Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
« More Monday PGA Reads | Main | Some Monday PGA Reads »
Sunday
Aug142005

It Is High, It Is Far, It Is...in the Rough

nyt-paper.gifSelena Roberts in the New York Times (reg. required) writes about flogging at Baltusrol and quotes yours truly on the subject.

Somehow golf has gotten to the point where inaccuracy isn't punitive because distance is so highly rewarded. A 330-yard drive into the rough, plus a wedge to the green, is far more attractive to a player than a 280-yard poke and a 5-iron to the pin.

But is might always right? There is an aberration on the leader board in Steve Elkington, who was in a tie with Thomas Bjorn for second place when the storms blew across Baltusrol last night. Elkington is the amiable Aussie with a caddie nicknamed Gypsy and a driving distance that ranks him 132nd on the PGA Tour. But his fairway accuracy is No. 14 at Baltusrol. He is not an equipment aficionado like Mickelson and Love or an all-consumed workout fiend like Woods and Singh.

"I couldn't be like Vijay," Elkington told Australian reporters last week. "I admire what he does, but I bet he doesn't even know where the light switches are at home."

In other words, Elkington has a life. But he occupied the space among the leaders as an anomaly. More and more, players like Woods, Mickelson, Singh and Love overpower their errors to find success. "I don't blame them," said Geoff Shackelford, author of "The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back," when reached by telephone yesterday. "Over the course of four rounds, it's a wise thing to do. Power is more important."

It has become an obsession. It's all about the equipment and computer analysis, the balls and the Launch Monitor, which, in essence, is a time-lapse X-ray of a swing to determine factors like ball spin and carry distance in order to match a player to the optimum club.

"Players have picked up 30 or 40 yards on their drives using it," Shackelford said.

What else are players using? Power cravings in any sport can lead to boundary pushing of the chemical kind. There is no whisper of a steroid problem inside the P.G.A., but there is also no drug testing. So how does anyone truly know surges in distance are all about technology and not about the designer steroid THG?
Of course we know golfers aren't on steroids, but still, Roberts brings up the point many of us are wondering. How long before such substances do become a part of the new look power game?


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (5)

Geoff, maybe no steroids but what about the beta blockers?
08.15.2005 | Unregistered CommenterTuco
I doubt anyone would use steroids in golf because a large part of golf is still finesse, but then again I never thought baseball players would use steroids either.
08.15.2005 | Unregistered CommenterGlyn
It is the ball, 6 irons on 233 yd. par 3's
08.15.2005 | Unregistered CommenterHank
I don't think golfers are using steroids, but I think it is naive to think nobody will try. The fact that golf is a finesse game doesn't matter. As we see in baseball, pitchers are caught too. Also strength doesn't hurt the short game. If it did, the LPGA players would be better at the short game than the men, and they aren't. One factor that would be tempting for a golfer is the workout recovery time issue. A golfer on some steroid or another could recover quicker from workouts and practice and perhaps get more out of the time available. Could happen, I hope it won't and I don't think it has. One factor that may slow it down is testing at the college level. Doesn't the NCAA test all athletes? That could help a little.
08.15.2005 | Unregistered CommenterJPB
Excellent stuff from you, man I’ve read your things before and you are just too awesome. I adore what you have got right here. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. This is truly a great blog thanks for sharing…

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.