Do you think longer courses are counter productive even at tour pro level?

rollin

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I have touched on this (my) opinion in other threads once or twice but thought it may be worth some discussion on its own. Obviously we all know the affects of long courses on amateur golf. But there are a few reasons I am not liking it at the pro level either.

Firstly I am a bit tired of the whole distance thing. I find it no longer as exciting or attractive as it once was. Kind of in a way I feel it has outplayed its ambiance or infatuation. In fact become almost somewhat boring in a way too. But that's just me I know.

But when I say counter productive, what I talk of is that imo I believe the longer courses and holes are actually working against the very reason they keep making them longer. The powers to be simply feel that players became too long for the good of the game the way it was. But is it becoming over done? Can it possibly be taking away from the game instead of adding to it?

The reason I feel longer courses is actually counter productive is this.

They seem to make everything longer in order combat the fact that they feel too many players are too long. Many of us would argue that is not the case based on things like the tour average is upper 280's which means half are lower than that and the ones who are very long at the very top is really minimal and feel they make too much of it but regardless of that discussion they have still made courses longer.

The problem I see is that when you add yardage imo what your only accomplishing is to further play in favor of those who are too long. The ones who are causing the powers to be to make things longer are the ones who gain simply by default of the whole process. In a way its working against its own idea. It simply becomes more and more difficult for the mid and shorter hitters to catch up therefore favoring the longer ones that the idea is trying to combat in the first place. It actually imo also creates an unfair playing field if it hasn't already done so. The whole process just has to be limiting the potential for a broader playing field. Imo this is counter productive for golf.

I'm not suggesting that one should not have good distance to be a tour pro. A tour pro should posses some distance as part of his talent arsenal. But what has been done with course lengths imo is that its gone or going too far to serve its own purpose. If it continues its going to get to the point where the field will be too limited if it hasn't already. Truth is we just wouldn't know because there may be some great players out there who we would otherwise see competing right now but simply cant keep up so they are not there as only the longest can survive because that's what they have made it become. This is where it imo it may be much more counter productive vs what they think is a problem now. I don't want to only see the longest of hitters on the tour in the future.

There are much better ways to combat the longest hitters without lengthening courses. I can think of a few that will take care of the issue and still allow for a broader field of competitors in the game at the same time. Just look at this years masters. where 9 par4's play over 440 yards and 6 of them are over 450 up to 505. Just ridiculous and not necessary imo. Everything about it works towards my opinion here. Golf is looking or waiting for the next great to come along or even great competitions among a broader playing field will also work to popularize the sport and just may be he and/or they are around somewhere but we'll never know because the course lengthening thing has imo perhaps gone too far and perhaps works against its own cause.
 

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Merion GC last year - US Open - people said that course was too short. It may have been, but it was plenty challenging.
I agree w your distance comments.
If the courses where PGA tournaments are played actually put trouble at the drivable distances for both short and long players, then the skill of the professionals could be showcased - eg: large fairway bunkers, large wash areas crossing the fairway, water hazards, etc., which either require a huge drive or a smart lay up, then most players are playing irons from similar distances.
Let the par 5 holes allow the long hitters an advantage.
Maybe, then, the winning scores wouldn't be -21. Let the winners play to -8 or -9.
My $.02.
 

Paladin

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I think any time you try to make a course short but challenging, you're treading some very dangerous waters where the game can be brutally difficult if, say, the weather stays dry. Merion was short (ignore a 270 yard par 3 and 525 yard par 4) over all, but even with some rain, the winning score was +1, and it was not well-liked. Pin placements were brutal, but it did prove that there were ways to make courses very hard without being long...but only by being raging jerks about it.

One thing that I noticed about Pinehurst this year is explaining what a great golf shot into a green is to the layperson gets awkward when the green only allows, say, a 3-square yard spot 25 feet from the pin. Yes, it's a great shot, but between the TV often not showing all the undulation of a green, or difficulty for a non-golfer to understand how difficult some shots are, it's tough to portray. By comparison, the rains at Valhalla allowed golfers in the last few pairings to fire right at pins, making great approach shots obvious on their face even to a non-golfer.

All this to say, whether a course can be too difficult or too easy has less to do with the tee box and more to do with the greens, IMO.
 

