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Instant Poll: Did Merion Alter Your View On Distance?

You may recall that prior to the 2013 U.S. Open at 6,996-yard Merion, former USGA Executive Director David Fay told Golf Digest contributing editor David Fay that "of course" this would be a referendum on the question of distance and its impact on the modern game.

Since then we saw high scores at Merion thanks to a combination of the difficult architecture and restrictive setup.

So with that, I ask...

Did Merion alter your view on distance? free polls 

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Reader Comments (13)

You need an option for No. No qualification needed. To make it relevant, they had to trick up the course.
06.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Ford
A 274 yard par-3 and a 510 yard par-4...both uphill. Nope, nothing tricked up thar folks...move along now y'hear?! any normal assessment of the course yardage and associated "par" clearly appears that Justin Rose finished at -7 for the week. Just don't tell that to the USGA...heaven forbid...the hubris might start oozing from their ears and get their logo'd blazers covered in bs.
06.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
You want a referendum on distance? Play the event at 6,996-yards with the same cut the members see every day.
06.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
The real referendum would have been to play the course just as all other Opens were played at 6550 yards.
06.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Stevens
At this point, the best tactic would be to make the ball hotter, trying for another 30-50 yards of carry.

Also, increase COR on the irons. See Wilson Reflex 1976
06.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLudell Hogwaller
Agree with Brad Ford.

If anything, Merion was actually a referendum on USGA missteps over the years. They put out a setup that is arguably less sustainable than the setup at Augusta and then tried to spin bs about fast play and being eco conscious.

I don't actually care about the distance issue because it benefits me and everyone else I know. So what if the best players in the world are way better than I am? They always have been and always will be. If the game outgrows a course, then so be it. Move on. Everyone knows that Merion, St Andrews, Augusta, etc are/were great courses. There's no need to have the R&A and USGA feel like they need to prove that every time the pros step out there.
06.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdsl
It is not just the set-up, didn't Geoff post a quote from some old player along the lines "Merion is great, if you like hitting 3 irons off the tee all day"
BCrad Ford & dsl hit the nail on the head. Too much wailing & gnashing of teeth on distance & how the best players can play. My home course has tees as long as 7400 yards......and as short as 5800 yards. Pretty much NO ONE plays the back tees. Most members are smart enough to know what tees to play.Merion's a great course....but the course the pros played bore little or no resemblance to the Merion played over the years by the other 99.9% of golfers in history who have played it.
06.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterc
The fact the course required so much editing (many new tees) to protect par answers the question on distance. But the most severe edits were the green speeds coupled with hole locations. Older greens sloped for drainage shouldn't be cut at the length used for this event. It turns putting into mini-golf. I expected some players to "win a free game" when they made a long curler. I have never understood the obsession in tournament golf with green speed. (even qualifiers are nuts). It appears to be relatively recent. As a result newer courses must have flatter greens. Look at the TPC's. And it is obvious the shorter the cut the more high maintenance the green becomes. I didn't look at the stats but this event seemed to have more putts inside 5 feet missed than any other. If the USGA wants to send a message on sustainable courses cut the greens higher.
06.19.2013 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
As much as I am in favor of a roll back of the golf ball and having the USGA/R&A reign in technology, I don't think this event at Merion helped the distance debate. Everyone is saying the course and great architecture held up to the modern game. That is a half-truth. The Merion we saw last week, was a tricked up course (with great architecture)and that tricked up course held up to the modern game: ridiculous rough, super narrow fairways, and laughable pin locations - thank you USGA. But what's amazing is that a tricked up Merion, was so much better than all other open venues because of the variety of holes, fantastic routing and amazing green complexes. Zack Johnson said it best "Let Merion play like Merion!" Also, for two years in a row now, the USGA has taken driver out of the hands of all the players except on Par 3s!!!!!! I had two major conclusions while watching the US Open. 1) While I applaud the USGA for returning to Merion and taking on some good initiatives like the Belly Putter/Pace of Play, they are out of their minds with the stupid course set-ups and super long Par 3s. 2) We (Americans) are hungry for great golf course architecture!!!!! The lackluster courses that PGA Tour plays week to week has lowered our desire/expectation for great architecture!
06.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGMan
If the National Open were conducted at NGLA or the Garden City Men's Club (I know), would they be the only majors to ever begin with two Par 3's? Just askin'.
06.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMashie
none of the above

stupid course set up, unnecessarily harsh and penal, no relevance to Merion the nice neighborhood course unlucky to have such history there
06.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGolfFan
GMan et al,

Compared to Open venues of 40 years ago, compared to today, it seems that the big difference might be that, back in 1973, there was a risk-reward calculation involved in deciding to pull driver. Today a player can hit a 3 wood (or even 5 wood, for the bombers) so far that there's no penalty; any loss of yardage is small compared to the length of the hole, leaving players with similar odds of making or beating par. Consequently, the fairways will get even narrower, thicker, etc. The U.S. Open today is more of a test of golfer vs. modern agronomy than of golfer vs. course architecture, and there' a lot less strategy required by the former than the latter. Merion's greens seemed to hold up well over time, but the process of getting to them has gotten ridiculous.

As for wanting to see good architecture, who can tell from watching on TV? The way golf is depicted most of the time, all we see are a series of players, framed in green, preparing to hit and then hitting a golf shot, bollowed by the result. We almost never see how the terrain has been shaped to force decisions or require certain shots; we don't see the various risk-reward decisions facing an individual player. Just a man swinging a club. ShotLink should make that easy for viewers to see, and showing this on TV would educate more people about the role of course architecture.

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