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USGA coming after Phil & Bryson


Londo
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Yet another case of too little too late. For those with shorter memories, it wasn't that long ago when the average driver length was 42" and the average shaft weight was 100g+ and the average driver size was sub 370cc.

Just like any other sport where strict guidelines where pushed to their logical extremes in their search for a competitive edge, shafts gained length and dropped in weight, with head sizes maxing out at 460cc once the RB's cottoned on to the dramatic shift in efficiency.

Had the RB's enough foresight to see how the pro game changed with these rapid advances in tech, then restrictions could have been put in place a lot sooner to control distance and negate the need to make courses ridiculously long for the average golfer.

Combine that tech with subtle changes in ball construction, course agrimony that encourages superior roll out and the golfers themselves who are no slouches either and you have a recipe for disaster for the vast majority of amateur golfers who struggle to make any advance in handicap index.

Long story short - why stop at 46"? get it down to 45" or less and restore a bit of sanity.

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On 10/14/2021 at 7:47 AM, PMookie said:

It’s all so dumb… When actual SCORES start going down by 10-15 strokes ON AVERAGE year-over-year, let’s think about it, but otherwise it’s ridiculous.

Whatever. 

Regularly having winning scores at -20 or better on ever-lengthened courses nowadays isn't significant? Basically making par-5s not a thing anymore isn't significant?

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3 minutes ago, LICC said:

Regularly having winning scores at -20 or better on ever-lengthened courses nowadays isn't significant? Basically making par-5s not a thing anymore isn't significant?

How many studies need to be published that, ACROSS THE BOARD, scores have NOT gone down significantly over the last 20 years. So, to answer your question, no…. You can cherry pick scores all you want, but when evaluating data on overall scoring one doesn’t cherry pick.

Look, I know you’re going to continue to argue. It’s what you do, but simple research proves my point.

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On 10/14/2021 at 11:28 AM, RickyBobby_PR said:

Designers have created the issue of longer courses because that’s their perception of where design is going based off a perceived increase in distance that may or may not be there. Now that they created the problem they want the ruling bodies to save them. 

I haven’t seen it anywhere but I would be surprised at the courses that are deemed short of the scores have gone down at those events. Riviera is a perfect example of a shorter course that has withstood the distance game
 

Again perception isn’t reality so doing anything based on perceived issues is silly IMO. People need to look at reality and get out of the perception world. Facts>feelings

Like many other topics on forums this is one where the two sides of the story aren’t going to change the mind of the other side so I’m bowing out for now 

Riviera has added almost 400 yards since 1999.

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12 minutes ago, PMookie said:

How many studies need to be published that, ACROSS THE BOARD, scores have NOT gone down significantly over the last 20 years. So, to answer your question, no…. You can cherry pick scores all you want, but when evaluating data on overall scoring one doesn’t cherry pick.

Look, I know you’re going to continue to argue. It’s what you do, but simple research proves my point.

It's not that I just want to argue. I don't think your belief is correct. See this from a 2017 analysis from Adam Chandler Crawford:

... the scoring average in the 1960s (the height of Palmer and Player and the rise of Nicklaus),right at 275. (These numbers are taken only from 72-hole stroke play events.)

In the '70s it dropped slightly to 274.3, but that makes sense because there weren't many significant changes to the game. The '60s saw the Ping Karsten putter that revolutionized how putters would be made for the next 50 plus years, but that was the major innovation of the decade.

However, by the late 1980s, the scoring average had dropped to 273.1, over a full shot lower. The '80s was also the time when we see the first metal woods arrive on tour (Ron Streck was the first player to use a metal wood in a PGA Tour event).

The next leap is much bigger. By the end of the '90s, we see the scoring average drop nearly two full shots to 271.4. The '90s brought huge leaps in technology with the Callaway Big Bertha driver, the Titleist Professional golf ball, Adams Tight Lies and Taylormade Rescue clubs -- the advent of titanium and more graphite.

As the technology changed in the '90s and players began to place new equipment in their bags, the scoring average for the 2000s dipped below 270 for the first time and came in at 269.9. If you're following along, you'll notice that over five full shots since the 1960s. When you're talking about almost 450 tournaments per decade, that's a huge drop.

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14 minutes ago, LICC said:

It's not that I just want to argue. I don't think your belief is correct. See this from a 2017 analysis from Adam Chandler Crawford:

... the scoring average in the 1960s (the height of Palmer and Player and the rise of Nicklaus),right at 275. (These numbers are taken only from 72-hole stroke play events.)

