KEEP IT at 72!

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By vurich

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  1. vurich

    vurich
    First Tee Box

    This has bothered me for a long time and I just wanted to see what everyone else feels. 72 has always been the standard par for golf courses. But because of a variety of factors, equipment, player improvement, ect., the tour has changed the tour courses to 70 like they're doing this week at Bethpage, or sometimes to 71. I always have to do the math when they say, "He's 2 under." It could mean 68, 69 or 70. This always bothers me. The tour also redesigns courses just for the pros, putting tees back and adjusting for their length. This also bothers me. I like to see today's pros play the same courses played by Hogan and Snead and Palmer and NIcklaus. Even the same courses that Bobby Jones and his generation played. It's a great way to show the improvement of the player and how the game has evolved. Also, as kid or an average player, we see how we stack up against how the pros play the same course that we play. Nothing is more inspiring to a youngster than to play the exact same course the pros played from the exact same tees. Other sports haven't changed their playing field because the equipment is better and the players are stronger and faster, so why does golf...? I'm all for adding tees and moving them up for faster play and for seniors, but to alter a course just because professional players and their equipment have improved, takes away from the integrity of the game. Not to mention, is a huge waste of time and money. Let's keep it at 72. For everyone.

  2. Wrong, so very wrong. First not all courses are 72's. Think about this.. why have they lengthened the courses. The courses of yester year would become pitch and putt for today's top Pro's not because " they have improved " for they have not, but fitness and equipment have revolutionized the game.
    You think the average club youngster would be inspired by being destroyed by a top pro course of 7500 yards or more. I think you are wrong. Few if any could break 100. Remember the average Handicap in the US is 16 for males. Golf is dying on its feet and one of the reasons is course length. That said if you are a good enough player most clubs let you pick your own tee box to play from. And as you suggest, for seniors like myself its becoming impossible to hit most of the par fours in regulation. My own club is considering cutting down on length for some of our competition as the entry is falling year on year.
  3. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    Makes sense to me. On some of the older courses they did have more par threes because of shortage of land. Have played in tournaments where we had five par threes and three par fives, with a par three being on #18. All due to the layout of the course. With the new courses they could make it happen. Remember way back when, golf was considered a waste of good land. The very first golf club was in Charleston, SC. Harleston Green was a three hole layout in downtown Charleston, in 1786.
  4. JEFF R

    JEFF R
    Canton, GA

    First of all, the assumption is wrong. All golf courses aren't supposed to be par 72. Royal County Down is par 71. Pine Valley is the best golf course in America, par 70. Royal Dornoch is 70. Shinnecock is par 70. Muirfield is par 71. Sunningdale is 70. Turnberry is 70. You can go through the list of the greatest golf courses in history and find that the par should be dictated by the design and not by some arbitrary number everyone must design around.
  5. JEFF R

    JEFF R
    Canton, GA

    Second, allowing all the equipment to change and then declaring it's wrong to change the course just seems arbitrary, doesn't it? Bobby Jones played wooden clubs with hickory shafts. Brooks Koepka gets to play titanium composite drivers with graphite shafts, and a much better ball, and that's fine-- but it's wrong to lengthen the course?
  6. Dennis M

    Dennis M
    Miami, FL

    I feel like you are bringing up more questions than just one.

    I'm not bothered whether the par is 70, 71 or 72. Within those numbers, in my 70 years they have represented a very common standard. What surrounds the property of a course simply won't allow some courses to be longer, proving space to turn a par 3 room to be lengthened into a par 4, or a par 4 into a par 5. Merion is one example.

    I am very pro youth, having been a little league coach, a Scoutmaster and a Youth Director. Thus, your point about raising children in the game with a sense of history, based on walking in the footsteps of the greats is a great point I agree with. Keep in mind it requires a person who knows the history to fulfill one end of that teaching/learning moment.

    An aside... There is one course near here that tried to turn their course into a 14 hole layout with a par of 55 or so. It was a matter of convenience that their 14th green was close to the clubhouse.

