Titleist ambassador and former FedExCup champion Billy Horschel repeatedly takes the company talking points on the distance issue, so it was no surprise to see him call on architects to do more "great-designed" work instead of changing equipment to breathe new (old) life into architecture.
From this week's After Further Review from Rex Hoggard, which is incidentally followed by an item on how fun it is to watch Brooke Henderson drive the ball despite her small frame.
First, in Horschel's world, he's hoping we get driver-killing "great-designed" courses so the golf ball is not restricted, ensuring on-going payments to his and other golf pro accounts:
"I think the architects in today's game should come here and understand what this course is and why it's still challenging,” Billy Horschel said. “ Too much nowadays we're playing big, wide-open courses that really aren't great designed golf courses.”
If architects could import massive overhanging trees that restrict ball flight they might, but it's kind of hard to do that these days. Nor advisable on a number of levels, most notably because there is a desire by many to see the driver remain an important weapon. And even better, to see width presented to provide options off the tee.
All of this makes the second After Further Review item by Ryan Lavner more fun. He writes about the joys of LPGA winner Brooke Henderson and the skill on display as she uses a 48-inch driver.
Or perhaps it’s because she uses a 48-inch driver, drawing every little bit of distance out of her 5-foot-4 frame. She swings freely and aggressively, aims at flags even when she’s nursing a narrow lead and rolls in enough putts to contend in all of the big events.
The 20-year-old Canadian smashes every conceivable stereotype about the LPGA – in no ways a dink-and-dunker who relies on a hot putter. There’s no one in the women’s game I’d rather watch play.
Sadly, the folks who want to combat distance through Harbour Town-style architecture do not appreciate how the ability to use driver in separating fields has been a cornerstone of the sport for a few centuries now.
Harbour Town is swell and all once a year, but narrow plod-fests that minimize the driver are not the model for the game. Particularly when the message is driven by corporate talking points from folks who've already made millions. "Great-designed" courses are not narrow, tree-lined and light on strategic decisions.