Titleist Golf Products Design Consultant Peter Kostis weighs in with one of those mysterious columns he pens on occasion to reminds us just how difficult it is to balance the whole pro-golf ball technology position while acknowledging the ugly stuff that comes with the whole deregulation mindset.
From the days of English aristocracy and class warfare, through racial and gender inequalities and to today's technological world,
Oh Lordy...jumping ahead:
Some people consider today's golf to be boring. They say it relies too much on power and technology while reducing the skill requirements of the player. But that's a simple, easy conclusion to a much more complicated issue.
And shame on Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman and all of the other greats who have said so! They don't understand margins.
Today's golf isn't better or worse than the golf played 20, 50 or even 100 years ago. It's just different, just as our lives and our world are different.
Ahhh...here comes the point of this column, which, oddly, does not include a disclosure of Kostis's corporate affiliation...
To try and roll back golf to some better time is like saying that life in the 1950s was, across the board, better than it is today. In some cases maybe it was, but in many other cases today's world is far preferable. This concept of yearning for a return to better times has been around forever and coincides with a reluctance to accept change. Dismissing all change as bad is stupid.
While we're doing cliche's, how about not confusing change with progress? Naw, that doesn't fit.
Funny too, but I guess he's referring to the USGA thinking about taking away our grooves, because most people would just like to see a little ball rollback, and let all of the other "change" stand.
Anyway, time for Kostis to break out into full Gloria Gaynor mode:
When steel shafts were in the process of replacing wooden shafts in the 20s and 30s, traditionalists of the day cried out that equipment was going to reduce the skills required to play the game.I swear I've read this speech before. Hmmm, but where?
When the Haskell ball replaced the gutta-percha, traditionalists cried out that this was going to make golf courses obsolete and the game too easy.
With metal shafts replacing wood shafts, was there any doubt that eventually metal club-heads would replace wooden club-heads? No! Neither was there any doubt that traditionalists would bemoan this innovation as bad for the game.
But golf survived.
Finally, graphite is replacing some steel and the solid-core, muti-layered golf ball has replaced the wound, balata ball, and, you guessed it! Traditionalists are saying golf has become too easy and courses obsolete.
Golf will survive. It will just be different.
I wonder how Peter would feel if he paid an assessment at a club because they had to renovate their course, all because the ball can't be rolled back a bit...eh, why am I wondering?
Ah, but then the conflicted view of supporting equipment on steroids clashes with that stuff about people on steroids.
Golf has, seemingly, been proactive only when it comes to preserving traditions. Golf should be proactive against performance enhancing drugs too, but it won't happen. The, bury your head in the sand, "we have no evidence to indicate a drug problem," philosophy will prevail and golf will lose another opportunity to be a leader. That's a reality that I find revolting and at the same time, laughable.
We need to be diligent in protecting the game of golf. We also have to realize that just as the world around us changes; the game of golf will reflect and not lead those changes. Golf is not a social game. It is society's game. Look to the way we lead our lives and the way the world is evolving, if you want to see what the future of golf will be. There are many who claim golf to be the beacon of civility and reason and, as such, steadfastly reject change. Those people feel strongly that tradition is a commodity to be protected. That thinking kept women from clubhouses in Great Britain, blacks from the PGA Tour in America, and will allow for drugs to invade the game in the future. Golf, because it changes so stubbornly, will always be a follower and never a leader. That is the price to be paid for traditions.
Wow, that was a lot of work. Hope the pay is good!