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NPG Episode 31: How to Fix the Distance "Problem"

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3 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

This is the easy part, saying "Roll the ball back"  or "Roll the ball back for the professionals".  The hard part is developing a criteria and test methods.  The hard part is telling the player who now hits it 200 that he's only going to hit it 180.  The hard part is convincing the manufacturers to work with the changes, instead of litigating against them.  The hard part, if you DO bifurcate, is deciding where that bifurcation comes.  Professionals only? Amateur National championships, or maybe state amateurs.  Maybe your high-school-age kid is playing in the State Am with one set of equipment, and in AJGA events with the longer equipment.  Its a very difficult issue, without clear answers.  

I dont think its that deep. Once the PGA incorporates, it would filter down to the appropriate level and then high schools would govern their own way, just like they do now.

 

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6 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

I dont think its that deep. Once the PGA incorporates, it would filter down to the appropriate level and then high schools would govern their own way, just like they do now.

What's the appropriate level?  No matter where that line gets drawn, there will be players who will be required to transition, and there will be players who play on both sides of the divide in different days.  High schools don't "govern" anything with relation to the Rules of Golf or the Equipment Rules, as far as I understand it.  They all play by the Rules.   These are some real issues that will need to be addressed if bifurcation is the chosen solution.

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So, what would happen if the USGA and R&A change the equipment/ball specs and the OEMs said No?  

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39 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

What's the appropriate level?  No matter where that line gets drawn, there will be players who will be required to transition, and there will be players who play on both sides of the divide in different days.  High schools don't "govern" anything with relation to the Rules of Golf or the Equipment Rules, as far as I understand it.  They all play by the Rules.   These are some real issues that will need to be addressed if bifurcation is the chosen solution.

High school golf "governs" by the section. They have certain rules they draft, implement and follow.....most rules align with NCAA rules with some minor differences in certain areas. 

but like i said, its not that big a deal in my opinion....changes happen all the time. people have to adapt and when it comes to the money? of course that comes into play. 

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1 minute ago, Kenny B said:

So, what would happen if the USGA and R&A change the equipment/ball specs and the OEMs said No?  

If they want to cut their own neck like that, so be it.....but they would most likely take it as an opportunity to make all kinds of money in new sales. 

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4 hours ago, Tsecor said:

The USGA and PGA need to get with Jack Nicklaus who proposed changed decades ago regarding this exact problem. 

 

https://www.heraldstandard.com/sports/local/nicklaus-palmer-pleaded-for-changes-in-golf-balls/article_9da48578-4aca-11ea-8599-cb09a8c8a97a.html

 

At the 2019 masters :

Nicklaus has long been outspoken about the dangers that modern technology could cause the game, and on Thursday, the 18-time major champion railed against the modern day golf balls, believing the extra distance they now provide players with has gotten out of hand.

“The golf ball has gotten ridiculous. I have so many things on that. The golf ball from 1930 to about ’95 gained about six yards. From 1995 to 2005, about 15 yards, and that’s a big difference. Probably the organizations won’t tell you that, but that’s exactly about what happened.”

Like Nicklaus, Gary Player believes the current technological innovations are damaging to the sport, and the three-time Masters champion fired a stark warning on Thursday concerning the possible consequences of a lack of action on the issue from the game’s organizations.

“We’d better start thinking. They are going to hit wedges to all the par-5s, and golf courses like St. Andrews, this marvelous golf course, is completely obsolete. They can drive probably six greens. So I don’t know where we’re going.

And our leaders of such have got to get together now and form a ball for professionals that’s different to the amateurs. Let the amateurs have anything they’d like. … But we have got to stop this, otherwise it’s going to be a joke, in my opinion.”

 

 

The big problem in that, the reason for the distance increase isn't the solid core ball.   Their argument is based  on a fallacy.  Swingspeeds are up, except at the highest level (Jack, back in the day).

Jack is on record saying he hit his 8 iron 145 yards.  He also said he *could* hit it 175 yards but chose not to, seeing no reason to.  The difference from then to now is that guys now choose to.  And there are more of them now than then.

