The Futuer of Golf – Learn from the Past

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    Melvyn Morrow

    I know I will not be thanked for mentioning another site, but the subject matter, is I feel important to most golfers – its Rollback, but not just regards the equipment but it also has to take in the golf course and its design. Many see Rollback at say reduction of 10% of distance, but what’s the point, what will that do let alone achieve – I believe precious little. We have to grasp the nettle, its back to basics and the starting point of the distance hickory/gutty distances which will allow our course to be more fun, technical, penal and shorter, saving money all round – well that’s enough of my introduction – so lets get into the subject matter.

    Niall C from Golf Club Atlas as a good question on the topic ‘Rollback Alliance’ (Reply#150) –

    “As a matter of interest, for all of the rollerbackers on this thread ie. Matthew, Jeff, Ian, Chris Kane, Pete, Mike etc, can you tell me this;
    1 – what clubs and balls do you currently use ?
    2 – how far back do you want to roll ? eg. hickories and gutta percha or just back to the old balata days ?

    I’ll ignore question 1 not that it defines you and your game, but if serious on wanting a Rollback of ball and equipment, it has IMHO no merit whatsoever on this subject.

    For me the interesting question is No.2 while I feel Niall put in the hickories/gutta percha option more as a joke, expecting more to come down on the balata option. However, if you are a golfer, that is a golfer who plays The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf, then there is only one choice on ‘Rollback’ and that is the Hickory/Gutty option. Now I am not suggesting using ether the gutty or hickory shafted clubs but would like to see technology duplicate their affects both in handling and distance travel.

    The reason for going back to these lesser distances is that the game would force the designers to again return to sporty course, – that is courses that have numerous hazards, to challenge al golfers, over distances that are more manageable, both in course procurement and maintenance. In other words courses that can be anything from 4,600 yards to 6,400 yards. You see I do not believe that distances are the thing that defines the game, more so the hazards and management of the natural contours when designing golf courses. However, the modern trend is the complete opposite of the above, distance is everything, which equates to more expensive course and maintenance costs, while not increasing the golfers interaction with the game, in fact the modern trend is to disconnect the golfer from the Hole, because of the long walk or more so the cart ride. Christ guys, the idea of golf is to get ones mind and body focusing upon the job in hand, to complete the challenge from the design, the land and weather, that’s what makes it enjoyable.

    Long distance travel is boring, it’s also expensive and while playing the aerial game it disengages the golfer from the job in hand – the art of golf is to orienteering (point to point) each Hole, rather than flying over them; its about skill, understanding contours and the ability of understand oneself while seeking control of mind and body. You want to fly, fly Air America.

    Rollback is not just about the equipment, to those traditional golfers its more about the course and the design of golf courses – its all about testing the golfer, punishing the overconfident, while rewarding the skills in both taking and planning a shot with good control, that can only really be achieved by obstacles and hazards – promoting more the ground game if you will.

    So yes, I would seek a Rollback to the Hickory Shafted Clubs/Gutta Percha, but not necessary using Hickory or a gutty ball, just using modern technology to allow all to get back to understand golf, golf course architecture and the joys it brings to many – more so if we can also keep costs down in the process.

    PS. On great advantage of shorter courses is to make them less exhausting than many of today’s course, while reducing the time for a round, not to mention the money saved in both initial design costs or the ongoing maintenance.

    PPS. Rollback would generate a requirement for reconnection with the past designs, of understanding of the 19th Century Designs – I wonder if many would be up to the task???

    Its a Back to the Future comment, which will realise the need to bring course design into the rollback equation – or perhaps you don’t agree!

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