In the '70s it dropped slightly to 274.3, but that makes sense because there weren't many significant changes to the game. The '60s saw the Ping Karsten putter that revolutionized how putters would be made for the next 50 plus years, but that was the major innovation of the decade.

However, by the late 1980s, the scoring average had dropped to 273.1, over a full shot lower. The '80s was also the time when we see the first metal woods arrive on tour (Ron Streck was the first player to use a metal wood in a PGA Tour event).

The next leap is much bigger. By the end of the '90s, we see the scoring average drop nearly two full shots to 271.4. The '90s brought huge leaps in technology with the Callaway Big Bertha driver, the Titleist Professional golf ball, Adams Tight Lies and Taylormade Rescue clubs -- the advent of titanium and more graphite.

As the technology changed in the '90s and players began to place new equipment in their bags, the scoring average for the 2000s dipped below 270 for the first time and came in at 269.9. If you're following along, you'll notice that over five full shots since the 1960s. When you're talking about almost 450 tournaments per decade, that's a huge drop.

Granted I'm not much of a historian, but I don't quite see 5 shots over the span of nearly 60 years being that significant. All sports evolve and change and although I will admit most all of this can be chalked up to equipment and the golf ball I would say the game itself has evolved and has been a contributing factor. Better maintained courses, more knowledge from a players aspect among many other things. I guess a secondary point is do we feel this trend will continue and in another 60 years  scores will be another 5 or 6 shots lower?

As far as where I stand on the driver length being rolled back I'm all for it. The majority don't use drivers that length anyway and the players will learn to adapt who are using the longer clubs. If it truly influences their game that much then I believe their are other factors they can look into. 

Take F1 for example and the year over year regulations that change the sport. These are way bigger then what they are doing in golf and the sport is still thriving, teams are adapting and I'm sure progress is still being made to have smaller lap times. 

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4 minutes ago, GolfSpy_APH said:

Granted I'm not much of a historian, but I don't quite see 5 shots over the span of nearly 60 years being that significant.

Also that is for the whole tournament so on average just the winning score is down 1.2 strokes a round, with the average now at 4 to 5 under a round to win. Does not seem crazy when 60 years ago you needed to be 3 to 4 under a round to win on average. Of course this is just my opinion and I enjoy watch the game now so I am sure others will disagree.

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12 minutes ago, GolfSpy_APH said:

Granted I'm not much of a historian, but I don't quite see 5 shots over the span of nearly 60 years being that significant. All sports evolve and change and although I will admit most all of this can be chalked up to equipment and the golf ball I would say the game itself has evolved and has been a contributing factor. Better maintained courses, more knowledge from a players aspect among many other things. I guess a secondary point is do we feel this trend will continue and in another 60 years  scores will be another 5 or 6 shots lower?

As far as where I stand on the driver length being rolled back I'm all for it. The majority don't use drivers that length anyway and the players will learn to adapt who are using the longer clubs. If it truly influences their game that much then I believe their are other factors they can look into. 

Take F1 for example and the year over year regulations that change the sport. These are way bigger then what they are doing in golf and the sport is still thriving, teams are adapting and I'm sure progress is still being made to have smaller lap times. 

Statistically, a 2 or even a 1 shot decrease over that many tournaments with that large a group of players is significant. Add the fact that these declines have happened as courses have added hundreds of yards in length and the statistical significance is even greater. 

Now you may think that decreased scoring on longer courses isn't a bad thing or anything that needs to be addressed. But we shouldn't deny that it has happened.

Personally I would prefer to see the pros play in a way that 300 yard drives still mean something, where par-5s are still par-5s where the average length pros have to decide whether to lay up or take a risk and go for it, where most of the par-3s don't have to be 200+ yards, and where long par-4s exist that require long iron shots to get to the green. You rarely see these things anymore and I think as a fan the game would be better to watch.

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The distance debate has been going on since I've been really around golf. I don't think anyone is denying it is happening. Again over the period of 60 years with how sports (most all sports) evolve and adapt and change I don't see 5 or 6 shots being that bad. 

However going back to the original post with terms of driver length, I don't see issue with it as stated in my above response. The players will adapt to the rules and changes and I don't think it is a bad thing with what they are doing. I don't see it changing distance as a whole, but maybe this is what slowly starts leading to other changes?