Now, if it's decided distance needs to be reduced, the ball is the easiest place to do it.  But saying "the new golfballs are too hot" is disingenuous.

 

Edited by NRJyzr

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2 minutes ago, NRJyzr said:

 

The big problem in that, the reason for the distance increase isn't the solid core ball.   Their argument is based  on a fallacy.

Now, if it's decided distance needs to be reduced, the ball is the easiest place to do it.  But saying "the new golfballs are too hot" is disingenuous.

Jack is on record saying he hit his 8 iron 145 yards.  He also said he *could* hit it 175 yards but chose not to, seeing no reason to.  The difference from then to now is that guys now choose to.

And there are more of them than there used to be.

disagree wholeheartedly......

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Just now, Tsecor said:

disagree wholeheartedly......

You can do that, but the evidence is there.  5.5 yard distance bump from 99 to 01 or 02, for guys who played both.  The ball tests of 2000 and 2001 that showed wound balls being only slightly slower than solid core balls.  The avg swingspeed on Tour increasing from 105mph to 113mph, or where ever it is now.

And so on.

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2 minutes ago, NRJyzr said:

You can do that, but the evidence is there.  5.5 yard distance bump from 99 to 01 or 02, for guys who played both.  The ball tests of 2000 and 2001 that showed wound balls being only slightly slower than solid core balls.  The avg swingspeed on Tour increasing from 105mph to 113mph, or where ever it is now.

And so on.

i agree with the fitness part and obviously shaft tech....but Jack and Arnie are not wrong when it comes to the ball. 

Edited by Tsecor

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Just now, Tsecor said:

i agree with the fitness part and obviously shaft tech....but Jack isnt wrong when it comes to the ball. 

Too much evidence suggests otherwise.

Much of what's stated as fuel for "the ball is to hot" is the result of other factors.

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10 minutes ago, NRJyzr said:

Too much evidence suggests otherwise.

Much of what's stated as fuel for "the ball is to hot" is the result of other factors.

Thats fine....but pretty much the entire golfing world has concluded the jump in ball tech is the biggest improvement in direct relation to distance gains....but everyone knows its not just 1 thing....

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20 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

If they want to cut their own neck like that, so be it.....but they would most likely take it as an opportunity to make all kinds of money in new sales. 

I don't think that 99% of golfers will run out and buy new stuff that shortens their distance.  They will hang on to their equipment or buy used.   The equipment for the pros is free.  Why should they re-tool for for that?  

If the OEMs take a stand, then the USGA and R&A has lost control of the rules.

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7 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

i agree with the fitness part and obviously shaft tech....but Jack and Arnie are not wrong when it comes to the ball. 

While the ball paradigm shift at the turn of the century has had an impact on distance, Jack greatly overestimates its significance and is a bit disingenuous when he fails to acknowledge any other factors (namely that the average Tour player is simply better than they were during his era). He also has two big conflicts of interest when speaking on this subject a) his playing legacy and b) his lucrative course design business. He also didn't really start complaining about the ball until his competitive playing career was coming to an end. Also keep in mind that he also complained when the Titleist Professional (first cast thermoset urethane wound ball) came out mainly due to the spin reduction vs balata and the shift to the solid core was just more of that. 

The other thing that people fail to realize was that the shift from wound to solid core pails in comparison to the shift from the gutty to wound that occurred a century ago. That was so drastic that the USGA actually took action in the form of a rollback on minimum diameter and maximum weight in the late 1920's only to reverse the weight regulation a few years later due to massive public outcry. 

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2 minutes ago, storm319 said:

While the ball paradigm shift at the turn of the century has had an impact on distance, Jack greatly overestimates its significance and is a bit disingenuous when he fails to acknowledge any other factors (namely that the average Tour player is simply better than they were during his era). He also has two big conflicts of interest when speaking on this subject a) his playing legacy and b) his lucrative course design business. He also didn't really start complaining about the ball until his competitive playing career was coming to an end. Also keep in mind that he also complained when the Titleist Professional (first cast thermoset urethane wound ball) came out mainly due to the spin reduction vs balata and the shift to the solid core was just more of that. 

