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View Full Version : Ping's Solheim has a "solution" for the distance problem



interlooper
12-19-2011, 01:46 PM
"John Solheim, chairman & CEO of Ping, thinks he has an idea for the golf ball distance "problem."

In short, Solheim believes that balls should be like the different tee boxes on a course. Solheim's proposal seek a rule change from just one overall distance standard for all balls to a "ball distance rating," that would include three types of balls. The three balls include one that is the same as today's current balls, a second ball that is 30 yards longer and a third ball that is 30 yards shorter than current balls. Golf courses, tournaments, tours and even individual players could choose their ball based on the course they're playing or the skill level of the players in the event.

What do you guys think?

Solheim Proposal (http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-equipment/2011-12/golf-john-solheim-proposal)

Hawk
12-19-2011, 01:50 PM
I get that he's trying to head off some sort of kneejerk reaction by the USGA, but it sure seems complicated, especially from a consumer standpoint.

I think things are just fine. Hitting the ball far at the pro level doesn't guarantee a thing in terms of wins.

JR
12-19-2011, 01:52 PM
Idiotic. I don't think it is even implementable. Convince companies to make shorter balls? Yeah...

Dr. Teeth
12-19-2011, 01:55 PM
I think this idea is impractical. For one, so many golfers dont even buy golf balls (they just use what they find), let alone three different types, so it is impractical to say to the average golfer that the sport is going to get 3x more expensive. Second, professional golfers would throw a fit. Look at what happened in the NBA when they change the ball a few years ago. Golfers are very attached with the performance characteristics of their golf balls, and I think they would be very unhappy if they had to master the distance, spin, feel characteristics of 3 different balls.

Damaikis
12-19-2011, 01:56 PM
I don't really understand the logic behind this TBH. It just seems stupid to me.

Renren89
12-19-2011, 02:06 PM
Yeah that just seems silly. Maybe the thinking is that if it's easier to hit it 280+ more people would get involved in golf?

Only thing is that hitting it long doesn't guarantee a good score. When I play with my dad he can only hit the ball 180ish and I can hit it 250ish but he can quite often score about the same as me (For now) since he hits it a lot straighter and has a better short game.

Super Tuna
12-19-2011, 02:48 PM
Yeah that just seems silly. Maybe the thinking is that if it's easier to hit it 280+ more people would get involved in golf?

Only thing is that hitting it long doesn't guarantee a good score. When I play with my dad he can only hit the ball 180ish and I can hit it 250ish but he can quite often score about the same as me (For now) since he hits it a lot straighter and has a better short game.

Sure, but what happens when the USGA decides Pro's should only be hitting the ball 280 instead of 300+ to deal with the length "problem" (tell that to Brian Gay). Now you're getting out there 230ish, your dad is 160ish and the course lengths are still ludicriously long.

It won't suprise me when the USGA takes aim at changing the ball, but I have no interest in another rule change to "sort" or "help" the professional game that screws amateurs. I still think Solheim's suggestion is odd though. Just give tour players different clubs and balls (which they get anyways) and stick the consumer label on it. You still get people wanting to buy stuff because the tour player uses it and potentially a litle extra word of mouth. Some guy hitting the ball as far as Luke with his R11 is going to be jacked up and sing it from the roof tops, probably adding to sales, not realizing that Luke is losing 30% distance so that your courses are harder.

JRod
12-19-2011, 03:02 PM
I don't even know how to respond to this its so ridiculous.

interlooper
12-19-2011, 03:12 PM
Not only that, but can you imagine if one of the "Tours" decided that sometimes they would use the "normal" balls, sometimes use the "distance balls" and sometimes use the "non-distance" balls. Then, the players would have to know their distances for each club X 3. They would also need to learn the shortgame with each ball, etc. Seems like a bad idea, and something the tour players would not be happy about.

blugold
12-19-2011, 03:12 PM
I do not think that a player should be punished for having distance. To try to control that is counterproductive. There are fittings, head designs, and lessons to help shorter hitters maximize their distance. To try and make every player hit the ball the same distance is stupid, at best.