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48 minutes ago, LICC said:

Riviera has added almost 400 yards since 1999.

And yet is still short by pga tournament standards and a lot shorter than what many of the designers these days are claiming the need to build a courses

Also had a winning score of -12 last season won by a guy who ranked 100 in driving distance.

 

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29 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

And yet is still short by pga tournament standards and a lot shorter than what many of the designers these days are claiming the need to build a courses

Also had a winning score of -12 last season won by a guy who ranked 100 in driving distance.

 

Because of unusually bad weather and 35mph winds. I would hate to rely on that to keep scores down.

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42 minutes ago, LICC said:

Statistically, a 2 or even a 1 shot decrease over that many tournaments with that large a group of players is significant. Add the fact that these declines have happened as courses have added hundreds of yards in length and the statistical significance is even greater. 

Now you may think that decreased scoring on longer courses isn't a bad thing or anything that needs to be addressed. But we shouldn't deny that it has happened.

Personally I would prefer to see the pros play in a way that 300 yard drives still mean something, where par-5s are still par-5s where the average length pros have to decide whether to lay up or take a risk and go for it, where most of the par-3s don't have to be 200+ yards, and where long par-4s exist that require long iron shots to get to the green. You rarely see these things anymore and I think as a fan the game would be better to watch.

Yes technology in drivers has resulted in allowing increased distance when there are slight miss hits, but increased swing speed by players has also added to that distance increase.  I’d personally say that increased swing speed and better understanding if the swing is a bugger contributor to that increase.  

you also talked about scoring average for tournaments going down even though course lengths have increased.  Is there any any data that totally separates the equipment from the quality of the players playing in the events?  Meaning are tournament fields comprised of better overall golfers?  While the advertised distance of courses are increasing what is the actual played distance of the courses on each tournament day.  
 

can’t believe I am taking this side but everyone talks about jacked lofts and how the 5 iron from the 70s and 80s has become the 7 iron of today.   So maybe they still are hitting that long iron into the green, it is just that the number on the bottom doesn’t equal what you want to see.   
 

Even if we somehow rolled back the distance I believe your hope for risk/reward type play is also a thing of the past as playing strategy has changed.  Played now have access to detailed stats that show hitting the ball as far as possible on every shot is what should be done.  Looking at course architecture, they are mostly built based a formula that supports that strategy.   Players coming up through the playing ranks are simply better when looked at as a complete group.   Like it or not, I think strategies founded from stroke gained metrics will cause scoring averages to continue to go lower.   
 

Golf has changed over time and some people like it and others don’t.  

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6 minutes ago, cnosil said:

Yes technology in drivers has resulted in allowing increased distance when there are slight miss hits, but increased swing speed by players has also added to that distance increase.  I’d personally say that increased swing speed and better understanding if the swing is a bugger contributor to that increase.  

you also talked about scoring average for tournaments going down even though course lengths have increased.  Is there any any data that totally separates the equipment from the quality of the players playing in the events?  Meaning are tournament fields comprised of better overall golfers?  While the advertised distance of courses are increasing what is the actual played distance of the courses on each tournament day.  
 

can’t believe I am taking this side but everyone talks about jacked lofts and how the 5 iron from the 70s and 80s has become the 7 iron of today.   So maybe they still are hitting that long iron into the green, it is just that the number on the bottom doesn’t equal what you want to see.   
 

Even if we somehow rolled back the distance I believe your hope for risk/reward type play is also a thing of the past as playing strategy has changed.  Played now have access to detailed stats that show hitting the ball as far as possible on every shot is what should be done.  Looking at course architecture, they are mostly built based a formula that supports that strategy.   Players coming up through the playing ranks are simply better when looked at as a complete group.   Like it or not, I think strategies founded from stroke gained metrics will cause scoring averages to continue to go lower.   
 

Golf has changed over time and some people like it and others don’t.  

We have discussed this plenty and I respectfully entirely disagree. I've posted plenty showing that the predominant cause of distance increases are equipment advances. Here is another thing that I posted a while back in another thread:

Here is more data to support my view that distance gains are predominantly from equipment technology. Here is the same person, same balls, using different drivers from different years from the same company. There are substantial distance gains from the 2004 version to the 2013 version, and again significant increase from the 2013 version to 2021. 

https://golf.com/gear/drivers/how-far-has-distance-increased-5-drivers-from-different-years/

 

 

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12 minutes ago, cnosil said:

can’t believe I am taking this side but everyone talks about jacked lofts and how the 5 iron from the 70s and 80s has become the 7 iron of today.   So maybe they still are hitting that long iron into the green, it is just that the number on the bottom doesn’t equal what you want to see.

