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NPG Episode 42: Should The Golf Ball Be Rolled Back?


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Bryson Dechambeau drops bombs on the PGA Tour and reignites the ball rollback debate.

0:52 - Should The Golf Ball Be Rolled Back?
37:45 - Is THIS New Golf Shoe The Future?
48:02 - What Brand Would You NOT Let Sponsor You?
57:15 - Getting Knighted by Nick Faldo

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Here is the data. It is way more balanced than you would think. In fact it is more balanced than my game at my home club.  Going to make a rambling of a post.  First rolling back the ball 20

My position will always be the same: do whatever you want, PGA, but the USGA and R&A don’t need to get silly and rollback the amateur. What the top 1% can do with a ball has ZERO correlation to th

I'm beginning to think so... at least for the tours.  I just watched DeChambeau grab a 3w on a 329 yard hole because the driver is too much.  He comes up about 10 yards short of the front of green.  T

I'm beginning to think so... at least for the tours.  I just watched DeChambeau grab a 3w on a 329 yard hole because the driver is too much.  He comes up about 10 yards short of the front of green.  The majority of courses simply were not designed for, and many cannot be modified for, this trend.  I guess my question to those who say this is not an issue is; at what point does it become an issue?  If the tour courses could grow in length and difficulty to match the hitting lengths then we really wouldn't be having the discussion.

I also don't agree with Adam that it's only the "older generation" that has the issue.  I think a good many of all ages still like the game to be more than just a drive and pitch show.  Seeing the pros have to think through and work through more of the bag makes it more interesting and more in line with the origins of the game.

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I'm surprised that it wasn't mentioned about all the legal... Legal-ness that would go down if this happened, particularly in the lawsuit happy America.

  • Ball manufacturers would have a case.
    • Who would want to even manufacture the 'pro' ball when no-one else would want to buy it. Will the PGA Tour order their own ball from Taiwan?
  • Tour staff for ball companies would have a case for loss of income, patents etc.
  • DeShamBo¬†and McIllroy would have a case because it affects them more than it does Mr 275y Average (Total yards lost).

I would still think that the best approach (If we don't just 'grow the grass,' which is the easiest solution to even try as mentioned) would be to decrease the maximum driver head size. I really hate the idea of limiting technology.

I'm sure there's three or four contradictions in what I said that could be picked up on!

 

On 6/22/2020 at 4:36 AM, fixyurdivot said:

I guess my question to those who say this is not an issue is; at what point does it become an issue?  If the tour courses could grow in length and difficulty to match the hitting lengths then we really wouldn't be having the discussion.

I'm thinking of one of my more local courses... Par 68, 6 par 3's. Great track.

Courses already turn Par 5s into 4s, why not 4s into threes?

Or add a Par 3, build a new tee for the tournament and have a 700m par 5.

Everyone still has to play the same course.

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No doubt the legal issues would be a mess.  As stated in the podcast and by many in the many threads on this topic, letting the grass grow longer is a simple, no cost experiment. 

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Another good NPG video. I really like all the guys (and girl) and their POVs are informative. However I’m not sure I agree with a couple points on rolling back the ball.

I don’t think having 8000 yard courses is an answer, who will build and $ support these courses that no one but pros play? I guess they could have forward tees for the rest of us, but placing hazards would be tougher.

And I think the ramifications of letting some classic old courses fall off the pro calendar might have greater consequences than noted. St Andrews was mentioned. But isn’t part of the attraction (and premium rates) of playing St Andrews (and every classic course) for the rest of us that it’s the same course pros contest The Open on? If pros no longer play there, eventually amateurs won’t be as interested in playing there either, and it’s a downward spiral?

FWIW, I don’t think bifurcation is the answer. I like the MGS suggestion to just narrow fairways and grow rough out past 300 yards - try it for a year and see. 

Professional basketball, football, baseball, tennis and pro athletes from every other sport can perform at a level far beyond 99.99% of amateurs. No one is trying to ratchet them back. Yes it’s odd to reach par 5’s in 2, but they’ve gotten that good. I admire Nicklaus but it’s a little disingenuous that he’s criticizing today’s players length when he had a distance advantage most of his career (not suggesting that was his only advantage).

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On 6/21/2020 at 2:36 PM, fixyurdivot said:

I guess my question to those who say this is not an issue is; at what point does it become an issue? 