Divebell
12-19-2011, 03:12 PM
Things that make you go hmmmm...

Thechosen1
12-19-2011, 03:15 PM
I get that he's trying to head off some sort of kneejerk reaction by the USGA, but it sure seems complicated, especially from a consumer standpoint.

I think things are just fine. Hitting the ball far at the pro level doesn't guarantee a thing in terms of wins.

My thoughts exactly.

Chunkylover77
12-19-2011, 03:17 PM
Only in golf do they think of these ridiculously complicated solutions for a non problem

blugold
12-19-2011, 03:18 PM
I am trying to wrap my head around the level of stupid that this idea is.

ddec
12-19-2011, 03:20 PM
It's an interesting idea. Not one that I'm a big fan of though. Every year you hear about rolling back the golf ball and I think at some point it will happen. Every now and then around Masters time the topic comes up about a tournament being able to pick the type of ball that can be played for that weekend.

interlooper
12-19-2011, 03:20 PM
Only in golf do they think of these ridiculously complicated solutions for a non problem

This could make for good frat boy tricks though. Since the difference between 2 balls can be as much as 60 yards, it would be fun to have a buddy play one distance ball for 9 holes or so, and then switch his ball when he is not looking on a par 3. All of a sudden, he is 60 yards short and in the water and he has no idea why.

JRod
12-19-2011, 03:20 PM
I am trying to wrap my head around the level of stupid that this idea is.

Yah its pretty laughable.

oiler3535
12-19-2011, 03:24 PM
I definitely think it's an absurd idea, though maybe that's the point. Maybe they're just aiming to spark the discussion to show the USGA/R&A that they acknowledge the problem and are trying things to, as Hawk said, avoid a kneejerk reaction. I really think it's a course's problem, not the governing body's. Want to keep lengthening courses to make them harder for the better golfers? Go ahead. I could be wrong here (having played relatively few [~30] courses), but there are always forward tees for the more 'average' hacker. I know 2 courses that will not allow you to play the back sets of tees unless you are under a certain index factor. Could you lie? Sure. But it is supposed to be an honour sport, and the courses report fast round times b/c fewer bad golfers get in trouble from the tips so it might actually work.

JF
12-19-2011, 03:25 PM
That's preposterous. Let them hit the ball 600 yards if they can!

blugold
12-19-2011, 03:27 PM
I definitely think it's an absurd idea, though maybe that's the point. Maybe they're just aiming to spark the discussion to show the USGA/R&A that they acknowledge the problem and are trying things to, as Hawk said, avoid a kneejerk reaction. I really think it's a course's problem, not the governing body's. Want to keep lengthening courses to make them harder for the better golfers? Go ahead. I could be wrong here (having played relatively few [~30] courses), but there are always forward tees for the more 'average' hacker. I know 2 courses that will not allow you to play the back sets of tees unless you are under a certain index factor. Could you lie? Sure. But it is supposed to be an honour sport, and the courses report fast round times b/c fewer bad golfers get in trouble from the tips so it might actually work.

But what is the problem? That golfers are hitting the ball farther? I am pretty sure that the #1 ranked player in the drives the ball ~280. Course design is the best way to curb distance. I know that is tough because of the existing courses. But scores aren't SUPER low right now. I know that Rory ate up the US Open, but the winner there is usually around par. Pebble Beach is under 7,000 yards, and yet Gmac won that with a score close to par.

Jeanthemachine
12-19-2011, 03:42 PM
Maybe limit the number of clubs based on handicap. 5 for scratch or better - and add a club for each additional handicap stroke up to 18.

Oh, what's that John? You would not sell so many clubs! Never mind.

Cayuga1210
12-19-2011, 03:55 PM
Good luck trying to keep track of all your iron distances with the different balls.

blugold
12-19-2011, 03:57 PM
Maybe limit the number of clubs based on handicap. 5 for scratch or better - and add a club for each additional handicap stroke up to 18.

Oh, what's that John? You would not sell so many clubs! Never mind.

