Going for the Green

Robert Thompson's comments, criticism and opinion on the world of golf.

18 responses to “Unnecessary: Work to the Old Course and the “anchored” putter ban”

  1. G

    RT, I don’t think for a second that banning the belly putter will stop hackers through mid-handicappers from using it. Most don’t adhere anywhere near strictly to the rules of golf or to any restrictions on equipment. This is a ruling to keep tournament play pure, and if you’re playing in tournaments, you should be beyond finding the game too challenging for enjoyment.

    Couldn’t agree more with you on the Old Course, though.

  2. ian andrew

    Since they’re a little slow to the discussions on technology, perhaps they’ll look at young Mr. Sarazen’s new investion called the sand wedge.

  3. Steve

    Just to be fair to the Royal and Ancient Golf club, it is not the same thing as the R & A. The Royal and Ancient is an all male golf club in St. Andrews while the R & A has been a separate governing body since 2004. The R & A, which governs golf, actually has female members.

  4. Robert Thompson

    Steve: Really? I’ve never heard that — the Royal and Ancient and the R&A Golf Club are different? Not that I can tell: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/golf/9491090/Royal-and-Ancient-Golf-Club-to-feel-the-heat-over-male-only-membership-rules.html

    1. JJ

      I think Steve is correct RT.
      The R&A was formed in 2004 and is BASED in St Andrews. The R&A seeks to engage in and support activities that are undertaken for the benefit of the game of golf. It TAKES ITS NAME from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Before 2004, the members’ club had responsibility for the game but from which The R&A is now SEPARATE and DISTINCT.
      The R&A organises The Open Championship, golf’s oldest Major, along with a number of other amateur and junior events, some of which are sanctioned by other golfing bodies. In addition, The R&A assumes responsibility for the administration of the Rules of Golf with the consent of 143 organisations from the amateur and professional game, and on behalf of over 30 million golfers in 128 countries throughout Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. Delegates to the R&A’s annual meetings include both sexes and both sexes are delegates. The LPGA has direct input into R&A proposals (anchoring clubs as an example) so, I am pretty sure there are women intimatley involved in the R&A.

  5. Steve

    Doesn’t the fifth paragraph of the article confirm what I said?

  6. Robert Thompson

    Thanks Steve — so their governance is split, but the club isn’t? How does that make sense?

    1. JJ

      There is history with the club and their HQ is located in St. Andrews but that’s the end of it. Is there some correlation between Glen Abbey and Golf Canada because their offices are on the Abbey’s property??

  7. Weekend Enthusiast

    Sad to see this level of change in the Old Course….although the removal of the brush / gorse from the view on one’s tee ball on #2 was also a disappointing change. The #2 blind tee shot was one of many nice characteristics of the Old Course. Go from a wide open 100 yard landing area on #1 to a completely blind landing area on #2 was a fun change / experience.

  8. Tremor

    The whole week is ridiculous and infuriating. As an avid links golf fan, reader, student of the game and course architecture, turf manager, and someone who makes their livelihood on the golf course, to see this happening now is ludicrous.

    Balls and clubs have gotten out of control, and to the point the governing bodies cant get them back. The technology and R & D that goes into the new clubs drives the cost of the clubs up, only increasing the sale price.

    For a sport struggling to gain ground or even level footing in North America, would it not make sense to start capping some parts of technology on clubs and/or balls to help bring costs of equipment back in line. By regulating something, the R and D departments should slow down in that area and thus, costs should not increase further or may reduce slightly as companies compete for business.

    As far as the Old Course, it is shameful. I am a huge fan of Hawtree’s work (what I have played and seen of it), but it baffles me that any architect would even want to take on this project knowing the resistance and the ramifications of touching the “sacred ground” that is St. Anderws. The work itself makes no sense at all and seems to be tinkering just to tinker. Removing undulations that have been there as far as pictures are dated back is pointless. And moving bunkers (not rebuilding or reshaping) but moving bunkers?! really?

