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To be fair, tighter tolerances is a good idea. The CT test they do on driver faces has a laughable tolerance limit of +7.5%. It may not result in more than a yard or maybe two in the grand scheme of things but no one is building their drivers to 239 if they have 18 extra CT points to play with. I'm all for tightening that up, and I have been for years, but I'm not on board with any of the other proposals.

I agree 100% with Rory. It’s great to do all of this research but if your goal is to strengthen the future of the game, surely there are much better ways to spend that money. Especially considering years later we sit here with nothing but ideas like 46” drivers, local rules, and tighter tolerances. I feel like after all of the hype, this proposal is honestly laughable.


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I'm sure we will hear all about the evil's of bifurcation shortly but I'm not in that camp.  I played baseball in High School and College at a very interesting time.  My senior year of High School was

What do you see the average being?  250 yards? How do you limit the equipment to maintain that average over time.  I personally think you are underestimating how people adapt to change to become more

I am in the wait and see corner on this. We already have some bifurcation within golf...one ball local rule, rangefinder usage, and tee boxes to name a couple. The biggest issue is that there rea

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To be fair, tighter tolerances is a good idea. The CT test they do on driver faces has a laughable tolerance limit of +7.5%. It may not result in more than a yard or maybe two in the grand scheme of things but no one is building their drivers to 239 if they have 18 extra CT points to play with. I'm all for tightening that up, and I have been for years, but I'm not on board with any of the other proposals.


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Agreed, but in the context of solving a “distance problem” it’s really not a measurable change.


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16 hours ago, revkev said:

I wonder if bifurcation is as big an issue as we are assuming.  I think that if you were to tell golfers its this or a loss of distance for everyone they'd take, this.  Perhaps I'm wrong but that would be my hunch.

Bifurcation will affect a really small percentage of golfers, so if it gets put to a vote, I'm sure most will say "Sure, make HIM lose distance, as long as mine is unchanged".  But it also will require manufacturers to produce more different clubs if they want to cater to both the high-level players and to the masses.  And the transition from regular player to elite will be difficult.  High school phenoms may be playing regular equipment this weekend in a high school match, and the reduced distance next weekend in a State Amateur.  The same would probably hold true throughout the age groups, club golfers using regular equipment in club competitions, and reduced equipment when they play state or national events.  I know that's not a lot of players, but it should be considered.

1 hour ago, LeftyRM7 said:

Agreed, but in the context of solving a “distance problem” it’s really not a measurable change.

Again, if you read the goals, they're not trying to reduce distance across the board.  They're trying to minimize future equipment-related distance gains.

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All of our discourse keeps bringing me back to the question why they don't first  look at implementing course layout and condition changes? I mean this approach has its challenges too but they pale in comparison to what is certain to be a mess on the equipment side of things (as @DaveP043points out).  

Simply changing fairway cut height has been mentioned numerous times - and costs nothing.  What is the hesitancy to pull those levers first?  At the end of the day, no matter what they do, especially on the equipment side, the average long drivers are still going to be 30-35 yards past the average short hitters.  At least with course changes, things like cut height, etc. can be tailored to penalize the trouble making bombers. 🙂

 

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27 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

All of our discourse keeps bringing me back to the question why they don't first  look at implementing course layout and condition changes? I mean this approach has its challenges too but they pale in comparison to what is certain to be a mess on the equipment side of things (as @DaveP043points out).  

Simply changing fairway cut height has been mentioned numerous times - and costs nothing.  What is the hesitancy to pull those levers first?  At the end of the day, no matter what they do, especially on the equipment side, the average long drivers are still going to be 30-35 yards past the average short hitters.  At least with course changes, things like cut height, etc. can be tailored to penalize the trouble making bombers. 🙂

 

IMO that’s because the USGA outside of their tournaments don’t have much say in the setup of pro tourneys. The pga knows what sells on tv for most viewers and setup the courses that way. I think the biggest fight will be with the tours against the ruling bodies. The tours have a product that they need to sell and will make decisions that bests help them do that. 

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1 hour ago, fixyurdivot said:

All of our discourse keeps bringing me back to the question why they don't first  look at implementing course layout and condition changes?

I think @RickyBobby_PR has it exactly right, the USGA and R&A have authority over course conditions for very very few events, only the events that they run themselves.  

