New Balls Please

The Guardian's Lawrence Donegan looks at the Pro-V1's fifth birthday and the "battle for the future of golf."

Warning, I'm quoted.

If you'd like some elaboration on my comments regarding Titleist, here goes. First, here's what Donegan quotes me as saying:

"Given the company's past record, I don't see what they are so worried about. They have enormous customer loyalty and an enormously powerful brand name. That will not suddenly disappear if there was a new ball. If they continue to make a quality product, they will continue to dominate," says Shackelford. "More to the point, they would be credited for having done their bit to preserve the game of golf as we know it."

Consider this scenario. The USGA and R&A decide to admit they blew it when they scrapped a test that would have restricted the optimization-led jumps in driving distance we've seen for top players.

They've come to their senses, admitted their mistakes and order a rollback that only effects players with higher clubhead speeds.

The manufacturers then comply with whatever ball spec changes the USGA mandates. Increased spin, dimple design change, etc...  I don't know what it is, and don't really care how the tech wizards solve the problem. Whatever it takes to eliminate the optimization situation that is allowing players to exceed the Overall Distance Standard without setting off an alarm.

So here come new rules, new ball requirements.

Which ball are people going to pick up first? Why, the one they've been playing (unless their preferred brand refuses to make balls to the new spec).

So for most they will buy a box of Titleist's because they've made great products for years and built strong brand loyalty (Forgive me God for sounding like an MBA). And golfers will continue to buy their preferred brands new rolled back ball (assuming it's well made).

And there is no reason to believe that Titleist will continue to make anything but a superior product.

Finally, remember, this rollback will only impact a very small number of golfers if handled properly. Those with clubhead speeds over 110 or so mph would be impacted. Everyone else would not be. Again, assuming a rollback is handled properly.