When the USGA and R&A get out of the way. The issue isn’t distance on the tour it’s the course setup. Fairways cut low, rough cut low of any at all.

Not saying every pga tournament needs to go to US Open setups but growing the rough a little more to penalize tee shots and having the fairways grown in a bit to cut down on the roll. 
 

The other issue is from the course designers who are getting paid to build courses that can be used to host a pga tour even or other high level event think the only way to do that is build a longer course and complain that land isn’t there to build them, rather than set them up to reward accuracy.

Lastly the PGA tour is in the business of selling a product and making money from that product, they know the long ball and low scores sells most weeks that aren’t majors. 

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So let's ask the question "at what point would increased hitting lengths make the game a yawner"?  Would a large majority of balls rolling onto par 4 greens or aprons off the tee, or second shots on par 5's, be the game you want to watch?  I for one certainly wouldn't.  For my tastes, it would make the game too one dimensional.  Sure bomb drives are fun to watch.  So are home runs in baseball.  But if advances in physical condition or technology suddenly had every other batter swatting balls over the fence, that would be boring to me.  I guess I just like the traditions of these sports.

It's really a sticky wicket.  If you grow the fairway grass to suppress the long drivers but allow the short hitters to roll out close to their drives, is that fair?  8000 yard courses likewise presents a challenge in that the majority of the tour players who aren't long hitters are now penalized.  The Podcast group mentions that the "bomb & wedge" is not true - that in fact many more second shots require mid iron/hybrid clubs.  I haven't seen the data on that, but while watching many events on TV, it sure seems like a LOT of driver/wedge combinations being played.

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My position will always be the same: do whatever you want, PGA, but the USGA and R&A don’t need to get silly and rollback the amateur. What the top 1% can do with a ball has ZERO correlation to the other 99%.

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1 hour ago, fixyurdivot said:

So let's ask the question "at what point would increased hitting lengths make the game a yawner"?  Would a large majority of balls rolling onto par 4 greens or aprons off the tee, or second shots on par 5's, be the game you want to watch?  I for one certainly wouldn't.  For my tastes, it would make the game too one dimensional.  Sure bomb drives are fun to watch.  So are home runs in baseball.  But if advances in physical condition or technology suddenly had every other batter swatting balls over the fence, that would be boring to me.  I guess I just like the traditions of these sports.

It's really a sticky wicket.  If you grow the fairway grass to suppress the long drivers but allow the short hitters to roll out close to their drives, is that fair?  8000 yard courses likewise presents a challenge in that the majority of the tour players who aren't long hitters are now penalized.  The Podcast group mentions that the "bomb & wedge" is not true - that in fact many more second shots require mid iron/hybrid clubs.  I haven't seen the data on that, but while watching many events on TV, it sure seems like a LOT of driver/wedge combinations being played.

If the fairways are grown out and decreases roll out for the longer drivers It’s going to do the same for the shorter drivers. Unless someone is hitting a stinger type shot their ball isn’t going to magically go longer while someone else’s goes shorter 

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1 hour ago, fixyurdivot said:

So let's ask the question "at what point would increased hitting lengths make the game a yawner"?  Would a large majority of balls rolling onto par 4 greens or aprons off the tee, or second shots on par 5's, be the game you want to watch?  I for one certainly wouldn't.  For my tastes, it would make the game too one dimensional.  Sure bomb drives are fun to watch.  So are home runs in baseball.  But if advances in physical condition or technology suddenly had every other batter swatting balls over the fence, that would be boring to me.  I guess I just like the traditions of these sports.

It's really a sticky wicket.  If you grow the fairway grass to suppress the long drivers but allow the short hitters to roll out close to their drives, is that fair?  8000 yard courses likewise presents a challenge in that the majority of the tour players who aren't long hitters are now penalized.  The Podcast group mentions that the "bomb & wedge" is not true - that in fact many more second shots require mid iron/hybrid clubs.  I haven't seen the data on that, but while watching many events on TV, it sure seems like a LOT of driver/wedge combinations being played.

Here is the data. It is way more balanced than you would think. In fact it is more balanced than my game at my home club. 

Going to make a rambling of a post. 

First rolling back the ball 20% is just an insane number. Jack and Colin are just grumpy old men. They both hit it longer with less technology than what they want to roll the ball to. Just doesn't make any sense. 

