The game of golf has changed drastically since the days of persimmon woods, metal spikes and, most notably, Jack Nicklaus. The ball goes infinitely further (although the USGA would have you believe something different) and length has become a premium on most courses. Ironically, according to Jack Nicklaus, this need for distance is one of the many reasons why more and more golf courses are being forced to shut its doors.
Speaking at the HSBC Golf Business Forum in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on Tuesday, the 18-time major winner offered up a unique solution to combat this problem.
“Fact is, more golf courses have closed in the U.S. in each of the last 10 years than have opened,” Nicklaus said. “This is thanks in great part to changes in the golf ball and the distance it travels. Courses have had to change along with it. It’s now a slower game and more expensive than before, and that can’t be a good thing.”
If technology can be used to generate distance, why can’t it be used to limit it?
“We don’t want to change the game for the core golfer, but we need to make every effort to offer alternatives to bring more people into the game and keep them in the game,” Nicklaus continued. “I think we need to develop a golf ball to suit the golf course, rather than build courses to suit a golf ball. Whether it’s a ball that goes 50%, 75%, or 100%, you play a ball that fits the course and your game.”
— John Huggan (@johnhuggan) November 30, 2016
“It’s not that big a deal,” Nicklaus said. “We used to do it when traveling to play the Open and switching from the large ball to the small. It took us only a day to get used to a different ball. But when land is a dear commodity and water is scarce, you need to do something to respond to today’s situation.”
Maybe the single most decorated winner in the history of the sport may have a point.