In the past month, we’ve seen Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby each shoot 59. In addition, you had a couple of 60s and assorted low-60s scores thrown in.
Some pundits are saying this is proof that the equipment has gotten out of hand, that it is making the pro game too easy. Or, they say that the courses are too “short.” These same pundits need to look at history.
Sam Snead shot a 59 in 1959 at the Greenbrier, although the course played 6,475 yards back then. Still a great score. Al Geiberger shot his 59 at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, and it played over 7,200 yards that day. Mike Souchak held the record 72-hole score on the PGA Tour for the longest time, a 257 in 1955.
Interestingly, there were seven 60s shot on tour in the 1950s. Maybe they were saying back then that equipment made the game too easy for pros, but since I wasn’t around then, I can only speculate.
The point is that top-flight professional golfers throughout history have shot incredibly low scores. Granted, the courses are longer today, but they have to be to keep up with the equipment. Plenty of pros routinely hit par-5s in two shots back in the day. It’s just that those par-5s were all 500 yards or less for the most part.
Golf is not easy, even though some pros recently make it seem so. The last thing the sport needs is for some misguided effort to toughen up the game – the USGA already knows how to do that at the US Open. Pebble Beach barely played 7,000 yards and I don’t recall anyone saying that course was too short. No, toughening the game will simply drive away players who are already frustrated enough with the difficulty of golf.
Let’s enjoy the great skill these top pros possess, and leave the equipment rules as they are.