Technology is making everything better. In sports, the equipment has made leaps and bounds from the past. One of those sports is golf. The sport was invited in the 15th century. The country of origin was Scotland. The game is now world-wide. Throughout the history of golf, players have come from just about everywhere. For the people that don’t follow the sport, they say its boring to play, watch in person and on television. This week one of the staples of the game made an announcement. Jack Nicklaus said that the current golf ball that is being used goes too far. He wants the USGA and R&A, the two golf governing bodies, to make a change. Nicklaus said that most golf courses are being dominated by the current ball. The players are in better shape and stronger than the players during Nicklaus’s playing days.
The only golf course that has the money to continue to get longer is Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia, and home of the Masters Tournament. The one hole that was lengthened was the Par 5 13th hole. This happened in 2016. The ball was switched from a liquid core to a solid core. The change happened in the early 2000s. This is when the game of golf changed into what it is now. In 1980 driving distance became a stat. At that time, Dan Pohl had the lead at 284 yards. On today’s tour that would rank 188th. In 1980, Nicklaus was 10th in driving distance with 269 yards as an average that would be dead last in 2019. Therefore, he is bringing it up. Unless they change the ball, the game will become easier and easier. Golf is not an easy game for many, but for professionals it is.
How will a solution be found? The USGA and R&A are trying to come up with that. Those associations are not deciding in a hurry. Both organizations want to make sure they have compiled the data. Some of their plans have leaked in a sort of way. On certain courses, they will have rules in place to allow courses and tournaments to have equipment that would hit shorter distances. That rule could be as soon as next year, but may not be implemented for a few years. Until then, we will see drives close to 400 yards in distance. Many holes are now driveable and make the courses much easier. This means that the sport has reached a limit that many thought would never be reached. The players will not like the rules once they are put in place.
The ball is just one of the pieces of equipment that have been technologically updated. The shafts are lighter, larger clubheads and springy faces are also culprits. Changes are coming, but how will they affect the tour and the players. Maybe the tours should go back to older equipment and see how the current players would do. The game must make changes, at least on the professional level. For us amateur players, we need all the help we can get. Nicklaus is the right person to bring up this issue and those organizations will listen to him. The question is when will the changes be made? And once they are what will the impact be?
Is the modern-day golf ball the problem in the game? Leave a comment below.