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« "The World Golf Championships have really hurt the consistency of the rest of the tournaments out here.'' | Main | TPC Sawgrass May Want Another U.S. Amateur »
Tuesday
Dec112012

New PGA President: Don't Mess With Amateur Distance!

Larry Fine on the PGA of America's outreach efforts and its new President, Ted Bishop, not supporting any kind of distance rollback that might impact the average player.

"If you do anything that's going to cause the rank and file amateur player to not hit the ball as far, there's no way you're going to enhance their enjoyment of the game," PGA President Ted Bishop told reporters on Tuesday.

And...

"I'm not so sure that's the greater issue we have to deal with," Bishop told Reuters. "This game is a hard game and anything we do to make the golf course play longer, play more difficult, is certainly going to deter from the enjoyment of the game for the average player."

Pssst....Ted, it's all taking longer and is more difficult because we're after this distance thing like a dog chasing its tail.

Bishop has already spoken out against the USGA/R&A ban on anchoring.

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Reader Comments (19)

Will the average club player even notice?
Australian amateurs never noticed when they were forced to switch from small to big ball in early 1980s. In theory it cost them 25 yards but there wasn't a word of complaint.
Of course an American PGA President would be unlikely to even know that half the world switched balls in the 80s in order to fall in line with America.
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton
It's the extra distance that the pros can get by swinging at 115+mph that I object to..........it's out of proportion to the distance that amateurs achieve. -20% of 200-yards is a hell of a lot less than -20% of 350-yards. The answer is a tournament ball with a max of 280-yards (for the elite.)
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
The 1.68 ball only became obligatory by rule in 1990 - although many of the better amateur players were playing exclusively with the bigger ball long before that. I started using it in 1977 although on windy days I 'cheated' and reverted to the 1.62. There was very little complaining one way or the other - people just got on with it. Nowadays, everyone (including myself!) bitches about everything. Golf was better when it was simpler - now, it's too complicated with hybrids, 64-degree wedges and DMDs etc................
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
It's a tough situation. One one hand you have the ruling bodies who are (supposedly) acting in the best interest of the game in general. On the other, you have the PGA pros, of which I am a member, who are in effect the grunts in the ditches, thus possessing a more realistic understanding of the business of golf (making money/staying afloat).


IMO the statement made in the article only reenforces the position that there needs to be equipment spec-based bifurcation for professional tours. Amateurs should be free to use and play with WHATEVER they so wish as long as they come back and play some more. Local rules committees/TD's can debate and implement equipment specs for whatever tournament they happen to be in charge of in dealing w/ the Am tourney side of things.
12.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
The greater good of the game is more important than the self-interest of the USPGA.
The game was lots or fun in the 80's and still will be if we realise that distance is not the be all and end all.
@MikeClayton,
Totally agree.

I see a real benefit in a shorter tournament ball. Elite amateurs will want to use it in preparation for a career move to the paid ranks, that "trickle down" effect would likely lead to NCAA and events like the US Amateur and The Amateur following suit.
Let's get some action happening...bifurcate now!!!!
12.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterhh morant
The PGA are so feeling left out in the cold as an org relative to the two ruling bodies. Third child syndrome antics abound.
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Because golf was seen as a game and not an industry for most of their existences, the USGA and R & A were hugely more significant than the PGA. It's now an irony that the one thing that will allow the PGA to maintain a position of some importance is to help find a way for the GAME to go back to something like what it was when the PGA was less significant. The star is burning out. It needs less, not more, fuel to survive.
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
i know a lot of guys that would be completely against playing a longer ball or easier to hit clubs than the pros, and they aren't elite amateur. Bifurication is a lot more complicated. Many amateurs would rather shoot 82 knowing they are playing by the same rules as the guy that goes out and shoots 67. You don't have to be an elite amateur to want to play the same ball as pros.

i can't think of any of the guys i play with who want to hit it shorter. They also don't want a cheat code where we're all driving it 290 knowing that our ball goes farther than what the best players use. If amateurs need a longer ball, they can use non conforming Polaris. We don't see guys driving it 230 who switch to this ball. Its because they are ok playing on a level playing field.

Creating a ball that goes max 280 is easier said than done. the ball still has to go farther for faster swing speeds. you can't eliminate the advantage guys who generate faster clubhead speed have over short hitters. it is part of skill. you can reduce overall distance, but not distance advantage between long and short.

I'm all for changing the ball to roll back distances for pros. guys are driving it 330+. i can't imagine knowing that a PGA players hits the ball 290 with his new Tour ball and then amateurs hit their amateur ball 285. Why not just make the hole bigger for amateurs and maybe allow a little grease on the face of the driver. Amateurs who struggle to break 100 can use whatever they want. They usually aren't too worried about whats conforming.