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I think it limits the number of guys/gals that can be competitive week in week out.

If the shortest guy on your is 250 and the average is 280 and the avg guy has a 6/7iron in on average then the short guy is getting into low lofted hybo or fwd and it's hard to be accurate consistently and hold greens with those clubs. The other option is to lay up and then try to get up and down for par.
 

Colt

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I think that it's a bit more of a pain for amateurs. The longer they make courses the farther companies will go to make clubs and balls go further. "Usually" more distance means less control. I feel like the average weekend hack can use more control over more distance. With the way things are going I think it might become counter productive to us mere mortals.

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golfinFF

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Agreed on less of control for us mere mortals Colt.
 

rollin

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I think any time you try to make a course short but challenging, you're treading some very dangerous waters where the game can be brutally difficult if, say, the weather stays dry. Merion was short (ignore a 270 yard par 3 and 525 yard par 4) over all, but even with some rain, the winning score was +1, and it was not well-liked. Pin placements were brutal, but it did prove that there were ways to make courses very hard without being long...but only by being raging jerks about it.

One thing that I noticed about Pinehurst this year is explaining what a great golf shot into a green is to the layperson gets awkward when the green only allows, say, a 3-square yard spot 25 feet from the pin. Yes, it's a great shot, but between the TV often not showing all the undulation of a green, or difficulty for a non-golfer to understand how difficult some shots are, it's tough to portray. By comparison, the rains at Valhalla allowed golfers in the last few pairings to fire right at pins, making great approach shots obvious on their face even to a non-golfer.

All this to say, whether a course can be too difficult or too easy has less to do with the tee box and more to do with the greens, IMO.
When I say other things can be done, here is some of what I think can be done in lieu of extending holes and also bring some back to respectful distances. None are making the course very difficult but are ways to help solve the same problem that they imo keep feeding into by fixing the wrong way.

I am not talking of doing these things to already existing long holes but am suggesting they be done in the first place instead of creating the constant long holes. Can even take back the distance on existing long holes. and do these things.

How about cutting a fairway off at 270 yards or whatever and then starting it again at 360. In between can be water or tall fescue or bunkers whatever.
How about forcing more layups at doglegs by doing similar.
How about cutting down the landing zone where one has to be just perfect if they do chose to go real long. Or Other things can be done to make it more penalizing for the longest hitters.

These things do not make the course any more difficult at all. It actually makes it so more of the field can more fairly compete. What they do is prevent the bombs which is what they are trying to do by lengthening holes anyway. The holes would not be super long and wouldn't have to be.
These are ways to do it without (by default) playing into the longest hitters favor which lengthening does do imo. They will imo simply better serve the purpose while maintaining the broader plying field. Courses can then be made however difficult or easy they may wish regardless of all of this. But at least they will be difficult equally to more of a field vs this favoring that is currently going to the longest hitters while really only making it more and more difficult to only the mid and shorter ones. .
 

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I really don't think it's necessary. In my opinion, they should make it shorter with a bigger challenge. But that's just me.
 

Jeanthemachine

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I remember when there was an effort to "Tiger-proof" some courses by adding length. I thought this was actually playing into his hands because it would penalize the other players more than him because he would be the only one able to reach those lengthened holes.

Many of the pros are just as able to reach the par 5 holes in 2 shots as they are the par 4's. I think narrower fairways and thicker rough would be as effective as added length.

Now, on the other side, we all want to see them crush the driver so we don't want them to be hitting three irons all day either. They are just so good that they will figure it out.

I do think a related issue is the demand for 7000 yard courses by members who will never play at that length but want to brag that their course is just as long as the pro courses. This added length means increased maintenance and cost which contributes to green fees being higher.
 

Mulligan9111

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No I don't think longer courses are counter productive. I think there is a good variety of long and short courses throughout the world. Just because a course is short, doesn't mean it's easy. Also, just because a course is long, it doesn't mean it's hard.

As technology has progressed, golf in general has progressed with it, it's just the nature of the game. The same thing has happened in a lot of other sports.
 

rollin

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I remember when there was an effort to "Tiger-proof" some courses by adding length. I thought this was actually playing into his hands because it would penalize the other players more than him because he would be the only one able to reach those lengthened holes.

