People say golf is about tradition. Nonsense! Ever since the first sheepherder hit a rock with the crook of his staff, the only constant in golf has been distance, more and more of it. The rock was replaced by wood, wood by stuffed leather. After that, hard rubber, which was overtaken by wound elastic, to finally solid cores with multi-elastomeric covers. The farther the ball went the better, everyone said. That makes the game more fun, according to the experts.

So why the fuss lately and by whom? I don’t hear the fans complaining, nor the average golfer. The people who were supposed to be looking out for the game are now concerned after years of stating that distance was not a problem. Seems a bit late.

So, let’s think about it a bit. If golf courses are continually lengthened and toughened to counter the distance gains, then that presents an issue. Maintenance costs for upkeep become overwhelming, and many courses that were built as so-called championship venues have closed. They were too hard and expensive for the average player. On the other hand, if courses are not altered, especially older ones that have been successfully run for years, then distance should not be an issue.

If people start shooting much lower scores, so what? That’s the whole point of hitting the ball longer. Does anyone think golfers want to go backwards in this day and age? Not going to happen. The cat is out of the bag and it’s not going back in.

By Mike Stevens, USGTF Member, Tampa, Florida
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