Fansplaining: The Distance Debate


To really make a Pro V1 “work” you need to have a certain club head speed to get the value out of it. Most high-handicappers don’t have the club head speed to merit using the Pro v1.


The word “obsolete” is such a strong word. It makes it seem like a course like ANGC is on the verge of not even being playable for a PGA Tour event, which seems over the top.

Truth is, you could put a bunch of pros out on the local par 3 muni course 10 minutes from my house and it would be fun to watch. Pros dialing in wedges from 55 - 110 yards out to small greens? Sign me up. Do I want this every week? Of course not. And it’s an extreme example for sure, but the point is that to say a course is obsolete seems a bit much, even if its just semantics.

Reading though all these replies shows just how nuanced and complicated this issue is. Feels like we’re no closer to closure than we were a couple years ago.


When design elements of a course no longer come into play as intended, it becomes obsolete. If you can fly all the trouble that was supposed to come into play off of the tee, and then hit a wedge into a green that was designed for a mid to long iron approach, the design has become obsolete.


Without the idea of protecting par or whatever the governing bodies vendetta is against par, none of these classic courses are obsolete.


First, you don’t play the same game as the pros unless you’re actually on tour (or sub tour like the Web). Sorry. Frankly, you are fooling yourself if you think so.

Second, if bifurcation happens there should be nothing that stops you from playing the tour ball if you so choose. By all means, feel free!


I get the thinking here, but why does it matter? There’s a million ways to make par on a hole. Who cares how it’s done. Hell, look at Phil. He makes pars without even sniffing the fairway or the intended trouble.


I mean, I’m not sure that it’s just about par. It’s about the strategy for that hole.

The 13th at Augusta would be a good example: one of the things that makes the hole so infamous, other than aesthetics, is the risk/reward involved in the second shot. Players typically would have to choose between hitting a longer, less accurate club at a lightning-quick green surrounded by Rae’s Creek, or laying up to a wedge and hoping that they could get up and down for birdie (and that birdie was enough to keep pace with the field). Now, even though they keep moving the boxes back, guys are bombing the ball so deep that they can hit mid-iron into the green.

It’s not even that the score is different, it’s that the whole point of the hole (do I go for it or not?) is rendered moot when everyone’s hitting eight iron. You’re not “going for it” at 175 yards.


Excellent post. Thank you.


I’m also very concerned about the construction of NEW courses. It’s not just the renovation or modification of existing courses. The amount of land required to build or construct a new championship course is ridiculous.

Erin Hills as example. The entire purpose was to build a track that could host a US Open. That means it has to be very long or very penal (Merion 2013). So…Erin Hills was built at 7,800 yards from Black tees and it played longer during the tourney. Pros absolutely DOMINATED that track. JT shoots a 63 and Koepka shoots 16 under to win.

Building a course with that length requires higher initial build cost, maintenance, irrigation lines, materials, staff, equipment…etc

And you know who bears the brunt of that size course? You and me. All of that is passed along in the form of green fees. $295+ for 18 holes.


This is a good point - not every course needs to host a championship or be pro-level length. I live in Colorado, and a pro-level length course would easily stretch beyond 8,000 yards. There are very few courses that long in Colorado, and we have a pretty thriving golf scene. If we get past the obsession of championship level courses, golf will be better off. Yes, we will need some courses that can handle high-level golf, but that’s less than 1% of the rounds played in the world. I don’t see it as that big of an issue.


Totally agree with you. I stayed short with that last post as I have already sprayed all over the “Ball Debate” thread about strategic architecture and risk/reward options.

From my prospective, what seems to be a big driver from the older generations and the USGA, is still the idea of protecting a score. Erin Hills is an interesting example. Lot’s think it wasn’t a true Open as Koepka reached -16. Yet, Erin seemed to be the course with the most width and risk/reward options and also one of the longest courses in history. Interesting paradigm as the championship was an interesting test of distance, strategy, and shot making ability, but was not well received by older major champs (Johnny Miller) and others in the community.


Why does it matter if they drive #1 with a 3 wood? Let them. It’s not the dark ages anymore. People are bigger and stronger, woods are made of metal, we have a much greater understand of things like face to path, dynamic lie, and spin loft. As time goes on people get better at things.


My God, man. The answer to your question is so obvious that it doesn’t merit further explanation.


No go ahead. Your “architect intent” argument is frivolous. Why don’t we just fit lead shoes to NBA players because the creators of basketball didn’t intend for Lebron James to be born?


The game of basketball changed rules in order to keep up as the game and players evolved…


They didn’t change the rules to curb scoring, they did the opposite. They added a 3 point line and a shot clock. Did they raise the hoop? Make the court longer? Make the ball bigger?


Dunking was not allowed in the NBA… they began allowing it as athletes became bigger, more athletic, and capable… just like you said about 18 year olds being able to hit par 4’s in 1… They adapted as the game evolved.


You’re making opposite points. Basketball celebrated and allowed innovation and increased skill, this “rolling the ball back” stuff is the exact opposite of that. It’s fun watching DJ hit 300 yard irons into par 4’s because I can’t do that. Why would I want to watch the best in the world play with a nerf’d golf ball?


How am I making opposite points? The point is, other professional games are more than willing to adapt as the sport evolves in order to provide the best experience for all athletes and fans alike.

Sounds like you would enjoy watching an event that is effectively a bunch of DJ clones. I wouldn’t watch. Leave that to the long drive guys.


Why do people try to use other sports to compare this debate to? It’s completely different and unlike anything that’s ever happened in another sport. It’s not about enjoying watching guys send irons 300 yards. That’s not why we are having this debate. It’s solely due to these guys outgrowing golf courses and their intended design.