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Jack Nicklaus says Golf Ball Is Reason Golf Courses Are Closing

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Jack Nicklaus (AGAIN) on Tuesday at the HSBC Golf Business Forum in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida said the reason golf courses are closing is because golf balls go too far.

Wait. What?

Here is what Nicklaus actually said, "Fact is, more golf courses have closed in the U.S. in each of the last 10 years than have opened.  This is thanks in great part to changes in the golf ball and the distance it travels."

HIS SOLUTION: create golf balls designed for each and every golf course.

Jack might not be aware of this (you would think he would be though), but Jack you actually make one of the longer balls in golf. The Nicklaus Black.  And not that is NOT the reason courses are closing.

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These statements always baffle me. Don't get me wrong Jack is the greatest, but the fact our industry continues to look to these 3-5 famous "golfers" for the answer to the games problems when what they say makes almost no sense in terms of actually solving the problem, just makes well...no sense. They are not the answer to golf courses closing or the game shrinking.

Here is the funny thing about evolution: it never stops. Not even for Jack or Tiger. This game and every other game ever invented and our species will continue to evolve. If not...well, that is when it dies. Moving back to a more primitive version of ourselves or this game is what is called de-evolution and it is NOT the answer. The sooner they relaize this (they won't) the sooner our game moves in a more healthy direction. And there is your reason for why golf is dying. It is quite simple.  It has failed to evolve and if it continues it will end up extinct just like the dinosaur it is becoming.

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Comments

{ 193 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Burnett December 4, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Just goes to show that even the best in the world have no clue what they’re talking about when it comes to certain topics.

How can he possibly think that the golf ball is the reason courses are closing. If anything, the longer hitting golf ball is a reason for more courses to remain open because it attracts people to the game.

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Adam December 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm

You’re missing the point. The reason that golf is declining is the disparity between the pros and the avg player is too great. Too many people think they’re able to play, or even hit it like the pros. They built too many tough course, too many long course and too many target golf courses. These courses are much, much more expensive to maintain and a lot of that has to do with the length of the courses. A lot of the costs in fact.

Limit the distance that the ball goes and you reduce the area needed to be maintained. That’s the math.

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Steve S December 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm
Bill Bunger December 2, 2016 at 7:46 am

So lets think about the statement – sounds like all that is needed is to roll golf ball distance back 30% and all is well. Golfers will come out in droves, enjoy the game more, and the courses will flourish and make money hand over fist . . . . . . . . .NOT! Jack has said one thing that IS CORRECT – “Play it forward”. Duh, for 99.6% of us it is JUST A GAME!
Here is my solution, whine less and play more!!!

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Uhit December 2, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Good Idea!

And Jack could help to provide balls for half of the price at a higher quality standard…

…because every putter lover knows, that a ball has to be as balanced as possible to hold the intended line on the green…

…same for every shot (iron, driver etc.:).

A true flight and a pure roll help to lower the score (more fun) and to speed up the game (more time for everything)…

…less lost balls…
…and balls at a lower price tag help also to lower the cost, for playing golf…
…and minimize the motivation to waste a lot of time for searching lost balls…
…which also helps to speed up the game, and increases the chance, that more people come to play golf.

…the spared money (and spared time) can be used for more green fees – helping golf courses to survive!

Jack, just lower the prices for golf balls, and increase the manufacturing quality,
and everything is fine!!

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Yummy December 2, 2016 at 7:11 am

This is just the kind of yummy stickiness that every website needs. . .
“The rounds are too long because the ball goes too far which, for some strange reason, causes the scores to be too high.” And everybody knows – – More Strokes = Longer Rounds. . . Go figure. . . My favorite is this one : “Manufacturers are just continually making too many different clubs on too short of a release cycle – It wouldn’t be so bad if they did it without making ridiculous improvement claims in their advertising, (shame on them for abusing the noble profession of advertising in that way!) but they do! And that really pisses me off because I can’t afford to keep up with the latest fashion in golf clubs – much less all of the required logo-wear one must have in order to play decent round of golf! I just hate being seen out in public with a big full of last years golf clubs wearing last years old, tired logo-wear, so I am just going to stay home and sit on my sofa and noodle my eight hundred dollar gadget and post comments about how expensive golf is using my wifi to avoid using up all of the family-plan bandwidth that I am paying three hundred dollars a month for. Besides, nobody I know actually plays golf regularly anyway! Nowadays, all of my friends are just too busy updating their facebook pages with their latest selfies – which nobody looks at anyway – but that’s what they do. . . and I sure as hell am not going to go to the golf course all by myself!”

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Aaron Pearsall December 2, 2016 at 2:11 am

My opinion is lesson rates have become outrageous! Guy calls a golf instructor and asks how much to learn golf ? Instructor “$90/hour $100/hour sometimes $150/hour”. Not many are going to be ok with that and not everyone wants to learn in a group setting

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Bill Brown December 1, 2016 at 11:17 pm

What the hell has he been smoking! Middle class Americans are being squeezed to death with the economy! I can still hear that sucking sound Ross Perot told us would happen once NAFTA was signed!

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Claude A Lemite December 1, 2016 at 9:30 pm

It’s simple economics
1 golf courses are expensive to maintain
2 golf is an expensive hobby
3 less people playing

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Rowland Buckland December 1, 2016 at 8:05 pm

He should get down from his millionaires cloud and speak to the real people, golf equipment and course fees are to expensive for the average working person.

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Jimbo December 1, 2016 at 1:22 pm

How about a sign on the first tee with something like this: “You MUST let the group behind you play through when they have stopped play three times to wait for you group and your group is not waiting for a group ahead. Golfers with a handicap above 20 should play the red tees. If you don’t currently have a handicap – play from the red tees.”
I played behind a group of middle aged men recently who played from the black tees. I got to see them hit – alot. Their best hitter could drive about 230 yards. Most of them missed the fairway on their tees shots. They finally let us play through – on number 12.

My buddies and I have changed the World Recreational Golfers Association rules – http://www.wrga.org More fun – less frustration

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Breck Edwards December 1, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Golf courses aren’t closing for one reason. They are closing because of a whole bunch of reasons, and I think the golf ball could be one of those. Time to unlike MyGolf Spy. Your useless poorly written articles just aren’t for me.

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Clzech December 1, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Jack is right about the balls going to far. My gripe about the game today is everyone thinking they need the best of the best. $500 for a driver just because it may get you 5 or 10 more yards. Learn to hit a hybrid or a longer iron it will save you money. Golf balls should be made for feel and shot shaping, but mostly for feel. If you want to learn to shape shots go to the range. I like longer courses but that is because I want a challenge not so im hitting diver and wedge every par 4. What is the sense of the other 11 clubs in your bag? The golf industry today sucks, because everyone wants to play the best of the best so everyone goes out and buys a new driver every year or two. Or people say I’m getting a new set of clubs because I can’t hit these, go to the range and practice 5x with those clubs if you can’t hit them, then ask yourself why did I get rid of the old clubs I could hit. My philosophy is this, if I can’t play better with the clubs I have now why should I buy other clubs if I am not going put in any practice with my current clubs. So my case in point is, golf equipment companies should only be allowed to come out with new clubs every 3 years and golf balls every 5 years. Rather than golf evolving let it be enjoyed by people getting used to the game and there clubs it would help the slow play without having people using new clubs they can’t hit on the course or a new ball that they are trying out but doesn’t match there swing but “I have brand new balls so I am going to use them. Wake up golfers, the newest is not always the best, and longer is not always better.

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Gordon December 1, 2016 at 12:06 pm

It is simply cost of the game, and current economic times, there is very little expendable income for middle class American’s right now, and those that have it, put it towards family stuff more often then not.
The fact that the market became over saturated with too many courses also played a roll, and just like we are seeing with consolidation of equipment retailers, a similar event is taking place with courses.

People do not have the time, nor the money to get good enough to tackle a 7000 yard monster, and btw, because of all that acreage, put out 80 to 110$ for a round. Then play a course that just kicks the crap out of you, even if you feel you played a “good round”.

I hit the ball a good distance, and have played courses that are ridiculously designed with just too much length required on every hole to really fun enjoyable. They are fun tests, here and there, but would be infuriating to play regularly.
Basically these courses are built to challenge the 1 to 5% of golfers that are scratch or better to maybe a 4 or 5 handicap.

If you do not design courses for specifically that population, (ie keep them a little flatter, a bit shorter, keep greens smaller and tight, rather then large multiple tiers) but keep the courses in good shape, people will play and enjoy the game and still be challenged.

The ball is not the problem, the ball is regulated already, so are the clubs.
Too many people thought they would open courses that would become cash cows and be prestigious, “championship” courses.
Not every course needs to be that.

Some of these courses would do well to eliminate about 1500 yards, and build a small 9 hole par 3 course instead.

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Jerry December 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

What I think most are missing to truly understand where Jack is coming from is that in 1960 most golf courses never approached 7000 yds. My local track played under 6000 yds from the back tees. Then as balls and equipment improved golf courses needed to lengthen. Augusta National is 500 yds longer today than in 1960. Why do you suppose? They are spending 25 million to acquire land to lengthen a tee now. Equipment, specifically drivers, reduce spin as do lower spin balls resulting in longer carry. So to counter shorter second shots golf courses lengthen their holes and older courses, especially the ones confined by physical limitations still get play but are not held in high regard. New course are built to be 7000+ yds and present architects with design challenges. Jack is half right. The ball needs to be limited for the pro’s. Where Jack is wrong is that as golfers age they need “longer” balls (no pun intended) and equipment to continue to hit similar shots they did in younger years. So rather than forcing golf courses to adapt to golfers, why not allow unlimited tech to help the shorter hitter? Golf would explode if kids, women and older players could keep up with younger higher swing speed players. Now you may ask “why then wouldn’t all golfers play the longer gear”? They might. But if equipment and balls were marked such that everyone could see what you’re using, golfers I believe would self-police. That is, a stud golfer “could” play a long ball but everyone would see and if playing for cash he’d have to renegotiate strokes or modify the bet. Just some thoughts.

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Uhit December 1, 2016 at 1:12 pm

You have to look at the total lenght of the course, and not only the lenght of the 18 holes, because you also have to go to the next tee…
…my local 7000 yards course has a total lenght of 11000 yards.

Thus, even if the course would be rated as 7180 yards course, due to lenghtening the shorter par 4 and par 5 holes, the total distance wouldn´t increase necessarily.

Everybody knows, that strike is king and that COR cannot be higher than 1.0…
…thus the ball technology could roughly add 10% max. more distance to a drive.
The guy behind the driver is key anyway…
…no ball technology could push a 90 mph drive farther, than a 120 mph drive, but a player can – depending on strike.

Golf has it´s handicap system to harmonize the differences between players – for a good reason:

Neither to demotivate the average, nor the above average player.

B.t.w.
I thought, that the golfer himself is self-police, not the buddy next to him…

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Jerry December 2, 2016 at 10:07 am

I guess many are not reading into my post(s) deep enough. I don’t think Jack is suggesting roll back how far balls can go. He is suggesting what the USGA and PGA refer to as “bifurcation” where the pro’s and long hitters use a ball that is limited or perhaps even reduced in how far it goes. What I am suggesting and I think Jack does as well is to then allow “the rest of us” to hit higher tech stuff that gives us longer drives and shorter 2nd shots. As we age our swing speed naturally declines and the game gets harder. Playing from theGold Tees is ok on some courses but not all. I think most seniors would prefer to hit it longer with the aid of unrestricted tech.

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Uhit December 3, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Jack:

“Fact is, more golf courses have closed in the U.S. in each of the last 10 years than have opened.  This is thanks in great part to changes in the golf ball and the distance it travels.”

I read a relationship between closed golf courses and the evolution of golf balls in regard of distance…

I don´t know, how deep one has to read, to be able to know, what Jack really meant.

B.t.w.:
How would you decide who is a long hitter that has to play a shorter ball…
…independent of his handicap?

