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Golf: But Is It The Ball?

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“I have. I've had PGA Tour pros hit a 1990s Pinnacle. Guess what? It went just as far as a modern ball. A ball that was perfectly legal in 1995 goes just as far now.”
That’s from Erik Barzeski commenting on a post by Geoff Shackelford, “Ogilvy On Pro Golf: "We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums."

But is it the ball?
Erik adds, “It's not "just the ball," nor is the ball the "major contributor." And in doing so appears to somewhat disagree with Bridgestone Golf CEO Angelo Ilagan and Tiger Woods and I quote from the website.
“Bridgestone Golf CEO: We agree with Tiger Bridgestone Golf President and CEO Angelo Ilagan says the company agrees with Tiger Woods that golf balls are going too far on the pro links…”

I write “somewhat disagree” because there is no doubt the ball is travelling further distances than in previous years and decades however is it the ball or as some suggest the body building activities of the professional golfers?

The simple answer
The simple answer is there is no simple answer and it’s most likely a mixture of three things, better clubs, better balls and the body building regimens of professional golfers.
Erik writes, “Had the driver been capped at 43" and 300cc, I don't know if we'd be having this problem.
People keep harping on the ball, but as MC points out, the athletes got better. The conditions of the golf course changed. Drivers got longer, lighter, and larger. Launch monitors and our understanding got better. Distance became known as a benefit over accuracy.”

Link to Geoff Shackelford
Quote of the Day
“The ball gets a bad rap because its cheap to buy and fairly easy to alter but at elite level big drivers, lob wedges, hybrids etc. have all conspired to deskill the game.” – Chico at Geoff Shackelford


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