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« Michigan-Illinois Free-Throwfest Helps CBS Deliver 15-Year Pebble Pro-Am Rating High | Main | Wrap-Up: Phil Romps In Sunday Showdown »
Sunday
Feb122012

State Of The Game, Episode 3: "The game's never been easier and people have never complained more about how hard it is."

That stellar quote came from Mike Clayton during this week's belly putter-focused show.

You'll hear some sound clips from Tiger Woods and a few I picked up at the USGA Annual Meeting. Panelists Clayton and Huggan are joined by special guest and long putter exponent Craig Spence chat about what figures to be a huge issue over the coming year. Rod Morri hosts, and music is supplied by Lloyd Cole. Give it a listen.

Here's the direct link to the third episode.

Here's a directory with the first three episodes.

And here's the itunes page for the show where you can get all three or subscribe, it's free.

Or finally, you can listen below:

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Reader Comments (16)

Slow play has never as bad as it is now.
02.13.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Good stuff. Kind of reminds me of the current political state involving regulation. There is no doubt there has to be rules and regs put in place or the governing bodies could lose control with the manufacturers. Personally I think the best thing for ALL parties involved, is to ban it on the TOUR and allow it everywhere else. I can't believe I'm saying that but does the USGA really want a long drawn out court case or multiple court cases with the Manufacturers? That could get ugly. I'm sure some player will slap a lawsuit but they'll have to face their peers. Unfortunately these things like carts, long putters, and ugly golf shoes have crept into the game and somehow we have to make it work. I hate golf carts too, but my Dad is in his 80's and couldn't play this wonderful game without them. Some of the lines in the telecast were classic: "they've hijacked the game", and "magazines are compromised by the advertisers." Tough issues to solve.
02.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin
Amateurs can use U grooves, pros can't.
Amateurs can ride a card, pros can't.
Amateurs can use laser rangfinders, pro's can't.
Pros can use metal spikes, amateurs can't.
Pros can access every ball-shaft-clubhead combination they want and get balls designed for them personally, amateurs can't.

But rules bifurcation is a bad word? One set of rules for everyone? What am I missing here?
02.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPGT
I listed to all three. Very good points about the USGA and what they are and need to do.
02.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
PGT

Good points. Its almost like the USGA feels that it's that one thing that makes golf different from all the other pro sports. They somehow want the same game for the Pros and Ams and maybe the time has finally come to differentiate the two. So many of the other professional games have seperate rules and different equipment than even the college game, ex. Baseball(bats),Basketball(3 point shot),etc...I am torn but enough of a realist to know the amateur game and pro game in golf is not even close. Even the very best amateur(non-collegiate), can't touch the Tour Pros.
02.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin
Pretty interesting discussion there.

So I was reading the Feb 3 issue of GolfWeek tonight and there's an article about the revitalization of Rife putters, and Yes! putters.

This from the article:

"Rife...will sell 11 putter models, including four belly and two long versions".

"Yes!, now part of the Adams Golf family, will sell 10 putter models, including three belly and two long putters".

So that's 21 models between them with over 50% in the longer category (7 belly and 4 long). That blows my mind.

Now, here's what else I think, I believe these manufacturers, and/or their retail partners, are going to be stuck with a whole bunch of long putter inventory. The ONLY place I am seeing any amateur utilization in my travels is in the scratch handicap guys I know that play a lot of formal tournament golf. I've had a 48" 2-ball for probably 7 years and one guy in our group bought the identical putter, a month later he sold it to me cheap for a backup.

My gut tells me that while long putter sales will definitely be up in 2012 vs. 2011, I believe the manufacturers and retailers will ultimately be disappointed and that 3 years from now long putter sales will be a miniscule portion over overall sales (but obviously on Tour they probably continue to gain share). JMO.
02.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Pretty interesting discussion there.

So I was reading the Feb 3 issue of GolfWeek tonight and there's an article about the revitalization of Rife putters, and Yes! putters.

This from the article:

"Rife...will sell 11 putter models, including four belly and two long versions".

"Yes!, now part of the Adams Golf family, will sell 10 putter models, including three belly and two long putters".

So that's 21 models between them with over 50% in the longer category (7 belly and 4 long). That blows my mind.

Now, here's what else I think, I believe these manufacturers, and/or their retail partners, are going to be stuck with a whole bunch of long putter inventory. The ONLY place I am seeing any amateur utilization in my travels is in the scratch handicap guys I know that play a lot of formal tournament golf. I've had a 48" 2-ball for probably 7 years and one guy in our group bought the identical putter, a month later he sold it to me cheap for a backup.