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My question for the bifurcation crowd would be where do you draw the line? I think many think of the Bryson’s and DJs of the world when talking about this distance debate but even on tour those guys are the 1% of the 1% of golfers. The same arguments that are being made for amateurs vs pros can be made for shorter hitting pros. I mean nobody believes LPGA or Champions Tour pros are overpowering golf courses. Do we really need to tell 5’ 4” Brooke Henderson she can’t use her driver anymore? So then you say it could be a PGA tour only bifurcation but then you alienate the guys that play multiple tours. Do we really want to push guys like Furyk, Stricker, and Mickelson off the PGA sooner than they’d like to because they can’t compete? There are so many issues to deal with and wherever you draw that line of bifurcation, there will be a group of golfers that end up with the short end of the stick.


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Just now, DaveP043 said:

I think @RickyBobby_PR has it exactly right, the USGA and R&A have authority over course conditions for very very few events, only the events that they run themselves.  

Fair enough. So how about they test adjusted conditions on those few courses they do control, and use the data as a reference point?   Sure, it could be that, regardless what such tests yield in addressing the "distance issue", the PGA Tour may choose not to employ, but it would be great info to have and replace speculation with facts.  

 

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4 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

Fair enough. So how about they test adjusted conditions on those few courses they do control, and use the data as a reference point?   Sure, it could be that, regardless what such tests yield in addressing the "distance issue", the PGA Tour may choose not to employ, but it would be great info to have and replace speculation with facts.  

 

The USGA kind of has that/does it already. The US Open. US women’s open and their amateur events. 
 

On the tour one could look at courses like Riviera and Muirfield as a couple examples of how course design impacts the distance and course strategy.  
 

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Am I the only one who thinks this has all the makings of a 60 minute game, between Team PGA and Team USGA, that will set a record in both total offensive and penalty yards, and end in a tie?  🤣

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I had this discussion with a club pro over a glass of scotch last evening.  He thinks that the hiring of Wahn is a signal that the goal will be to limit distance increases rather than rolling things back.  I pointed out concerns because of some past decisions especially the anchor ban.  His counter was that it impacted less than 10 percent of all golfers and didn't hurt OEMs in any meaningful way so it was an easy "fix" even if it was unfair to a small group of people.  He doesn't see them making a decision that would clearly upset the entire apple cart.

 

His points made sense to me but the scotch was exceptional and there may have been more than one glass involved.

 

I will say that holes like 10 at Riviera or other drivable by everyone in the filed par 4's are exciting and require a varied skill set - think about that hole, it mandated a perfectly shaped drive, hit the proper distance and when the shot was missed by much more than a whisker a truly deft touch to get up in down, sometimes even to get up and down in 3.  That's the new strategy and its easier to watch than a guy having to work his 3 iron to a back right pin - you don't get to really see that on TV like you do the pitch or punch or blast or bump and run followed by a harrowing down hill 8 footer for birdie.

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4 hours ago, fixyurdivot said:

All of our discourse keeps bringing me back to the question why they don't first  look at implementing course layout and condition changes? I mean this approach has its challenges too but they pale in comparison to what is certain to be a mess on the equipment side of things (as @DaveP043points out).  

Simply changing fairway cut height has been mentioned numerous times - and costs nothing.  What is the hesitancy to pull those levers first?  At the end of the day, no matter what they do, especially on the equipment side, the average long drivers are still going to be 30-35 yards past the average short hitters.  At least with course changes, things like cut height, etc. can be tailored to penalize the trouble making bombers. 🙂

 

Cutting the fairways a little higher will make a small difference (some tournaments more than others), but any other course setup changes that would really have an effect would make the course setups one-dimensional and boring. 

I really don't see what the big deleterious effect would be to limit clubhead size for the pros. Doing that and tightening up the COR tolerances would go a long way.

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2 hours ago, LeftyRM7 said:

My question for the bifurcation crowd would be where do you draw the line? I think many think of the Bryson’s and DJs of the world when talking about this distance debate but even on tour those guys are the 1% of the 1% of golfers. The same arguments that are being made for amateurs vs pros can be made for shorter hitting pros. I mean nobody believes LPGA or Champions Tour pros are overpowering golf courses. Do we really need to tell 5’ 4” Brooke Henderson she can’t use her driver anymore? So then you say it could be a PGA tour only bifurcation but then you alienate the guys that play multiple tours. Do we really want to push guys like Furyk, Stricker, and Mickelson off the PGA sooner than they’d like to because they can’t compete? There are so many issues to deal with and wherever you draw that line of bifurcation, there will be a group of golfers that end up with the short end of the stick.


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I don't see the big problem. Furyk can use a larger head driver in Champions events and a smaller head driver in Tour events. These guys are elite, they can swing different clubs.

