Lee Bacchus looks at Golf

Is Golf Too Easy?

Is golf too easy?

That's been the chatter ever since pros began turning five-pars into par-fours at The Masters and since some turned PGA Championship at the "long and challenging" Atlanta Golf Club into your proverbial walk in the park.

Suddenly, whether it was due to some moon-dust ball construction, high-tech perimeter-weighted spring-loaded titanium clubs or merely a bunch of well-concealed steroid injections, players were turning 7,200-yard green monsters into pitch-and-putts.

This has sparked a lot of controversy: Should certain drivers be banned? Should golf balls be standardized? Should some courses be lengthened? Should Tiger Woods arms be surgically shortened?

Tough questions, and ones not easily answered.

Personally, I have to agree that in my case, golf has become far too easy. Why the other day I duck-hooked a drive '40 yards into an adjoining fairway, where normally (without the much-ballyhooed Lady Precept "distance" ball I was playing) I would have pulled it a mere '20 yards into the rough. I then coasted to a double-bogey on the hole, as opposed to what certainly would have been a three-over-par disaster.

Alas, the game is getting so easy, it's getting kind of boring.

And for sure my new "trampoline-effects" driver is taking all the risk and adventure out of the game and taming what were intimidating tracks. I can now sky a tee shot at least 30 yards higher than before, and can jettison a drive into a water hazard with such force that my playing partners can only fall on the ground laughing in awe.

Or course, golf has been quite easy for me as far back as when Ping irons were cited for their square-groove violations. And indeed, when my ball was ever nestled in some gnarly rough, my trusty Eye-2's would allow me to land the ball in the nearby parking lot with the kind of asphalt-grabbing spin to which I was accustomed.

There's no question that when my friends and I gather at the '9th hole for refreshments, the table talk is usually about how easy the game is. Rarely do we stare at each other like refugees from a forced march, or hang our heads in a cloud of self-loathing. No, that never happens.

It must be the ease and mastery of golf that has us ordering those sixth and seventh rounds of brew.

Yes, thanks to the miracle of high-tech, the effortlessness of the game has me searching for new and more complex challenges: like juggling chain-saws or surfing avalanches. You can only pick up on so many holes before you realize you could almost do that with your eyes closed.

Is golf easy? Damn right it is. The other day I shot in the 60's for the fifth consecutive round at my local club. That kind of expertise has our course superintendent (like the boys at Augusta) thinking about changes. Radical changes.

He's considering shrinking the "Clown Mouth" and narrowing the tunnel on the "Windmill" hole even further.

Lee’s Top Three Golf Topics

1. GREAT SCOTT: Ryder Cup captain's pick Scott Verplank wins the Canadian Open. That loud rush of air you heard after his winning putt on '8 was Curtis Strange exhaling.

2. THE DALY SHOW: Big John is playing his best golf in years. Must be his compact swing.

3. RYDER CUP FEVER: You know The Golf Channel has hit overkill in its preview coverage when one of its roundtable panelists is Dorf.

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