The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 4

GOLF EQUIPMENT
REGULATIONS

colleague Stuart Lindsay has often stated, the USGA ought to
be finding ways to better and more broadly educate the golfing
population on the ways that using USGA handicaps and creating games and small-stakes competitions makes one's round
more interesting and fun vs. the focus on the aspirational element of pursuing a single-digit handicap and making every
round about an assault on almighty par on every hole against all
comers. These two examples in relatively quick succession (by
USGA standards) left one to think, "What will they attempt to
"fix" next?"
We didn't have to wait very long for the answer when, on
November 19th, 2017, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a
story on the USGA's next "target," the golf ball. According to
the USGA, they have surveyed the land and the distance being
achieved off the tee with the current conforming ball technology has gotten out of hand. Really? And what, pray tell, is
the support and reasoning behind this latest crusade? Here's
what Mike Davis of the USGA had to say in the WSJ article
to defend this thinking, "I don't care how far Tiger Woods hits
it," Davis said. "The reality is this is affecting all golfers and affecting them in a bad way. All it's doing is increasing the cost
of the game."
WSJ writer Brian Costa goes on to try to summarize the reasoning of the roll-back-the-ball contingent (which includes the
star power of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and others),writing
"Proponents of tighter ball restrictions argue that longer distances have prompted many courses to expand their land footprint-or risk being viewed as ill-suited to challenge the modern player. That has increased construction and renovation costs,
slowed the pace of play and hampered efforts to reduce water
usage. Those costs trickle down to average golfers."
Let me get this straight, these three industry titans (not sarcastic here) are coming forth in defense of the average golfer
(score ~100, male, age 50-ish, plays public golf ) to assert that
we're complaining about the ball going too far, rendering our
courses non-challenging and increasing our price to play due to
our overwhelming distance with current ball technology? (Totally sarcastic here).
Interestingly, I'm not the only person who thinks Mr. Davis'
observations and assertions went beyond credulity. The following day, November 20th, we read with interest the Brian Costa
follow-up story with Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein weighing
in "on the record" with a letter sent directly to Mr. Davis. According to the WSJ article, "Uihlein offered a point-by-point
rebuttal to the arguments made by USGA executive director
Mike Davis, who said the costs of lengthening courses were

trickling down to all golfers and slowing the pace of play. "Is
there any evidence to support this canard...the trickle down
cost argument?" Uihlein wrote. "Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide
are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"
Not insignificant either is a fact introduced by Mr. Uihlein that
Tiger Woods' support for a reduced-distance ball is coincidental
to the fact that the USGA has been in discussions with Bridgestone to develop prototypes of the reduced-distance ball (connecting the dots, for those of you not following the endorsement parade, after Nike exited the golf equipment business,
Tiger was picked up for his ball endorsement by....Bridgestone).
Mere coincidence? You be the judge (I just generally "follow
the money").
Back on earth among the 99% of golfers who don't play at
the highest competitive levels on courses that are having to be
redesigned due to golfers hitting the ball 300 yards+ consistently now in the short grass, none of this affects us or is material to
our enjoyment of the sport. (Many of us would like golf balls in
general to cost less but there's relief coming on that dimension
and not due to any effort of influence by the USGA). Would
a reduced-distance ball kill any of us recreational golfers? Not
likely but I can say that for me, as an average golfer, hitting a 6
iron into a green is significantly different than a 5 iron which I
still use as an "area weapon" (i.e. I'm happy if it lands in the general area around the green vs. having a 50/50 chance of being
on it with my 6 iron). While these aren't life-and-death matters, the point is the USGA is making or considering changes
to rules and technology which are taking us away from making
it easier, simpler and more fun for the general golf population
through their efforts to govern elite competitive golf.
In summary, the USGA's line of thinking just buttresses my
long-held assertion that they ought to be in the business of regulating competitive golf. Meanwhile, the recreational golfers
ought to rise up en masse and throw off the shackles of USGA
oppression (OK, that's a little too melodramatic) by playing
"recreational golf " with little regard to equipment specs and
adopting relaxed rules. If the USGA wants to ban anchored
putting, ban posting solo scores and explore reduced-distance
balls for the elite golfers and any sanctioned competitions, let
them govern and enjoy the economic spoils from plundering
that 10% of golfers. For everyone else, let's figure out productive ways to advance our sport by making it easier, simpler, more
hospitable and, above all, fun which, by historical and current
indications, will likely be the diametric opposite direction of
where our friends in Far Hills NJ are headed.
n

Back on earth among the 99% of golfers who don't play at the highest
competitive levels on courses that are having to be redesigned due to
golfers hitting the ball 300 yards+ consistently now in the short grass,
none of this affects us or is material to our enjoyment of the sport.
4 The Pellucid PersPecTive

December 2017



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017

TOC
USGA slips bonds of reality with latest thinking on ball regulations
Course closures can be mythbusting
Storied desert club charts new course
November golf weather impact: Double-digit drop, year sags slightly
Atlanta golf market conditions far from peachy
Shark Experience unlikely to break golf ’s chains
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - TOC
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - USGA slips bonds of reality with latest thinking on ball regulations
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 3
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 4
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - Course closures can be mythbusting
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 6
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - Storied desert club charts new course
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 8
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 9
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - November golf weather impact: Double-digit drop, year sags slightly
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 11
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 12
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - Atlanta golf market conditions far from peachy
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 14
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - 15
The Pellucid Perspective - December 2017 - Shark Experience unlikely to break golf ’s chains
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