Achenbach Says Distance Changes Cause Costly, Unnecessary Course Changes To Layouts He Likes!

Look for a makeup column from Golfweek publisher Jim Nugent after yet another awakening column from Jim Achenbach:

Here is another good reason why the U.S. Golf Association eventually will cut back the distance of the golf ball: Eugene Country Club.

One of the best golf courses on the face of the earth, Eugene CC has followed an all-too-common path for bolstering its credibility and reputation.

Out of fear it was becoming too short and too easy, Eugene has constructed 10 new tees. Five already are open, and the other five will be playable by the end of the month.

The new tees will push the overall championship tee distance from 6,847 yards to about 7,050 yards. Among other changes, a new back tee will transform the fifth hole into a 235-yard monster of a par 3 –all carry, over a pond, with a green that slopes perilously back toward the water.

I love this golf course. While I am not opposed to additional yardage, I am sad that contemporary golf has forced courses such as Eugene to expand or perish. Courses that want big-time tournaments need big-time length.

This next part landed on my lap like a big Christmas gift, since I was searching for a July Golfdom column topic:

The club maintains a committee called The Top 100, which helps promote the course among the various publications that rank courses.

Lengthening the course is just as important for rankings as it is for tournament play, so the 10 new tees serve a dual purpose.

The issue of distance has affected Eugene and many other courses. Some members of the USGA's 15-person Executive Committee – the body that makes all final decisions for the rulesmaking organization – are known to be supporters of reducing the distance of the golf ball.

According to the Joint Statement of Principles, issued in 2002 by the USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland, rules changes can be made at any time to confront the threat of increased distance or any other factor that might alter the historical foundation of the game.

No one should be surprised if the USGA and R&A ultimately decide to cut back the performance of the modern golf ball.

This would make it more important than ever for golfers to play the appropriate tees. While macho men would continue to head to the back tees, many golfers would realize that the joy of the game can be enhanced by playing the forward tees.

Golf does not have to be all about length.