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Monday
Nov202017

Ogilvy On Pro Golf: "We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums."

Add Geoff Ogilvy (again) to the onslaught calling for professionals to be regulated.The timing now, however, adds to the sense the game's best thinkers have finally conceded something needs to change.

Martin Blake, reporting from the Australian Open, on Ogilvy's comments in response to recent remarks of the USGA Executive Director.

“Major league baseball in America they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters. We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

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Reader Comments (96)

P Thomas, agree. Except that TV event has become stale. And Eric is wrong when he says distance isnt hurting golf. Because even clubs have made their courses longer. Most around me are up to 6,700. My guess is 90 % of club golfers cant reach a 400 yard hole in 2 shots. 440 yard par 4's are common. Those 90% would hardly notice a rollback imo. They have been ripped off thinking pro v 's and 40 quid drivers are the holy grail to lower scores. The manufacturers only care about the gullable golfing public. When that public switches off they will be in the shit. Because pro golf on TV has become stale. No wonder highlights on TV only show putts.
11.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
Easingwold, that post there has so many holes in it, I don't know where to start.

How about the most obvious: if 90% of golfers can't reach 400-yard hole, don't you think they'd notice that after a roll-back they can't reach a 370-yard hole?

C'mon.

99.99% of golfers don't need a roll-back. This is a PGA Tour "thing" only, and I don't even agree that it's a "problem."
11.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski
Erik, they stretched out these local clubs because of equipment. For that 10 % you understand who hit it a long way.
Your idea it's a PGA tour thing is wrong. It's all professional golf wworldwide. It's also the shop window the manufacturers use to sell their expensive goods. The trouble is, its becoming boring and many club golfers are switching off. That isn't what the manufacturers want is it ?
11.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
I've yet to see good information about what percentage of clubs have spent how much money to "stretch out" courses. As you note, the vast majority of golfers don't need more length.

It's becoming boring… to you. I don't think you have any real stats on how many club golfers are "switching off." WHere's the data to back up what you're saying? You're talking out of both sides of your mouth: clubs are lengthening holes, and yet most golfers can't reach even a 400-yard hole. So what's the need for a roll-back? I don't see one.

And I included all of pro golf in my "0.001%" estimate.
11.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski
Santa Ana CC in Southern CA destroyed their old course, and replaced it with a "contemporary" track.
I was asked to play in a group before the decision was made. The day of golf was to ask for feedback on the plans
to bulldoze their existing layout, for a new layout to "keep up"

After the round, we sat around the table, and were shown the proposed plans and asked for feedback.
I was asked what I thought, and I asked why? They said they needed more length.
I had just played and shot 70, with my normal 260 yard carry driver.
I asked how many members actually hit it further than I did, and was told 5-10. I asked how many of those "longer"
drivers shot under 70? Not very often was the reply. I asked if the course seemed to short for me, and basically got a no.
The SCGA Mid Amateur was played there a year or two before, and I believe 1 player shot under par.

The pushed through a multi million dollar rebuild for 10 and if you want to expand it 20 members...maybe. All to fix a non existent problem they see due to <1% of golfers. They didn't need more length, they needed a shiny new toy and their mid life crisis satisfied.

We are letting tv golf change the game, and we're blaming the pro game for the problem, when expanding courses, maintaining them to (alleged) perfection, and charging ridiculous fees are the problem.

Make Dustin hit it 290, that will fix everything, and make the roll back brigade happy...
11.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterP Thomas
The only tee boxes I've seen added to my local courses are shorter "seniors" tee boxes. Some have done away with blue or longest tee boxes. Most courses are less than 6400 yards and are still plenty long for the golfing public.
11.23.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarmooskapaul
Erik, they stretched out those tees because 6,200 yards was deemed too short to test club golfers. This was when the Pinnacle rocks came along with the Great Big Bertha. Most competition tees are 6,600 and more at many of them. No wonder the average handicap hasn't come down.
11.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
Just read about a local course in Fort Worth that just spent 5.1 million dollars in renovations and INCREASED the yardage by 700 yards in the process.
Still not sure why Erik is even in these discussions when he never actually wants to have one?? Some people say there is a problem, that we're bored with the product ... then Erik says nobody has a problem. Well, obviously, SOME do ... right?

Nobody is getting anywhere ... and only one half of us are listening to the other half at all. So, what's the point?

Still not sure as well Erik ... what would be your big issue if bifurcation DID happen? Do your students really think they're Dustin Johnson because they use the same driver as he does? If so - they could continue to do so, right? The amateur high-capper could use whatever he wants. So - they only thing that changes is the Pro Tour product ... what is so wrong with that?
11.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
I guess I'm just Confused ... since, if none of this stuff matters ... then why NOT change it?? It's obviously not going to make a difference, right? On the bad OR good side. (sht, I've never even heard what the "bad" thing would be about the amateur high-capper in a bifurcation scenario anyways ... all I read is "I have no data" ... hahahhaha ... what a copout answer)
11.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
The simple truth is we all need to decide just what game we think we are playing - then go and play it - those who think they are playing the Royal & Ancient game of Golf need to check that they are playing that game or American (anything goes) Golf.

If its the traditional game then no more talk of changing the format and grow a pair of balls while seeking to get the designers to again start designing golf course that relate to playing the traditional game of Golf i.e. with hazards to test the resolve of the golfer.

If its American anything goes game, then just do what you want and stop trying to call yourselves golfers when you can't be bothered to accept the basics of the traditional game. Go use carts, distance aids and all other manor of things that you need to play your game or decide its Golf that you want to play and start by trying to understand the game and golf course architecture.

Stop trying to change a great game because of your own weakness or lack of commitment to playing golf - enjoy what you have and stop trying to ruin a great game that has already been damaged by the ignorance of so many including the Professional. Play golf and just get on with it.
11.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Morris
@Erik -

It's a problem with the Tour product because a bunch of people see it as a problem. You don't - that's cool. But others do. ANd it's not just the people who frequent this site ... I don't think Jack Nicklaus and Geoff Ogilvy hang out here. Maybe on TheSandTrap, I dunno. :)

I've done a bit of music and video production ... on the production side, there are problems that need to be addressed so that the overall product coming out is of the highest possible quality. Anyways, in my opinion, people that care about quality trump people that can't see the differences.
11.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
Easingwold: "No wonder the average handicap hasn't come down."

You're incorrect. It has, by > 1 stroke, too. You're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

Confused, read what's written. I never said nobody has a problem, I said I don't see one. And I've shared several of my problems with bifurcation, as have others. Go read 'em.

I think the PGA Tour is a quality product. I wouldn't mind seeing fewer robots - a bit more personality - but I don't think that length is a problem in need of correction, and even if I did, I don't think "the ball" is the way to fix it.

Hell, I'd make bunkers hazards (like Nicklaus did at Memorial a bunch of years ago) again before I'd do anything about the distance they're hitting the ball.
11.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski
Erik- open your eyes. Even if we take your data on the average handicap coming down 1 shot, if say the improvement on golf equipment, tracks, lessons and knowledge on what works would suggest handicaps would have fallen more than one shot. Why do you think that is ?
11.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
Easingwold, I don't need to open my eyes. You said handicaps haven't gone down. They have. I'm simply correcting your wrong statement.

"The average handicap of all golfers – men, women and children – has decreased consistently for the past 15 years. The average handicap today is two strokes better than it was in the early 1990s…"

That's from 2009. It's gone down almost another full stroke since then.
11.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski
And with all those courses lengthening and toughening to offset the ball, they must really be improving!!😀
11.24.2017 | Unregistered CommenterP Thomas

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