Jack Nicklaus: Courses Cannot be made Longer

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Jack Nicklaus during the first round of the Memorial

Jack Nicklaus: Courses Cannot be made Longer

Bryson DeChambeau is 6-foot-1 and about 240 pounds. Muirfield Village Golf Club stretches to about 7,335 yards. A golf ball has a diameter of 1.680 inches and a weight of 1.620 ounces. As DeChambeau devoured Muirfield Village last week with seven drives over 320 yards, including two over 400 yards, the course’s founder, one of golf’s legends, Jack Nicklaus, believes you can’t make DeChambeau smaller and you can’t make Muirfield bigger.

“The USGA has got to wake up sooner or later, the R&A,” Nicklaus said Thursday on the Golf Channel’s broadcast of the first round of the Memorial.

“They can’t keep burying their heads to this. They see it, they watch television, they see where these guys hit the golf ball. It isn’t about how far they hit it. You just can’t keep making golf courses longer. You just don’t have enough land. You don’t have enough money to do it.

“And the golf ball is a very, very simple thing to fix. And I’ve been preaching about it, good gracious, I’ve been preaching about it now – 43 years I first went to the USGA. I mean, that’s a long time to be saying, “Well, we’re studying it.’ Guys, stop studying. Do something, will you please?”

Golf’s governing bodies had, then postponed it due to the coronavirus pandemic. In early February, the United States Golf Association and the R&A released the Distance Insights Report, a summary of what they believe to be golf’s distance problem.

The report suggested that increased hitting distances are hurting the game, and while it did not give specific solutions, it did suggest such things as the potential for new conformance tests for clubs and balls, and a local rule that would allow courses to require limited-flight equipment.

With the golf industry suffering during the pandemic, all golf course designers are having to reconsider the viability of actually building 18-hole courses.

Nick Faldo believes instead of longer tracks; resorts are asking his design team to consider 12-hole layouts, which take up less expensive acres.

It may be fun to see some pros whack their ball into space, but owners would prefer to maintain a much shorter hole.

Photo caption:
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Jack Nicklaus during the first round of the Memorial.
Getty Images

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