The Loop

Golf's Distance Debate

August 28, 2008

PGA Professional Dave Reinhardt of Jacksonville, FL, has had it with the hand-wringing over the distance players hit the ball today. Golf World's story on the Lido architectural competition by Ron Whitten, quoting Sandy Tatum, bugged him:


I finally got around to reading the August 8th edition of Golf World and came to the > article regarding this year's Lido Competiton. I really enjoy reading about these contests and this year was no exception. Bo Links is a great 1-hole architect.>

When I read Sandy Tatum's quote: "One item this hole certainly addresses is the unfortunate fact that a considerable number of people now hit the ball 300 yards off the tee," I became frustrated enough that I wanted to write to your magazine.>

To Mr. Tatum and to Mr. Whitten who obviously wanted this quote in the story - Why is hitting a ball 300 yards unfortunate? Where does Mr. Tatum play golf that a considerable number of people hit a ball 300 yards? >

Looking at the Driving Distance statistics on, OUT OF THE 211 PGATOUR PLAYERS THEY ARE MEASURING, ONLY 16 PLAYERS ARE AVERAGING OVER 300 YARDS! 7.6% is NOT a considerable amount of people. >

At the country club where I am a golf professional, I would venture to say only one golfer, out of the consistent 200 members who play weekly, average 300-yard drives or even hit a ball 300 yards one out of 10 times. That is not a considerable of amount of people!>

I doubt at the various 2008 USGA men's championships there is a "considerable amount" of people who were hitting the ball 300 yards.>

Obviously, it is frustrating to read Tatum's quotes, or to hear Jack Nicklaus talking about rolling back the golf ball, or the recent inane ruling the USGA made regarding grooves. If Tatum, or Nicklaus, or the Dick Rugge's of the USGA really would back up there talk, these men would play with pre-1995 golf equipment. Heck, Deane Beman supposedly hates technology too; but when I worked at TPC Sawgrass, he was always first to grab the Pro-V1 practice balls, or have the best TaylorMade driver. The above men are hypocrites when it comes to golf equipment because they are saying one thing, but playing another, better thing! >

Today's athlete is bigger, stronger, faster because of healthier lifestyles and the continuing evolution of man. Of course, technology does assist--look at Speedo LZR swimsuit in the Beijing Olympics. But the human being is the one who has to swing the club properly and get it in the hole in the least amount of strokes. >


Dave asks that we pass his comments along to Tatum, Whitten and the USGA and we'll do that. But what do all of you think?

--Bob Carney