Golf Courses Too Easy Or Players Just Getting Better?on August 12, 2010
For some time now the debate around improved golf equipment and the modern ball has raged. Traditionalists believe that the technology employed in manufacturing golf clubs and the ball has resulted in professionals making a mockery of what were previously tough championship layouts. The only defence against this has been to stretch distances on golf courses, but there are limits with only so much space available.
At the beginning of this season, limits were imposed on the grooves on golf clubs, and it was expected that this might go some way to preserving the integrity of golf courses, but clearly the new legislation has done little to halt the scores becoming lower.
Players Skills Defy Imposing Limitations
Earlier in the season, Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa shot an astounding 58 in an event on his home Tour – this using clubs that conform to the new rules. Then on the US Tour, Paul Goydos shot a 59 playing in the John Deere Classic; the same day Steve Stricker posted a 60. It could be pointed out that the course that hosted this event was hardly a monster, but at the Canadian Open it was a different story – this course was certainly a true championship test, yet Carl Pettersson still managed to whip it round in 60.
Stuart Appleby’s 59 in the Greenbrier event, made up of 9 birdies and an eagle with nary a dropped shot, was made to look easy – this from a player who hasn’t won since 2006 and was languishing at number 159 on the Official World rankings.
Just as amazing was the feat of a junior golfer, Bobby Wyatt, who recently shot a 57 in the Alabama State Boys Junior Championship.
Last weekend we again saw scores dip – even on a course as tough as Firestone Country Club during the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational. Katsumata Miyamoto fired a 62, and Ryan Palmer a 63, this among a host of 64s and 65s.
We accept that the current crop of players are fitter, stronger and benefit greatly from improved coaching techniques. Also, the conditioning of golf courses continues to improve, allowing for lower scores. But is this phenomenon that much of a problem? Yes, the records of the great players of yesterday are going to be broken, but so what? Golf fans love nothing more than to see players “shooting the lights out”, and if they happen to be using equipment that would have been considered to be illegal a few decades ago, on perfect golf courses, who really cares?
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