Second Sasho Mckenzie and others believe that somewhere between 190-200 MPH ball speed is about as fast as you can hit it and still maintain enough accuracy to play on tour. If that is truly the case BAD is there already, so is there more in the tank? Yes he will be able to get over 200 but I don't think that will be anywhere near his average when playing in a tourney.

Third I just don't see USGA & R & A doing a roll back, maybe some sort of limit but not a roll back. Too much investment in the amateur game. 

Fourth in order to roll back a ball you have to convince manufacturers to create a ball, manufacture it, and then get no money for doing so. Not going to happen. When is the last time a pro paid for golf balls?

Fifth so if that is the case then the PGA would have to produce and manufacture a ball for the tour. Possible but highly unlikely, just a money pit with no way out. 

Sixth has anyone currently playing on tour said the ball goes too far?? Most quotes I saw were amazed at what Bryson is doing. 

So what is the answer? I believe that it is a combo of things.  Growing the grass is a portion of it. Not positive but I think I saw the rough at Harbour Town was cut less than an inch high. The difference between .5" and 1.5" is huge. I think a ball created with a ball speed limit will be the real answer. 190MPH max or whatever # they chose. If designed correctly it would limit the top guys and not affect slower swing speeds. 

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The PGA bottom line is making money. People want to see the men/women professionals going for green in two on par 5's and I heard a commentator years ago say something like "birdies sell".....

I personally don't want to turn tv on see a six way tie with players at -23 under par but at same time I don't want +3 over par with the leader board. A fine line I know. I am sure the brains that run the tour would say everyone wants their cake and to eat it to. Just desire a quality setup that rewards good shots regardless of distance and penalizes the bad.

So I like the previous comments in this thread regarding grow the rough, fairways, etc to try and see what happens. Complicated subject with as many pro's as con's.

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6 hours ago, PMookie said:

My position will always be the same: do whatever you want, PGA, but the USGA and R&A don’t need to get silly and rollback the amateur. What the top 1% can do with a ball has ZERO correlation to the other 99%.

Totally agree. 

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5 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Here is the data. It is way more balanced than you would think. In fact it is more balanced than my game at my home club. 

 

To act as the negative, Lou's data (75% of second shots on Par 4s 174y or less) means Bryson is hitting PW or less (Looking at stock distances image from Golf TV . Par 4s tend to be at least half of golf holes. Are we happy with the wedge in on 7 holes, plus maybe the par 3s? So we are looking at a long iron on maybe 5 holes.

From that perspective, are we happy with those numbers? Or is that the point where 'golf becomes boring'?

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13 minutes ago, Green Sheep Productions said:

To act as the negative, Lou's data (75% of second shots on Par 4s 174y or less) means Bryson is hitting PW or less (Looking at stock distances image from Golf TV . Par 4s tend to be at least half of golf holes. Are we happy with the wedge in on 7 holes, plus maybe the par 3s? So we are looking at a long iron on maybe 5 holes.

From that perspective, are we happy with those numbers? Or is that the point where 'golf becomes boring'?

Bryson while he maybe hit a pitching wedge that far pros tend to not hit full shots into greens especially with scores clubs. 

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10 minutes ago, Green Sheep Productions said:

To act as the negative, Lou's data (75% of second shots on Par 4s 174y or less) means Bryson is hitting PW or less (Looking at stock distances image from Golf TV . Par 4s tend to be at least half of golf holes. Are we happy with the wedge in on 7 holes, plus maybe the par 3s? So we are looking at a long iron on maybe 5 holes.

From that perspective, are we happy with those numbers? Or is that the point where 'golf becomes boring'?

I thought 9 iron was 175? Which is a 7 iron based on traditional lofts. Regardless it doesn't matter what is stamped on the bottom of the club. 

The separation between long and short hitters will always be there and always has been. 

 

What type of balance would you like to see?

 

Full disclosure I think watching golf has been boring for years. 

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2 minutes ago, Green Sheep Productions said:

To act as the negative, Lou's data (75% of second shots on Par 4s 174y or less) means Bryson is hitting PW or less (Looking at stock distances image from Golf TV . Par 4s tend to be at least half of golf holes. Are we happy with the wedge in on 7 holes, plus maybe the par 3s? So we are looking at a long iron on maybe 5 holes.

