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« The Revealing 2013 Mandatory Players Meeting... | Main | Dorman: Callaway's Investigator Learned That The House Doesn't Always Win, At Least In Phil's Case »
Tuesday
Jan222013

Wally Uihlein's "Case For Unification"

Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein has penned a short essay preaching the benefits of unification (compared to bifurcation). His thoughts are running in various publications this week and have been posted on the Titleist website.

Most interesting is that he validates the view of us technophobic subversives who suspected for years that technological advances would not grow the game. Especially when the middle class has no money to spend.

2. “Golf participation has matured and the adoption of different sets of rules will allow the game to renew its participation growth."

1990 to 2000 was the most innovative decade in the game’s history, yet during this period, golf participation in the U.S. and Europe flatlined. Golf is a game of the middle class, and golf has a demographic issue. In the Western world, today’s middle class is the same size as in the early 1990s.

And there is his point that if bifurcation already exists as some of us have suggested, then it's not really working.

3. “Golfers just want to have fun. They do not play by the rules today and the formalization of multiple sets of rules is just sanctioning what is already reality.”

If golfers don’t play by the one set of rules that exist today, why are two sets of rules required? If the argument is that golfers don’t play by the rules and bifurcation will help grow the game, then how will two sets of rules contribute to additional participation? The logic is flawed.

The one caveat: non-conforming equipment has not been marketed or widely available. If that were the case, might the last point's logic be less flawed if the marketplace were given the opportunity to choose which game they want to play?

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Reader Comments (8)

<< the last point's logic be less flawed if the marketplace were given the opportunity to choose which game they want to play? >>

Actually, I don't need a new set of secondary rules; I ALREADY play by my own rules. (Not in tournament play, of course, but I haven't entered a city or state championship in years.)

Guess what... I own 15 clubs and I carry 15 clubs. Why? Because I want to. When my ball lands right next to a rock, I feel no guilt whatsoever in moving it a few inches in order to keep my irons intact.

I repair spike marks in my line, I play out of turn, I concede and grab six-inch putts and I certainly don't check to make sure the ball I'm re-loading with matches the one I just knocked OB.

I play golf for fun -- just like 98% of everybody else who tees it up. So sue me.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
just invent, produce, and implement a tournament ball for the pro's, and get on with it...enough already
01.22.2013 | Unregistered Commentergreg c
As said before here, bifurcation exists already in the PGATour "local rules" -
stones in bunkers,
embedded ball and
clean and place invoked frequently for a damp course but not shown much on TV,
PLUS spectators to find your ball,
or tell the ref that someone stole it (Tiger some time back)
or to act as walls to save a worse fate for a bad shot.
And the courses they play are usually perfect.
I do not follow " “Golfers just want to have fun. They do not play by the rules today ..." Other than a few very minor infractions - very minor - those I play with, and i, play by the rules. Perhaps Mr. Uihlein has a regular foursome with Lance Armstrong.

jb
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim Beckner
What Greg C said.

Which is, incidentally, precisely the opposite of all that the self-serving Mr. Uhlein was saying, with greater but undisguising verbiage.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPlato
''If the argument is that golfers don’t play by the rules and bifurcation will help grow the game, then how will two sets of rules contribute to additional participation? The logic is flawed.''

I call bullshit.

If the general public had a set of rules that was easy to understand, and relatively easy to abide by, then more participation, at the outset would result. When professionals cannot even play by the ROG, then the idea of bringing a new player in to the fold and throwing a 200 plus page book at him/her, to hit a ball into a hole 18 times, a lot of them will say let's go bowling.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@Benseattle Just curious, do you keep a USGA handicap or are you a member of a club?
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHilltop
I might be the most persistent critic of Wally Uihlein among Geoff's readers.

But I have a healthy amount of his consistency in this case. Uihlein has consistently opposed bifurcation in the past and I respect him for staying with it. I had thought that it was perhaps some personal interest; that it will be harder to sell Pro V's, if the Pro V's that are used in all of the heavily advertised ball counts on the PGA Tour and in top amateur events are de-tuned from what recreational players can buy.

But Geoff asks the right question; "non-conforming" equipment has never sold well in the past. Will it sell in the future, if it is labeled as "conforming" for a set of recreational player usage?
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChuck

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