Many of the pros are just as able to reach the par 5 holes in 2 shots as they are the par 4's. I think narrower fairways and thicker rough would be as effective as added length.

Now, on the other side, we all want to see them crush the driver so we don't want them to be hitting three irons all day either. They are just so good that they will figure it out.

I do think a related issue is the demand for 7000 yard courses by members who will never play at that length but want to brag that their course is just as long as the pro courses. This added length means increased maintenance and cost which contributes to green fees being higher.
I don't think (even though I started this thread) that 7000 is too long. Course yardage can be very deceiving and very thrown off due to a couple/few oddball holes and also the par3's and 5's..
My home courses (three of five) are at 7000 give/take a few from the tips. I play a set tees in at about 64 to 6500. But even at the 7000 most the holes are not 460,70,80 yards by any means at all. In fact only one par4 hole at my most played muni (7049) is over 450 with another at 440 while the rest are low 400's and even some below 400. So I tend to look at each hole for what it is vs the entire yardage for this reason becaue it doesn't always have to mean what it appears to..

But 7000 I agree in general is too long for most amateurs. I wouldn't think that is too long for pros for the purpose of my discussion. I did say that I feel a pro should also possess some good distance ability in his arsenal. But its the amount of holes at 450, 60, 70, 80 ,90 that have become rediculous. And also the par3's now more and more passing mid 200's are having imo the same negative affect. On all of such holes its imo a big advantage to the longest hitters via an injustice to the shorter ones.
 

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Courses for the tour need to be open enough to accomodate crowds of fans. I for one would prefer to see some tight narrow doglegs and make them play target golf tee to green, but that isn't what works. Longer open tracks are more accessible and have places for hospitatlity as well as normal operations areas. But I wouldn't mind seeing more choke points in the 280 to 320 range on par 4's in the 380-430y range.

I also like tree line fairways and elevation change. It seems the tour rarely plays courses with big elevation changes. I don't know why not. It's like they want wide, flat, long all the time. Meh, boring. Give me a good rustic mountain course with some big drops and climbs and a nice big river swinging on by. Like a Longaberger or Peek n Peak in the Ohio/NY areas. Longaberger hosted PGA Club championship and Peek N Peak hosted Nationwide back when it was the Nike tour I think. I will enjoy Cherry Hills this year in Colorado! I've been waiting for the US Open or a PGA there. Even that is in the flat part of the area. When you think of great stretches of holes on courses it is often the holes with some elevation change, water, down in the valley. Amen corner, Firestone South 16-18, etc. Great stretch of holes, make the whole course great!

I guess they aren't easy enough to walk for the caddies. Well ship em up the hills in carts if you have to.

I guess the long of it is many courses deserve the spotlight once in a while. Some of these tour stops are really bland or have been over hyped. There are so many great courses in America, they should try to feature more of them. I think each PGA tourney TV coverage should spotlight local courses in the area or the course being played that week by the Web.com tour.
 

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I agree with the point about making courses longer to combat the big hitters aka Tiger proofing the courses may give the longer hitters some advantages but when you look at a Zach Johnson who won the Masters without hitting any Par 5s in two it shows that you don't need length to win. For the amateurs there is no need to make the courses we play longer as it leads to slower play, takes the fun out of it for the lesser skilled players who have to hit longer irons or woods into greens instead of scoring irons like the pros do (of course there is the play it forward effort). For the tour pros I would like to see the course setup favor accuracy instead of the bomb and gouge style. Penalize the pros for not hitting a fairway or green. I like watching shot makers play more than the long hitters how hit driver, it goes somewhere in the rough and they can hit a PW or 9i to the hole.

I think Merion was the perfect example for how courses should be setup and the need for 7800 yd courses is ridiculous.
 

Rusty1885

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I see it the other way around. Longer courses would help more than hurt shorter hitters. Short hitters are more used to hitting the green with all clubs where long hitters usually do that in order to reach par 5 in two, different kinds of pressure. It reminds me of Corey Pavin at Shinnecock Hills. He knocked it close with the 4 wood, when other long hitter hit short irons.

Longer courses do not change the short hitters' game as much as long hitters especially with the modern hybrid clubs. It give the edge to short hitters, where short challenging course just neutralize the long hitters advantage. That's how I see it.

Talking about good players and pros of course.
 

