There was one component of Nick Seitz's Golf World story on shotmaking that I would love to have read more about:
Course architects have responded to the different game current equipment has imposed mostly by building longer courses and moving tees back, often against their better judgment. Week to week on the PGA Tour, the setup on pristinely conditioned layouts doesn't encourage imaginative shotmaking. The majors can present a more rigorous test. Some fans find the new-look tour more entertaining, some find it less fulfilling. Long drives impress people, but so do daring trouble shots. The best players always want stronger setups, but the tour operates largely for the benefit of the majority of its membership, with a watchful eye on its TV ratings.I'm not entirely sure what he means by the last sentence since "stronger setups" usually translates to confining, but it would seem simple to blame PGA Tour course setup for the lack of shotmaking. However, even as much rough harvesting and narrowing of playing corridors that goes on these days, I would lean toward PGA Tour course architecture quite often not allowing for the players to demonstrate their skills.
Outside of Kapalua, or at least Kapalua when it's firmer, how many courses on the PGA Tour actually allow for big sweeping run-up shots or imaginative shot shaping plays off of contours to get a ball close to the hole?
Now, Geoff Ogilvy would argue that soft greens play a role in diminishing shotmaking, as he did in this Jaime Diaz piece, but even when firm and fast at least half the courses on the PGA Tour contain virtually no shotmaking interest whatsoever.
In other words, architecture has let the game down as much as course setup or unregulated technology.
Of course, why I obsess over this is pointless when Golf Channel's Adam Barr has the answer. Break out the credit card! In this story of "game improvement" clubs (translation: stuff for hacks), he quotes Scott Rice of Cobra, who has the cure:
“But there is a middle ground for skilled players who want more forgiveness than a traditional forged blade, but still want to be able to work the ball. Cobra’s Carbon CB iron is one example of this middle ground. The head is slightly larger than a traditional blade and more mass is moved out to the perimeter of the head for more forgiveness, but it is still a very workable iron. Cobra’s FP iron is another example of an iron design targeted at the better player; it has a larger head and a wider sole than the Carbon CB for even more forgiveness, but the sole design features a chamfer on the back edge which allows the club to have workability characteristics of a narrower sole.”