Why not limit each player to just a putter. Granted, the holes would have to be MUCH shorter. And to add to the difficulty course designers could put windmills and clown heads in between your ball and the hole.

Schanker
12-19-2011, 04:12 PM
Good luck trying to keep track of all your iron distances with the different balls.

Agreed, this is the biggest problem to this solution. Its not going to be 30 yards +/- for each club or even for each player with the same club. If they could make balls +/- 30 yards for a 300 yard hitter that's 10%. So now for the average golfer were talking +/- 20 yards with the driver. When you get into irons it would be +/- 10 to 18 yards. I have enough trouble with my yardages now. I don't want to have to bring a calculator to the course. Leave the game alone, they all compete on the same course. Par is just a number.

Super Tuna
12-19-2011, 04:18 PM
Why not limit each player to just a putter. Granted, the holes would have to be MUCH shorter. And to add to the difficulty course designers could put windmills and clown heads in between your ball and the hole.

Would't have to be that much shorter. As long as there's no harzards to carry or big upwards elevation changes I can, and have, reached a few par 5's in order to get a par or bogey with only a putter. Kinda fun from time to time actually.

I don't mind Solheim's idea not being taken seriously since I don't think it has much merit. Hopefully though it'll generate enough interest that the USGA will talk about what they want to do to the ball before they actually do it. I think he can get away with saying this since Ping doesn't have a stake in the ball market where's as other companies saying anything near the same might just get hit on for trying to get a leg up on the competition through early knowledge.
Plus it might help avoid lawsuits in the future such as Ping went through over the grooves unless I'm mistaken.

Pkielwa
12-19-2011, 04:53 PM
There is no evidence that scores have decreased due to increased distance gains and unless a course has a professional
tournament, it would have no need for lengthening or changes in balls to circumvent what seems to only be a pro issue. The manufacturers keep making clubs longer and lighter for more distance gains, but they increase "military" golf of going right left right left. Now, if balls were guaranteed to go straight, we might need change...

Hawk
12-19-2011, 04:56 PM
There is no evidence that scores have decreased due to increased distance gains and unless a course has a professional
tournament, it would have no need for lengthening or changes in balls to circumvent what seems to only be a pro issue. The manufacturers keep making clubs longer and lighter for more distance gains, but they increase "military" golf of going right left right left. Now, if balls were guaranteed to go straight, we might need change...

Care to share where you found that data?

oiler3535
12-19-2011, 05:18 PM
But what is the problem? That golfers are hitting the ball farther? I am pretty sure that the #1 ranked player in the drives the ball ~280. Course design is the best way to curb distance. I know that is tough because of the existing courses. But scores aren't SUPER low right now. I know that Rory ate up the US Open, but the winner there is usually around par. Pebble Beach is under 7,000 yards, and yet Gmac won that with a score close to par.

http://www.pgatour.com/r/stats/info/xm.html?101
318 on top

I agree on the awesomely groomed and manicured grass the pros play on, they can take away much of the length advantage, but on a normal course it's always a huge advantage. I bet you couldn't find any pros willing to give up 50 yards on each drive to hit 50% more fairways. I think if they're worried about distance, they should make pros use smaller drivers that will have a big impact on accuracy. Might be able to get them to worry more about hitting fairways.

blugold
12-19-2011, 05:21 PM
http://www.pgatour.com/r/stats/info/xm.html?101
318 on top



I meant #1 Ranked Player in the world. I forgot a word.

Perkins Rooster
12-19-2011, 05:22 PM
I'm not a fan of this idea at all. There is no problem to solve here IMO.

JF
12-19-2011, 05:32 PM
Care to share where you found that data?

Please do.

Long Iron Pete
12-19-2011, 05:52 PM
What's the word/term? Bifurcation or something on those lines?

Not the first to suggest it in some form or another, and now the 2nd manufacturer rep (uihlein) in a matter of months.

Players are getting longer. Part conditioning etc etc, part club, part ball. Equip manufacturers make their money selling you and I the same gear pros use, and to have these using different gear hits their ability to flog it to the public.