My gut tells me that while long putter sales will definitely be up in 2012 vs. 2011, I believe the manufacturers and retailers will ultimately be disappointed and that 3 years from now long putter sales will be a miniscule portion over overall sales (but obviously on Tour they probably continue to gain share). JMO.
02.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
DelI agree with you re putter sales.
Regular players will only buy something if its a quick fix.These putters aren't-they need hours and hours of work to get familiar with. Our local pro shop has had the same 2 belly putters in stock for nearly a year despite determined efforts to sell them.
02.14.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbonnie banks
The 'putter' being the shortest club again.
The average 3 iron is 39 inches long-having 1 long 'chipping 'club isn't going to get you round this-I still think its the easiest way to tackle the issue.And it doesn't have to be written in legislative gobbldy-gook to work!
02.14.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbonnie banks
@PGT.... Pros can and are still using U grooves as long as they conform to the dimensional specs that the USGA established. U/Square/Box grooves were not banned under the groove rule change. Many people in the golf media assume they U grooves were banned. Perhaps they should review the groove change rules before writing about them. The size of the grooves changed. USGA website explains it well as does the link below. Hope this helps explain the rule change. Click on the Key Components of the groove rule and then the U grooves versus V grooves tab.

http://www.titleist.com/grooveguide/
02.14.2012 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan
I find this episode fascinating. First because it highlights what I have been saying for a long time--that writing this rule so that it eliminates long putters without favoring short players over tall players is going to be very difficult. The comments of Spence, and Clayton make that pretty clear.

But how can you take the discussion seriously when the three guys who are saying belly putters are going eliminate short putters from the game in the next 5-10 years haven't hit ONE putt with a belly. Howinhell can anyone with that little information conclude that this abomination will be the dominant form of putting.

And when Clayton compares long putters to big drivers and suggests that this time it's important to close the door before it's too late he must be on some hallucinogenic drug.

The Big Bertha was introduced in 1991 and the Great Big Bertha was introduced in 1995. (The Ti Bubble from TM was about the same time). withing 2-3 years there weren't ANY small-headed drivers left on Tour, and darned few in amateur bags.

Ely Callaway and Dick Helmstetter had transformed an industry in less than half a decade.

OTOH, the belly putter was first used in the 1960s. TWENTY-FIVE years before monster metal drivers were introduced.

Charlie Owens started using a 51-inch putter in 1983.

It is now FORTY-FIVE years after the first belly putters, and TWENTY-FIVE years after the introduction of the long putter, and they still don't make up 5 percent of the putters in amateur bags as the places I play, and they are probably in no more than 15 percent of pro's bags. Moreover, even people who use them aren't committed to them, many of them switch back and forth all the time.

The Haskell ball, steel shafts, cavity-backed irons, big drivers and two-piece balls were all non-traditional developments that revolutionized the game for all players, making vastly easier, and they took over in a handful of years.

Long putters are clearly no such thing. I am a very good putter and have been playing around with belly putters for a few months. They might be better, but they clearly aren't for everyone. Having learned how they work and how to fit them, I got a couple of crappy-putting friends to try them and despite giving them a good, long test, they are both back to short putters.

K
02.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Moum
OK, rules for the Belly. If the Putter has to be the shortest club in the bag, what happens if you pull a woody austin and break you putter. What do you do know? Or what if a person putts in a normal putter and only uses there driver as a belly butter to putt? Just leave it alone. I am a traditionalist, I walk every time I play, but I am using a sirxion Yellow golf ball now and a Belly putter. That is the best thing about golf it is not about How, but How Many.
02.15.2012 | Unregistered Commentermark wittig
@ OWGR Fan:

I apologize for stating that pros can't use U grooves. My point had nothing to do with the specifics of the groove shape only that the legality of a particular groove geometry is different depending on a player's status and the particular details of the tournament in question. Other rules are conditional. Therefore the door is open for bifurcation already.
02.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPGT
@PGT..... I agree that the groove difference is bifurcation. The USGA/R&A can tell/spin the story however they want but the grooves deal is bifurcation. Plain and simple.

As for the shape of the grooves reply.... I have posted that same general reply here on more than a few times because quite honestly not many people understand what changes were made and implemented by the USGA. More than a few in the golf media (including somebody that posts here) have written that in no uncertain terms that U grooves were banned by the USGA. I have come across articles on multiple sites/blogs/dbs/etc that have reported/repeated the same incorrect information to the golfing public.

It is 100% inaccurate but nobody ever seems to bother reporting it correcty. In the big scheme of things it's really a small nit picking issue but for many people that get their golf news/stories off well know golf websites and blogs it does the reader a disservice to pass along incorrect information and makes the writer of said article appear uniformed.

Sorry if any offense was taken by my reply. I meant none. Take care.
02.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan
No offense taken, your point is valid.

Cheers.
02.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPGT
Ken Moun

My point about big drivers was that most administrators will tell you privately that they should never have let the manufacturers make them so big and there should have been a limit on the size of the clubhead.
Now it's too late.

My point is that if they think the short putter is important they need to do something to protect it -i.e make a rule banning the belly and the long putter.
The belly putter is a more logical way to putt and inevitably the best player in the world will use it - and then every kid will have one in the bag.
By the time that happens it will be too late to ban it.
If no one cares about the short putter - fine but if you do it needs to be protected.
02.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton

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