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Nicklaus on the ball


revkev
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I'm surprised no one else has jumped on this.  I love Jack but that wouldn't mean that I take everything he says as Gospel truth.  He recently commented about rolling back the ball.  Of course he's been talking about that for a long time,  in fact well before the advent of the Pro VI.

 

So here's my question:  Is it really so broke?  Do the tours really need to tweak rules by rolling the ball back? 

 

Other sports tweak their rules all the time.  The NFL needs fewer Field Goals?  No problem, move the goal posts back and the has marks in.  Not enough offense still don't allow the D backs to touch the receiver.  In baseball they lowered the mound, lowered the strike zone and brought in the DH.  Basketball added the three point line, the zone defense, stopped allowing a defender to touch an opponents back.

 

Does golf really need a rules tweak?  I enjoyed watching golf in the 60's and 70's but I enjoy it now too - It's different but lets face it you aren't seeing guys work the ball on TV so it's not as noticeable there.  It seems that guys with differing strengths are still able to win each week - Jordan Spieth isn't the longest but he's doing okay, neither is Zach Johnson - they are long by our standards but not by the guys at the top.

 

I certainly don't want anyone rolling the distance the ball travels on me - it's all I can do to reach par 4's in regulation right now and still be challenged on an enjoyable course.  It seems that the game is plenty difficult at our level.

 

How about you guys?  Do you think the ball needs to be tweaked on tour?

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NO.  I say let 'em shoot in the 50's.  If they don't want them to shoot in the 50's, then set up the courses differently.  They do it for the US Open; do it for the other courses, but why keep changing or limiting equipment just because the pros get better and better.  It just makes the game harder for the rest of us.

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We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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I my honest opinion - no.

The beauty of this game is that we can all use the same equipment as the pros and play the same courses as the pros and given we play to our handicaps or better, score like the pros.

Once you start to introduce a handicapping system to not only players, but also to the equipment they may or may not use, it starts to open up a can of worms of epic proportions.

 

Jack has said on a number of times that the ball needs to be looked at, but he must also have a short memory of when he was blasting it further than every one else on tour at the time of his peak. 

Today, quite a lot has changed within the game - equipment is lighter, longer and stronger, players are leaner and more athletic and courses are more groomed and manicured.

 

That is essentially a recipe for greater ball distance - not because of the humble ball, which lest we forget is already limited by strict guidelines of size, weight and initial velocity.

 

I think perhaps that something must be looked at pro level where course designs are created to appeal to TV audiences rather than player affection. Give the pros a little bit of rough and narrower fairways with undulating greens and all of a sudden you don't find wedge approach shots that land next to the pin. 

 

At amateur and weekend player level, I've yet to see anyone complain about the ball being too long, courses too short and Jack Nicklaus encouraging a different ball so that we can keep up with him. He has certainly been living in a different world to most of us.

 

Basically, the ball is better today because of it's durability, but don't tell me it spins any better than a balata or is any longer than any equivalent ball from that era either, because the historic data says it just ain't so. 

 

Ray Floyd's scoring record around Augusta in 1976 took some time to beat (21 years to be exact) but both players used bladed irons and steel shafted woods. Fast forward to 2007 and the winning score was over par with a ProV1 ball, cavity backed irons and a graphite shafted max CoR 460cc wood. 

 

Your point is Jack?

 

The biggest difference was that amount of roll the ball was allowed to go. A rather damp Masters in 2007 put paid to any distance gains usually achieved on it's super-slick fairways. Do the same thing to any other course and historically the same thing shows up. It's a course thing - not a ball thing.

 

One thing is for certain though, "Tiger-proofing" courses by adding length only really benefits who? That's right - the ones who can hit it a long way all the time anyway. Bifurcating the ball to make it shorter would have the same effect - the gorillas still have the upper hand. It makes no sense. But making the courses more enjoyable for all (and not "obsolete") makes perfect sense. 

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I say the same thing to Mr. Nicklaus that I would say to any guy.  