From that perspective, are we happy with those numbers? Or is that the point where 'golf becomes boring'?

Yeah, that many pros players now hit wedges 160+ yards is contributing to the driver & wedge tour comment.  

6 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Jack and Colin are just grumpy old men.

I disagree. They just feel the tradition of the game is getting skewed and some changes should be made.  Also, it isn't just Jack and Colin.

https://www.cbssports.com/golf/news/tiger-woods-speaks-on-rolling-back-golf-balls-bifurcation-for-pros-and-amateurs/

6 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Sixth has anyone currently playing on tour said the ball goes too far?? Most quotes I saw were amazed at what Bryson is doing.

You still haven't answered my question "at what point does increased hitting distance make it a yawner?"  Not saying it is going to happen, but follow this trend to its logical conclusion and it does change the game.  For some that's an issue, for others it's not.  

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2 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

Yeah, that many pros players now hit wedges 160+ yards is contributing to the driver & wedge tour comment.  

I disagree. They just feel the tradition of the game is getting skewed and some changes should be made.  Also, it isn't just Jack and Colin.

https://www.cbssports.com/golf/news/tiger-woods-speaks-on-rolling-back-golf-balls-bifurcation-for-pros-and-amateurs/

You still haven't answered my question "at what point does increased hitting distance make it a yawner?"  Not saying it is going to happen, but follow this trend to its logical conclusion and it does change the game.  For some that's an issue, for others it's not.  

If you ask me it has been a yawner for years, so I can't answer that question.

Every single sport has changed. Many way more than golf. It is inevitable and it will continue to happen. Golf has actually been one of the slowest to change. You made a comment about home runs, not sure if you have watched baseball in the last couple of years but they have been shattering home run records every year. 

There is a breaking point somewhere in golf due to the limits of the courses, that is different from other sports. IMO we are probably only 1 generation away from the breaking point. So yes there will probably have to be something that changes. What do you propose they do?

 

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7 hours ago, PMookie said:

My position will always be the same: do whatever you want, PGA, but the USGA and R&A don’t need to get silly and rollback the amateur. What the top 1% can do with a ball has ZERO correlation to the other 99%.

This. I'm not going to enjoy golf if I start hitting it shorter. I'm not particularly long (that's what she said) to begin with, don't need help making the game harder.

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I don’t really want to roll the ball back. And I’m not for bifurcation either.

Besides growing the grass maybe they could look into limiting shaft length? It could lip off some speed and should result in players hitting down a little more. And it would allow OEMs to continue to innovate within current maximums and probably help amateurs be more accurate too.


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#COBRACONNECT CHALLENGE 4 ALUMNUS

:cobra-small: Speedzone Driver 10.5 - Ventus Blue 6X

:cobra-small: Speedzone 5-wood - Ventus Blue 8S

:cobra-small: Speedzone 4-Hybrid - KBS Proto 85S vs :titelist-small: 818 H1 - Tensei Blue 70s

:cobra-small: KING Forged Tec 5-GW - PX LZ 6.5

:cobra-small: KING MIM Black 52.12 Classic, 56.10 Versatile, 60.04 Widelow - KBS 610 Wedge

:EVNROLL: ER2B

:titelist-small: Pro V1x vs :Snell: MTB-X vs :bridgestone-small: Tour B X

:918457628_PrecisionPro: NX9 HD Slope

 

#cuetheduckboats

 

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33 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

What do you propose they do?

I will take an aggressive wait and see approach to this issue¬†ūüėČ.¬† I do find the topic pretty interesting and hope they can come up with a workable solution.¬† I say that, because I love watching the game almost as much as playing it.¬† I also feel that I would become bored with the game if it became too one dimensional.¬† I like using all my clubs... I paid damn good money for them ūüôā.¬† Another example is fly fishing.¬† I would find the sport/hobby boring if the catching was brain dead simple... at least most¬†of the time.

:ping-small: G410 Plus, 9 Degree Driver | Official 2019 MGS Tester

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 16 Degree 3w

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 19 Degree 5w

:ping-small: G410 Irons 4-UW 

:ping-small:¬†Glide 2.0 56 Degree SW¬† ¬†(removed from¬†double secret probation¬†ūüėć)

:ping-small: B61 Putter

 

 

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