Those who worry about distance gains expanding the footprint of golf used to be mocked and in general, were anti-capitalist technophobes. We still are in certain parts of Massachusetts.
But the worrying types are no longer mocked thanks in part to the USGA and R&A suggesting all was well and gains weren’t happening in the same year we saw a reachable 687-yard par-5 in the U.S. Open. Now, a younger generation isn’t really buying that massive distance gains are making professional golf more fun to watch, causing heartburn in the millennial-obsessed executive ranks who think the kids are shallow and only about the long ball.
So I urge the few stragglers who aren’t buying our view to check out Bill Fields’ short MorningRead.com piece entitled “Too much of a good thing.”
I don’t know a critic of the current situation who has contempt for the golf-equipment R&D folks smart enough to design multi-layer, solid-core balls, big, thin-faced metal drivers or machines that allow players to optimize their gear – ingredients that have fueled where we are. But appreciating their ingenuity isn’t the same as believing that it has improved the essence or aesthetics of golf, particularly as played by the best in the world.
If Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth were hitting the same clubs into greens as Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, or Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, they would be no less appealing. If Justin Thomas were using the same iteration of club and ball as Greg Norman three decades ago, there is no reason to think his skills wouldn’t stand out as they did in his 2017 Player of the Year season. If, eventually, there occurs a sane throttling of what our eyes are seeing and the stats are documenting, the best still will be the best – and that will be so for those who manufacture the equipment as well as play it. Think of it as returning to the moon instead of trying to reach Mars. In a game, this game, the moon is enough.
You go Bill!
Anyway, read the whole piece. It’s short. And good.