A ball is probably the lesser evil versus a different driver/wood

mikedean441
12-19-2011, 05:59 PM
no thanks

TripleBogieTim
12-19-2011, 06:24 PM
You would also end up with people trying to "cheat" by getting the longer balls into events that are rated for the shorter balls.....just really asking for problems.

Wicked Cool Bearded Man
12-19-2011, 07:49 PM
I think it is an interesting perspective, in that it may open the game up to a new audience. I agree that it may be impractical but at least it is an out of the box idea.

crazygolfnut
12-19-2011, 08:02 PM
Interesting but no. Maybe I could see making the Pro's play a shorter ball but for the rest of us, no.

ATLGolfer
12-19-2011, 09:16 PM
I'm almost inclined to have the tour players go back to a wound ball. It would quickly eliminate any issues with unreal distance and pros simply dominating courses.

Titleist can still make ProV1s. Hacks like me will continue to buy them. But, for the next 20 years, courses won't have to worry about having 500 yard par 4s.

Just my $0.02.

fairband
12-19-2011, 11:30 PM
Just trying to keep three different balls separate would be difficult, I am all for not having 7700 yard courses but you can protect par in different ways.

JF
12-19-2011, 11:35 PM
There are loads of idiots who would attempt to take the best balls illegal in that competition and have the logos changed to make them appear to be legal.

Oregon Golfer
12-19-2011, 11:49 PM
Only in golf do they think of these ridiculously complicated solutions for a non problem

+1. You said it pefectly Chunkrock.

checkered
12-20-2011, 12:22 AM
Yeah, interesting thoughts, but highly impractical. Just too much to go wrong with something like that. And as others have said, hitting longer doesn't automatically mean better scores.

thepete
12-20-2011, 08:14 AM
Only in golf do they think of these ridiculously complicated solutions for a non problem

+2397239

the_paulo
12-20-2011, 08:18 AM
You know, some of the most interesting and testing golf I've seen played by the pros this year involved short, risk and reward par 4s, and par 5s with a tempting carry for the 2nd, and trouble for a wayward shot. Even the biggest hitters got into trouble when faced with using their imagination over a shot.

HoosierGolfer
12-20-2011, 10:51 AM
I give Mr. Solheim credit for addressing this issue. Sooner if not later, the USGA and the R&A are going to want to do something to the ball because 0.1% of the world class golfers are hitting it too far. Like the groove rule, they will do something that will have a negative effect on the remaining 99.9% of us that don't hit the ball to far. Better to be pro-active then to sit around and wait for the governing bodies to do something else that only hurts all of us. Sooner or later they are going to address this issue and I hope they (USGA and R&A) don't make another ignorant move.

http://www.examiner.com/golf-equipment-in-national/ping-chairman-john-solheim-proposing-new-distance-standards-for-golf-balls

kenh
12-21-2011, 02:30 PM
Ping put out a press release proposing that the USGA and R&A (for example) create a new distance rating system for golf balls which would replace today's limit with three new distance classifications for use in competition.

The rating of the ball you play would apparently factor in similarly to how choice of tees or slope rating of the course is considered.

Not sure what to think of this but my initial reaction is not positive. I see nobody's posted about this yet so I'll tee this one off.

Link to the original press release:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JxPxZBTu9Iho48cItIzf2cOgng2YkCr-BA5_0KhFt-E/edit

(https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JxPxZBTu9Iho48cItIzf2cOgng2YkCr-BA5_0KhFt-E/edit)Ken

T0AD
12-21-2011, 02:34 PM
http://www.thehackersparadise.com/forum/showthread.php?27146-Ping-s-Solheim-has-a-quot-solution-quot-for-the-distance-problem&highlight=solheim

pjcedog
12-21-2011, 02:35 PM
Not going to happen for official USGA or pro events. Can't imagine anyone successfully marketing a ball that flies shorter either.

blugold
12-21-2011, 02:37 PM
I know this thread is going to get moved. But I will say it again anyways.