Hello!!! – Golf already has the handicap system for exactly that reason!

Or would you also start to force low handicap player, to use blades, that high handicap player have a better chance to compete???

Or restrict the lenght of golf clubs for long hitters?
But who is, how long, a long hitter?
If one swung a driver above 105 mph once, without finding the fairway???
Or if one has reached the age of 50, one is allowed to use longer balls?

We already have the handicap system, that solves all those problems…
…why drop it and over-regulate?

There are enough examples out there, where over-regulation destroyed whole communities…

…no thanks!

P.S.:

I´m older than Tiger Woods, and my drives are now going farther than last year.
Tiger is not as long, as he was, but he is still competitive…
…without using a longer Ball.

There are enough examples, like Bernhard Langer, who have no problems to enjoy the game (and to win), whilst getting older – without ever been real long hitters.

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Jerry December 3, 2016 at 6:15 pm

Ok, one more time….I am not suggesting more rules restricting equipment and/or balls. Just the opposite. I think rules for Pro’s restricting their ball and clubs is really all that’s needed. Take the rules off everyone else. Why should a guy with a 70mph swing speed be restricted to use a ball the Pro’s use? If Bridgestone or Titliest or Cally could make a ball go 20 yds further wouldn’t that be a great thing?? Just don’t let the Pro’s use them, that’s all. As far as policing, don’t need it. Just make a rule mfg’s have to clearly mark their balls such that everyone can see what you’re playing. For example, nothing prevents a scratch golfer from hitting from the gold tee’s, right? Then why don’t they? Because they would be embarrassed being “seen” up there that’s why. Same would go for a scratch golfer playing a “senior” ball that would be color-coded or obvious in some way. Nobody has to play anything they don’t want to unless they are playing in a USGA or PGA sanctioned even. To summarize then: Jack I believe is saying the ball, as used by Pro’s has obsoleted courses and the ball has forced most all courses to play shorter for better players. Stop the length of the ball for those 2 groups of player and take the rules off for everyone else. This would allow golf courses to stop adding length that technology has pushed them to do.

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Uhit December 3, 2016 at 11:59 pm

1. we already have rules, that restrict the ball and clubs.

2. in a private round, you are already allowed to play, what you want…
…including wedges with sharper grooves.

3. the COR is already at 0.83, it can not surpass 1.0 anyway, which would lead to an increase in distance of less than 10% in the worst case.

4. you would need less than 200 yards additonal fairway lenght (30 yards for each short par 4 and short par 5) – for a whole 18 hole course – to compensate the maximum possible distance increase caused by a ball.

5. you wouldn´t need more real estate in every case, because the total length of a course (including distances to the next tee) can be kept the same (example: 7000 yards for the 18 holes and approx. 10000 yards total distance from clubhouse, to clubhouse), if you are able to move the tee boxes for the pro player within the way you have to travel anyway.

6. you are already able to play even from children tees…
…and the handicap system is already able to compensate that.

7. no one forces you to play from the pro tee!

8. what makes golf interesting for most people is to optimize their swing and equipment, to have more distance, to be able to lower their score, because of the shorter distances they get, the nearer they are to the green.
You would take the most exciting part out of the game, if you would penalize the people, who have the eggs to play the Tiger-line, and who are training hard to come into reach of using that line.

9. As soon as you make different rules for certain groups of golfer, you make the handicap system obsolete, because you would losse the ability to compare yourself to a scratch player, or long hitter etc…
…how could you claim, that you played 3 over par, if you used other equipment, to do so?

10. if you want to use a ball, that you can use to fool your self, whilst playing from a tee, that isn´t meant for your ability, ask Jack, whether he is selling a extra Long ball for you…
…a ball, that comes closer to a COR of 1.00 and a ball, that is a tad smaller and a tad heavier, than the regular ball.
This way, you could gain more than 10% distance advantage over existing balls.
Put a electronic device in it, that helps to track the ball – to shorten the search time and to enable the officials to detect the ball, if it is used (against the rules)within a tournament.

11. or simply learn to get older, like others do…

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Jerry December 4, 2016 at 12:52 am

COR is “not” the final determinant of how far a golf ball can potentially travel. While Newtons laws hold true there is plenty of study that shows how having rebound effect materials and angle of deflection can actually impart greater than a COR of 1. The point is, the USGA controls how far you can hit a ball. We are discussing how to increase play and make golf more enjoyable. Handicap only allows some relative comparison for betting or tournament purpose. Less than 1/10th of 1% of all golfers ever use it other than lie about it. The real world is most golfers want to hit from the middle tees and reach the green in 2. If I offered a 60 year old dude a ball that goes 20 yds longer he would kiss my ass and yours. However that would probably necessitate a new driver not approved by the gods at Golf House. If you want to argue we are at the end of development for gear I’d say you are wrong. Technology if unencumbered can and will continue to break new ground. But the USGA must get out of the way and only make rules for “tournament” play.

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Uhit December 4, 2016 at 3:05 am

If you argue, that the handicap is not really relevant…
…and that the rules of golf should only apply in tournament play,
then you just want to play something, but not golf.

Then you are using a golf course for your private play, with the tools, that you want.

I already wrote, that you can build a ball, which is smaller and heavier, that can travel farther, than a current ball with a COR of 1.00 could…
…you just have to build it.

However, a COR of 1.00 means no energy loss…
…and nothing gets better than that – except a perpetuum mobile.
Thus, as long as you don´t change a thing except the energy loss,
COR 1.00 is the max.

A heavier ball can store more energy, and a smaller ball has less drag…
…therefore they can gain additional distance.

Offer a 60 year old guy, like Bernhard Langer (born in 1957), a dude ball, that goes 20 yds longer…
…a 70 year old guy would need a ball that goes 50 yds longer…
…a 80 year old guy… 100 yds, to satisfy your “needs”?

A 90 year old guy is allowed to use a cannon, to shoot the ball into the hole?

…this is golf?

…a game, where you play against your self, to discover your self…
…not to play a ball that does the work for you, or restricts your abilities.

A competition, is no real competition, if one has a dagger, and the other one is allowed to use a sword.

Using different tee positions is already unfair in regard of true competion,
but a compromise to simplify the layout of a golf course, that has the Task, to fit as many People as possible…

…but why should (every) golf course fit everyone?

I think many would benefit, if some courses would specialise according the needs of the local community.

In my region there is a very nice, old, classic looking, park like, 9 hole course…
…and a flat and long 18 hole course…
…a narrow, tricky 18 hole course…
…a steep 18 hole course…
…a public 9 hole course…
…and a 6 hole fun course, where everyone can come and try golf, or just relax in the lounge and have a drink, a cake, or a fine home made meal.
…just to name a few.

Especially the older golfers I know, play found golf balls…
…I´m one of the very few, who regulary uses new golf balls and tries different balls.

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Jerry December 4, 2016 at 5:42 pm

Ok let’s keep our argument to two points. First COR. How do suppose a gymnast can sprint and jump off a springboard to heights she could never do on her own? A defected angle allows a greater than 1 COR. Technology can improve as more mechanical inputs are discovered and put into practice. There is much theoretical discussion on this and with computer modeling. Rebound effect with metal face drivers combined with shaft improvements, balls using reactive inner layers (reduce spin at different compression inputs) and air resistant dimples and even chemical treatments can all bring down potential distanice barriers. We don’t know how much improvement is possible?

Now, second point. Handicap/happiness co-efficient/golf course design. I’m turning 70 in January and I’ve gone from scratch in college to an 8. I don’t enjoy playing Senior tees on most courses. It’s a PITA when in a mixed group of sluggers and non. Think about playing with your wife (or not), and everyone playing from different tees. It would be better to all hit from the same tee using different gear to level the field. I would not give a rat’s ass if my lifelong buddy who is somewhat gimpy used a superball in fact it would make his play more competitive and enjoyable. We don’t play for money. I rarely ever do. I don’t play tournament golf anymore and just enjoy finding new courses trying to break 80. I prefer competitive company and everyone likes hitting greens in “regulation”. I can get the ball out there 240-260 so when playing with one group of friends they all want to hit from the Senior tees and I am forced to “lay up”. Now I just spent 100 bucks to play a Robert Trent Jones track and everyone’s hitting driver except me? Sure just leave me at the middle tee. The short hitter could play since he can’t reach the guys out in the fairway so walks up to the gold’s while I’m 50-75 yds back waiting. He hits then has to get out of the way so the other two guys hit from the front tees. They scoot to the side and I finally get to hit. Sound like fun? We don’t bet and two of the guys wouldn’t know how to calculate a handicap nor want one. We all just want to enjoy playing together. Golf would be more enjoyable if we all could hit from the same tee and play “cart golf” and enjoy the day.

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Steve S December 4, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Jerry,
Concerning your experience at the RTJ course. ARE freakin’ kidding? I’m 65 and I think if I watched you and your friends play I’d think you were senile! What you are describing is foolish. I regularly play on a course with 4 sets of tees. I sometimes play in a foursome with a 40 yr old and two guys who play from the senior tees. The 40 yr old plays from the tips, I play from the next(“men’s” tees) I ride with one senior the 40 rides with the other. the 40 tees off first, I drive to the next tee while 40 guy is walking back to the cart. I tee off and then we all go to the senior tees and they tee off. It’s called “ready golf”. We can play 18 holes in 3 hours as long as there aren’t folks in front of us that have to line up every 2 foot putt for triple bogey. One of the seniors is 80 and plays faster, and usually scores better than the rest of us. His favorite line..”hurry up i don’t want to die out here.”

Uhit December 5, 2016 at 5:14 am

I only respond to your springboard issue, because Steve S has already addressed the other theme and provided a link for guys, who want a longer, non conforming, marked, senior ball:

http://www.mggolf.com/offers/kane/?utm_source=mgblast&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=More%20Details%20Header%20Link&utm_content=Subscriber%23492708&utm_campaign=161204%20SENIOR%20KANA-KANE&[email protected]&cid=1868

If you jump once on a springboard, you can´t reach the same height, as if you jump twice – right?
If you dampen your jump with your body, you can stop the motion – right?
The springboard stores the energy the jump provided more efficently than your body, or shoes could.

Therefore, if you jump more than once, within the best rhythem, suited for the springboard and your body, you can add up the stored energy (if the springboard has the suited design for the amount of energy)…
…similar to a swing, wher you can get a bigger motion, if you move your legs in the suited frequency.

A springboard does nothing magic, but store the kinetic energy, that would be otherwise lost. The very poor COR, a human has, can be seen, when he hits the ground. Therefore a human mostly has a natural fear for big heights.

Example:
COR human-ground 0.045
COR human-springboard 0.9

In this case, the same, single jump, would have 20 times the energy to reach his next hight, if it was done on a springboard instead of the ground…
…that is a very huge difference – isn´t it?

And everything is still below a COR of 1.0!

Deadeye December 1, 2016 at 11:00 am

Fat Jack needs to look in the mirror. There are many reasons golf courses are closing but “ball go too far ” is not one of them. Course designers like Jack and others make their courses too difficult thus taking longer. Their high fees make it too expensive as the builders try to recover their investment. Equipment prices are ridiculous. Newer and better means more expensive and perhaps marginally better. The economy of the last twenty years or so is a contributor. Real income has declined while the cost of everything has risen. No easy fixes for any of this. The new ball from Costco is a step in the right direction.

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John December 1, 2016 at 10:04 am

My two cents to make the game take less time and cost less for those just getting into the game is to make the fees you charge tied to the tee you use. For example, if you play from the front tees, the cost is less. This encourages players that are not as skillful and perhaps new to the game to ignore their egos and play the tees that take the least amount of time. Speeds up the game for them and those behind them. So you have a graduated fee schedule based on the distance you play. No, this does not mean that those that play from the black tees will pay more… that could be the current fee right now, but it does mean that those not playing from the black tees will pay less.

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Pointer December 1, 2016 at 11:06 am

Jacks’s idea of shortening the golf ball flight is the most economical, the simplest, the fastest, the fairest and the smartest fix that blankets the entire game of any other method proffered.

