Professionals agree golf ball technology is going one step too far

2013-08-02 00:00

WE all know about modern technology and the advancement of golf equipment. The golf ball, for instance, has never before been so precisely produced.

It has never been so perfectly round, so durable and most of all, it has never travelled so far off the club face. There are some big names in golf who believe that the modern golf ball is an example of technology going one step too far.

Jack Nicklaus has been very vocal on this subject and he is the leader of the movement of what he calls “roll back” the golf ball. He wants the Royal & Ancient (R&A) and the U.S. Golf Association to legislate and to prescribe to golf ball manufacturers to produce a ball that doesn’t fly so far.

During an interview on the coverage of the U.S. Open a few weeks ago, he said golf courses he designed 10 to 15 years ago now need re-designing because the modern ball is travelling too far. The original hazards and bunkers placed in strategic positions are now not in play so new tee boxes had to be built further back.

Nicklaus says professionals are driving the ball to par fours, holes that in the past were a driver and nine iron or wedge to the green.

Most par fives are now easily reachable in two shots, sometimes with short irons, and that’s not how they should be played. It’s making a mockery of the game.

Gary Player and Arnold Palmer are alongside Nicklaus on this issue. Player thinks the R&A will only wake up when someone stands on the first tee at St Andrews and carries the ball onto the first green.

The wonderful old course and others like it are becoming obsolete. In the Open Championship we wanted to see Ernie, Bubba, Dustin and Westwood whack drivers off the tee, but they rarely did, irons were sufficient because the ball goes so far.

That’s also not good for the game of golf.

Perhaps the professionals should play with a ball that has been reined in by 50 metres or so, but leave the ball as it is for us amateurs.

From the 19th hole:

Lady Interviewer: Do you drink every day?

Man: Yes.

Interviewer: How much a day?

Man: Around three six-packs.

Interviewer: How much does a six-pack cost?

Man: Roughly R50 at a bottle store.

Interviewer: How long have you been drinking like that?

Man: About 15 years.

Interviewer: So with a six-pack costing R50 and you consuming three six-packs a day, you are spending roughly R4 500 each month. In one year, you are spending R54 000, correct?

Man: Correct.

Interviewer: If in one year you spend R54 000 on beer, not accounting for inflation, 15 years means you’re spending R810 000; correct?

Man: Correct.

Interviewer: Did it occur to you, if you didn’t drink for those 15 years, you could have bought a Porsche?

Man: Do you drink?

Interviewer: No.

Man: So where’s your Porsche?

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