New Technology, Obsolete Courses and Phil Mickelson Did What?
Have the rest of you noticed how far the ball is going these days? It’s no longer just with the driver but every club in the bag. I think even putters are being used from 100 yards out.
Sure distances have been creeping up over the years. But the last few years have wrought extraordinary damage to the game as we know it. We all recognize that some of this new found machismo is the result of better conditioned athletes. But most of it can be attributed to new technologies.
The PGA Championship 2011
Were you watching the recent 2011 version of the PGA Championship? Did you happen to notice the course was over 7400 yards AND was only a Par 70? I wager this is nearly 1000 yards longer than the courses most of us play while also being 2 strokes less than the typical Par 72’s. Did you happen to watch Phil Mickelson play a 450 yard Par 4 by hitting 5 iron and 5 iron? That’s right! He hit 5 iron off the tee of a 450 yard hole. Ridiculous.
There was a time when the professional game had some relation to the game the rest of us play. We might have hit a 7 iron 150 yards and the pros would do the same with an eight. Now they hit a sand wedge 150 yards while we maybe hit an eight. The average golfer can no longer relate in any way to the game the pros are playing.
How long will it be before more storied courses such as Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Shinnecock Hills, etc are no longer considered suitable for tournament play because they do not have the room to lengthen them to keep up with today’s technology? What about the great golf course in your own area that has become outdated only because of their inability to add length?
I just finished watching the David Feherty show and his guests were caddies “Fluff” Cowan and Jim “Bones” Mackay. Fluff is a lifelong caddie having carried for Peter Jacobsen, Tiger Woods and now Jim Furyk. Mackay has been on Phil Mickelson’s bag for Phil’s entire career. Both of these legendary caddies took note of their players being 3 – 5 clubs longer since they began their careers as caddies.
It is time to de-tune the equipment. We need to keep the professional game relevant to the amateur game. We need to stop the demise of the classic courses that have been sacrificed to modern technology before it is too late. Hitting 5 iron – 5 iron to a 450 yard hole benefits no one and in fact only serves to drive the proverbial wedge between the pros and the rest of the game.