LETTER OF THE MONTH
BIGGER FASTER LONGER Just read with much interest the “Bigger Faster Longer” article in October edition. My personal preference is that I don’t begrudge the pros and amateurs alike having use of all technology available to them, there will come limits due to the extremes of physics, even in dimple design as in Brendan James’ editorial, unless allowed to inject cannons into club design...
What is interesting in the game is that on a par-4 there is still three shots after a drive, four on a par-5 & on a par-3, pros would very rarely, unless in Scotland perhaps, take driver from the tee.
There are of course other elements to bring balance to the longer ball, in my opinion mainly course management. Looking at Le Golf National in the recent Ryder Cup edition, I’m sure the stats show that the Europeans hit the fairway more than the US players, laying platform to their victory. Rory the longest on Tour, didn’t seem to play well with driver in hand. Once in the rough at that course, length off the tee was of little comfort. Similarly the fast fairway conditions at Carnoustie, if the rough was harsher as seen in previous Opens, the guys hitting driver would have been in more trouble than they were.
The other aspect is green design and speed. On a par-72 I don’t have to remind you of course the 36 putts available, assuming all greens are made in regulation, represents 50 percent of shots. Drivers may make up less than 20 percent, assuming taken 14 times on a par-72 layout.
I have always warmed to Jack Nicklaus’ concept of risk/reward design, let the big hitters decide at the tee if they wish to hit long, but narrow the target zone and if they have no subsequent control to hit that target, they lose advantage. I’ve also heard him mention “second shot golf” a lot. Position on the green in order to make birdies and your round’s score. THE NEED FOR NINE Having a child is one of the most beautiful experiences we will ever have, but be warned: it can play havoc with your handicap!
With this in mind, and after several years of delicate negotiations with my wife, I made a deal that allows me to sneak out for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon – just enough time to play 9 holes.
The problem I have is that not so many golf clubs play 9-hole tournaments. Indeed, around Milan (where I live and where there are around 25 golf clubs) only 2-3 of them play
For courses used for pro events, more should be considered than just moving back tees. I’m sure digging a new bunker is less expensive than purchasing new land. Narrow the landing zones, grow the rough, speed up and redesign greens. Pros shouldn’t have their cake and eat it too.
If I was one of those rocket scientists I’d be working on a ball that rolls straight, irons out the break at any speed, anti-gravity, hit it and it goes in! If we get to that it’d be real trouble... Josh Hamill Cromer, NSW 9-hole tournaments!
Given that everybody is complaining about the time needed to play 18 holes, instead of trying to crack down on the pace of play, more golf clubs should start playing 9-hole tournaments!
Two hours for the round, half an hour of practice and half an hour’s drive gives you three hours. Perfect, even if you’ve got a newborn child and parental duties to take care of! Antonio Cipparrone