Golf 'N Gator

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It will all be addressed when the USGA and the R&A roll the ball back. The 0.01% of the worlds golfer's that play professionally, will see a 30 to 50 yard cut in distance with driver and the remaining 99.9% of us will be lucky to hit a drive 180 yards.

That will fix everything....:curl-lip:
 

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When I say other things can be done, here is some of what I think can be done in lieu of extending holes and also bring some back to respectful distances. None are making the course very difficult but are ways to help solve the same problem that they imo keep feeding into by fixing the wrong way.

I am not talking of doing these things to already existing long holes but am suggesting they be done in the first place instead of creating the constant long holes. Can even take back the distance on existing long holes. and do these things.

How about cutting a fairway off at 270 yards or whatever and then starting it again at 360. In between can be water or tall fescue or bunkers whatever.
How about forcing more layups at doglegs by doing similar.
How about cutting down the landing zone where one has to be just perfect if they do chose to go real long. Or Other things can be done to make it more penalizing for the longest hitters.

These things do not make the course any more difficult at all. It actually makes it so more of the field can more fairly compete. What they do is prevent the bombs which is what they are trying to do by lengthening holes anyway. The holes would not be super long and wouldn't have to be.
These are ways to do it without (by default) playing into the longest hitters favor which lengthening does do imo. They will imo simply better serve the purpose while maintaining the broader plying field. Courses can then be made however difficult or easy they may wish regardless of all of this. But at least they will be difficult equally to more of a field vs this favoring that is currently going to the longest hitters while really only making it more and more difficult to only the mid and shorter ones. .
I think that on Tour they do the things things you mention but have to move the tees back so that these hazards are actually in play for all.

One could design a course that forces everyone to hit to the exact same spot and completely level the playing field. I'd say that would be incredibly boring, you would end up with no creativity and no variety aside from errant shots.
 

rollin

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It will all be addressed when the USGA and the R&A roll the ball back. The 0.01% of the worlds golfer's that play professionally, will see a 30 to 50 yard cut in distance with driver and the remaining 99.9% of us will be lucky to hit a drive 180 yards.

That will fix everything....:curl-lip:
all this will do is move the line. The ball will also of course be shorter for the shorter hitters too and this does nothing to make the issue any different. Do this and leave the long holes and all that does is make so the shorter pros wont stand a chance at all and the mid range ones will find it as hard as the shorter ones use to have it. The only ones really surviving for wins will only be the longest ones.
 

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I think that on Tour they do the things things you mention but have to move the tees back so that these hazards are actually in play for all.

One could design a course that forces everyone to hit to the exact same spot and completely level the playing field. I'd say that would be incredibly boring, you would end up with no creativity and no variety aside from errant shots.
Barney Adams challenged a Nationwide Tour player to tee off 90 yards behind him. Just to see what a pro would do if they were playing from the same distances as the average amateur golfer.

The Nationwide Tour player quit after 10 holes (if I recall) because he was tired of having mid and long irons into par 4s.
 

Trout Bum

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I don't think they are counter productive. Golf is a game of tests and challenges for everyone and each player has to have a strength, the long guys have to be good out of the rough with wedges and short to mid irons where the short hitters have to be good with their long to mid irons and fairway woods, the guys that practice all facets of their games are the ones that win. I've never understood the dispute about distance, (not saying that's what you are doing) if you want to hit more greens and your not a long hitter, get to the range and practice your long game! It's that simple. Most of the guys I see that can't hit the long clubs don't practice the long game at all and bitch when a 3 hybrid goes 30 yds right or left. Golf is the one investment that pays dividends wether you practice or not, it's just that some of the dividends are negative lol.
 

rollin

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I think that on Tour they do the things things you mention but have to move the tees back so that these hazards are actually in play for all.

