrx still gives him a voice…

  25. Karl Furno

    Dec 15, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Great article! The charm of the game is that we play the same rules that the pros play. Period. Duh, we know pros have tour heads and custom shafts but that’s not what separates them from us. DJ and Rory don’t hit it 50yds pst us because of a tour model, it’s because of talent, mechanics, and conditioning.

  26. Paulo

    Dec 15, 2020 at 10:34 am

    There is no distance problem in golf. People pushing limits is what sport is all about.

  27. Henny Bogan

    Dec 15, 2020 at 10:32 am

    1. The average player does not play the same equipment that tour players do and does not play on the same courses under the same conditions as tour players do. If they did, the number of people who would leave the game would be astronomical, it would simply be too hard for too many. The game self-bifurcated years ago, even if we don’t want to admit it. There is not harm or shame in publicly acknowledging that.

    2. Your argument that changing the rules put on golf ball manufactures would cost them too much money and lead to lawsuits, but then you proposed a ball that spins more? How would you enforce a higher spinning ball unless you changed the rules put on golf ball manufactures? The golf ball is the most logical place to impact the game because golf balls are a disposable commodity. Players go through them at high rates and changing the golf ball formula would not impact the players spending habit. They’re going to buy new balls in the near future anyway. This is the cheapest avenue to invoke change and will impact the OEM the least.

    3. There is nothing stopping golf ball manufactures from making golf balls that do not meet the specs of the USGA or R&A. They choose to build to those specs because that is what golfers want. This is exactly what the courts would say to them if they try to sue the USGA. Illegal balls and clubs are sold today, nothing is there to stop them from being sold and used on a golf course.

  28. Matt

    Dec 15, 2020 at 10:03 am

    If you add spin to the ball, especially off the driver, you are naturally going to reduce distance given how optimized drivers and driver swings are today. This is impossible

  29. John Ward

    Dec 15, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Haha so your reasons are history and economics……….you sir, are the problem.
    Money and tradition over the betterment of the game and its participants. This sounds awfully familiar! Where’s your blonde wig?

    Also I noticed you are “100 percent against” a shorter ball, yet your grand solution was to create a spinnier ball aka a shorter ball. What do you think spin does?

    You want to preserve the “tens if not hundreds of millions” of R&D dollars put forth by ball companies, yet you want to change the construction of the ball? Isn’t that a paradox?

    You’re yelling at the clouds man. Your kids are sitting there saying “Ok dad, sounds good dad” and waiting for you to pick up the bill

  30. A. Commoner

    Dec 15, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Right on, Barney! I truly miss the way golf used to be.

  31. Travis

    Dec 15, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Does it matter at this point? Either do it, or don’t do it, but stop just talking about it. This stupid discussion has been going on for years with zero resolution one way or another. Take action and be done with it.

    • A. Commoner

      Dec 15, 2020 at 9:43 am

      Whom are you addressing?

    • Statmagic

      Dec 15, 2020 at 11:57 am

      Exactly right. Does years of discussing the same thing actually do anything?

      Money is the only thing that would prompt change. What golf ball manufacturer is going to the be the first to say “our ball doesn’t go as far”?

      Answer: none of them will.

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Club Junkie: Reviewing Callaway’s NEW Apex UW and Graphite Design’s Tour AD UB shaft

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Callaway’s new Apex UW wood blends a fairway wood and hybrid together for wild distance and accuracy. The UW is easy to hit and crazy long but also lets skilled players work the ball however they would like. Graphite Design’s new Tour AD UB shaft is a new stout mid-launch and mid/low-spin shaft. Smooth and tight, this shaft takes a little more of the left side out of shots.

 

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The Wedge Guy: Your game vs. The pros

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I know most of us like to watch golf on TV. Seeing these marvelous (mostly) young athletes do these amazing things with a golf ball makes for great theater. But the reality is that they play a very different game than we do, and they play it differently as well.

I’ve long contended that most rank-and-file recreational golfers cannot really learn a whole lot by watching men’s professional golf on TV. It would be like watching NASCAR or Formula One racing and looking for tips on how to be a better driver.