 

Don't touch my balls!

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Funny, the PGA wants everyone to "tee it forward" and Jack wants to roll the ball back.  I think golfs governing body will have the upper hand with this argument. 

 

If they did in fact reduce the performance of the golf ball, imagine the hoarding of the current balls.  Ebay would be loaded with $200.00 boxes of pre-ban pro v's lol.

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I agree the ball travels further. Thanks goodness!

I'm of the school that the courses need to be setup differently. Harder for the pros. I'm pretty sure I recall Nicklaus saying he'd like to see bunkers "corn-rowed". Which I believe he does at the Memorial. There are many things a superintendent can do to either speed up or slow down a course. I think they could hair-up the fairways a tad too. Narrow the fairways, plant some trees or other vegetation in areas forcing players to carry or work certain shots. Stemp-out the greens like Augusta on all tour stops. Get creative. I'd love to see players hitting 3-4-5 irons once in a while. You know.... like us amateurs do each weekend.

I enjoy watching pro golf and wish I could play like them. But watching them hit driver - wedge all day gets little boring at times.

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The problem, as I commented on earlier is lazy course design. If you only have to consider the difficulties top players face, you can make a course extremely long with narrow fairways, tucked pins, bunkers, and high rough. These negatively impacts the average golfer more than a pro because they hit it high and far and can escape trouble easier.

 

Older courses in Britain are as the announcers of the Women's Open Championship stated, bogey easy and birdie tough. If Jack put more thought in his course designs, golf could be accessible to average golfers AND tour pros without having to push 8000 yards or change equipment.

 

 

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I thought the ball was innocent and the clubs are the culprit in all the distance problems?

With the same club, hit today's balls vs balls from the 90's, how much distance would you say it increased?

Any articles showing this?

I'm in the group of its not my poor lil ball but the juiced up sticks behind the distance gains.

 

 

 

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I've played Jack's courses. Jack and I are not on speaking terms.

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Statistically half the distance gain is the ball and half the club's. You can look it up. its well documented. Reagardless the course is the course and weather or mother nature or God. You pick it, play a role in how the course plays. The USGA has no trouble providing a test where even is a good score. I don't mind seeing 20 under win either. I love Jack but as some have said his memory is selective. I don't care if you are between 6\7 or 8/9 on 12 at Augusta, it's still a tough shot.

 

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Taylor Made Sim2  10.5 (Opened 1 click) Ventus Blue 5  R flex

Ping G410 5-9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 6-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

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Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Tour Exotics 3 wood is in the bag because we are allowed 14 clubs.  It's a great club for pulling balls out of the water or from bushes - you never want to put your hand into anything in Florida unless you are absolutely certain that it's safe.  There are rare wind conditions when I might hit it off the tee on a few holes that I play.  

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Funny, the PGA wants everyone to "tee it forward" and Jack wants to roll the ball back.  I think golfs governing body will have the upper hand with this argument. 

 

If they did in fact reduce the performance of the golf ball, imagine the hoarding of the current balls.  Ebay would be loaded with $200.00 boxes of pre-ban pro v's lol.

If they did "roll back" the ball the manufacturers would not make any money off the new balls for the reasons you stated in an indirect way. Just think how many billions of balls to today's specs are out there already and how many lost ones yet to be found. Heck if they did that I would never buy new balls again.

 

Jack has been clammoring for about 10 years now to "roll back" the ball. Remember he has a golf ball company and I have yet to find one or see one of the Golden Bear brand balls in person. I am a Nicklaus fan but the older he gets the more he seems to babble senselesly .

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I thought the ball was innocent and the clubs are the culprit in all the distance problems?

With the same club, hit today's balls vs balls from the 90's, how much distance would you say it increased?

Any articles showing this?

I'm in the group of its not my poor lil ball but the juiced up sticks behind the distance gains.

 

 

 

@bigtazzGOLF on Twitter

Honestly it is a combination of both clubs and balls. You take today's modern irons they are a combination of jacked lofts and trampoline type carpenter steel faces. The balls are another story all together. You have new type cores and covers and the aerodynamics are different.