ACCURACY is the “name of the game”. It NEVER was the longest hit. Leave that to baseball.

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Uhit December 1, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Jacks idea is pure populism…

…because in the worst case, if COR 0.83 would rise to (the theoretical max) 1.00, the driving distances would only increase by 10%!

Add 30 yards to the 6 shortest par 4 and par 5 holes and you are done.
This is 180 yards for a 18 hole course…
…and you have to take the distances to the next tee into account, which can be nearly independent of the lenght of the fairway.

A 7000 yards course has additional 3000 yards, or more, for the path to the next tee!
In reality, a course could even have the same total lenght (10000 yards) , whilst the fairways are 180 yards longer, making it a 7180 course (tee to green), but around 10000 yards total distance (including the distances to get to the next tee).

He is adressing a additional overall course lenght of less than 2%!

Do the math.

What makes golf interesting is a precise AND long hit…
…otherwise, you can play mini-golf.

Pushing balls along the fairway is for sure NOT what spectators want to see…
…they clap for a long drive and a great recovery shot, not for a 150 yards shot – down a 50 yards wide fairway.

You cannot attract people with a boring game, Tiger, Bubba and Phil are not known, and became not popular, for their orthodox golf game.

Jacks idea would force most existing courses to shorten their longest par 4, because nearly no amateur golfer could reach the green in two anymore.

The golf community is getting older anyway, thus we have to have longer balls and clubs in future, to avoid the need of shortening holes.

The handicap system already adresses the differences between players.
To implement a additional variable,
would make it in first place more complicated and less attractive for newcomer.

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Brian Bobbie December 1, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Wrong wrong wrong…. Peoples interest are changing…. Ask the NFL…. I play , I love the game but come on…. Taylor made has a driver of the month club…. 300 dollars for shoes please…. So in closing I think it’s too expensive for beginners.

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Rick December 1, 2016 at 8:51 am

I belong to a sem-private club in upstate NY. With the “Tiger Boom” of the 90’s everyone was building golf courses. Where we once had one of the few championship layouts that could be played by the public, now there are at least 5-6 quality courses that are closer to the nearest urban area than our course. We charged more for green fees in the 90’s than we do now. We have to stay competitive. We run foursome specials most of the year sometimes as low as $100 per foursome including a cart. Our highest rate including a cart is $65 and that is for prime time weekend tee times not taken by members. Our course is a Lawrence Packard designed/Wadsworth built course and has hosted State and USGA Tournaments.

I think the decline in courses is just the shakeout from the overbuild of the 90’s. Golf is declining because it takes too long for the modern world. Families are too busy. Parents have many obligations to the children that prevent them from expending the time on themselves to play golf. We lose a lot of junior members once they have kids and have to start carting them off to soccer, football, basketball, drama club, etc.

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Loz December 3, 2016 at 4:05 pm

In the UK in the late 80’s and early 90’s golf became popular because footballers and other ‘celebrities’ started playing, probably due to European success in the Ryder Cup. It was suddenly seen as a ‘cool’ game to play.

New courses sprouted up all over the place, many that barely qualify as a proper golf course, due to the demand, as did several new equipment companies. The number of courses in the UK doubled from 1985 (3029) to 2005 (6236), but in the last ten years has only gone to just over 7000.

In recent years the market has saturated as this new breed of golfer realised that golf was no longer that important to them, either because they didn’t actually enjoy playing that much, their personal priorities changed, or they could no longer justify playing due to increasing costs. There are no doubt many other reasons that could be listed here.

Part of the problem regarding slow play is that many modern clubs don’t go into why you should hit provisionals, not take 10 minutes looking for a ball, and why you should repair pitch marks, replace divots and rake bunkers. “I paid so that’s someone else’s job.” They just take your money and let you get on with it. The etiquette, such as letting faster players through and maintaining the course, is part of the game. I fully appreciate golf needs adapt with the times, but I personally don’t want to be playing alongside others in jeans and t-shirts, drinking and driving buggies through bunkers. I have no problem if those type of people no longer play. The industry as a whole needs to adapt and unfortunately courses closing is an inevitable consequence of supply and demand. The numbers may be decreasing but they are still ahead of where they were 20 years ago. I think we’re a long way away from St Andrews or Augusta National being sold off to property developers.

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cksurfdude December 7, 2016 at 8:52 am

In re: those junior member parents and the hyper-active / over-scheduled kids — none of them are interested in introducing their kids to golf .. the “game for life” …???

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Simon Robinson December 1, 2016 at 9:45 am

We need to make golf quicker and the ball going further results in longer courses, which means the game takes longer. Jack is right on this one. The ball is going too far.

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Uhit December 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm

The ball couldn´t add more than 2% to the total lenght of a course including distances to the next tees (if you lenghten the 6 shortest par 4 and par 5 by 30 yards).

If the balls would get cheaper, would increase the speed of the game more, than a ball, that doesn´t go that far…

…because more people would be inclined to stop searching after their own, and other lost balls.

Reducing the allowed search time from 5 to 4 minutes would also help more to speed up the game instead of shorter balls.

Newcomer and higher handicap player wouldn´t have to consider the cost of a bunch of lost balls that much. What would attract more people and would encourage golfer to play more golf.

If you need less shots, due to a farther going ball, to complete a round, you are also faster – even if you have to walk 180 yards more, due to the 6 holes, which might need to be 30 yards longer each, due to the balls travelling 330 yards instead of 300.

He can try his idea on his own courses and come back after 10 years, if he had success.

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Petermo December 1, 2016 at 12:52 am

It’s basic economics. Supply exceeds demand and will do until the number of courses equals the number of people willing to pay to play them. That’s eqilibrium.
The golf bubble is like any other bubble. Euphoria fuels demand which leads to a temporary oversupply. Frankly it has nothing to do with the ball or technology.
What is the case though is that, as a result of TV, everyone wants to play on a manicured course but when the costs are factored in the game becomes expensive. The answer – fewer bunkers and Pete Dye hazards, more walking (save on cart fees), less concern about length ( a 300 yd drive is a 300 yd drive anywhere and good luck if you get a few eagles and birdies) and also less drinking during play.
Slow play behind hackers and drinkers makes golf far lee fun than it ought to be with the result and more moderate people prefer to stay home.

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Adam December 13, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Actually it does. The longer the course, the more expensive it is to run and maintain. The longer the consumer thinks they hit it, the longer the course they think they need to play.

Equipment has a direct relationship with the costs of running a course.

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Norman November 30, 2016 at 11:31 pm

Jack is an egomaniac bullshit artist. Builds courses only he can score on. Names them after his own magnanimous guestures….”concession?”. Charges too much. One of the reasons fees discourage play because they are high. Balls? ….bollocks.

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Andrew Skipworth December 1, 2016 at 3:55 am

Golf is expensive. Equipment balls and green fees. Once economy gets better should help a bit. Pga not helping much. Moving one of biggest golf tournaments from doral to Mexico not a good move. Especially when the next president owns it. Haha

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Bob Weaver December 1, 2016 at 3:52 am

The “Tiger Affect ” is done.
New generation of peeps have many many other choices for entertainment.Besides green fees and memberships to costly for the avg. Joe… Golf manufacturers promise the next best club(s)after you take a loan out to buy the product(s)and then 6 months later come out with another club(s). That claim to be “the one” I have been a member of private clubs for 30 plus years. Seen golfs ups and downs. It just getting back to how it was in the 70/80’s…

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Micheal Feeback December 1, 2016 at 3:31 am

PRICES!!! That’s why $$$$$$$$$

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Connor T. Lewis December 1, 2016 at 3:15 am

Jack is flat wrong. The majority of amateurs can’t hit the ball over 200 yards and Jack wants to dial back the ball. Jack you may be a bit out of touch. I have never heard anyone say…”man I am quitting the game. I am hitting the ball too far to have fun.”

I think you could argue the opposite. The USGA has curbed innovation, especially with the driver to a point that it is near impossible to see any major gains in performance.

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Jerrod Scott December 1, 2016 at 3:10 am

golf courses don’t make as much money as they used to. So, in order to make up for lost revenue they increase fees. How about giving incentives for people to come play. Raising fees drives people away. No golfers, no revenue.

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Mark Thompson December 1, 2016 at 3:02 am

Never thought I’d say this about the greatest golfer ever but … WHAT AN IDIOT!

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Bob November 30, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Short and to the point…
1. It costs to much
2. It takes to long
3. The rules are too voluminous. Simplify and make the rules easier for the average amateur.
4. It’s too stuffy for many. Drop the no denim, collared shirt requirement. Two my favorite local courses don’t have that dress code, and those courses and their driving ranges are airways packed.

Love you, Jack, but the ball is FAR from being the problem.

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Tom November 30, 2016 at 9:48 pm

The issue is the time it takes to play. People play less golf because of it. Golf is too slow because other people make it slow. Its like we are all taking turns eating at a restaurant with one table. So how do we make it easier to play golf in a reasonable amount of time? (less than 15 mins/hole on average)

1) Make slow players aware of thier slow play. Establish a campaign to Insall cheap little gps enabled screens into the dash of the carts. The screen will show players thier average time per hole (suggesting less than 15 mins average, 10 for par 3s). When they have exceeded 20 minute holes, they will be prompted to pick up and advance to the next hole. A software program will link back to the clubhouse notifying the marshal to go and get things moving. He will be armed with cold hard facts- “hey fellas, you are on your 5th hole and your averaging 21 minute holes. You have 4 groups stacked up behind you, please move along or pick up”. This will reach 98% of the worst offenders because we all know the slowest golfers ride.

2). Establish special PGA certification for courses that enforce policies that help keep the courses from getting bottlenecked every saturday. Courses get jammed because foursomes of duffers are being released out there every 8 minutes. It should be a sacred law of golf that foursomes be released with 20 minutes between each tee off. That way its less likely that the goons in front of you can decide that you are not going to have time to get anything else done that day.

3). Change “play it forward” to “move it along”. Make it a satirical campaign that brings light to the detrimental effects of slow play. Hire some hilarious comedian to put it across in a way that grabs your attention and makes you laugh.

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g December 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm

I like how your thinking outside the box here using technology to help us and not the source of complaint as it usually is. But who is going to incur the expense of gps installation, IT maintenance, etc….the golfer, not the club. Courses in my area (PA) are already charging anywhere from $12-20/person for a cart. That’s $24-40 in cart fees plus a green fee ranging from $50-100. Ridiculous already and will only go up with cart technology upgrades causing cart fees to be as much as green fees. May work for private or high end courses, but not realistic for the muni/public. Most slow or new to the game golfers are not playing those courses.

Balls are also not the problem. Ultimately, its cost and time that hinders the development of new golfers. Overly difficult courses with narrow fairways, increasing length of rough, and tour speed greens are also major contributors leading to longer rounds leading to undesirable experiences. All which lead to not coming back. Wider fairways, more receptive greens, shorter rough would make for a better experience and people will want to come back.

For too long golf has catered to and marketed itself as a rich mans sport for the better player. Whether directly or indirectly through outrageous equipment prices. Newsflash, majority of golfers are not good! So why has the course & equip development industry ignored its primary consumer. Anyone know of a “Jack” course that is public, under $65 for cart and greens, and not hard as hell? I don’t believe it exists and courses are closing because of the elitist ignorance of people like Jack who want to blame a ball and not the direction they have taken this game.

