Joe Passov talked to the USGA’s Mike Davis for a Wall Street Journal interview as the CEO retires from the organization and is replaced by Mike Whan.
Naturally the rollback talk was of most fun.
WSJ: The USGA has co-produced a Distance Insights Report—the product of the Distance Insights project to study the impact of hitting distance in golf. Among other things, it asserts that distance gains put golf on an unsustainable path. Is the golf ball going too far? If so, why is that a negative?
MR. DAVIS: You won’t hear me say that the golf ball is going too far. The problem is that golf courses around the world have been getting longer and will continue to do so, with this trend that every generation hits the ball farther than the last generation.
Everyone bears the brunt of when courses need to change, whether it’s architecturally—more land, new tees, pushing bunkers further down—or, if it’s a new course, more land that’s required. Because at the end of the day, it’s about resources. It’s land, it’s water, it’s nutrients, it’s fungicides. It’s how long it takes to mow and prep a golf course, the fuel it uses, how long it takes to play a golf course. Longer golf courses equal longer rounds of golf. I think in this world where everybody is worried about time, it’s an issue.
The issue is not that the golf ball is going too far.
It is but we know it’s not necessarily the ball’s fault. Go on…
The issue is we need to fit the game on golf courses, and we’d like to see the game balanced, too, on distance, accuracy and shot-making. We want to make sure that it doesn’t become a game all about how far you hit the ball.
WSJ: Are you suggesting what many have termed a “rollback”—taking distances achieved and equipment specifications to numbers where they were a generation or two ago.?
MR. DAVIS: I hate the word “rollback” because what we are trying to do is not roll back. We are trying to look forward and say, based on the data, what’s in the best interest for all who play the game. It’s not looking backward.
No but it would be rolling back.
This expanding footprint [lengthening golf courses] is doing the game no favors as we look forward. Is any other sport on the planet Earth doing that to themselves other than golf? You just don’t see baseball handing out titanium bats and hot baseballs and expanding their stadiums.
The issue is we need to fit the game on golf courses. No more of constantly having to change golf courses. It’s time to do the right thing.
Yes it has been for at least a decade.
Davis is not going quietly and that’s a fantastic way to deflect some heat so that Whan can get established for what will be quite a battle.
This post first appeared on GeoffShackelford.com, With GolfDigest.com - A Blog Devoted To The State Of Golf., please read the originial post: here