    The idea was to save time and let more people be able to play. Initially it worked, but eventually it failed and they returned to a regular 18 hole layout. I never heard much feedback, but they are back to a regular 18 holes now.

    I don't agree or disagree whether the pros should play the same courses, at the same lengths and set up the same way as the older generation of pros. I know this might sound sort of contrary compared to what I said above about being pro youth. Here's the thing though... Most of the courses on tour are private country clubs. We can't play them and the number of youth they are enabling to play is severely limited to children of the membership. I suppose that sort of thinking is going to be different among all of us, but that's just my take on it.

    Further to that thinking... Fitness and equipment have certainly changed the game, so there's no apples to apples comparison that can be made without playing the courses like you described. I'm wondering whether the British Open venues might have changed less than the American tour courses.

    I think I read Augusta National is 500-600 yards longer in the past 20 years, the era of Tiger for lack of a better description. Without being specific to Augusta National, I think this all comes down to media marketing. You hear them sometimes say the fans like to see their heroes make birdies. Would we appreciate watching tournaments more if the weekly winner was 25-30 under par? There's only 1-2 courses a year that lets a winner shoot 20 under.

    For some reason, many courses, not to mention the USGA, likes to set up to make the course as hard as possible. Comments about the PGA Championship this week are not kind to the setup. I believe a setup on the edge brings too much of the element of luck into it. The courses themselves generally don't want their track to look like the baby playground. Personally, I don't think they can have it both ways, but on the other hand, with a different venue every week, maybe they can.

    Interesting question Vurich...

  7. Dennis M

    Dennis M
    Miami, FL

    Further to my comments above... When I got to the golf course yesterday morning, I was about 30 minutes early. I sat around in the restaurant with some people I sort of know and I brought up this thread.

    Opinions varied, I think mostly because we were all older, in our 60s and 70s, but one guy recalled his past efforts to play the Doral Blue Course on the Monday after the tournament ended. The course was still set up for the pros and his game at the time was effective enough to still make a few pars. He liked to make the comparison to himself.

    Then he went off on a tangent, saying what he found most interesting was seeing the various companies there removing things like tv cables and people tearing down bleachers.
  8. Frank P

    Frank P
    Port St. Lucie, FL

    I think that one part of the problem is that a lot of the average golfers out there are playing from tees farther out than their ability dictates. There are many factors involved such as ego, gambling, embarrassment of playing a different tee than others in the group, to name a few. If you're not reaching green in regulation, that should be the first clue that it's time to move up. As far as the Pros go, I agree with vurich. You saw the answer this past week. With only 6 players under par for the week, narrow fairways and deep rough will keep the big bombers at bay no matter what the course length is, what ball you use or what kind of driver you use.
  9. Bryan S

    Bryan S
    Wooster, OH

    Frank P said:

    I think that one part of the problem is that a lot of the average golfers out there are playing from tees farther out than their ability dictates. There are many factors involved such as ego, gambling, embarrassment of playing a different tee than others in the group, to name a few. If you're not reaching green in regulation, that should be the first clue that it's time to move up. As far as the Pros go, I agree with vurich. You saw the answer this past week. With only 6 players under par for the week, narrow fairways and deep rough will keep the big bombers at bay no matter what the course length is, what ball you use or what kind of driver you use.

    Definitely agree here. I see too many people playing from inappropriate tees, ego being a big factor. Some want to "see the whole course". I can't see how that would be enjoyable to take the headcover off for second shots on a par 4 and still being short of the green.
    As far as playing a course that tour players play, I would like to be hitting the same club into the green as they do. Even if that means they play a par 4 at 500 yards and me at 400.
    Back to the original post. I don't mind a course having par ranging from 70-72. Some tour course are played at par 70 even though members play it at 72, converting par 5's to 4's.
  10. I like the par 72s, but whilst pros may have got better, so has their equipment.

    Not an entirely fair comparison!
  11. Dennis M

    Dennis M
    Miami, FL

    The more people I talk to about this, the more interesting it gets.

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