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BR November 30, 2016 at 9:02 pm

IMO, its not the ball. I think courses should have a par 3 course with multiple tees. I also like driving ranges that I have observed operate successfully which I have visited. The driving ranges have a few traits that playing 18 holes of difficult golf doesn’t. More fun in less time. I see people buy pictures of beer and a large bucket and spend about 90 minutes tops hitting balls. I like what TOP GOLF and others like it are doing regarding non-traditional and/or beginners considering the sport. I don’t like drunk out of control/slow golfers on 18 hole course. And I really don’t want to spend at least an hour waiting on slow, lesser skilled players hacking and learning how to play the game that are in front of me. But I want both of those types of golfers to enjoy the game and I think driving ranges and/or short Par 3’s are better for them. People are hating how long it takes to complete a round of golf. I suggest that more par 3 courses and fun designed driving ranges are built, designed, retrofitted…… Those serious about playing traditional golf will continue and can enjoy their courses more. I mean, beginners need to learn on short par 3 courses and take lessons and get some range time before taking on a 18 hole course IMO. Market and/or change the mind set and expectations of those considering entering the game. IMO, golf has to be fun for those entering the game and in order to sell clubs, and grow. And maybe, just maybe like many other industries, the golf course industry grew too fast based on projections versus steady growth…. Love Jack but its not the ball IMO.

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Betty December 1, 2016 at 12:33 am

Very well said! As a not too long ago beginner golfer, I learned how to golf on very short par 3 courses with a caring and devoted husband. Beginners don’t belong on regular 18 hole courses, period.
Agree that more par 3 or short courses should be built to lure more newbies to golf and keep them golfing. They also need to learn when to just pick up the ball and move on too.
When we were in Atlanta with my daughter we went to the fun practice range. It was so fun to practice and try to get my ball in the holes and earn points. My daughter, a very first time golfer, loved it and motivated her to someday take up the sport.
Another issue is the cost of a round of golf can be daunting for married couples or singles. Make golf more affordable for all.

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Michael O'Connell December 1, 2016 at 1:44 am

5 hr rounds of golf are contributing. Way too long. Period

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Al Czervik December 1, 2016 at 9:32 am

5 hrs? I would do backflips for 5 hrs. My local muni averages 6-7 during the week. Slow play is undoubtedly killing the game!

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Michael Frey December 1, 2016 at 1:41 am

That’s like saying Ferrari sales are down because of speed limit signs. Pace of play, cost of equipment and cost of a round are why.

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Jim Englebrecht December 1, 2016 at 1:34 am

In general it takes over 70 acres to build and or maintain that much land. In many parts of the country that is allot of water which is one of the biggest costs. I know for a fact if a nice course in AZ does not have their own wells or agricultural water rates they can easily pay $500000 to 700K . There have only been two new courses built in AZ in the last 5 years. They need to build more executive courses for people who enjoy golfing and only want to play for 2.5 hours max . Jacks point is courses are requiring more and more land and paying for the water and maintaining them is getting way to expesive

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Steve Servison November 30, 2016 at 8:33 pm

I believe that Jack is very far removed from the local amateur game and it’s problems. He just needs to stay off of TV and quit spouting off on every golf subject on the planet. If there is a valid opinion on golf courses closing, I think local pros and average course owners will have more valid answers.

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Gord MacDonald November 30, 2016 at 8:08 pm

The golf ball going too far contributes to the cost of the game – but there are many factors.
Children today have many other options to occupy their time – at lower costs – technology, music, soccer etc etc.
You can’t practice at the local park.
Everything is expensive – clubs, balls, shoes etc etc.
Golf courses can be hard to get to.
Options to work at golf courses are there but not readily available.
Currently no front line pro is attracting the kids – Tiger and Palmer were the best but there’s not many of them.

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Jerry November 30, 2016 at 7:53 pm

So how many golf courses have any of you guys designed? I’d say we need to look deeper into what Jack is saying. Not that Augusta National would ever close but look how the Masters has had to lengthen the layout over the years because equipment and balls have made it play short. I will disagree with Jack on playing forward tees though. When I play with old geezer friends I hate hitting into tighter fairways and just wish I did have a longer ball so I could play the black tees again. Golf should evolve to allow slower swing speeds to compete with young bucks by having balls adjusted for your swing speed. Gold tees do not accomplish what a longer ball would do. If we are near the point of diminishing returns for balls that is sad.

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Uhit November 30, 2016 at 8:25 pm

Equipment and balls are at COR 0.83, COR 1.00 is the theoretical max.

We are talking about less than 30 yards possibel gain for 300 yards driving distance – in the worst scenario (including eternity).

Which are only relevant for short par 4 and short par 5.

The result (in the worst case) would be additional 6×30 yards (180 yards) for a 18 hole course…
…that is less than 2% more (distance and time) for a complete round (including additional distances to get to the next hole).

You don´t need to be in this business, to be allowed to think, and to calculate.

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Jerry November 30, 2016 at 10:46 pm

Please explain. Are you saying with certainty that we have reached the limit or its theoretical limit with balls and equipment with only an extremely razor thin margin of possible improvement? If so why does the USGA continue to test? If you are saying that based on the ancient ball testing equipment they use with acceleration limits then you are correct. However my point is to take the limits off equipment and balls. Let golfers play what they want. They only gotcha required would be marking gear (balls etc) with color coding so a young fast swinger would be exposed for hitting a senior ball that goes further than say a tour ball. This would take a re-thinking of how we play golf but wouldn’t it be nice to play with old guys from the back tees where skill and shotmaking are more valued than sheer strength? And this, of course, is Jack’s Cayman golf idea. Husbands and wives play from the same tee. Hubby hits a limited ball and wife a ball that zooms. Result? They hit to a similar distance. In the real world though limits would only be up to each golfer. When you tee up a ball a color somewhere on the ball tells your playing partners what strength ball you are playing. When I play with a mixed bag foursome of guys, one hits from the back tee, two from the mid and always one from the gold. What a pain in the ass.

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Uhit December 1, 2016 at 4:29 am

Yes, a COR of 1.00 means, that there is no energy loss…
…which is only around 20% better than a COR of 0.83.
This roughly correlates to 10% more distance (at best), which is not really much.

Thus, Jacks idea is (somehow) rediculous.

The young guys are mostly the longer hitting guys…
…and they need this, because this enables them to play below max speed,
to learn how to play straight, without loosing to much distance…

…and I think you have to admit, that there is nothing more fun and entertaining, than a long shot, that hits the target…
…who would want to see 150 yard drives on TV?

You would have to narrow and to shorten the fairways of nearly every course…
…and would reach the point, of mini-golf.

In my experience, older player love to play with long hitters, to have a good time and a great show – and sometimes a smile, if the ball misses the fairway.

The handicap system is the special key, that enables everyone to compete with everyone – independend from age, gender and skill…
…why change this system with different balls, and how would you do it, without penalizing long hitting newcomers?

You would take the fun out of golf for beginner, and a calm long hitter would start to play boring golf.

No Phils, no Bubbas, no Tigers.
The most entertaining part of golf is a long and high ball flight and the following shot out of a tricky situation…
…no one wants to see low, creeping, ball travelling along the fairway into the hole.

I´m pretty shure, that Jacks and your idea would kill golf…

…and he could be sure to have a save place in the hall of fame,
because no young guy would spend the time with golf to challenge him.

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Bob November 30, 2016 at 11:15 pm

I couldn’t disagree more. The fact that many pros are overpowering golf courses is NOT the reason why amateur golfers aren’t playing and spending as much money on golf. I WANT to see guys going super low and breaking the old traditional records. In fact, seeing pros play great golf and shooting low scores makes me want to go out and play. That’s why I hate watching USGA events where the low score barely breaks par. If I want to see that, I can go play with my buddies. I’m sorry, but the ball going too far has to be way down the list for why amateur golf is diminishing.

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ryebread December 1, 2016 at 9:02 am

Exactly. To add to this, the courses the pros are playing on are not the ones closing. Maybe those courses are griping because they have to make them longer to get the target scores the PGA are looking for (e.g. hardly anyone breaking par at the Masters). Personally, as a fan, I don’t really care if someone is -30 on the weekend. That might actually be more fun to watch because scoring and great shots will be rewarded (and likely more risk taken). The issue there would not be the ball, but the PGA’s expectations. Maybe the latter are solved by the ball, but really we’re talking about a fraction of a percent of why golf is in a decline.

The issues with the game that are impacting most courses are that the Tiger/Daly effect has passed (and they over developed during that bubble), speed of play and cost. That drives a lack of return on investment and thus the desire to shutter and sell out to a developer. Maybe a dead ball will keep it in play more and let amateurs play quicker. I tend to doubt it. Hacks (like me) will still find and play hot balls. People have stunk for years and always will. If one over developed and did so poorly and with a poor business plan, then they’re gone.

The thing that courses can most control is their experience to the customer and that is largely tied to lay out. Make them shorter. Use less water to keep maintenance costs down. Switch to grasses that are easier to maintain. Don’t scalp the greens (it just slows down play). If sand isn’t going to be maintained, replace it with pot bunkers. Be smart about landing areas based on what the average player hits (not the pros). Don’t offer 5 tee boxes — offer fewer but at the right lengths. Put out some fore caddies to help find balls on troubled holes. Don’t take the quick buck by selling booze on the course.

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Frozen Spy November 30, 2016 at 7:49 pm

The biggest reason that golf courses are closing, and I didn’t see anyone address it here, is that before the economic downturn golf courses were being built like mad and people had more disposable income, if you were to look across the board, all hobbies and sports were probably booming. After 09′ nobody was able to play because they didn’t have either the time or money and courses started to close because they had no income. The ball isn’t the reason for courses becoming obsolete the golfer is, specifically the pro/low handicap golfer that can take the equipment and show us amateurs how they can be used. The average golfer isn’t hitting the ball nearly as far as the pro, if the ball is going to roll back roll it back for the pro athlete. There is alot to be said about making clubs and balls for fun that don’t conform but allow someone to enjoy the game whether they are new to the game or an older golfer looking to have fun hitting those long bombs.

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Frozen Spy November 30, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Sorry what I was trying to say is that there were too many courses and not enough golfers, as soon as some courses shut down rounds went up on the remaining courses. The same thing happened here in AK, one of the military courses that was beloved by the community shut down and the rounds across the board went up. When people have to many options they won’t know which ones to choose, limit those options and it makes the choice easier. Man I do miss that course though.

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cksudderth November 30, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Golf is expensive. It’s that simple. Also, most courses still have yardage too far for most women to make par. 99% of us are out to have fun…… keep it simple !

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PJ December 1, 2016 at 12:06 am

ck is right. Golf is too expensive…the balls, the clubs and green fees are out of control.
I make good money, but paying $50+ for a round of golf is too damn pricey for most. Especially if you want to play 2+ times a week…to get better you need to play/practice more than a couple of times a month, but at these prices, it’s not realistic for most.
Drivers at $500, irons $800+ a set, a dozen ProV1 balls at $50 a dozen and golf is declining…well no kidding, Einstein.

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richardpatten December 1, 2016 at 2:23 am

Prices for a round of golf have gone up while wages and spending monies for people have gone down for most working folk. “It’s the economy, stupid.” as the recent elections show. A local muny, losing members, reduced the price of a round by $10 and the rounds jumped way up. Municipalities, using golf as a cash cow to fund other projects, have been losing the most rounds-and then, stupidly, closing their courses in order to reduce expenditures as a way to balance their budget Additional benefits of golf, like exercise for enjoyment, health maintenance and enhancing the attraction of properties, or of a city to live in, are not being calculated in the value of golfing. Golf courses in my large city were subsidized at first by industry as a way to attract and keep good workers.

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ComeOnSense November 30, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Hey Jack,
The reason courses are closing is because people like you got greedy and started charging millions to design a course knowing that the people will get charged higher green fees because of it. Now you are pissed because No one wants to pay your ridiculous fees to design, so now your getting back what you put in when it comes to building courses.
You and the other’s overpriced designers made a huge mistake,instead of embraced Tiger’s era to grow the game,you all went for greed.
Does your ice cream has real sugar or corn syrup in it? You see,you missed it again.

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Steve P November 30, 2016 at 10:12 pm

While I don’t quite understand the whole ice cream reference, I think you make an excellent point regarding the whole “course designer” thing.
Lot’s of “names” made lots of money in the hubbub of course design in the late 90’s.
Tracks that aren’t really any better than the classics.

