Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Rules, rules, rules: Modern Golf is Being Destroyed by USGA and R&A : Now Grooves on Irons Being "Rolled Back" : Absurd!

For someone who yearns to play golf the way the game was played in days of yore, there is the laudable Hickory Tour of the Hickory Golfers, where players play tournaments with hickory-shafted clubs and otherwise bask in golf nostalgia. Nothing wrong with that.

But holding back the development of the game of golf - which has otherwise been keeping pace with technological development - is idiotic, and in recent years, that is precisely what golf's ruling bodies, the USGA and the R&A have been doing, neither preserving the "original" game of golf nor permitting the modern game to develop naturally. These "brakers" on the game of golf are in our view nothing more than people overimpressed with their own importance.

We love the game of golf - but by no means its ruling bodies - and recently posted our opinion about the new "grooves rules" in golf - which make a laughing-stock of the sport, requiring irons used by the pros to be individually measured to make sure they abide by arbitrary stuffed-shirt specifications effective starting this year 2010, but exempting recreational golfers, who will be bound by the new rules only starting in the year 2024. The whole thing is absurd and is intended by some self-appointed "golf gods" to make it more difficult for pros - and in 14 years also the amateurs - to impart spin on a ball when it is in the rough. Hah! Why not have the pros use a "rake" to strike the ball if it is out of the fairway - that will send the scores up.

We have no idea who these idiotic new equipment rules are intended to serve. Fans want to see birdies and eagles by the pros and not bogeys and double-bogeys - they see enough of that in their own game. If we read the USGA correctly, they are telling us that the pro golfers are getting to be too good and that they are starting to impose artificial impediments to keep those scores higher. How stupid is that!!

We are NOT fans of the current USGA nor of the European R&A. Both of these bodies are outdated, anachronistic throwbacks to an age long gone by and they have outlived their usefulness. Moreover, they have gotten to be far too big for their knickerbockers. Golf does not need them and would get along better without them. I can not think of a single instance in my golf life where they were useful for anything. A simple rule book - the USGA and the R&A now produce the "Rules of Golf" - can be produced by high-school students and calculating golf handicaps is child's play in the computer age.

The manner in which these bodies are increasingly meddling in golf club construction in recent years is a case in point, now even outlawing both new and 20-year old clubs because of the type of grooves on the clubface. In our view, this is simply insanity personified, as Phil Mickelson is quoted as saying:

Grooves problem resolved after Ping waives legal rights | Reuters
"'It's cost manufacturers millions of dollars. It continues to cost them money as we now have to hire people to scan, document and store data of every groove on every single club.'"
One way for Tiger Woods to get back on the positive side of fans like me would be to team up with Phil Mickelson, opt out of the idiotic USGA and R&A and their stuffed-shirt leadership and paternalistic nostalgia, and start up a new MODERN golf association permitting golf club and golf course construction according to the state of the art of current technology.

This leaves everyone at the USGA and the R&A to join the Hickory Golfers, who can straighten them out as to what the game of golf "used to look like".

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