Not Everyone Can Be A Bubba!
By joe jones on 2/2/12
Joseph Jones is well on his way to becoming a regular contributor on oob, and for that, we applaud him! His latest submission is a must read. If you missed his previous submissions, you can read them here, here and here.

The big story on the PGA Tour this year is the unbelievable distance that some of the pros are hitting the ball. With Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Robert Garrigus and Gary Woodland averaging over 310 yards, the sanctioning bodies are screaming that technology is ruining the game. That complaint hasn’t changed for over 100 years. When the balata ball replaced the gutta percha ball and steel shafts replaced hickory, people howled. When graphite shafts replaced steel and titanium replaced persimmon woods, they howled again.

The statistics on driving distance show that there has been an 11 percent increase since 1985. The stats on scoring average show a different story. In 1985 Tom Watson led the tour with a 69.87 strokes per round average. Last year Luke Donald led with an average of 70.01. He also was first on the money list, first in putting and second in birdies. He averaged 284 yards off the tee which put him 147th on the tour. It appears that hitting monster drives doesn't guarantee winning on tour.

Past players like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have been lobbying to change the technology to reduce distance. Nicklaus seems to have forgotten that he was the preeminent bomber in his prime. At the age of 18, Nicklaus was invited to play a exhibition match with Arnold Palmer. Part of the exhibition involved a driving contest. Palmer hit several drives to the 285 yard marker and stepped aside. Nicklaus, with his wood McGregor driver hit 6 consecutive drives over the green that was 330 yards away. And that was with an inferior McGregor ball. The true measure of a bomber is not measured by how far you hit the golf ball, but by how far past your longest rival you can hit it. Obviously intimidation plays a big part in winning on the tour. Just ask any pro that has ever tried to stare down Woods or Nicklaus.

The lowest scoring average ever reported was Tiger Woods - 68.17 in 2000. In the past 27 years scoring average has been improved by 1.2 strokes per round. It appears that a great short game reduces the need for the long ball.

Historically, short hitters have always complained that they are at a disadvantage compared to the bombers. That seems logical at face value. The bombers could hit the ball over hazards while the short knockers had to hit short of them or away from them.
Example: Bubba Watson uses a Ping G20 to average 314 yards and have a 71.00 scoring average. Verplank uses the same club to average 276 yards and his scoring average was 70.55. Maybe Verplank should have his driver made pink like Watson's.

Is there an advantage to hitting the ball a long way. Sure. It's a lot nicer to be hitting a short iron instead of a mid iron to a receptive green. There is also the factor of “horses for certain courses”. Short hitters have certain courses that are more suited to their game. The same is true of the bombers. Short and straight sometimes trumps long and wrong.

Everybody loves to watch how far the ball travels when a pro lets it fly. Nobody ever said that athletics was fair, especially golf. The fact is that if we regulate every athlete that has an advantage in speed, strength or power, there would be no fans because no records would be broken. As long as the records are broken without the use of performance enhancing drugs or steroids, so be it.

As an aside, none of this talk about hitting the golf ball prodigious distances has any remote association with my abilities with the driver. I recently had an eye exam and after telling me that I had excellent eyesight, the doctor asked me if I was having any trouble seeing distant objects. I proudly stated that I could still see a golf ball in a fairway from 260-270 yards. now if I could only figure out a way to hit the ball that far...

This was written by Joseph Jones, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

photo by pocketwiley

[ comments ]
Banker85 says:
great article. No need to mess with the equipment, people love seeing the pros bomb it.
legitimatebeef says:
Nice succinct take on an issue that there's too much bellyaching over. Technology and improved design has been "ruining" the game since the very beginning, what are you gonna do. Materials and engineering and manufacturing will probably always improve. It's not like anybody is cheating gravity or anything.
guzzlingil says:
nice the end, the game really hasn't changed all that much....but it has allowed it easier for weekend hacks (like me) to get around.....
homermania says:
I beg to differ. Happy Gilmore accomplished that feat no more than an hour ago.
mjaber says:
Pehaps not a Bubba, but if you can find it, you can have a round with Hubba Bubba...
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