The other thing that people fail to realize was that the shift from wound to solid core pails in comparison to the shift from the gutty to wound that occurred a century ago. That was so drastic that the USGA actually took action in the form of a rollback on minimum diameter and maximum weight in the late 1920's only to reverse the weight regulation a few years later due to massive public outcry. 

This isnt really a debate about 2 of the greatest players of all time including the GOAT and their "disingenuous "  take on the subject....but if thats the path you want to take, so be it. To me, it feels like i just landed on mars when i see a post like this. Calling Jack disingenuous when it comes to anything regarding the game of GOLF is just spewing hate and im not into that at all. Tiger even said the same thing when it came to his Nike ball. 

 

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29 minutes ago, Kenny B said:

I don't think that 99% of golfers will run out and buy new stuff that shortens their distance.  They will hang on to their equipment or buy used.   The equipment for the pros is free.  Why should they re-tool for for that?  

If the OEMs take a stand, then the USGA and R&A has lost control of the rules.

disagree because if thats all that is on the shelves at some point, the consumer will have no choice. 

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39 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

Thats fine....but pretty much the entire golfing world has concluded the jump in ball tech is the biggest improvement in direct relation to distance gains....but everyone knows its not just 1 thing....

This *is* a data based website.  Show us the data.

My stance is data based.  I've seen plenty of "ball is the problem" comments over the years, on many forums, but no one shares any actual data that's relevant to any valid golf ball comparative.

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6 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

disagree because if thats all that is on the shelves at some point, the consumer will have no choice. 

But I'm saying the new stuff won't be on the shelf IF the OEMs keep making it like they are today.  The ruling bodies can't mandate that they change; they have to go along with it.  My question still stands:  What if they don't go along with it?

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56 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

i agree with the fitness part and obviously shaft tech....but Jack and Arnie are not wrong when it comes to the ball. 

I agree with @NRJyzr. Basic physics points to club head speed having the greatest single impact on distance and data from that time period correlates the gains more to the large average increase in club head speed on Tour during that time period than the balls speed gains or spin reduction between the late wound balls (like the Titleist Professional) vs the early multilayer balls (like the Titleist ProV1).

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7 minutes ago, storm319 said:

I agree with @NRJyzr. Basic physics points to club head speed having the greatest single impact on distance and data from that time period correlates the gains more to the large average increase in club head speed on Tour during that time period than the balls speed gains or spin reduction between the late wound balls (like the Titleist Professional) vs the early multilayer balls (like the Titleist ProV1).

A few years ago, I got curious and ran a comparison of the PGA Tour Driving Distance stat,  between 1999 and 2002.  The idea was to isolate it down to only those players who had played in both seasons, in an attempt to show the change for those guys who switched from wound to solid.  I'd picked 2002 to try weed out the slow adopters, but there's no guarantee.  I also didn't account for those guys using the Stratas or solid core Bridgestones/Precepts, not having much beyond Furyk and O'Meara.  😉

That difference was less than 6 yards (hence my earlier 5.5 yds comment).

My take is, anything since then is related to something else, like fitness, launch conditions, shaft tech, clubhead size/MOI, more coached efficient (in theory) swings, etc

Edited by NRJyzr
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11 minutes ago, Tsecor said:

This isnt really a debate about 2 of the greatest players of all time including the GOAT and their "disingenuous "  take on the subject....but if thats the path you want to take, so be it. To me, it feels like i just landed on mars when i see a post like this. Calling Jack disingenuous when it comes to anything regarding the game of GOLF is just spewing hate and im not into that at all. Tiger even said the same thing when it came to his Nike ball. 

 

I could be wrong but didn't you bring Jack into this conversation? And how does a minor criticism constitute spewing hate? Jack Nicklaus is a human with flaws just like any other human and his accomplishments (remember that his accomplishments are based on playing a game, not doing anything particularly important for society at large) does not put him above criticism  for the rest of his life nor does it for any other human.

The reality is the numbers he throws out are not based on any real data, it is based on his subjective perception. The USGA should be taking a methodical, data-centric approach to any proposed regulation changes rather than listening to the opinions of influencers whoever they may be.

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