The new statistics on average driving distance for the PGA Tour came out and the players are longer than ever.
Jack Nicklaus and David Feherty both have opinions on it and both make very valid points on how and why golf’s governing bodies should dial the ball back. Both suggestions are solid, but Feherty’s would actually make the game easier, in some regards, for the average golfer.
Jack Nicklaus said, “If we went back and left equipment alone but changed the golf ball and brought it back, you played a shorter golf course, not only from the Tour standpoint would it be good, but a shorter golf course all through the game would mean less maintenance cost, less cost to play the game, quicker play, less land, less fertilizer, less everything, which would make the game more economical.”
David Ferherty had this to say, “I think our ruling bodies are worried about the wrong set of golfers. Whether Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods or Jordan Spieth or whoever makes Merion look short, that’s the wrong set of golfers. The people who drive the industry, who pay for the 30-second spots, the average person at home who loves the game, the game hasn’t got any easier for them.
Still, equipment has made the game more accessible, it’s made it more enjoyable, and we should let manufacturers make whatever the hell they want — except for the golf ball. They lost control of it. I believe the fix is very simple: You make the ball bigger. Instead of 1.68 [inch diameter], make it 1.72 or 1.71. The bigger surface area, it won’t go as far, it’s harder to hit straight, but it sits up a little better around the green, so it’s easier for the amateur to chip. There’s no downside to it. It’s too simple, I guess.”
Whether the USGA, the R&A, and the PGA Tour want to admit it or not, it will eventually have an adverse effect on golf. The longer it takes to play it or watch it where it starts putting a bad taste in people’s mouths no matter who is playing.