Is the evolution of Golf killing the game
For many years now – I have watched golf all over the world, both on TV and Live. I have watched Ryder Cups , open Championships, major tournaments and charity match ups and in recent years I always find myself saying the same thing …….
Is the game I love in decline? Is Golf dying ?
What a controversial thing to say at a time when there are so many exciting players coming through. Justin Thomas and Jordan Speith to mention a few.
Despite this influx of modern day golfers coming through I genuinely believe the game of golf and all it stood for is being forgotten.
Golf is a game of tradition, a game that has been around for hundreds of years. A game that was played with incredible skill and accuracy, a game of tactics and intricate planning.
In order to be a great golfer – you had to be a great thinker , you had to visualise your way around a golf course and conjure up shots that the average golfer would never even see, never mind think of playing .
These days are gone……
Up steps our new breed of golfer….. armed to the teeth with technology that simply removes the need to strategise, removes the need to plan and almost removes the need to think of any real shot making. Simply step up with your new equipment and boom a ball over 350 yards – passed every single piece of danger regardless of accuracy.
Being Scottish I witnessed this first hand at the recent Alfred Dunhill Cup at the world Famous St Andrews Old Course, only a few miles away from our office in Scotland
A course steeped in history. A course that holds so much esteem in the world of golf and affectionately known as the “home of golf”
A course that tested the skills, mentality and temperament of the worlds greatest ever golfers – challenging them with every shot and a course that was renowned as one of the most difficult courses in the world.
Jack Nicklaus , Gary Player , Tom Watson and the late , great Arnold Palmer all succumbed to the dangers of the Mighty Old Course.
A generation of legends that could not tame the Old Lady.
Jump forward 10 years to the Dunhill cup – On the most famous finishing hole in the world and home to the Swilcan Bridge – The 18th Tee at St Andrews aptly named Tom Morris after the man who designed it.
Up steps former world number 1 Rory McIlroy and hits a driver 370 yards straight into the heart of the green.
A 340 yard carry took every single hazard out of play and turned one of the greatest golf holes in the world into a pitch and putt.
During this same tournament – average players with driving averages of over 320 yards destroyed the Old Course – recording record scores with Ross Fisher shooting a course record 61.
Although I hate to say it – this wonderful piece of golfing history is now obsolete – As the weather in Scotland has gradually improved over the last few years, The old course at St Andrews is completely defenceless against the technology and equipment of today and I fear a legacy that spans over 100 years will be destroyed when the next open championship takes place there.
I have a similar fear for Carnoutie in 2018 – where I fear these huge hitters will simply destroy this course. Having played this course in decent weather, I do not believe this course will have any chance of standing up to the players of today therefore destroying another legacy.
This will continue, with more and more courses becoming unfit for the game of today. All the memories, all the wonderful golfing moments, all the shot making and incredible victories , a mere memory.
I read an article with Tiger Woods recently – telling us that we will need 7500 yard courses to control the technology. What a scary thought and what’s even scarier is that discussions are shaping towards this way of thinking? People are actually considering making longer courses when the answer is staring them in the face !…..
The answer is simple ! …… change the technology !
Ever since the Tiger Woods era – golf is global and it’s arguably the most followed sport in the world – with the emergence of Rory McIlroy , Adam Scott, Jason Day and many more – the game is enormous.
Add in Justin Thomas , Jordan Speith, Ricky Fowler and co and the game is now in another stratosphere and globally huge.
These guys are kitted out with the most up to date tools for their trade – top of the range equipment and balls that make distance and power easy.
This is where the game needs to change. There needs to be a limit – a point where it stops to keep the sport honest.
The easy solution is to change the ball dynamics – Do something to limit the distance the ball travels off the tee.
Develop a ‘ Standard’ driver to further reduce the distance and all of a sudden we have a sport again and not a longest drive tournament .
I miss seeing the intricate shots, the bump and runs, The eye catching recovery shots, the balls catching hazards and the 160-170yard approach shots that test your skills rather than a 60 yard chip.
Then and only then will we really be able to assess the worlds best golfer when everyone plays of a level playing field.
I would really love to hear your views and comments on this therefore please feel free to post a response