If they're lengthening courses like St. Andrews, Augusta and Winged Foot, golf's on the wrong track
Do golf’s governing bodies really know where the game appears to be going? Is it stumbling in the same direction that tennis did some twenty-thirty years ago when it fell off the earth in popularity? I hope not, but if it is, the reasons are different. The major culprit that is driving golf from a thriving sport to one that is struggling to hold its own in participation is the building of longer and tougher courses in order to keep up with today’s equipment improvements…the reason…to protect scoring.
I am one of those who also believes that a par 5 should require three shots to reach (that’s why it is a par 5) or, on occasion, two shots if the player hits a great drive and uses a long club for the second, but still at some risk. When a player reaches a 540 yard hole with a drive and a seven iron, something just doesn’t seem right, but rest assured, that is happening.
To protect the scoring challenge new courses are being built longer and old ones renovated to be longer. The examples are disturbing. I am talking lots of courses, including great ones like…The Old Course at St. Andrews, Augusta National, Winged Foot, etc. Is that supposed to be telling the world that these aren’t great courses anymore? Well it certainly seems so…but it really isn’t true. They are still great courses, providing the new equipment isn’t overpowering them. Changing the courses by adding length is the wrong answer. Here is why.
Longer courses mean more land is required to build them, that’s $$$, more equipment and materials to maintain them, more $$$, additional staff to care for them, yes, extra $$$, more time to play them (meaning fewer rounds and the need for a greater fee), that’s also $$$. Because of this the cost of golf has and will continue to escalate. Want to know what the two primary reasons the two primary reasons why people drop out of the game or never start. Time and money…and as the old saying goes, “Time is money.”
So what is the answer? The first one that most people come up with is simply to reduce the distance the ball can go so as stop the need for lengthening. While that may seem easy, it has some red flags largely because of the potential litigation from manufacturers. The average player would also resist at first, but not if the hole lengths were shortened to accommodate the ball’s reduction. (I would personally like to see that happen.) Another is to tighten the fairways particularly in the long hitter’s zone and lengthen the rough for tournaments. This would definitely reduce some of the low handicapper and pro advantage. And a final way is to forget trying to protect scoring. Let them shoot in the fifties, have a good time, play faster and cheaper. But don’t price the game out of business by sticking to lengthening the courses. It is the wrong solution for the greatest game ever played.
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Lengthening golf courses is only going to exacerbate the exodus of players and continue fueling the lack of growth in the industy.
You are dead right. Let them shoot in the fifties. But make the game play in less then 4 hours and reduce the fees. I want to invite you to play the CC of Jackson, Michigan with me this summer. Can you make some time?
We are talking primarily about the PGA Tour which is dictating the need for length. Simply, Titleist, Bridgestone, Callaway should simply make a ball for the Tour. Leave the present ball the average player plays along. Make a single ball for the Tour. If the LPGA, Champions Tour all want to join in, so be it.
It has been well known for years the equipment the Tour Players get is well out of reach from the average player. Back down the Tour ball...
Leave the average player alone...
Just a minor point: Any rifle can shoot 500 yards, but I take it you were referring to rifles that can shoot targets at that range wth accuracy.
Sorry about the redundant post. Sorry about the redundant post. hahahaha
You are talking about one of the greatest teachers the game has ever known in Dr. Wiren. show a little respect for the man who the PGA of America thought enough to create their teaching manual...
Dr. Wiren, your instructional manual and your teaching gadgets make my job as a PGA Teaching Professional easier, thanks...
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