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Richard Shanks November 30, 2016 at 7:12 pm

I learned the game in my late teens using a off rack set of “Sneed” clubs from Sears. I used them for 20 yrs. and played to a 12 handicap most years even reached 10 some years, self taught, I played once a week on avg. and practiced my short game 2 days a week. 25 yrs ago I decided to take the game seriously and got a component, fitted set from a class “A” fitter. It changed my game. I still use the same clubs today although I’m thinking of getting a new driver and fairway utility club to increase my lost distance, I’m 65 now. My club speed is down to 85-90 mph from 110 in the day. The avg. player today is not any better, you get better through practice not the clubs/ball you use. MONEY has always been and will continue to be the primary obstacle.

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Dr Tee November 30, 2016 at 7:09 pm

Jack has it backwards. Excessively long par 4’s unreachable in two for the avg. golfer are the problem, not balls going too far. Or, having to hit 3 wood or 19 degree hybrid as 2nd shot into par 4’s instead of 7,8,9 or wedge. Part of the blame has to be laid on the heads of the golfers who are playing from the wrong tees making the course excessively long. Even though I’ve been able to maintain my index at <10 (not bad for a 65 year old) I have way more fun and make a bunch more birdies playing from the 6400 yard "senior" tees than struggling from the 6900 "men's" tee. The concept that you must play 18 holes is problematic as well. A lot of pleasure can be had from a "quick 9" or even shortcutting and playing only 5 or 6 holes late in the day as the sun sets then cooling off in the clubhouse with friends over dinner watching the sun set.

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Ron Filteau November 30, 2016 at 8:52 pm

I agree with this one hundred percent. Most clubs are make the course to long for the Amateur golfer. And the Young golfer who may go to the amateur tour. But they are forgetting the golfers that pay the fees for the course to run until they are in trouble then they beg you to help them out. Most course are making there Par 4 over 400 hundred yards which give the week end warrior no joy in the game because they fell no hope in making par.

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Josh Kreger December 1, 2016 at 12:06 am

Crack is wack, Jack.

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Sly Panther November 30, 2016 at 6:57 pm

I do not know the whole context of the Jack says ball is too long this month. What I do know is the whole statement that Jack has been on point before is the ball goes too far for “Pro Golfers”. He proposed that a Condition of Competition regulation of balls be used at the big tourneys for Highly Skilled Amateurs and Professional Golfers. This will make the current courses much more competitive for that group of players. New courses and many not new courses require 20% more acreage to build, maintain, and keep current with demands that they have no control over. There has been 6 new Tee boxes added to my course to make the course harder for those 1/2 of 1% that compete for qualifying in the USGA. They make the ball go a “country mile” and watching them reduce all par fours into pitch and putt holes, par five holes reachable in two shots, and one 211 yard par three a simple 7 – 8 iron and a 252 yard par three over water a 5 iron to be sure not to be short and in the bunker and water guarded front and right side of the green. Length between holes is a problem of most golf course that were designed to make best use of the topographical features of the plot of land, at our course there is a cart for the “competitive golfers” from 4 greens to tees because it is a long walk, and the USGA believes the walk would be too strenuous. The course was designed in 1983 with carts being part of the culture. When I joined over twenty years ago I took pride in being the only member to walk the entire course most of the time. When playing with other members for small stakes they would always offer to “ferry” me for those 4 holes. I also used to go single first off on weekday mornings with the mindset of playing my best golf by staying in the fairway off the tee and layups of the par 5s. Control the distance of my shot to the green so I was “pin high”. Read the putts thoroughly, but with time spent controlled by best practices in my movement on the greens. My best time to complete the course was 2 hours and 45 minutes. Now 22 years and 7 surgeries later, I use a power cart, I am no longer in the single digits handicap wise. But, I still can play from the same tees as in the 90’s because of ball and driver innovations. I laugh when once a year I pull out my old J’s Professional Weapon and Titleist PT drivers, Bridgestone and Titleist balata balls to see what I can actually do now. I move up 2 tee boxes, and my tees shots average only 200 yards, a 5 iron (1979 Hogan Apex II’s) travels 150 yards, the lofts being close to original to the 60’s standards, that club would be a 7 1/2 iron today, 8 iron in some Game improvement iron sets, with nothing longer that a 4 iron that now is usually a Hybrid, what 1800’s golfers called a play club. Ask the Course Maintenance/Superintendent what 20% less area to maintain would save in yearly costs, taking into account that greens and bunkers will still cost the same. The issue has a multitude of variables from inconsiderate golfers, to reducing the grooves of irons to keep the ‘Pros’ from taking the course apart. I predicted that softer ball covers would soon follow in 2010, and it is true to form today, with the pitch being softer compression and softer covers will give you better control on your short game, keeping distance on your drive attempt. Minus the distance promise (over 2 piece balls), the balls of the 60’s, 70’s 80’s 90’s, through 2003 gave you control if you were adept due to practice. Costs are also out of control, I am only able to afford a CC set of irons on the used market, still do not have any CC wedges, those offered used are beat to hell and require replacement of grip, and most of the time replacement of the shaft as well, making a $40 – 50 club cost $80 – 90, $90 – 110 used wedges are ridiculous, when shops are offering current/last years models $100 – 110, plus the reshaft and new grip, unless I am successful at compressed air grip removal without causing a single point weak spot by blow too much too soon and making the grip unsound. Time to dive off my soap box. Cheers

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Uhit November 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm

We are talking about less than 2% area more to maintain in the worst case, not 20%!

Because nowadays, we already have a COR of 0.83 and a COR of 1.00 is the theoretical optimum for a perfect ball, with a perfect club face.
Thus, in the worst case you would have 20% more energy for the ball flight, which would result in a distance gain of around 30 yards for a 300 yard drive…
…now, in 10 years, in hundred years and in eternity.

This gain would only be relevant for short par 4 and short par 5…
…which are around 6 holes per 18 hole course…
…which would result in 6×30 yards additional fairway – 180 yards for the whole course – in the worst case!

Less than 5 minutes additional time to walk for 18 holes and less than 2% additional area to maintain…
…because you also walk to the next tee, and not only the lenght of the fairway between tee and green.

We are talking about something like 10000 yards vs. 10180 yards, which is not really relevant – isn´t it?

Cheers!

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geoff November 30, 2016 at 6:44 pm

Let’s go back to 8 NFL teams and a similar number of NBA & NHL teams, etc….. and you will suddenly find lots of expendable income for the golf business!

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Marty Neighbour November 30, 2016 at 11:40 pm

Courses are closing for one reason. Time. It takes too long to play a round. I won’t play weekends due to the 5+ hour round. 18 shouldn’t take more than 3 hours.

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Austin Kreger November 30, 2016 at 11:40 pm

Whatever Jack is smoking I’d like to try some

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richardpatten December 1, 2016 at 2:52 am

Jack came up with the shorter-distance ball idea in regards to designing a golf course for a small island, like Cayman. His ball was knobby, ugly did not go straight and felt like a dud. He can’t give up on the idea, I guess. A sort of whiffle ball would do as well, but people like to see how well they can do with the standard ‘real’ ball men and women pros use. Why not use a bean bag or softball for baseball now that home runs are more common? Why not use a women’s basketball for the mens game? Or, bring the 3-point line in 10 ft.? Shorten the football field to 50 ft.? Wider hockey goal net by 10 ft.? Because it becomes a different game than the standard one they like to watch and play.. Rounds have been declining because prices have gone up as courses have been designed as profit centers, worker incomes have declined and banking bubbles have burst.; it is becoming again a game for the wealthy.

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bluedog November 30, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Different balls for different courses? Jack, how stupid is that? I love you man, but that’s nuts. The game is hard enough knowing how far your ball carries with each club, but to then now have to know how far the ball goes for each course is just crazy.

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Rob Boldt November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

Ball sure not to bright. Took a lot of skill out of game. FUN is whats missing.
Most Golf Courses are run by Management groups.
Who tend to make A generic snotty atmosphere.
Hiring Pros that cant play dead in a cowboy movie.
Bad atmosphere and inept Pros bad combo for Fun.

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Michael Foster November 30, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Plus there not to many good gambling games any more

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Josh Cull November 30, 2016 at 11:07 pm

The reason golf courses are closing is because their are too many. Interest in golf grew exponentially when tiger came on the scene. Simultaneously, the housing boom was taking off. Developers took advantage of this golf communities popped up everywhere. Add to this, many of the courses were designed to be too hard, or more importantly, too expensive to maintain. The top expenditure on golf courses outside of greens maintenance is bunkers, yet designers build courses for public play (and ultimately scarce resources) with literally hundreds of bunkers. You add all of this up with a sharp decrease in rounds played on the national level, and you see there are far too many golf courses that can be supported by a dwindling number of golfers.

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Dwayne November 30, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Jack: “Fact is, more golf courses have closed in the U.S. in each of the last 10 years than have opened. This is thanks in great part to changes in the golf ball and the distance it travels.”

Sometimes people come up with kooky thoughts, and sometimes they say them.

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Uhit November 30, 2016 at 7:32 pm

…yes, and sometimes they may have an less obvious interest…

…like forcing most of the existing golf courses to shorten at least their longest par 4 – from one day to another…
…creating work for golf course designer.

A rule that changes the average driving distance from one day to another by about 20 yards,
produces much more (difficult to handle) costs, than a evolution of driving distance from about 1 yard per year, which would stop at COR 1.00 anyway (~ 30 yards gain at 300 yard drives) and would not increase further (in regard of technology).

Even if one would drop the COR restriction, the COR would naturally max out at 1.00.
No matter how effective a club head, or a ball is designed, it can´t deliver more energy for the ball flight, than the golfer has given.

Thus, in the worst case, a ball could have around 20% more energy for his flight, than it has now, due to the restriction of the COR to 0.83…
…which would cause a distance gain of less than 30 yards (at COR 1.00) for the average tour pro – less than the difference between a good drive and an average drive!

Fact is, that even a perfect golf ball, in conjunction with a perfect club face, could not surpass a COR of 1.00, which would (in the worst nightmares of Jack) result in a longer driving distance of less than 30 yards…
…wich would be only relevant for 6 of 18 holes (driveable par 4 and short par 5).

If all is said and done, he is effectively moaning about less than 6×30 yards course length (in the worst case – including eternity as time horizon!)…
…which translates into less than 180 yards total lenght…
…add this to a course that already has 7000 yards…
…you end up in around 2.5% more lenght in the worst case!

In reality, you have to take also the distance between the holes into account…
…thus you end up in considerably less than 2% additional distance, for a 18 hole course in the worst case scenario!

Jack is talking about less than 5 minutes additional time (for 18 holes) – in the worst case!

…thats hilarious!

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Robert Patterson November 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm

We’re losing a pretty open local 9 hole course, some kind of land use swap for a new municipal building. Another local 14 hole course, also pretty open, closing to be turned into housing.
New courses seem to be carved out of the MA forests, they can seem pretty tight if you’re slicing drives. And they’re hilly too, get a good workout if walking! Target golf, can be pretty aggravating if not played regularly to figure out what shots work.

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David Wilson November 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm

When the weather is decent, I will spend 3 hours a week practicing and a total of 5.5 hours playing each time (1-2x a week), including travel time and warm up. Golf requires a lot of time to be decent at (I’m a 12 handicap). But I only hit the driver 195-215 yds. The ball is not the problem. My adult sons don’t have the time, patience or the money needed to acquire the skills to really enjoy the game. It definitely isn’t the ball! I play a muni – last weekend $25 with a cart for 18 holes. And course set a record in 2016 for rounds played. Accessibility to PLAY is ok here, but learning how to play in a reasonable amount of time is a primary barrier.

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lew goodkin November 30, 2016 at 5:45 pm

I have done the original market studies on more golf course communities than any firm in the U.S. The failure to segment the market resulted in too many courses that are not affordable
to a growing segment of the population. Yes, there are super luxury clubs and resorts that do very well but the legitimate depth of the market and potential for growth lies in a healthy and growing middle class market and the middle class has been hard hit during the past decade
and in the case of retirement demand income constraints from pensions and investments is a real problem impacted by low interest rates resulting in low yields on fixed income investments.
Jack really dropped the ball on this one.