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4 minutes ago, LICC said:

Cutting the fairways a little higher will make a small difference (some tournaments more than others), but any other course setup changes that would really have an effect would make the course setups one-dimensional and boring. 

I really don't see what the big deleterious effect would be to limit clubhead size for the pros. Doing that and tightening up the COR tolerances would go a long way.

What head size do you recommend. The long hitters use 3w in the 175cc upwards of 185cc and hit the ball over 300.

 

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2 hours ago, revkev said:

I had this discussion with a club pro over a glass of scotch last evening.  He thinks that the hiring of Wahn is a signal that the goal will be to limit distance increases rather than rolling things back.  I pointed out concerns because of some past decisions especially the anchor ban.  His counter was that it impacted less than 10 percent of all golfers and didn't hurt OEMs in any meaningful way so it was an easy "fix" even if it was unfair to a small group of people.  He doesn't see them making a decision that would clearly upset the entire apple cart.

 

His points made sense to me but the scotch was exceptional and there may have been more than one glass involved.

 

I will say that holes like 10 at Riviera or other drivable by everyone in the filed par 4's are exciting and require a varied skill set - think about that hole, it mandated a perfectly shaped drive, hit the proper distance and when the shot was missed by much more than a whisker a truly deft touch to get up in down, sometimes even to get up and down in 3.  That's the new strategy and its easier to watch than a guy having to work his 3 iron to a back right pin - you don't get to really see that on TV like you do the pitch or punch or blast or bump and run followed by a harrowing down hill 8 footer for birdie.

I see the massive distance gains from equipment as diminishing the 10th at Riviera. Before, you had a mix of players laying up and others trying to drive it. Now, no one even thinks about laying up. There is not any strategic choice. There is no benefit to laying up. It has become just a one-choice difficulty hole. 

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6 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

What head size do you recommend. The long hitters use 3w in the 175cc upwards of 185cc and hit the ball over 300.

 

180cc sounds about right. Having 300 yards as a benchmark for the longest hitters would work well.

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10 minutes ago, LICC said:

180cc sounds about right. Having 300 yards as a benchmark for the longest hitters would work well.

That’s around the distance tiger was hitting the ball when he came on tour and courses had to be tiger proofed so how does that solve the supposed distance issue.

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11 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

That’s around the distance tiger was hitting the ball when he came on tour and courses had to be tiger proofed so how does that solve the supposed distance issue.

Tiger was the only one hitting it that far (just a handful of others). And courses have been lengthened since then, but not enough to keep up. So having the top 20 or so averaging 300 would get to a good place. 

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42 minutes ago, LICC said:

I really don't see what the big deleterious effect would be to limit clubhead size for the pros.

Where do you draw the line?  All professionals?  Certain Tours?  USGA events, like the Amateur?  Statewide events, like state opens?  State Amateurs?  Amateurs invited to PGA Tour events?  College golf?  And so far, this has been introduced as a possible VOLUNTARY Local Rule, which organizations do you believe will adopt it?  How will manufacturers feel about having to produce reduced distance equipment, whether its golf balls or clubs, for an extremely limited market?

I'm not saying I hate the idea of bifurcation, I just don't think its workable.  And I really don't care that the strategy of golf has evolved and changed, its been evolving and changing since the first feathery was struck with a crooked stick.

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49 minutes ago, LICC said:

I see the massive distance gains from equipment as diminishing the 10th at Riviera. Before, you had a mix of players laying up and others trying to drive it. Now, no one even thinks about laying up. There is not any strategic choice. There is no benefit to laying up. It has become just a one-choice difficulty hole. 

I would respectfully disagree with you.  That hole has been altered quite nicely to meet the demands of the modern game.  It's actually been shortened, not lengthened, so that the entire field may reach it.  Instead of a boring hole that required the entire field to lay up and fit a wedge onto a green ill suited for it it now allows everyone to attempt to reach but it takes a perfectly hit shot to pull it off.  If you prefer watching a bunch of irons off the tee and wedges in that's your choice just as it's mine to prefer the slightly faded 3 wood to a tight pin from 280 yards and then the excitement that follows when that shot didn't come off.

Additionally it's the numbers that have convinced the field that it is a wiser decision to go for it - they can see that the closer you are to the hole, the lower the scores you will make.  That's true through the green and what is more I suspect that it always has been.

 

Sports evolve - one of the beautiful things about golf is that folks are welcome to play with older, classic equipment if that's what they desire.  That would not be my choice but I certainly know people who prefer that and have found tours or leagues or societies for it.  

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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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