The game is different. The athletes are different. And the means to an end are entirely different. Let me offer you some things to ponder in support of this hypothesis.

First, these tour professionals ARE highly skilled and trained athletes. They spend time in the gym every day working on flexibility, strength, and agility. Then they work on putting and short game for a few hours, before going to the range and very methodically and deliberately hit hundreds of balls.

Now, consider that the “typical” recreational golfer is over 45 years old, likely carrying a few extra pounds, and has a job, family or other life requirements that severely limit practice time. Regular stretching and time at the gym are not common. The most ardent will get in maybe one short range session a week, and a few balls to warm up before a round of golf.

The tour professionals also have a complete entourage to help them optimize their skills and talents. It starts with an experienced caddie who is by their side for every shot. Then there are the swing coaches, conditioning coaches, mental coaches, and agents to handle any “side-shows” that could distract them. You, on the other hand, have to be all of those to your game.

Also, realize they play on near-perfect course conditions week to week. Smooth greens, flawless fairways cut short to promote better ball-striking — even bunkers that are maintained to PGA Tour standards and raked to perfection by the caddies after each shot.

Watch how perfectly putts roll; almost never wavering because of a spike mark or imperfection, and the holes are almost always positioned on a relatively flat part of the green. You rarely see a putt gaining speed as it goes by the hole, and grain is a non-factor.

So, given all that, is it fair for to you compare your weekly round (or rounds) to what you see on television?

The answer, of course, is NO. But there ARE a lot of things you can learn by watching professional golf on TV, and that applies to all the major tours.

THINK. As you size up any shot, from your drive to the last putt, engage your mind and experience. What side of the fairway is best for my approach? Where is the safe side of the flag as I play that approach? What is the best realistic outcome of this chip or pitch? What do I recall about the slope of this green and its speed? Use your brain to give yourself the best chance on every shot.

FOCUS. These athletes take a few minutes to drown out the “noise” and put their full attention to every shot. But we all can work to learn how to block out the “noise” and prepare ourselves for your best effort on every shot. It only takes a few additional seconds to get “in the zone” so your best has a chance to happen.

PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS. You have complete control over your set-up, ball position and alignment, so grind a bit to make sure those basics are right before you begin your swing. It’s amazing to me how little attention rank-and-file golfers pay to these basics. And I’m firmly convinced that the vast majority of bad shots are “pre-ordained” because these basics are not quite right.

SHAKE IT OFF. The game is one shot at a time – the next one. That has been preached over and over, and something most pros do exceedingly well. Very often you see them make a birdie right after a bogey or worse, because the professional bears down on these three basics more after he had just slacked on them and made a bogey or worse.

MEDIOCRE SHOTS ARE THE NORM. And those will be interspersed with real bad ones and real good ones. Those guys are just like us, in that “mediocre” is the norm (relatively speaking, that is). So go with that. Shake off the bad ones and bask in the glory of the good ones – they are the shots that keep us coming back.

Let me dive into that last point a bit deeper, because some of you might find it strange that I claim that “mediocre shots are the norm,” even for tour professionals. First, let’s agree that a “mediocre” shot for a 20-handicap player looks quite different that what a tour pro would consider “mediocre.” Same goes for a “poor shot.” But a great shot looks pretty much the same to all of us – a well-struck drive that splits the fairway, an approach that leaves a reasonable birdie putt, a chip or pitch for an up-and-down, and any putt that goes in the hole.

Finally, I will encourage all of you – once again – to make sure you are playing from a set of tees that tests your skills in proportion to how their courses test theirs. This past weekend, for example, the winner shot 25 under par “on the card” . . . but consider that Summit had four reachable par-fives (most with iron shots) and a drivable par-four, so I contend it was really a “par 68” golf course at best. Based on that “adjusted par”, then only 20 players beat that benchmark by more than 5 shots for the week. So, obviously, the rest pretty much played “mediocre” golf (for them).