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Dan November 30, 2016 at 5:38 pm

I agree that time and money are the main culprits. My wife and I like to play, but as parents of small children, there are indirect costs that contribute beyond just the green fees. That is, paying for a babysitter which is typically more expensive than the green fees.

Also, for those of us who aren’t interested in competing, I agree with the ideas mentioned above, plus:
– 8″ cups. Our local Par 3 has 2 sets of cups cut into the greens, one regulation and one 8″. You can play to whichever one you’d like.
– Options to play something other than 9 or 18 holes, like 6 or 12. Sometimes 9 feels like to few, but 18 can be exhausting.

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Ben Cole November 30, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Most of the posts here are spot on. Its far too expensive & very time intensive. People don’t have the money or can justify 5 or 6 hours golfing to their families on busy weekends these days. The modern economic & family dynamics have changed. Plus more people are seeing golf manufacturers for what they really are and are less inclined to spend huge amounts of cash every new product cycle.

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Aaron Thompson November 30, 2016 at 10:25 pm

COST IS THE REASON.

SOMETHING JACK HAS NO IDEA ABOUT

caps lock off now :)

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Lee Huff November 30, 2016 at 10:24 pm

So many reasons why golf is losing courses.

1. Goat farm courses that are poorly maintained are charging $25-$40 per round.

2. Nicer courses are charging $75+ for a round.

3. The older generation of golfers look upon newer players as a “burden” instead of helping or teaching.

4. Pace of play. Many factors for this, but anything over 3 1/2 hours for a foursome riding in carts is 100% unacceptable.

5. Players playing the incorrect tees. I see this every time I play. Seniors who drive the ball 175 yards playing from the tee boxes one up from the tips and can’t make some fairways.

6. People going out and getting frustrated because they are taking advice from their friends who swing like Charles Barkley.

7. Some of the rules. The rule book is stupid long and full of hard to decipher information.

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Robert Dicks November 30, 2016 at 10:22 pm

The golf ball? Is he on the sauce?

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Tom Stewart December 1, 2016 at 1:36 am

Jack’s right. My balls go way too far – to the left, right, in the bunker, over the green into the clubhouse…

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Robert Dicks December 1, 2016 at 1:38 am

They still let you on the course? I thought you went straight to the 19th hole and started taking everyone’s dough in Liar’s Dice. When are we playing?

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Leonard White November 30, 2016 at 10:17 pm

The industry needs to wake up! Golf is too expensive for the average person to play! $500.00 for a driver, $350.00 for a putter. $1000.00 or more for a set of irons! $35.00 or more green fees! Really! Come on man! Get real!

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Oscar Johansson November 30, 2016 at 9:09 pm

I’ve only been playing for just above two years and the problems I hear the most is:
#1. “It takes too much time”
#2 “Too expensive”

The first one more than the second. 18 holes is too many for alot of people, especially here in Sweden where we walk almost ALL courses.

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Uhit November 30, 2016 at 5:21 pm

…why not play 9 holes?

If the course design is clever, you can shortcut with ease, if the traffic allows it.
You are only forced to play 18 holes, during a tournament – isn´t it?

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Dan November 30, 2016 at 5:41 pm

There’s a public course is suburban Denver that charges you for 18 and a cart no matter if you want to only play 9 and/or walk. And, it’s not the cheapest course either.

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Uhit November 30, 2016 at 5:46 pm

You will always find an exception, which may last for a while, or not…
…still, you are not forced to spend the time for 18 holes.

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Ryan Finch November 30, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Yep definitely the ball lol

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Cliff Morgan November 30, 2016 at 8:56 pm

OK everyone keeps saying golf is to expensive but let’s think about it. Used clubs at pawn shop $30-50 then bag of balls and tees at Walmart $20. So for less than $80 you can go play golf and it’s up to you if you play the goat patch links for $25 at twilight or Pebble Beach for $450. Get better and you will play faster as well because my Thursday foursome plays in two and a half hours but the Sunday group takes three and half to four hours and it’s all because of who is playing. Stop thinking you need the best and newest shiny thing out and spend time practicing.

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Ryan Anderson November 30, 2016 at 8:50 pm

Seriously, how much overstock does he have in Bermuda balls laying around?

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Jeremy Ellis November 30, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Yet he makes the same type of balls as everyone else and the longest, most difficult courses. Why don’t you lead the way, Jack?

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Scott Verdun November 30, 2016 at 8:33 pm

Jack is a hypocrite when it comes to his opinion and his business bottom line. A few years ago he stated that part of the reason for the decline was that courses were being built that are too difficult to play, certainly his firm is responsible for a sizeable number of those courses. Cost is also a reason and part of the reason for the expense is cost to maintain the courses that people like Jack and his firm designed. I realize that hindsight is 20/20 but he helped create the current situation and he’s not exactly apologizing for that or trying to change it. If you’re willing to pay him he’ll put his name on it.

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Todd Mander November 30, 2016 at 5:21 pm

I have played several “Jack” courses and all of them were miserable in terms of enjoyment of the round.

The facilities and conditions were great but the courses themselves are far too penalizing for your average player.

The only course of his that I like is Angeles National in Los Angeles and that was only after they replaced a lot of desert scrum areas with woodchips and free drop areas several years after it had opened.

I recently played two courses of his in Mexico and I’m convinced Jake is a sadistic a-hole.

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Cam Harrell November 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm

Yup, thing is we all want the best and play the magazine golf course. Takes a tremendous amount of $ for maintenance and care of turf/dealing with storms, etc…

Save your $ for a once a year golfapoolozza to play Bandon Dunes or Pinehurst and get down with it. Then come home and recover.

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Tony Penney November 30, 2016 at 8:10 pm

Problem is that high profile golfers that design courses are not for the average golfer,really who could afford to play them. Drop the prices and you’ll put more people on the course,simple economics Jack!

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Cliff Morgan November 30, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Problem with that is more people who play more money it takes to maintain the course. Would you rather have 10 golfers pay $80 or 40 golfers pay $20? Lot more grass seed to put out due to bad swings and over amount of practice swings.

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Tony Penney November 30, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Well $20 is very low and $80 isn’t high end,okay once in awhile but I doubt if you could get on one of Jack’s courses for less than $200. I worked on Frank Stronach’s course,Magna,85 employees on the course,range and pro shop and only 400 members,the nicest course I’ve ever seen,but not worth a $120,000. to join. You can’t maintain a course if no one is playing there. I know a few courses that are in good condition,offer great rates and packages,full all the time because of great management 🏌⛳

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Dennis Tatlor November 30, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Listen things change. Like roller rinks, bowling alleys, drive-in movies, they were all popular hangouts at one time. Technology as in computers , video games, casinos everywhere etc have taken on a toll on how and where we spend our time. The middle class isn’t sitting on extra money as much as they use too. Let’s face it in the 1950’s-early 1970’s you could go get a job right out of high school and support a family. Not really possible today. Wages haven’t kept up with inflation.

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Stephen November 30, 2016 at 2:30 pm

I don’t know why this is so hard for people to understand. The two most common reasons sighted for peoples lack of interest in golf or the thing that makes them play less than they otherwise might are TIME and MONEY.

If the courses are longer, out of a perceived necessity due to the ball going further, the longer it is going to take to play the game and the cost goes up due to the increased cost to maintain the golf course. Not to mention the cost it takes to renovate courses that are considered to short for the modern game. Simple as that. Sorry, but Jack is right on this one.

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Uhit November 30, 2016 at 4:04 pm

He can prove his (and your) point by himself first…
…before the whole community is forced to pay for his idea.

Around 99% percent of the golfer are hitting the ball not as far, as the average tour pro…
…and they are only something about 10 yards longer, than 10 years ago.

On all par 3 it doesn´t matter anyway, because the long hitter wouldn´t grab the driver.

What remains are driveable par 4, and par 5, which are short enought to reach in two.

These are maybe 6 holes per course, which would become more difficult for 1% of the golf players, if the balls would travel at least 10 yards shorter…

…this can simply be achieved by a tad longer gras on the fairway…

…or reducing the lenght of 4 par 3 holes by 15 yards each (and put the spared lenght on the par 4 and par 5)…

…or reducing the distances between the tees (my home course has a lenght of around 7000 yards, but you have to walk around 11000 yards, to complete a round, because of the space between the holes)…

…even if the course would become 100 yards shorter on every tee shot, you would have to walk 11000 yards in total, or completely redesign the course, to make it shorter between the holes.

Longer gras on the fairways (would reduce driving distance AND maintenance cost) and / or more efficient course design (shorter distances between holes) is more than enough, to compensate additional 50 yards of driving lenght.

Imagine how many already existing courses would have to be redesigned to compensate for shorter drives…

He can make his experiment and put his money, where his mouth is…
…then we will see the outcome in 10 years…

…meanwhile, automatic robot mowers enable cost effective course maintenance over night.

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Stephen November 30, 2016 at 4:59 pm

I agree with most of what you said, especially on the length between holes part. It is insane all of the walking/driving people have to do just to get to the next tee. The one thing I would challenge people on is just referring driving distances to 10 years ago. This argument goes back to the inception of the ProV1 (well it has been going on for a hundred years), I know that I hit the ball a lot further than I did 20 years ago. It is not an argument that can be made based on one year or even 10 years.

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Uhit November 30, 2016 at 5:42 pm

Even if you expand the view beyond 10 years, you have to take the actual situation in account, where most of the courses fit to the modern driving distances.

As soon as you cut something like 20 yards away, you would have to cut the most courses (we have)…

…and you would throw a bunch of costs at those courses (for redesign) from one day to another, instead of the slowly adaption we had over the last decades.

2 courses nearby want to shorten their longest par 4, because in reality most of the golfer (in the region) drive too short!

P.S.:
It is not because of me – I can drive past 270 yards.

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Uhit November 30, 2016 at 2:22 pm

If he would put his money, where his mouth is, he could produce balls, specifically designed for his courses…
…and everyone, who want´s to play his golf courses, has to buy them in addition to the green fee…
…and is banned if he plays a different ball on his course.

This way, he should prove his concept, and could come back to the golf community…
…after he tested his idea 10 years – with success (including a positive trend from year to year)…

…meanwhile, others can enjoy playing golf, and he has some time to think about the arguments and data, others already provided to the theme…

…I´m curious, whether he would play his own distance restricted balls on his courses in ten years, when he is probably a tad older, and not a tad longer (with his golf-clubs).

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cksurfdude November 30, 2016 at 5:34 pm

^ Agreed!

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Steve S November 30, 2016 at 9:17 pm

In 10 years he’ll be 86 or dead. He’ll be lucky if he can swing a club, let alone hit a ball 200 yards.

Like most people in his position he likes to hear himself talk.

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Uhit December 1, 2016 at 4:38 am

You are probably right, and maybe he is not aware what damage he is doing, to him and golf.

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ParManMN November 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Golf is not dying here in Minnesota. It is growing now again because courses have made their courses more playable (lower rough, taking out sand traps) with faster pace of play. They are also offering affordable options for frequent players. In addition, there are more and more fun golf events for average golfers to play in for friendly competition. This is also happening in select other markets.

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Mike Eovino December 3, 2016 at 4:27 pm

This.

It sounds like this is a model other courses should follow. I wish courses here in VA would learn from this. A grassed in former bunker can provide plenty of challenge, at a much lower cost than a sand bunker.

