Golf Australia

Ball must be wound back: Ogilvy

Golf balls
The golf ball is a testy subject of conversation. Image: Getty


Geoff Ogilvy has used a baseball stadium analogy for what the soaring golf ball has done to established golf courses, and it is not pretty.

The 2010 Australian Open champion said baseball was forced to act, and that golf would be the same soon enough.

“Major league baseball in America they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters. We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy’s comments come as the law-makers, the R and A and the United States Golf Association, ponder changes to the ball and a growing chorus of authority figures from Jack Nicklaus to Gary Player and Tiger Woods call for the ball to be wound back.

The USGA’s Mike Davis was quoted this week as saying it was “horrible’’ what had happened to older golf courses around the world as a result of the manufacturers producing balls that do not spin as much and fly much farther.

Ogilvy believes that a wind-back in the technology is coming, although he sees it as “a challenge’’ to the manufacturers to make a ball that does not soar so much for a professional-level player, but does not nobble the amateur.

But the 2006 US Open champion left no doubt about his thoughts, saying a “time-out’’ was needed to rethink. “It’s complete nonsense. In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Posted by Guy at
25/11/2017 11:56 AM
Lets put this to bed.The R&A and USGA have agreed regulations regarding golf balls and clubs.A golf ball must meet size and launch speed limits on test equipment,(Iron Bryon) and clubs similar regulations, such as a driver cannot have a purpose built face which provides a mechanical trampoline effect.Read Wikipedia for all details. So what are we left with.Average handicapper amateurs(21/22) who as long as they play, will never reach the optimum performance from the modern golf ball or club.If each new driver gave the amateur an extra 20metres he/she would now be hitting 300/350 metres. Professionals.As I have already said they are PROFESSIONAL sportsmen and women.They train for hours practicing every aspect of the game including physical fitness and mental strength.Look at the requirements for young players to get scholarships through Golf Australia and take note of the physical fitness requirements along with many others to obtains up to $100K reimbursement of expenses. As previously stated, launch speed on test equipment is set, but if, as is the case people with players like Day,Johnston,McIlroy etc etc have club head speeds of around 120-130MPH,so obviously distance, flight and roll are extraordinary,so why do you want to "handicap" them.We in Australia, and no doubt round the world have allowed our courses to be made, so called, professional proof when in actual fact our clubs will never host a PGA tournament.John Daly hit massive shots, but no one complained because it was exciting, good for television and spectators. Finally,I believe we are seeing great skill, where the top professionals can position long drives in bunker riddled fairways and then hit approach shots to 2metres and closer to the pin.That's exciting.Next you will say the Eusain Bolt's of the future will have be handicapped by using spikless running shoes.?Please don't confuse the amateur game with the professional and for Ogilvy to make such comments leads me to
Posted by Steve at
22/11/2017 08:21 PM
Surely when the best players ever - Woods, Nicklaus - are saying it needs to change, it needs to change. The best players turn most courses into pitching contest. If they limit the distance of the balls and bring the clubs back a bit then the game returns to a test of skill and not just athletisism.
Posted by Guy Huntley at
22/11/2017 11:52 AM
These comments by people like Keith amuse me.It's not the ball or equipment but "club head speed"that allows Dustin Johnston,Jason Day,Rory McILroy to hit such long distances.Having played with Greg Norman on several occasions, in his prime golf period, he was hitting "Balata balls",with persimmon block drivers/3woods/blade irons, and achieving driving distances that many competitors could only dream of."Club Head Speed".You also forget the technique the latest professionals have, swing plane, short game etc and watch the USA PGA tour highlights to see the extraordinary skills these players have.The final ability of the modern professional is in the putting.Tennis went through the same anguish,how do we stop the speed of serves, oh yes change the ball.Wrong,speeds of serves are still high/higher than 10 years ago.Players have improved physical fitness,which enables movement around the court far quicker than the Pat Rafter era.Remember the R&A took away the "legally square grooved golf club"because it supposedly gave professionals too much spin.Look at what they can do now. Come on guy's enjoy the game as an amateur and appreciate the enormous ability these professionals have.Remember Jason Day earlier this year took 2 weeks off just to practise his short game, thats why he is so good.When did a club amateur do that?
Posted by Keith Jessiman at
21/11/2017 03:28 PM
I have lost interest in professional golf on TV.Got fed up with average tour players "Bombing" courses enabling them to win without the skills of Palmer,Nicklaus,Norman and the like. They were champions because of their extraordinary skills,not because they turned par fives into a drive and six iron.Shorten the ball for the pro,s but don,t take away anything that enables the average guy enjoy the game especially aging players.

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