Golf Australia

Marsh wants ball slowed down

Graham Marsh

Leading course architect and Australian golf legend Graham Marsh has leant his weight to the worldwide push for a reigning in of the distance the golf ball flies, savaging the game’s ruling bodies over inaction and the equipment companies for their “great lie”.

Marsh, designer of more than 50 courses and still actively involved at 75 years of age, told Golf Australia’s ‘Inside The Ropes’ podcast this week that he was “sad” at the situation that had developed.

Marsh, whose company recently reshaped the Royal Pines course on the Gold Coast to fit it for the Australian PGA Championship, said the distance the modern golf ball was travelling made it impossible for architects and rendered old courses redundant.

“When I first entered the golf course design industry, many years ago our landing areas were at 220 metres or 240 yards,’’ he said. “We did a number of courses for that area, but the best thing we could do now is go back and fix them, because all the bunkers are in the wrong place!

“But now, 35 years down the track, it’s 270 metres (landing area). We’re almost at 300 yards now. That’s been 60 or 70 yards (increase), just in my time in the industry which is crazy.

“It’s been one of the great tragedies of the game. We were given this load of guff by the industry, that if we were to go with these game-improvement clubs, that everybody was going to play better, and of course the ball was going to go further, and they kept developing that with a good commercial arrangement, to make more money. That’s what you do in that industry.

“But the problem is, the players didn’t get better, the handicaps have gone up, the equipment’s more expensive and there’s less people playing the game. It was a great lie. They bamboozled everybody, including the USGA and the R and A. Completely bamboozled everybody.’’

Marsh, who won more than 50 tournaments in his playing career, said the game’s authorities, the R & A and the USGA, needed to act immediately by slowing down the ball.  “That’s the only tool they have left. There’s nothing else.”


Listen to the full interview:


Posted by Terryb at
26/10/2019 12:00 PM
In reply to comments so far. Change the ball and we have to modify almost every golf course to suit. Be reasonable. How many clubs could afford to do that?
Posted by John Paton at
25/10/2019 02:10 PM
Adam Scott recently said it well - stop building longer courses and start building smarter courses. I play on a course of 5800mtrs with one Par 5 that is less than the nominal for a 5 and we have a slope rating of 131 and every week our DCR is higher than par and we have plenty of young 250-270mtr drivers - hit it as far as you like if its not in play its academic
Posted by Graham Stanley Turvey at
24/10/2019 11:37 AM
Golf courses are closing...something needs to be done to make the game more enjoyable. This is a good suggestion from Marsh.
Posted by Terryb at
23/10/2019 04:32 PM
If the golf ball is ‘slowed down’ then golf courses will become longer for the majority of golfers especially the older generation. What the game does not need is for golfers to walk away as golf clubs will not survive and we know golf courses are struggling now to keep members. I certainly do not want all the par threes becoming par fours and all par fives out of reach for three. I certainly do not want my handicap going from 12 to 36 to compensate. I for one will take up bowls or croquet. His suggestion is ridiculous for amateurs and we are the ones propping up the game for the professionals.
Posted by Nino Santone at
23/10/2019 04:19 PM
100% correct. The analogy I use to explain it is that if the pros played with a white squash ball they certainly would be hitting it as far. Not suggesting we all play with squash balls but you get my point. A softer/slower ball would mean:- - return to a game of skill, not brut force - shorter courses, - quicker game (simply because you don't have to walk as far. - less real estate needed to build courses

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