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Garret Roach November 30, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Jack is so out of touch on this it’s embarrassing. I also can’t say I’m completely shocked either. Guys that played professionally don’t have the same view of the game that the weekend warriors do. I think it’s a three part issue. First is economics. It’s expensive, both to just get on the course, and if you want to upgrade your clubs. I know that you can get great deals online, but your average guy isn’t doing that. He’s walking into a major retailer and getting whatever they sell. That’s expensive. The second issue is time. Rounds with a cart should rarely take over 4 hours. The problem is that courses don’t want to enforce pace of play because they are scared to lose business. There is nothing worse that seeing guys playing from the wrong set of tees and making the round longer and harder than it needs to be. That ties into what I think is the third thing. It drives out the guy who wants to play 10-15 rounds a year. He’s got the money and maybe some free time, but when you combine rising prices and longer rounds, he’s gone. The guys with the memberships and play 50+ rounds a year, they are never going away. But you want to keep the casual player, that’s where the sport grew. And that is what it’s losing now.

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Cam Harrell November 30, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Exactly

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Michael Haas November 30, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Jack has lost his mind. The enormous cost of golf is the real reason.

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Gordon November 30, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Totally correct. The ball is a non issue.
I’m a scratch player and am not thinking of stopping golf because it’s so damn easy due to the lack of length of the holes.
Reality check needed here.
The ball going too far may be an issue with 0.0001% of golfers, but not for me or anyone I play with.

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Regis November 30, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Do you think the cost of developing and maintaining a course that plays 7500 yards from the tips as opposed to one that plays from 6500 (which used to be the standard) has any influence on the cost of golf?

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Gabster December 1, 2016 at 9:26 am

Cost is the #1 reason more folks aren’t playing golf. Golf is losing ground because young people can’t afford the equipment, the required “dress” or the exhorbitant green fees. The generation of golfers that can afford it are aging and dying.
Some say it takes too long to play, but I bet those same complainers sit on their couch and watch tv for endless hours.
I agree some changes to courses could beneficial. At my course the ladies tees are only about 1-2ft from the seniors tees, even on a 500+ft par 5. The LGA has tried to no avail to get the tees moved up to help shorten game time, but” the good
ole boys” just ignore us. Our course is suffering from a management company in California that see our corse as a tax write off and barely maintains it, and yet they are trying to charge $50-$60 per round to hit off unmowed fairways, unmaintained bunkers and greens with crab grass. Unwitting public players come oh because the advertising shows it to be a beautiful course pay their money and never come back.
Also, I can’t remember the last time I even saw a marshall on any course even in Florida where I sometimes spend time at my sister’s mostly private cc.
Public players are a necessity to keep the game alive, but they take more time to play and do as they please on the course, like slow play, 10 mins hunting balls, driving carts on the greens etc. They do a lot of damage, but courses don’t want to pay a marshall minimum wage.
Ok I have to end rant here… Tee time

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RAT November 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm

I believe it’s a combination of things: Fees and equipment are just some of the cost straight on. It takes too long to play because of a few reasons: Course is too difficult for the 20+ handicapper , there isn’t good marshalling at some courses to help speed these players along , too many playing together( more than 4) ,copying the pro’s when they get to the green by walking around looking at the ball from all angles. They will not respect the faster payers behind them by letting them play through . Drinking excessively slows playing down. Gambling with too much on the line makes the players slow down.

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Richard Wheat November 30, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Time is the reason. We’re all too busy!

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OrangeHog November 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Jack has officially lost his mind. Golf balls have done a lot to improve the game of golf, not shut down courses. There are so many reasons this industry is in trouble today – old school OEM and retail tactics, narrow release cycles, marketing gimmicks, cost to play, time required to play, and so on. The game may be slowly dying but it’s because the industry is stuck in a rut and refuses to move forward, not because of the freaking golf ball.

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Jacky November 30, 2016 at 1:35 pm

I wish I could drive a golf ball more than 200 yards! The pros need to realise that the weekend golfers are paying for their equipment and lifestyle.

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Gorse Richard November 30, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Tour golf and recreational golf should have separate governing bodies. They are not the same and to save recreational golf it needs to go in a completely different direction.

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cksurfdude November 30, 2016 at 5:38 pm

^ Hear hear!!

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Joe Gendron November 30, 2016 at 6:25 pm

The responses here are almost all correct. Price for me is the major sticking point. I’m a member at a local Muni because it is only 1200 a year. I can’t afford the 10K+ to belong to a private track. I’m lucky enough to work nights so I can get my money’s worth out of a membership. Cost of clubs is insane as well. I try never to purchase new clubs and wait a year and pick them up at a discounted rate but even then say a 915 Titleist Driver is still over 200 usually. Which is no small chunk of change in today’s society.

The walking vs riding thing is overblown in my opinion. It doesn’t really speed up or slow down play at my local course. It just is what it is. The biggest issue and my course is guilty of it is the 8 minute tee time spread. That’s to close. 4 ball for amateurs even really good ones need longer than 8 minutes. And the really bad ones need even longer. Heck I play in a tournament at Carnegie Abbey Club this year and the distance between some holes were legit a quarter mile which is impossible to walk hence leading to 5 hour rounds.

The ball going further does tie in. If a ball goes longer then courses need to be built longer and in turn more cost of maintenance and extra carts to accommodate people. It is all relative to money in my opinion. If the game was cheaper on a whole more people would play. But when a local Muni gets 55 to walk and 75 to ride, that’s going to push people who want to learn away.

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Paul Kielwasser November 30, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Wow. Yeah, I’ve heard that a LOT leaving courses after a round… “These dang balls just go TOO FAR! I’m DONE with golf!”

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Chuck Gardner November 30, 2016 at 1:10 pm

I love Jack but I doubt the ball is the problem. Definitely to expensive to play, 5-6 hours rounds are not fun, equipment is to pricey and product life cycle is way to short (Callaway & Taylor Made). Market saturation on every product that’s out there. Majority of club professionals are notoriously bad business people and don’t evolve at all, or management companies buy the course and take the shop away from the pro so their incentive is gone. The game is difficult and most players will not practice and give up. When Tiger was at his peak, he was drawing people to the game now that’s over with. The 20-40 year old demographic is not playing like they were, for some of the reasons I’ve listed and more could be talked about I’m sure. Probably lack of a good rivalry on Tour has a bit to do with it, watching ROBO pros gets a bit boring to watch on TV. I would imagine since 08′ people are having a tougher time finding deposable income having to work longer hours or multiple jobs with no time to play. IMHO

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Steve Ingerski November 30, 2016 at 6:10 pm

I think Gary Player had a better take on it. The ball has lead to designers, like Nicklaus, designing courses that are longer and longer – more unwalkable, and more expensive

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Dave Cammilleri November 30, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Takes too long to play 18 holes. Plus it is too expensive.

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Brian Fergusson November 30, 2016 at 6:03 pm

1. Make courses not only walkable but also friendly to walkers. I’ve seen courses without any distance markers except for the cart path and the GPS units in the carts. Bloody awful.
2. Don’t make power carts mandatory.
3. Make them playable for all abilities. Get rid of some of the ridiculous carries.
4. Coach people on how to speed pace of play, as well as proper golf etiquette (e.g. repairing ball marks on the green)
5. Throw out drunken a**holes

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Sheila Fergusson November 30, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Totally agree!

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cksurfdude November 30, 2016 at 5:41 pm

^^ Totally agree!! 👍

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Kevin McCloud November 30, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Iam not n the business of golf, just a weekend player. My thought is simple there was a boom because of Tiger, & it was great, got people playing the game that otherwise would never pick up a club. Then over time they realize this game is first Very Expensive to play & also u must have the tools req to play the game , again very expensive…..especially when a golf equipment co is telling u ever year there new product will make u better then the last…..so it gets expensive. Then u realize u have to take 5 hours of the day just to play the game, that’s just 18 holes, that’s not counting the time required to actually practice and play good golf. We live n a time were everyone wants instant gratification,instant rewards, no one wants to put in the work and even when U have someone who loves the game like me, U can’t find the time needed to practice and play. Also Tiger is slowly disappearing, just like the golf course and the recreational golfer, there is no one out there Now with the same level of Fame or actually gives a shit to get knew players involved, like Rory said ” I didn’t get into golf to grow the game “. Iam sure Tiger didn’t either, but he did regardless , mostly due to race, if he can do it anyone can. No realizing Tigers been golfing since he was 10months old…lol. So it basically comes down to this, Golf is Hard really Hard, and No one likes playing bad golf ….no one. I’d suggest they double the size of the cup for recreational players ……meaning public course golf courses, it might turn away the die hards,but they can play regular courses, there should be a few out there for high handicappers ….. I think you’ll get more new players involved and started to then someday use reg size hole, it’s all about getting started.

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Skip November 30, 2016 at 1:21 pm

There are courses for high-handicappers, they’re called executive or Par-3 courses.

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Andrew November 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm

I am a higher handicapper, but I have above average distance. At one of my local par 3’s the longest club I hit is a 4h ot 3i. At another local par 31 course, I only get out the driver 2-3 times (out of 9) and even then I risk hitting into the group ahead because they’re blind tee shots. All high handicappers aren’t short, and Mike Weir won the masters.

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Mike Tracy November 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

I’m a 14 handicap and hit my driver 250-260 on my days. That’s slightly less than the 300+ yards of the tour player. I would prefer to be able to play the older square grooves to (maybe) make my game a little better. I will NEVER be on the tour or play in any sort of sanctioned event so who cares what clubs that I play? Organizations like the USGA are ruining the sport by saying you can’t play with the broomstick putters. For the average Joe, who cares? If I am playing in a local scramble who cares? The pace of play for golf is terrible at most courses that I play. Who wants to spend 5-6 hours playing golf on a weekend? The ball is the least of the problems with the sport. Sorry Jack, but I think that you’re wrong.

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Todd Gatchel November 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

It’s plain n simple why golf is dying, the game is too expensive, i guarantee if you had flat rates, none of this shoulder season, peak season bullshit more people would play. Down here in Florida they screw the year long residents every winter with rates that are doubled to what they are in the summer, thats price gouging! Give year long residents a break, we are the ones supporting the courses in the summer heat! There is no god damn way it cost you twice as much to run a course in the winter as it does in the summer! It ain’t rocket science!

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Isaac Castillo November 30, 2016 at 7:31 pm

In Hiltonhead Island, you arw a resident if you live within 50 miles of the courses even on the Ga side and they always have the dame flat rates for residents

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Cam Harrell November 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Courses and their owners want to maximize profits also. Supply side economics baby!

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Cliff Morgan November 30, 2016 at 8:23 pm

For this reason a lot of nice courses are shit now in the Orlando area. It kills me when I go back to Florida and have to pay a visitor rate because Georgia doesn’t have that shit.

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Jim Englebrecht December 1, 2016 at 1:28 am

Happens in AZ. Should be a law residents can’t be charged 3x the summer rate 😤

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Michael Frey December 1, 2016 at 1:36 am

Jim Englebrecht I wish it were only 3x. We only play public courses in the winter.

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Joe Pittsley November 30, 2016 at 5:55 pm

For one the equipment is to expensive, the price per round is getting out of hand and I’m not sure about anyone else I don’t have 5 to 6 hours on a Saturday to spend on the course

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Dave Cammilleri November 30, 2016 at 6:11 pm

You nailed it.

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Cliff Morgan November 30, 2016 at 8:45 pm

Price per round is due to course maintenance. The rest I can agree with. You can get into golf for $50 with clubs from pawn shop and bag of balls from Walmart. I don’t mind a 5 hr round if everyone is cutting up and having a good time but if it’s because of slow play it turns your day into a nightmare.

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Joe Pittsley November 30, 2016 at 8:50 pm

50 dollar golf clubs from you local pawn shop are clubs that are 10 to 15 years old which are more the likely garbage and if you left handed like I am good luck finding cheap clubs, even going to Walmart and buying a starter set with a bag is gonna cost between 150 and 200 dollars and I do agree that it does cost money to maintain courses

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Russell Franks November 30, 2016 at 10:09 pm

I never play a round over 4 hours. Period. That would be miserable.

