The great equipment report was recently released by the golfing powers that be. To many the letters in that word should be re-arranged to "grate" instead.

These reports or reminders always incite loud voices and comments- some very insightful and some just ill informed and self interest commentary.


Everyone knows where I stand. I have voiced my own concerns about the direction golf has shuttled towards for many years now. Some assume I am just an old fuddy- (I turn 53 next week) and long for years gone by. True to some degree but not for the reasons people believe.


I am not alone there in fuddy duddy world. Jack Nickalus, Gary Player, Tom Watson and even Tiger Woods have all challenged the way the game has progressed. World authorities on playing golf and how it has changed- yet the coated few who were meant to serve and protect dispelled these unfounded callings by the greatest players in history and have only now decided there is a lop sided balance in the game and it needs rectifying.

For close to 65 years- from the advent of the steel shaft to the introduction of the metal wood- golf was very much unchanged. Sure there were improvements in shafts and in materials used for clubheads. The ball improved in it's durability and consistency- even revamping in size in the late 1970's from a 1.62 size to a larger 1.68 perimiter to create a world equal sphere to play with. Yet the game itself stood the test of time and was practically the same golf we saw from the men in blazers to the short sock brigade of the late 90's.

There was barely the need to extend golf holes beyond boundary confines. Golfer's blamed their lack of ability to recreate shots on themselves rather than the implement they wielded. Handicaps were legitmate based on true ability and not on a sceptical scale of promise. People walked with clubs in tow or over their shoulders instead of driving their clubs, playing partner and esky full of beer from shot to shot and tee to tee- and incredulous to most this practice took a lesser amount of time to partake.

There were some players gifted enough to produce longer drives than others. There were golfers who could produce higher long irons and lower short irons to get to their targets. Golf was a challenge and most were ready to submit to that challenge and enjoy the experience of betterment.

There were the Nick Faldo's and Corey Pavin's who could bring down the Greg Norman's of the game. There was the Paul Runyan's who could dominate the Sam Snead's on tour at any given time. There was a Mike Reid, a Payne Stewart, a Scott Hoch and a Lee Janzen all comfortable enough in their own skin to know they could still compete against the longer, stronger competitior on the other side of the first tee. 

That was the beauty of the game.

In the modern game there is sadly no more room for the little guy who plays golf as an art form instead of a science project.

Unless you are classified as an "athlete" and can predictably drive the ball over 300 yards then your time in the golfing spotlight is now pre-determined for you. Master your length from your tee. Master your wedge play. Putt well. These are now the basic parameters of being successful and the possibility of earning a wonderful living as a tour player.

Golf in the pure form had several more skill sets to master. You had to learn to spin the ball. You had to learn to not spin the ball. Mishit drives would bulge and roll or spin and dive all over the fairways or adjoining fairways. Long irons were the litmus test of having a great swing- now they dont exist and are called hybrids instead - designed to stop your slice and help the ball in the air. 

Putters with alignment aids. Clubfaces that don't torque. Golf balls that launch high and spin low- and that also have alignment aids on them just in case you can't aim yourself.

Golf has really never been easier to play and to me that has formed a less interesting game.

Gone are the days a great ball striker could really separate himself from the pack due to his skill and work ethic to produce something special. Today players can muster up the same Jack Nicklaus long high fade tee shot with an elim key and a shaft setting.


To say such things is a slap in the face to the golfer who never experienced these thrills. The cries of "I will quit the game" if they take my bazooka driver, my hybrids and my low loft high launch clubs away grows stronger with every new USGA and R&A release. This offense is evan largely outnumbered by the "please don't make my golf ball go shorter than it already does" rally cries 

The town criers fail to understand the paradox of equipment. The PGA players are (often unknowingly) using clubs designed to be sold to the amateur & the amateur is using golf balls that are designed for the PGA player. Unless you are getting high clubhead speeds, the golf ball shift (if and when it comes) will have ZERO influence on you- the average golfer.

Funnily enough- if these proposed alterations do occur- the amateur golfers game may revert back to a closer form of the better players they watch and admire and aspire to be- rather than the distorted 140 yard difference per hole- tee shot and approach shot combined- that it has now become.

Despite what many believe or fear with these changes- the game of golf will be just fine. It was fine for 65 years before this explosion. The rumbles have only reverberated in the past 20-25 years.

The historic golf courses - (remember those?) -will benefit by not being quite so pitch and putt. New tees and new land purchases will cease to exist in an effort to keep up with the demand of length.

You may even save money on equipment by having a standard in place rather than having a research and development team set the price of each new release so high in cost.

You could also gain that extra hour each day of the weekend you lose from sauntering through five and a half hour rounds of waiting to hit- looking for balls and driving criss cross excursions to get to one another's ball. There's a postive for next year when you are arguing with the wife about the country club membership fees or the new kitchen or vacation.

If we could all care specifically about golf -the entire spectrum- (USGA and R&A included)- instead of just ourselves. it's a great landscape already awaiting- and hoefully a brighter one still ready to be painted.