Should The Tour Pros Play By Different Rules ?
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The new USGA proposed ruling on grooves, for the first time, shows an inclination that the best players in the world should play by different rules than the rest of us. It has long been held that golf is unique in that all amateurs play the same epuipment, and by the same rules as the pros - but do we really ?

Tour professionals now play equipment that has been carefully tuned to their games after many hours and thousand of dollars invested in the testing/fitting facilities that all the major companies own.

They have a multi-hundred-thousand-dollars-per-year caddie helping them with every nuance of each shot they face.

They have course books charted by GPS to the tiniest fraction of distance.

They travel with their swing coach, mental coach, agents, managers, etc., and have access to full-time fitness professionals, physical therapists, etc.

They play perfectly manicured courses every day, with greens that are like pool tables, and bunkers that have been moistened to "tour specifications." And those are all raked by professional caddies after each shot.

So are they really playing by the same rules ? In my opinion, no, they are not.

Compare golf to other major league sports

Pro basketball takes the game another step from the college game. Sixty minutes instead of forty, 24-second shot clock instead of 35, and a three point line that is three feet further from the basket. All this is in respect of the higher talent level, and it doesn't reduce the appeal of the college game one bit.

But perhaps the best example is pro baseball, which has stayed with wooden bats, while college players and below use aluminum. That's a big reason why it's so hard to crack "the show" for a young ball player. If the pros played aluminum bats, all ballparks would have to be torn down and enlarged to have 500 foot fences. Games would look like basketball scores. So, they don't.

Why shouldn't golf just admit that the pros are in a whole other league in their skills, talents and physical capabilities, and throttle the equipment back in respect of this difference ? Not "our" equipment, but that used at the highest level.

A shorter standard ball, rolled back driver limits, groove geometry, etc. Wouldn't it be more fun if the pros feared the rough as much as we do ?

I'm just tosssing this out there for fun, and I think we all can have some interesting dialog about this. So tee off and be heard.
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[ comments ]
Jimmy Apfelbaum says:

Need to get you back on the radio. Also, let me know when you're next in Austin. Need to sit down with you for a spell. All best, Jimmy
Anthony Renna says:
Great points Terry. I think many golfers are under the illusion that they are playing under the same rules and conditions as the pros. Although I like the idea of making the "pros fear the rough as much as we do," it seems like golf is the only sport trying to hold back "offense." Hockey has gone to great lengths to increase fan base by opening up the game so more goals are scored. Fans seem to love homerun races and high scoring games in all sports. Although I loved the US Open at Winged Foot, I wouldn't want to see that every week.
It does seem to be getting a little crazy out there though.
wedgeguy says:
Anthony makes a good point, but just how much "offense" do we need until it gets offensive. How many of us can relate to watching pros score a golf course 15-25 under par for 72 holes? We recently had a Tight Lies tour event at my club -- these are very good players, a very slight notch below Nationwide pros. But our very firm and fast greens made this 6,900 yard course play tough -- same conditions we play, and the winner was 7 under for 54 holes. My point is that if you don't make the greens hold a ball like velcro, and have decent rough, tight fairways, etc., these guys won't make a mockery of the game. NO ONE backs up an approach on our course! My point is that somewhere between the U.S. Open and one of the desert/Florida events would make the game more interesting to watch, wouldn't it?
Bill Selph says:
I think your points are correct, the tour pros have great advantages versus the rest of us.
And what about the issue of Out of Bounds. I see them hit from the next fairway and even two fairways over without a penalty shot and see them hit like 4 to 6 fairways per round without a penalty, that one would cost them likely 4 - 10 strokes in OB penalty on the courses I play
Luke Sargent says:
If you changed the rules of golf that the pros play by, they would then be unable to assist the amateur community in golfing skills - I am fairly sure of that... but maybe I misunderstood you or something. It's late at night.
JWHpurist says:
Allow professional activities in all sports the freedom and ability to create advancements & excitement for the individuals that are interested & aspire to high levels of performance in that sport. "It Grows The Sport". They can acquire high levels of performance through the acquisition of good equipment and substantial practice! The game of golf is much eaiser than the collection of "Trophy Animals" in the hunting fields with "One Shot". I know beacuse I do both! JWHpurist
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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