I have been hearing a lot lately about the need for bifurcation (different rules for amateurs and professionals) in golf. A significant amount of that discussion revolves around the potential use of reduced flight balls on the tour. I for one agree that some of the rules could be adjusted for the recreational golfer such as OB and lost balls etc. I do not agree that the balls on the tour need to be changed. Many say the courses are nothing enough for the pros anymore. I say narrow down the fairways and grow the rough to the point where it is truly a penalty for missing fairways. Most courses can be made much tougher by narrowing the fairways or adding an "impossible" bunker at the right distance. When I say "impossible" I am not referring to a bunker that one cannot get out of, but similar to many bunkers I came across in Scotland where if you caught the fairway bunker, there was no way you were going for the green, just focussing on getting it out and back in play.
I remember playing at Angus Glen on a year that it was not in the rotation for the Canadian Open. Some of the fairways were so big I swear you could land a 747 on them. Yet during the Canadian Open, the same fairway looked only 1/3 as wide.
Changing the ball for the pros is just wrong on so many levels. Imagine the impact on the ball manufacturers and their marketing ? A huge selling point for a ball manufacturer is the pro that chooses to use their ball. Recreational golfers may purchase a couple of sets of clubs over their careers, but we all get balls on a regular basis, and we often make that decision because of who on the tour uses that brand, or how popular it is on tour. Why do you think Tiger got such a lucrative deal to use a new brand of ball this year ? We need our equipment manufacturers to remain solvent so that they can continue to improvise and bring excitement to the recreational golfer.
In my humble opinion, it makes more sense to adjust the courses not with length, but with tighter fairways, deeper rough, and well placed bunkers to increase the risk of cutting the corner. Hey - perhaps taking away the benefit of a free drop from the stands for the pros. If you hit it into the stands treat it like a water hazard with no option to play it from the stands. After all, you and I can play the same TPC course without the stands in place, and our balls would end up in places that the tour players will never see because they get the free drop.
What do you think ????