So, did your last round have at least one or two par-fives you can reach with two shots? And did you hit at least 10-12 other approach shots with a short iron or wedge in your hands? More likely, you played a “monster” course (for you) that had zero two-shot par fives and several par-fours that you could not reach with two of your best wood shots. And your typical approach shot was hit with a mid-iron or hybrid.

The game is supposed to be fun – and playing the right tees can make sure it has a chance to be just that. Paying attention to these basics for every shot can help you get the most out of whatever skills you brought to the links on any given day.

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The ghost of Allan Robertson: A few thoughts on the distance debate

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It’s that time of year in certain parts of the world. Ghosts, ghouls, and ghoblins roam the lawns. Departed ancestors return to these fields to visit with living descendants. It’s also a time (is it ever not?) when curmudgeons and ancients decry the advances of technology in the world of golf equipment.

Pretty big narrative leap, I’ll admit, but I have your attention, aye? An October 16th tweet from noted teacher Jim McClean suggested that it would be fun to see PGA Tour players tee it up for one week with wooden heads and a balata ball.

Others beg for a rolling-back of technological potency, raising property acreage as a critical determinant. Fact is, 90 percent of golfers have no experience with hitting the ball too far, nor with outgrowing a golf course. And yet, the cries persist.

Recently, I was awakened from a satisfying slumber by the ghost of Allan Robertson. The long-dead Scot was in a lather, equal parts pissed at Old Tom Morris for playing a guttie, and at three social-media channels, all of which had put him on temporary suspension for engaging violently with unsupportive followers. He also mentioned the inaccuracies of his Wikipedia page, which credits him for a 100-year old business, despite having only spent the better part of 44 years on this terrestrial sphere. Who knew that the afterlife offered such drip internet access?

I’m not certain if Old Tom cared (or was even alive) that his beloved gutta percha ball was replaced by the Haskell. I believe him to have been preoccupied with the warming of the North Sea (where he took his morning constitutional swims) and the impending arrival of metal shafts and laminated-wood heads. Should that also long-dead Scot pay me a nighttime visit, I’ll be certain to ask him. I do know that Ben Hogan gave no sheets about technology’s advances; he was in the business of making clubs by then, and took advantage of those advances. Sam Snead was still kicking the tops of doors, and Byron Nelson was pondering the technological onslaught of farriers, in the shoeing of horses on his ranch.

And how about the women? Well, the ladies of golfing greatness have better things to do than piss and moan about technology. They concern themselves with what really matters in golf and in life. Sorry, fellas, it’s an us-problem. Records are broken thanks to all means of advancement. Want to have some fun? Watch this video or this video or this video. If you need much more, have a reassessment of what matters.

Solutions

Either forget the classic courses or hide the holes. Classic golf courses cannot stand up in length alone to today’s professional golfers. Bringing in the rough takes driver out of their hands, and isn’t a course supposed to provide a viable challenge to every club in the bag? Instead, identify four nearly-impossible locations on every putting surface, and cut the hole in one of them, each day. Let the fellows take swings at every par-4 green with driver, at every par-five green with driver and plus-one. Two things will happen: the frustration from waiting waiting waiting will eliminate the mentally-weak contestants, and the nigh-impossible putting will eliminate even more of them. What will happen with scoring? I don’t know. Neither did Old Tom Morris, Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., Lady Heathcoat Amory, or Mildred Didrickson, when new technology arrived on the scene. They shrugged their shoulders, stayed away from Twitter and the Tok, and went about their business.

Add the tournament courses. Build courses that can reach 8,500 yards in length, and hold events on those layouts. Two examples from other sports: the NFL made extra points longer. Has it impacted game results? Maybe. The NBA kept the rim at ten feet. Has it impacted game results? Maybe. We don’t play MLB or MLS on ancient diamonds and pitches. We play their matches and games on technologically-advanced surfaces. Build/Retrofit a series of nondescript courses as tournament venues. Take the par-5 holes to 700 yards, then advance the par-4 fairways to 550 yards. Drive and pitch holes check-in at 400 yards, at least until Bryson DeChambeau and Kyle Berkshire figure a few more things out.

Note to the young guys and the old guys from this 55-year old guy: live your era, then let it go. I know things.

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