Truth Behind The Power Game

Just when you think it's safe to go out, up comes another rabblerousing, technophobic, anti-technology, oh, my favorite, ranting distance killjoy (and that didn't even come from a manufacturer!).

Mike Clayton writes about his recent retro round at Royal Melbourne with Geoff Ogilvy, and then writes about the distance issue. Thanks to readers Mark and Graeme for the heads up on this one.

There can only be one answer if pro golf is not going to descend into an increasingly unwatchable television spectacle played largely with drivers, wedges and putters.

But Mike, the ratings are down in all sports...well, wait, not the NFL and Nascar.

Jack Nicklaus has advocated a ball for amateurs and another for elite players. Administrators argue they don't want to create two games but that is what we have now.

A "newer and better" model comes out every year and there isn't a touring pro with a three wood or a driver more than a couple of seasons old.

Profit is the manufacturers' primary motive and certainly that comes before what traditionalists would argue is "the good of the game".

Ball makers care not a dot that the best courses are obsolete in the sense of playing the way the designers intended. Their aim is to produce a ball that flies further and straighter than their competitors.

There is nothing wrong with that but when the administrators dare suggest winding back the ball, there are howls of protest. They somehow seem to think it will reduce their profits, but unless golfers protest by giving up the game because the ball goes 15 metres shorter, how can it possibly do that?

Anyway, there should be a different ball for professionals. The greatest thing the manufacturers could do is produce a ball for average players that goes further. Golfers will hit the same number of shots they have always hit and they need a ball to do it with.

What is unconscionable is manufacturers threatening to sue administrators charged with custodianship of the game if they suggest putting a cap on equipment advances. There must be compromise and innovation but the game and great courses need strong advocates who will not be bullied by those bent on profit.

Mike, come on, didn't you get the message. It's the agronomy!