I can give you a little perspective. My front line set is 1980 Vintage Macgregor blades with traditional lofts. I also play strictly vintage golf with other vintage blades (1962 or 1948 Macs) and persimmon woods. Now with my persimmon driver I can hit a modern ball (Srixon Soft Feel) about 220 230 on average. Now hitting that ball with my modern 915 D-2 I average around 250 260. Not bad for a 58 year old fat man. 30 yards difference because of equipment. My irons are about average most guys my age are about a club and a half longer but then again jacked lofts. Most modern PWs are about a club stronger than my blades. Some jacked loft TMs the PW is about the same as my blade 8 iron. So yeah it is a combination of both

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Just because athletes started playing golf we need to dial the equipment back? To me that doesn't make sense. It would be like getting rid of the 3pt line because Steph Curry makes too many of them.

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What's wrong with pros shooting in the 50's and overpowering courses because they are athletes and well-trained?  I like birdies; I'd probably like eagles too if I made one.

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We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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Funny id memory suits me correct was the ball Jack makes one of rhe longest. If you're going to say it show by example.

And like many you will have a fight you touch my balls😳

Richard father of 7 and ex army enlisted then officer. Love outdoors 

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Just because athletes started playing golf we need to dial the equipment back? To me that doesn't make sense. It would be like getting rid of the 3pt line because Steph Curry makes too many of them.

 

I think the conversation is a bit more nuanced than that - If the 3 pt. shot is impacting the game more than they'd like, maybe they move it back - But more than anything, golf seems to be the game most resistant to rule changes - Pretty much every other major sport has adapted rules to massage the final product. Can you imagine Dan Marino in today's NFL? He might throw for 60+ TD's...and without Wilt, there's no lane and no 3 seconds...Want less violence in the NFL, then legislate it out. Want more scoring? Allow defensive players no contact after 5 yards...

 

Point is, golf is pretty much a cluster when it comes to rules - It'd be a heck of a lot easier if they were okay with bifurcation, but since they're not, the USGA/RA are in this nasty habit of changing rules based on what pros do/how pros play and because we all have to play by the same rules, the other 99.9% of the world is generally worse off - 

 

And I love the argument that one of set of rules is what allows us all to play the same game.....There's simply way toooooo many differences between recreational golf and tournament golf for me to believe I'm playing the same game as Jordan Speith...

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It's odd every other sport plays with a universal ball for all teams, golf is different in that regard, really it's the only one where you intentionally try to gain in an advantage by tweaking equipment or ball. Golf courses don't have a set of rules- fairway width, length of par 3,4,5. Every basketball court and football field does.

 

 

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More chipping please.

 

I would say the course change that needs to happen for pros is making the greens smaller. That will lead to more short game play which I find the most exciting, imaginative/creative part of the game. I love watching pros hit to within a foot or flub it into the bunker.

 

Aside from putts, which can be rather boring at times, a chip is the only shot were you can see the entire shot from contact to where the ball rests. They are the best part of the golf TV experience imho. 

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I've got a question - when Jordan Speith or Ricky Fowler are claiming in their commercials that they're hitting Titleist Pro-V's, am I supposed to believe they're playing the same box of balls we're buying at Golf Galaxy? Or are the manufactures producing golf balls for each individual player and juicing them up a bit? I mean these pros are fitted for every single aspect of their game. From their clubs, to the weight of their shoes, the weight of each shaft, ect... Why wouldn't their golf balls be tweaked to fit their specific needs... Whether it be for more distance or spin.

 

I believe the pros are hitting a totally different "Pro-V1" then the ones were buying at the store. They are balls that aren't put on the market because they're expensive to produce but allow the professionals to hit it further and make us amateurs want to buy more.

 

Does anyone agree or am I just crazy?

 

If I'm not crazy then those are the balls I think the Golden Bear's talking about.

 

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