Not the prototype.
R&A is developing top secret golf balls
By mustang6560 on 6/7/12
The R&A is developing a top secret golf ball, which, if successful, may change golf as we know it.
It was the most significant day of golf perhaps in the recorded history of the game. Tiger's 73rd victory on Sunday? Nice, but not that significant. How many wins he now has will have no impact on the future of the game, but a golf ball that goes 10 or 20 yards shorter? That could change things forever, and that's why the weekend's activities outside of Stockholm, where the R&A conducted events with a shorter golf ball, were infinitely more important to the game than anything that happened outside of Columbus, Ohio, greenside miracles from the greatest player who ever lived notwithstanding.
Rumors of the top secret golf ball have been circulating for a few weeks now, but we've yet to see visual evidence of the prototype - until now. Gene Oberto, a Swedish golf writer, was invited to participate in one of the R&A's experiments and posted the following story about his experience - including a picture of the golf ball.
Physically comparing the ball to a Titleist Pro V1, the dimples are pronouncedly deeper which, I guess, cuts into the aerodynamics of the balls flight by creating more drag. From a purely unscientific perspective, our group felt that when we hit it good the ball carried well, like throwing a javelin. Mis-hit causing the slightest error in capturing that optimum flight and the ball seems dead and goes nowhere. This lack of carry, for me was most apparent on approach shots, where less than pure hits saw balls land ridiculously short. It played havoc on all of us where water was a factor. Short shots over water have permanent results. The ball rolled well on cut fairways. Thick and wet grass or standing water, however, made the ball act like like a stone. Putting on the greens showed no difference in roll or feel.
People laughed at John Solheim's Ball Distance Rating System, but it looks like golf may be headed to a place where amateurs and professionals play different golf balls.

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Image via Flickr, MarkyBon


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[ comments ]
Scott Shields says:
I hope this never happens.
6/7/12
 
Scott Shields says:
And as an aside .... a ball flying lower will not in fact help speed up play - which is what is killing golf in my opinion.
6/7/12
 
birdieXris says:
This is insane. Absolutely insane. I too hope this never happens. We don't need less distance we need faster play. We also don't need minor mishits causing huge problems. At most, there's a 5 to 10 yard difference if you mishit the ball slightly. If you increase that to 20 or 30 yards as the article suggests, it's just not going to be fun anymore. nobody wants to see someone lose a tournament because they missed the sweet spot by a fraction of an inch. These guys are good, but they're still human. They make mistakes and taking the long ball out of play makes it not as exciting and when you start having scores like +7 winning tournaments that aren't the US Open or The Open Championship, then you have issues.
6/7/12
 
bkuehn1952 says:
First, it does not sound like this particular test was valid. How can one evaluate a ball's performance in a gale? Second, if the ball design was intended to punish mishits severely, then the R&A is pursuing a crazy policy. We amateurs are the ones mishitting the ball and we certainly do not need the game to become more difficult for amateurs. Finally, the 95% of us that pay most of the greens fees and buy most of the clubs are not creating the problem and pretty much don't care to see a solution. We are never going to play the likes of the Olympic Club and if the members want to spend a fortune to lengthen the course, go ahead. Were we ever lucky enough to play there, we would tee it up from the "White" tees anyway.
6/7/12
 
Matt McGee says:
Change the grooves in the club, make a shorter golf ball, etc, etc.. Is it really that hard to make longer golf courses?
6/7/12
 
Banker85 says:
DUMB IDEA. Matt, that is very subtle sarcasm there.
6/7/12
 
mustang6560 says:
@bkuehn1952- I think the R&A is more focused on changing the ball the professionals use and not the ball us amateurs are playing.
6/7/12
 
bkuehn1952 says:
@mustang6560: If the R&A is testing for a professional ball, my advice would be to use professionals in the test. I did not get the impression that the test they ran involved professional golfers. While a golf writer may be a pretty good player, I suspect he is better with a pen or keyboard than a golf club.
6/7/12
 
Bernie Duffer says:
Ridiculous
6/7/12
 
birdieXris says:
I say they don't need another step between amateurs and professionals... that would basically mean that amateurs who are serious about playing golf need to play with this ball to post scores --- on courses where other people are using a regular ball.... not a good idea. then we'll need two handicap systems i would say. The first time they get someone who's a +3 on the course with one of these balls and they end up shooting a high score, that's gonna cause a stink.
6/7/12
 
mmontisano says:
does it really matter THAT much? i love golf. i'm going to play it even if the USGA/R&A make me go back to persimmon on 8000 yard courses with Rock Flights. i'll take my 115 and just try to beat it next time.

just play faster!
6/7/12
 
Geoffre14 says:
yup, bad idea
6/7/12
 
jcstoll says:
If that ball's specs become the new standard, it certainly wouldn't make me quit, though it would increase my frustration level with less distance, and probably slower play as a result of everybody swinging out of their shoes to make up the lost distance.
6/8/12
 
joe jones says:
As I have written before, the distance the pros are hitting the ball today in comparison to years past has had little effect on scoring average. The one stat that hasn't changed over the years has been the lowest scoring average are the best players usually. Obviously there are exceptions but the fact is, a 30% increase in distance since 1992 has reduced the scoring average by less than 1%. Don't change the ball for amateurs. They need all of the help they can get.
6/9/12
 
Kurt the Knife says:
Pros already play different balls than I do.
Their's go in the hole more often than mine.
Gotta get me some of those.
6/11/12
 
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