In November of 2017, I first addressed the discussion of golf ball and bifurcation. The question was originally asked to me by Darwin Howard, Superintendent of Seguin Valley Golf Club, and at that time I was for it. I thought that limiting the distance professional golfers can hit a ball would be good for golf. Now, I am not so sure!
Before we go further, bifurcation is defined as the point or area at which something divides into two branches or parts. The main concern is that by changing the specifications on a golf ball for professionals, two sets of rules will be develop further separating professionals (and high-ranking amateurs) from the regular player.
The aspect of changing the rules of golf again to address the increasingly improvement of technology and physical abilities of professional golfers is not as appealing as in my previous post. The reason for my change is that rarely do any professional sports limit the top athletes abilities by handcuffing them with substandard equipment. It is just not done.
I love to watch basketball. Over the years, the players have become bigger, stronger, and faster. The ability to dunk or shoot long range has improved from when I started watching in the late 70s. Did basketball change the height of the net or size of the ball. No, at the professional level, the powers to be embraced the improvement in skill to a point were the game is more exciting than ever.
Golf should be no different. I was struck by on Twitter post about this issue and think this would solve the problem immediately:
Chris is an ex-professional caddie and would have some great insight into this issue. What I think is the key to his statement is setting up the course with a greater risk/reward difficulty. If a professional golfer whats to smash the ball 325+ yards into a more difficult second shot, then that would add that much more excitement to the game.
I remember when Tiger Woods was in his prime and the announces talking about this very issue. Tiger was the longest consistent hitter on tour and would crush his ball over the hazards and land in the rough. The consensus was that hitting the ball out of the rough from 75 yards was easier than navigating the hole. I also remember Dustin Johnson in a separate discussion on this same issue, with the same conclusion.
So, I have changed my tune and suggest that the golf courses we set up to be more challenging. Some will say that it is not entertaining to watch professional golfers hack around the course, but there has to be a happy medium between the US Open and a regular tour stop?
What do you think?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!