Amateurs who's goal is to break 90, 80 etc. want the reward of doing it playing by the rules of those that dream of shooting 59. If my career low is even par, it would diminish the satisfaction if i knew i played a ball that went drastically farther than what elite amateurs or pros used. This is why i don't use Polaris ball.
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie
This new PGA of America pres is a loose cannon. If nothing else it should be an interesting two years!
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSun Mountain Man
Attention Mr Bishop. There are sweaters to be folded and people who need lessons to break 100.
That is all
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Tough situation. One one hand the ruling bodies are (supposedly) guiding the game from a relatively lofty perch while balancing tradition vs progression. On the other you have the PGA's who are actually down in the trenches getting mud on their boots and are actually running the business side of the game....generally speaking of course.


The statement made by the PGA is all the proof needed for bifurcation. Higher swing speeds (116mph+) DO propel the new solid core balls farther proportionally speaking. The stronger power players get the full benefit while amateurs who foolishly listen to the marketing hype still pay for the latest ProV1 with little added benefit to their own game. These folks usually claim to be able to tell the difference vs the last model....HA! I say give Ams whatever they want to keep em coming back and roll back driver heads and ball distances by 30-40% for the professional game.

No techy evidence to the contrary will convince me otherwise. I can see it plainly with my own eyes and how golfers of all abilities hit the ball.
12.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
@johnnnycz

40% roll back on distance???? can you do math
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie
i believe the balls can be rolled back limiting the distance for pros while keeping distance similar for below average amateurs players.

What i don't want is amateur playing juiced up balls that the pros aren't allowed to use because they would go too far.

example: the bridgestone rx is designed for lower clubhead speeds. a low swing speed will see greater distance using this ball. its legal for use on tour, but pros won't see the increased distance because of compression rates. once they start compressing a ball too much they lose distance. this is different than creating a ball that goes farther no matter the swing speed and just outlawing it for pro's.

we can still design balls for low mph swingspeeds while limiting the distance on balls designed for high swing speeds. these limits will still allow guys with the ability to swing a club at higher speeds to out distance other pros who specialize in short game over distance. Bubba watson would still have the distance advantage over luke donald, it would just limit the gap slightly while roling back distance for both. these balls would still be the best option for better amateurs who have high swing speeds.

I don't want to see the day where just because i'm an amateur but a single digit to have the option to play a juiced ball. if i choose not to use the ball, do i then take issue when my friends want to use the ball.
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie
@Charlie: 40% roll back on club head sizes would be around 250cc...bigger than the original BigBertha. Plenty of clubface to hit for pros IMO (Talking about drivers here, FW wood cc's have remained relatively flat at 140-150ish cc's BTW)

Maybe a 40% rollback on ball speed/'hotness' of the balls is a bit much...sorry 'bout that. Personally I think that smaller sweetspots and say 20-30% slower ball will allow the DJ's, Woodlands, Bubbas to max out drives at 300-320yds given optimal conditions (eg: downwind/downhill/warm temp) and a top driving distance average in the high 280's being the longest. Like putting restrictor plates on NASCARs.
12.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
It sounds like Mr. Bishop may be "distance challenged." How does the election/selection process work for PGA President?
12.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob Estes
So Bob, are you implying that he is short in the ahh...nevermind.

Having been involved in sales of race car part as a manufacturer's rep for some of the biggest names in racing, I can tell you that R&D always had at least 2 ''better''''more horsepower'' products developed- for street stuff- but marketing was such that you had to sell ''this year's model'' first, pay for the R&D/ tooling/foundry/machining setups, box graphics, etc- Taylor Made's drivers come to mind in this industry as a comparison...

the point being-

They have two or 3 (or more) working balls for whatever the rules people might decide on...

My feelings of ALL the rules aside- it would be a mistake to ''go back'' on equipment for AMS- it would be easy to have a ''pro ball;; -maybe a ball hat would only be used at certain courses even- but let the pros continue to use the ''same clubs'' as the general public (yea, right)

This product ID is very important, and the ''pro ball'' would take care of the distance situation. Building courses that are 10% or more larger is just dumb, and the ''championshipping'' of nice CC's and munis is a terrible waste of money, water, and time.

Let the pro ball drop!
12.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Ivan Morris, there is no "extra distance." If anything, the swing speed to ball speed (and distance) ratio drops off the faster you swing within the normal range of swing speeds (50 MPH +). You're objecting to something that does not exist.

Old post so I imagine nobody will see it, but at least the trickle from Google may.
12.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski

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