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Joe Pittsley November 30, 2016 at 10:10 pm

I have actually left cause a round took to long

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Steve Jeffs November 30, 2016 at 10:12 pm

Play #speedgolf – fun fitness & 18 holes in under an hour

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Joe Pittsley November 30, 2016 at 10:14 pm

It’s not my pace of play that’s the issue it’s the groups of senior citizens that take forever and don’t let you play through and of course there are no Rangers to get them to play faster

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Steve S November 30, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Joe, I love when people make generalizations. I play a lot of weekday golf. I’m usually a single and most of the folks I get matched up with are retirees. They ALL play faster than my younger friends. They play weekdays only because on weekends the courses are full of “those god awful weekend golfers who think that they are pros”. There is a senior league here on Wednesday mornings. They start at 8AM with a shotgun start with 6 or 7 holes with 2 foursomes. No one finishes in less than 41/2 hours. If you play slow people harass you or hit into you. The only time I’ve encountered slow play with seniors is in Florida and on Sundays with the “once a month” crowd.

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Justin Blair December 1, 2016 at 3:48 am

What constitutes a “garbage” club? Because it doesn’t say “Taylormade” or “Callaway”?

They’re all designed to do the same thing: get the ball moving towards the hole.

How many people skip out on buying a $2k+ washing machine and dryer but still find their clothes are clean and dry with the one they have?

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Justin Blair December 1, 2016 at 3:58 am

I don’t have too much trouble finding gear. Ebay has many bargains, especially for us lefties.

I’m also big into component brands, like Hireko Golf, Diamond Tour Golf and the GolfWorks.

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Chris DeCandia November 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm

that’s exactly my point. it’s not a matter of the game drawing the interest of kids, it’s the pricing that’s pushing them away. back when I was in high school picking up the game, I would go walk on the local muni for $9 junior rate. now it costs kids $20+ for the same track.

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Frozen Spy November 30, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Chris you are absolutely right I had the same deal, played in tournaments sponsored by the PGA and paid 10 bucks to play a round and even got lunch, and my muni course charged juniors about 10 bucks to play any day of the week. Bring these programs back and it could help grow the game

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Johnny O' November 30, 2016 at 9:56 pm

The distance between greens and the next tees are too long on many newer courses. It makes walking the course almost impossible. Many of the courses that are walkable even BAN WALKING!

I would like to see the height of rough be reduced as many courses has rough that is too high and almost impossible to find your ball.

I would like to see courses offer afternoon specials for juniors and beginning golfers. Perhaps offering a group lesson on the range and/or putting green. Having putting contests. Having a target on the range that spins around when its hit. Make golf fun for the beginners.

Sell used clubs and balls.

I’d like to see more 9 Hole,Par 3 or Executive courses that have interesting designs and are well-maintained.

Pro could write articles in the local newspapers about golf and the happenings at their golf course.

Clubs could have a wide variety of memberships for Juniors, Young Adults, Women, Seniors, and weekday memberships.

Have starters talk to golfers advising them on the tees they should use. Ask about their handicaps and driving distance.

Include 3 used balls in price of green fees.

Have clearly seen drop areas on the other side of all ponds.

Have recreational golf rules for beginner golfers. Limit trap shots to 2 swings.

Give marshalls the authority to address slow groups. Have a stated policy printed on the scorecards. The Pros should fully support the marshalls.

Have a 100 yard Hole-In-One Hole after the 18th hole.

Just some brainstorming on possible ideas to make golf fun and enjoyable.

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Regis November 30, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Those same kids are calling their moms on their $400 I phones to be picked up in the family Lexus SUV. They aren’t walking home.

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Matthew Wood November 30, 2016 at 5:51 pm

The cost of the game is ruining it in the US. I pay $1500 dollars a year to play a private course in Australia where the greens constantly run 12+, and is generally in excellent condition. In the USA that money is essentially only worth 10-20 rds a year……. make it possible for people to play and they will. This almost comes back to the inclusivity/exclusivity argument. In the US golf is exclusive and getting more exclusive.

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L. Davis December 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

Well Said Matthew. Golf in Australia IS affordable to the masses. Look at the number of Aussie players on tour. Economics and elitist attitudes has probably cost the USA a number of promising young golfers. I am now retired and can afford and do play golf – but I WILL not pay exorbitant golf rates. Just a thought……

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cksurfdude November 30, 2016 at 12:50 pm

“Back to Their Roots: American Golf Courses Being Bulldozed Into Farms”

http://www.golfvacationinsider.com/cr/farm-to-fairway-golf-courses-changes-16439?omhide=true

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Steve S November 30, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Not here. They are being bulldozed into housing developments because the land is too valuable to justify a golf course….

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Mike November 30, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I feel the reason for golf courses closing is that the pace of play of golf sucks. Who wants to spend 5-6 hours playing golf on a weekend? Some courses are designed so difficult that it takes the average player forever to find their ball. Make easier golf courses so people can enjoy themselves playing the sport and they will come back. Enforce slow play rules with rangers too. I agree that courses that discourage walking are another reason for the downfall of golf too. Just my two cents.

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cksurfdude November 30, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Totally agree.

Play ready golf, do not take 10 minutes standing over each of your four or more putts, move off the green to the next tee, etc. etc. etc.

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Robert Fraioli November 30, 2016 at 5:35 pm

it’s like asking a tour pro what’s wrong w/my swing….they have no clue, they live in their own bubble where they have zero concept of what’s actually going on in the golf business. the reason courses are closing is simple. golf is expensive, the last true “member” generation is the baby boomers, it takes to long to play, it’s a difficult game, no one to play with (your buddy quit the game). all of hose are viable explanations for the decrease in play…not the ball

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Bob Gomavitz November 30, 2016 at 5:34 pm

The land is worth so much these days has to be a fact

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Mike Eovino December 3, 2016 at 4:49 pm

That’s happening to at least one upscale daily fee course here in greater Richmond VA

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FTWPhil November 30, 2016 at 12:28 pm

So tell us why we should trust you with golf balls, when you folded your equipment company.

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Geo Golfx November 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Yes he’s wrong. The problem is – no one walks anymore. Bear with me . 25 years ago, you would have people who rode, but only out of necessity- or they could afford to do it. Now, it’s the standard. Courses (Like some of Jacks) that you aren’t permitted to walk . So anyone new to the game starts with that price, even at a muni, as THE price. Of course there are people who can’t walk 9 let alone 18. But , if you can walk and don’t — and you bring your kid along and ride from day 1— that’s one BIG disservice. Sadly, it’s not going to change.

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Ben Clabaugh November 30, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Maintenance is a bigger reason why it was cheaper. It costs so much to maintain a golf course now than before. Courses need to stop competing against resort and country club style and just go back to being fun again. It’s tough seeing the average player struggle for 5 hours on a course.

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John Rowe II November 30, 2016 at 6:12 pm

All these reasons are actually tied to the statement he is making. Balls are going further… courses are, and have been designed as longer as a result. Adding cost all the way around… also makes walking less desired and riding more the norm… much of the cost to play is paying for the cart… it might however, help if more people would play from the tees that suit their game and not think they should always play from the tips.

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Greg Baldwin November 30, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Coming from the biz, a lot of Head Pros get a cut of the cart fees, so yes, they damn near force you to ride these days with pace of play becoming more strict.

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Ben Clabaugh November 30, 2016 at 7:02 pm

In certain areas the pros do. I was in the business as well. Most courses are backed by corporations of some sort and they’re the ones that dip into that pot of gold. Pros usually just get a bonus check every 6 months if that.

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Cam Harrell November 30, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Jack KNOWS how to play golf.

I once heard Mark Rolfing state that golf has a 3 pronged problem:
1. Too difficult
2. Too expensive
3. Takes too long

Case closed. It will always primarily be a game for the well to do. The rest of us will play once a month, go to the range and endure 5+ hr weekend rounds with Bubbas flocking to the beer cart.

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Cam Harrell November 30, 2016 at 7:47 pm

It’s the opioid of all sports!

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Billy Walker November 30, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Dead on Cam. If I didn’t Marshall at our local course I wouldn’t be able to play as much as I do. Jack missed on the ball reasoning.

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Cliff Morgan November 30, 2016 at 8:34 pm

Course lease carts and make damn good money off renting them to golfers. The amount of money it cost to keep a golf course up is way more than what most would think. Annual budget of $500k is a big number to chop at $35-55 at a time and that’s just to pay for things like pesticides, fertilizer, grass seed, sand, water, ext…

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James Dailey November 30, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Lol. I was thinking to myself the last time I played that I was hitting it too far, so I quit the round and went home.

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Guy Crawford November 30, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Jack FYI I luv ya but us mere mortals don’t have a going to far ball problem.

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Cliff Morgan November 30, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Yeah to far left or to far right

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Hunter November 30, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Sure that makes sense Jack. Let’s make the game harder so it takes longer and costs more. That will help!

Proof you don’t have to be that smart to play the game well.

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David Jones November 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Absolute rubbish.
98% of the people that play golf don’t hit it like the pros.

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Curtis Gamblin November 30, 2016 at 12:09 pm

I want to know why belly putters and “anchoring” was banned. I want to know the real why. I believe the answer lies with a statement you made in your article, regarding to looking to some famous great golfers options instead of listening to the vast majority of golfers. When an industry like golf refuses to listen to those that fuel that industry, then everyone suffers. The manufacturers, their employees, the players, the courses and the game itself. Even the PGA was opposed to banning anchoring if my memory serves me right.

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Skip November 30, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Agree, anchoring ban is ridiculous. Just a bunch of people afraid of something different and resistant to change. Anchoring wasn’t an unfair advantage, it just happened that a few anchor putters coincidentally won at that time. If it was such an advantage, everyone would do it. But it’s not.

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Jerry December 5, 2016 at 11:13 am

I’ll answer the handicap/tee box issue here and the COR discussion in another reply to UHIT. I play golf all over the US and every course has its own design challenge and tee box layout. Some tracks put the Senior tee way out in front and many active seniors frankly don’t like playing them. I look and swing much younger than my age and enjoy playing back. Most guys I play with would rather play forward. If I play forward I find myself hitting past the designed landing area usually to a tighter fairway. After flying to Florida and spending big bucks to play a nice course I don’t want to hit 3-wood. My group doesn’t want me playing from a rear tee as we get together once a year and standing on the tee together is part of the enjoyment of golf. Golf at our age is as much social as anything. You and your friends can play any way you choose. We don’t gamble or use handicaps. I try to break 80, and the others try to score under their personal bests. The point is to first have fun, second score low, and third move along with good pace. Some courses have all their tee boxes on a common tee area with 20 yds of separation or less. In that case it’s a moot point moving up or back. But on other courses the gold tees can be halfway down the fairway or even on the far side of a lake! I’m suggesting the USGA allow the short hitters to use anything they want to be more competitive. One final thought, other sports allow different equipment for different players. Youth basketball and women’s use smaller balls than men. Soccer has 3 sizes of balls for different age groups. Youth baseball allows springy aluminum bats. Softball was developed for girls as hardball was considered too dangerous. Now older guys play it too. The USGA has a rule that limits a ball to 317 yds when hit with a titanium driver at 120 mph. Great. Just enforce that or reduce it for Tour level play. For the rest of us take off the reigns.

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Jerry December 5, 2016 at 11:33 am

My business partner teaches university mechanical engineering and has a PhD in physics with experience at Boeing Aerospace and NASA. He is literally a “rocket scientist”. We are developing a new golf tech altho not a ball or club. Our research is breakthrough and while conforming is pretty way out there. If we only focused on what people say is “possible” we wouldn’t go forward. COR, while a valued foundational principle is not the end all. Consider that a ball with dimples travels twice as far as one without and then apply COR restrictions. There are many ways to skin a cat as Father Guido Sarducci would say. Does anyone really think that in 10, 20, or 50 years from now we won’t discover new technology or materials that will blow our minds? Let us recall the that we are trying to expand golf play. Would more women, youth and older golfers enjoy hitting the ball longer? I think so. Having a higher handicap is not an ego booster. Getting on a par 4 in regulation and occasionally hitting a par 5 in two are way more fun than a gross 98, net 70. Ask any golfer which they would prefer.

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