Home' New Zealand Golf Magazine : NZGM July-August 2014 Contents ACROSS THE AGES
Senior R.H (Bob) Glading (former NZ Open and PGA titleholder).
Jack Nicklaus has long voiced strong opinions on the
question and when Jack speaks those involved in the rules
should listen. Coming more and more into the picture are
the current problems of ever longer championship courses
required to test the longer drives with the inevitable costs
involved thus making the sport more expensive. This at a
time when the Western golfing world is facing the problem of
declining memberships. This is drawing attention to finding
some means of attracting new players to replace the losses.
Obviously one way is somehow making the game easier for
beginners, particularly for children. As one who has been
involved in promoting the greatest aid for youngsters yet on
offer and one which is growing at schools in this country,
SNAG (starting new at golf) is gaining ground and I would
urge golf clubs and golf professionals to support this, as
from the numbers being introduced to golf through SNAG will
come regular players in the future.
One of the surprising aspects of length when comparing to
earlier days is that player size no longer comes into long
hitting. Until the 1960`s the big fellows were longest but
over recent years the small chaps have caught up. How
has this happened? It is mainly because to reach the top
they regularly exercise under knowledgeable coaches until
they can swing the
longest clubs as fast as their big
Undoubtedly the golf balls have, despite the rulers
unsuccessful attempts to restrict them, kept on flying further!
I recall winning a New Zealand Long-Drive contest with
something of the order of 250 yards (approx 235 metres).
The longest hitter in New Zealand at that time was Alf Guy
who could leave me behind, but on that day unable to keep
them between the markers. I have no doubt that he would
have kept up with the gorillas of today’s golf. An indication
of the present golf ball is 78 years young Bob Charles with
whom I have had the privilege of playing with regularly since
we toured South Africa in 1959. He hits the ball further today
than when regularly winning on the US PGA and European
Tours more than a half century ago. Certainly he remains as
fit as any twenty-year-old but it is without doubt the golf ball.
The 2014 US Open showed that with intelligent designing,
even the three hundred yard hitters were virtually all, apart
from the winner, quite unable to conquer what on the face
of it was a course which beforehand appeared defenceless
to length. When that great lover of golf and its history Ben
Crenshaw became involved in restoring Pinehurst Number 2
to the original Donald Ross design, together with his partner
they must have been delighted and indeed proud of the
results when only three of the world’s finest broke par. The
course bore a remarkable resemblance to a British Open
layout and your writer was thrilled about what was on view,
particularly I confess, by the fact that not one hole has water
(in my opinion, the American designers are far too obsessed
with water). I quote a well known British designer of long
ago “Following a poor stroke, if the ball is still in bounds the
player should be able to hit it again”. How right he was! In my
opinion any fool can design a good looking hole given water
but put him on a flattish links area and he needs knowledge
and imagination to design good holes! A shot finishing in
water is of course unplayable and what fun is there in that?
What can be done then about length? – How about
restricting a golf ball for Professional golf, impossible to
travel say, over 250 yards? I can hear club golfers already
screaming about such a golf ball, but I repeat, only for
certain sections of golf such as the professional game.
Such a move would not be an easy one for our international
administrators to introduce and no doubt prove a financial
bonanza for the lawyers, but it has become obvious that
something has to be done. In my opinion.
Golf’s rule makers have already decided that anchored clubs are a no-no from 2016, now they’re tipped to be looking at
restricting the distance the ball can travel, to negate the booming drives that have become the norm for today’s professional
players. Former New Zealand Open and NZPGA Champion Bob Glading and teenage golfer Alex McDonald give their verdict on
whether it’s for the good of the game.
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