The equipment is hard to compare because lofts aren't the only thing affecting the ball. Today's 7 iron may have the same loft at the 4 iron from the 1970s, but today's club also has a different weighting and produces a loft far unlike the old 4 irons.

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33 minutes ago, LICC said:

Because of unusually bad weather and 35mph winds. I would hate to rely on that to keep scores down.

2019 winner -14 by a guy ranked 209 in driving distance. Scoring is always low at that course

Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

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17 minutes ago, LICC said:

We have discussed this plenty and I respectfully entirely disagree. I've posted plenty showing that the predominant cause of distance increases are equipment advances. Here is another thing that I posted a while back in another thread:

Here is more data to support my view that distance gains are predominantly from equipment technology. Here is the same person, same balls, using different drivers from different years from the same company. There are substantial distance gains from the 2004 version to the 2013 version, and again significant increase from the 2013 version to 2021. 

https://golf.com/gear/drivers/how-far-has-distance-increased-5-drivers-from-different-years/

 

 

While it is an interesting test,  few metrics were provided to show contact locations and swing numbers.  I have also shown “tests” of older clubs that show no significant distance differences that you dismissed as being invalid.  provide all the data that can be captured on a GC Quad and it would be a more compelling story.   
 

I don’t disagree that equipment has helped players more consistent hit longer shots.  But there are other factors that contribute to lower scores and longer distances.  As technology has advanced manufacturing processes have improved as well making clubs more consistent.  
 

but here are some other tests of old technology:
 

https://golf.com/gear/drivers/paul-casey-persimmon-driver-modern-golf-ball/

 

https://www.golfmonthly.com/news/tour-news/dj-hits-nicklaus-persimmon-driver-163339

 


 

 

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7 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

2019 winner -14 by a guy ranked 209 in driving distance. Scoring is always low at that course

Results from any one tournament mean pretty much nothing when evaluating long-term trends.  @LICC is right when he says that equipment advances have contributed significantly to increasing driving distance at the top levels.  I don't necessarily agree that equipment is the primary factor, its nearly impossible to separate the influence of any one change over the years.  

Its interesting to read those who say the Ruling Bodies should have done more sooner, that they should have been able to "crystal ball" the impact of some of the equipment advances, and limit them before they occurred.  Its hard to argue that, really, I don't know that its really possible to predict the impact of changes.  But in the recent action, the Ruling Bodies ARE looking at a trend towards longer drivers, and ARE taking an action to limit further distance increases at the top levels of golf.  The rule will impact an extremely small percentage of those top players, but it will eliminate one mechanism for distance increases in the future.  

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Nope. Scoring average from 2000 has gone down .1, and a grand total of 1.6 down over 30 years for winner scoring average.

So much for all of these “-20” winning scores….

 

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41 minutes ago, cnosil said:

While it is an interesting test,  few metrics were provided to show contact locations and swing numbers.  I have also shown “tests” of older clubs that show no significant distance differences that you dismissed as being invalid.  provide all the data that can be captured on a GC Quad and it would be a more compelling story.   
 

I don’t disagree that equipment has helped players more consistent hit longer shots.  But there are other factors that contribute to lower scores and longer distances.  As technology has advanced manufacturing processes have improved as well making clubs more consistent.  
 

but here are some other tests of old technology:
 

https://golf.com/gear/drivers/paul-casey-persimmon-driver-modern-golf-ball/

 

https://www.golfmonthly.com/news/tour-news/dj-hits-nicklaus-persimmon-driver-163339

 


 

 

I'm not sure why you think these support your argument. Fowler carried it 275 with modern balls. Take at least another 10 yards off for the ball, and that is substantially shorter than he hits it with modern equipment. Same with DJ. He hit it 290 with a modern ball. Take back more yardage based on the ball and he hit much shorter than he hits it with modern equipment. 

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10 minutes ago, PMookie said:

So much for all of these “-20” winning scores….

John Feinstein, 2018: The average winning score in 46 individual stroke-play events during the 2017-'18 season was 16.56 under par. Twelve of those events were won with at least 20 under par and 41 were won with a double-digit total. 

 

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