One could design a course that forces everyone to hit to the exact same spot and completely level the playing field. I'd say that would be incredibly boring, you would end up with no creativity and no variety aside from errant shots.
You would still have varying hole yardages. Some will still be long where the longest hitters can also gain for what they do. Just not so many that its taking other out from competing on top. As mentioned the masters has 9 of its par4's over 440 , of which 6 are over 450, 4 over 460 including a 495 and a 505. Firstly on a side note, how is that not ridiculously favoring longest hitters. But back to your point you can still have 2 or 3 and would be enough to satisfy the boring part, not to mention you still have the par 5's too and the longer par3's. I think the need for a happy medium should and could be made without making it all boring. I think it would be pretty exciting to see just a decent number of holes where the field will approach from the same area. Creativity with shot shaping and pin hunting etc would play out just swell imo.
 

rollin

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I don't think they are counter productive. Golf is a game of tests and challenges for everyone and each player has to have a strength, the long guys have to be good out of the rough with wedges and short to mid irons where the short hitters have to be good with their long to mid irons and fairway woods, the guys that practice all facets of their games are the ones that win. I've never understood the dispute about distance, (not saying that's what you are doing) if you want to hit more greens and your not a long hitter, get to the range and practice your long game! It's that simple. Most of the guys I see that can't hit the long clubs don't practice the long game at all and bitch when a 3 hybrid goes 30 yds right or left. Golf is the one investment that pays dividends wether you practice or not, it's just that some of the dividends are negative lol.
when we talk of tour pros we talk of the best players in the world. You wouldn't think they practice to be the longest possible? They too jut like amateurs have strengths and weaknesses even at their level of play and among their piers. Simply putt some are better at certain things than others in just about any parts of the game. For some players one of those things is the ability to hit further than others. Which is something just like all the parts of their games they should be allowed to showcase and utilize. But if the powers to be do things which may begin to (if it hasn't already) only favor this one area of expertise then they are creating a one way avenue where by one type of player becomes the norm.

Golf as you say should be a test of all skills especially at the pro level. But if you favor the play towards one skill more than other skills it then works against what you mention.
 

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I see it the other way around. Longer courses would help more than hurt shorter hitters. Short hitters are more used to hitting the green with all clubs where long hitters usually do that in order to reach par 5 in two, different kinds of pressure. It reminds me of Corey Pavin at Shinnecock Hills. He knocked it close with the 4 wood, when other long hitter hit short irons.

Longer courses do not change the short hitters' game as much as long hitters especially with the modern hybrid clubs. It give the edge to short hitters, where short challenging course just neutralize the long hitters advantage. That's how I see it.

Talking about good players and pros of course.
Sorry but I would disagree with this completely. The shorter one can make his approach shots the better his chances at scoring. There is such a thing as playing to a yardage for a favorite club distance in. But go ask any pro at the bottom of the distance list if he would rather a long club into greens vs a shorter one? You would be hard pressed to find a single one to agree with that.
 

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I kind of agree with your main point here. Yes, in making all the courses longer they are essentially squeezing out the shorter hitters.

If they want certain players to stop using "bomb and gouge" on nearly every course they need to setup the courses differently. 300-330 from the tee make the fairway 6 yards wide, add some bunkers, dig a ditch...something. Otherwise who can blame the players for throwing it down there as far as possible.
 

TheHeez

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You would still have varying hole yardages. Some will still be long where the longest hitters can also gain for what they do. Just not so many that its taking other out from competing on top. As mentioned the masters has 9 of its par4's over 440 , of which 6 are over 450, 4 over 460 including a 495 and a 505. Firstly on a side note, how is that not ridiculously favoring longest hitters. But back to your point you can still have 2 or 3 and would be enough to satisfy the boring part, not to mention you still have the par 5's too and the longer par3's. I think the need for a happy medium should and could be made without making it all boring. I think it would be pretty exciting to see just a decent number of holes where the field will approach from the same area. Creativity with shot shaping and pin hunting etc would play out just swell imo.
I just don't see it. Short hitters perform very well all the time... Graeme McDowell is ranked 16th in the world and is ranked 171st in driving distance (at 277 yards). Former world #1 Luke Donald averages 278, as does current #6 Jim Furyk.

I guess I just feel that there is plenty of variety on Tour when it comes to distances of the holes. Clearly there are holes that might benefit the big hitter, but that's just the consequence of some guys and gals being awesome and killing the ball.
 

rollin

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No I don't think longer courses are counter productive. I think there is a good variety of long and short courses throughout the world. Just because a course is short, doesn't mean it's easy. Also, just because a course is long, it doesn't mean it's hard.
.
No doubt long or short courses can both be harder or easier. But length by itself does make things harder.
 

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