I cannot wrap my head around the level of stupid that is this idea.

omikey
12-21-2011, 02:46 PM
I went and read that story when it was first posted here....... I didn't respond to it because I think it's a dumb idea and I'm sure nothing will come of it ...

you wanna play a shorter ball ? That's why we have different tee boxes IMO .... different tee boxes makes a HUGE difference ... in some cases you can see around, or easily reach, the corner of the dogleg, or not have to drive 195 yards over the water/ravine to reach the fairway on the other side, and so on it goes.

It's odd enough that when I see matches with different groups in the same event, hitting from different tees just how close the grouping of balls will be in the fairway. Or another thing that I see a lot is that the super senior has enough room in front of my tee box that he'll out drive me ..... then we are both hitting 8 or nine irons to the green, still a fair match IMO.

Super Tuna
12-21-2011, 04:09 PM
I still think a lot of people are missing the point here. It's not about what he suggested, rather why he suggested it IMO.

shewythemuss
12-21-2011, 11:27 PM
I don't agree with the proposal at all but the idea has merit, I played an old 80's driver the other day with the modern ball and it flew as far as my R9 on a good strike (granted it's harder to middle it with the old club).To me it's the ball that's made a huge difference to golf in the last ten years. So why not just split the equipment rules to amatuer and pro? Make the pro's play a shorter ball which spins more,we'll get back to the art of shot making then.Let the amatuers and hackers play the balls we play today,the game is hard enough as it is for us hackers. After all we don't play the same equipment as the pro's now, although we like to think we do our kit bears no resemblance to thier kit.

blugold
12-21-2011, 11:47 PM
I don't agree with the proposal at all but the idea has merit, I played an old 80's driver the other day with the modern ball and it flew as far as my R9 on a good strike (granted it's harder to middle it with the old club).To me it's the ball that's made a huge difference to golf in the last ten years. So why not just split the equipment rules to amatuer and pro? Make the pro's play a shorter ball which spins more,we'll get back to the art of shot making then.Let the amatuers and hackers play the balls we play today,the game is hard enough as it is for us hackers. After all we don't play the same equipment as the pro's now, although we like to think we do our kit bears no resemblance to thier kit.

The pros still have to make shots. Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, and Robert Garrigus don't blow the fields away, even though they can drive the ball over 350. It's all about execution. The long hitters still have to control their wedges and putt well. And they don't always do that.

shewythemuss
12-22-2011, 12:55 AM
I know but I hate seeing older courses being extended and new tees added to compensate,there are some lovely courses in the uk now which could not hold a tournament as they are too short and do not have the land to extend on,mostly parkland courses as the elements will win out on a links course over distance anyday.

Stephen Jester
12-22-2011, 12:11 PM
I know but I hate seeing older courses being extended and new tees added to compensate,there are some lovely courses in the uk now which could not hold a tournament as they are too short and do not have the land to extend on,mostly parkland courses as the elements will win out on a links course over distance anyday.
This proposal is no different than in slow pitch softball.. different leagues use different types of balls. I think what Solheim is getting at is that the pros need to all use one "type" of ball with a certain rating. Granted as has been said, long hitters aren't usually the best of the best. Let the pros have their own ball, and the rest of us amateurs can hit whatever ball we'd like.. Better solution then trying to add tee boxes and lengthen courses.
There's some courses here in MN that have 6 sets of tee boxes. Its crazy.

HoosierGolfer
12-22-2011, 01:01 PM
I know this thread is going to get moved. But I will say it again anyways.

I cannot wrap my head around the level of stupid that is this idea.

How will you feel when the USGA and the R&A address this issue their way? There is no doubt in my mind that these groups are looking at the ball right now. Like I've said a million times, they will make a move because 0.1% of the world class players hit the ball too far, and the other 99.9%.....all of us, will pay the price. If left up these bodies, they will shorten the ball for all of us, not just the pro's. How will you feel then?

Centre
12-22-2011, 01:58 PM
3 different types of balls is bizzarre. I can't even fathom how that would work. That said, I'd be more than happy to see them cripple the pros balls and leave their retail products alone if the alternative is crippling the ball for everyone.