The Ball Distance Ratings System
By mustang6560 on 12/21/11
Earlier in the week, John Solheim, the chairman and CEO of PING, unveiled his new Ball Distance Ratings concept. The idea is to create three distance classifications for golf balls - long, longer and longest - to help make the game more enjoyable for amateurs AND to help curb the growing concern that professionals are hitting the ball too far. While Solheim believes his new system will help both the average golfer and the golf industry alike, he did challenge his peers and the two ruling bodies to provide feedback for his system.

Well, Mike Davis, the executive director of the USGA, did just that.
We have a longstanding belief, going back more than 100 years, that one set of rules for all golfers is one thing that has made the game so strong,” he asserted. “This (Solheim’s plan) would be a break from that principle.

“It would be a departure from how we have regarded the game for a long time now, and that would be a pretty big hurdle (for Solheim’s idea).”
I understand the game of golf is in a bit of a pickle - almost every good indicator (eg number of rounds played annually) is down - so the industry is willing to try anything to help rejuvenate interest in the game. But I'm not sure helping "Mr. Joe six-pack" hit it farther is the anser (get the PING reference?). Like Joseph said in his guest column Fool's Tools, no matter what the golf industry wants you to believe, you can't simply buy your game off the rack. If you have a slice, then buying a longer driver or a longer golf ball will only allow you to hit it farther into the woods.

That said, I'm not opposed to the idea of tightening the reins on the professional golfers, but for a different reason (tradition) than Mike cited. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching Bubba Watson absolutely pound the ball 350+ yards, however, I think it's ridiculous that golf courses are constantly spending millions of dollars to lengthen the yardage to "protect" par. Other than for sheer bravado, there is no reason you need to hit the ball that far. If the USGA and R&A limited the equipment the pros played, then maybe the golf courses could save some money on renovations. And who knows, maybe the golf courses would pass some of that savings on to the Mr. Joe six-pack's of the world in terms of lower green fees. And if he could afford to play more, then maybe his interest would grow.

So, I'm not opposed to the Ball Distance Ratings System.

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photo by Carollainy


[ comments ]
Backquak says:
hickory and balata, baby!!!
12/21/11
 
bkuehn1952 says:
Is there another sport where the players provide their own balls? (okay, bowling - but that is the only one I can think of). Why not have the tour provide a regulation ball, which might be changed from tournament to tournament. Each player would receive a supply a couple weeks prior to the event so they might practice.

As a test, the tour could try a single "limited distance" ball in a tournament on the Nationwide Tour to see what happens. I suspect that reducing the distance won't affect the results over the long haul - long hitters will still be longer than the field. The overall scores might rise but good players will still score better than average players.
12/21/11
 
mjaber says:
@bkuehn... I used to bring my own cue ball when I was playing pool (along with my assortment of cues).
12/21/11
 
windowsurfer says:
One kind of arrow, many Indians. I like it.
12/21/11
 
Banker85 says:
Isn't golf confusing enough. Serioulsy. the hcp system, slope, all the rules. This would not help the game grow in any way, IMO.
12/21/11
 
joe jones says:
Thanks for the mention about my article"Fools Tools"The funny thing about hitting the ball a long way is it has very little effect on scoring average on the tour. Since 1980 the average strokes per round has gone down less than one stroke. Luke Donald is the golfer of the year and he averages about 280 off the tee.
12/21/11
 
SteveMM says:
Never bet on bowling with a guy who brings his own ball, and NEVER EVER bet on bowling with a guy who brings his own pins.
12/22/11
 
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