    “St. Andrews us difficult, not because bunkers are placed to catch inaccurate shots, but because the results of a misadventure is to make the next shot infinitely more difficult then it otherwise would have been”
    — H.N. Wethered and Tom Simpson

    The Old Course plays hard enough when the wind is blowing, and has never given up a number that a golfer didn’t deserve by playing a great round of golf. As far as the tech has gone in equipment, this does not warrant the work that is being done.

    Both the USGA and R & A are way of the mark with everything they have done recently, and it shows how far they let the game get away from them. For both amateurs and pros.

    Just brutal.

  9. Robert Thompson

    There’s an expression: “Can’t see the woods for the trees.” I think it is apt here.

  10. Gary Slatter

    what are you guys smoking? The R&A is still the same, all male, mostly English members, based in Scotland (world wide membership). They have a Tournament Committee called the Championship Committee and they conduct their events which include using a company that tells all courses what is required maintenance-wise for up to 5 years before an event. We hosted an Open Qualifying and had monthly meetings and inspections with their committee – even Sec Dawson walked our course to “check” quality.

    The Links Trust who run the Links courses has to go along with the R&A to keep them based in Scotland – and the R&A members have access to the Old Course because they built the New Course for the town – they even financed Kingsbarns for some reason. The R&A make Augusta look very modern.

  11. Gary Slatter

    Is DAWSON the new KNOX?

  12. Steve

    The problem with golf right now is that the driver and the golf ball technology has made the ball travel too far. You have to love the governing bodies who, despite knowing the obvious, introduce rules that restrict your ability to hit the ball with the shortest club in the bag. Go figure…

  13. GregM

    Is it just me or does it not seem that everyone except the R&A and USGA believes that the golf ball is the problem?

  14. Chris

    Is golf the only game where the competitor gets to pick the ball he wants to play with? I guess bowling fits that category, but,I’m not sure what that says about the appeal of the game of golf?!?

    I’m pretty sure the NBA, MLB and NFL dictate which ball will be used for competition, while recreational participants often use whatever equipment is close at hand “official” or not. It doesn’t appear to me that bifurcation in those instances has impacted their popularity.

    It’s time the governing bodies and the professional tours take a common sense approach to this issue – fix the ball and leave the golf courses alone.

    Personally, I’ve seen very little benefit from ‘new technology’. In fact, I feel that I have been disadvantaged over the last 10 years where ‘technology’ disproportionately serves/benefits golfers with higher swing speeds. A roll back on the performance of the ball would actually benefit me.

    ‘Golfers of the world unit’ — perhaps we need to ‘occupy’ the Old Course to get our point across?

  15. Wayne

    The game of golf consists of swinging at a ball with a club. Anchoring the club does not permit a golf swing therefore anchoring should be banned. Even Ernie Els said it is cheating but he will do it while he can and he won the Open Championship with it.

  16. Bryce Hunter

    Tough to address all the issues….

    You conveniently forget the addition of sprinklers to the Old Course and all other championship venues globally that forever changed the game.Augusta twigs materially every year and I don’t hear these screams.
    Golf industry money is the single biggest obstacle to equipment governance. R&A and USGA staff and volunteers expose themselves to litigation just mulling options. The tours and the country PGAs had zero to say when the belly came on the scene or for that matter the ball evolution. Where were they and are they?
    Augusta is not a golf club. It choses to be a significant centre of influence well beyond golf. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are members….can’t hit it past their nose and spend less than 10 hours a year thinking about or playing golf.
    The R&A is only about golf. All decisions relating to rules,equipment,amateur status….the game….are made in committees composed of all genders and national interests. It is very sad that women have not stepped up and done a proper job of globally governing the women’s game which is, like it or not, different. The R&A and Links Trust have encouraged development of women’s golf by hosting the British Open at St Andrew’s including use of the R&A facilities.
    In the old days I would go to my golf club as a respite from the buzz of family and career.I respectfully suggest that men need such men only venues. The R&A has always tried to responsibly play a leadership role in the game of golf. It has never been about control.

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