It is time for the regulators of pro golf to do a serious rethink.
I am speaking specifically about the United States Golf Association and now the Royal and Ancient Golf Association. These two long standing establishments of golf have done for the most part a wonderful job at regulating golf and how it rules and regulates itself for decades, in some cases over a century.
However, with the just recently completed US Open at Chambers Bay and the now wrapping up Open Championship at St Andrew’s, these two golf courses have been made to bear the brunt of what can only be described as poor decision making by the two governing bodies.
The incessant need to make the greens as fast has possible has compromised them. At Chambers Bay, the USGA made the greens run at a 12 or better on the stimpmeter. The stimpmeter for the uninitiated is a universal measuring device that can tell you how fast a green runs. Pros are used to 11 or better, amateurs should play on greens between 9 and 10 for pace of play. The USGA cut the greens to a 13 or more…ridiculous and it changed the way the course was played, turning a great course into a punch line.
St Andrews is the home of golf…and has been in play for nearly 500 years. The R & A geniuses decided to speed their greens up too…and the wind from the North Sea said not so fast and physically blew golf balls that had come to rest all over the greens, stopping play on a perfectly good day for 10 hours and delaying the finish to today.
There are ways to make these golf courses punitive without speeding up the greens. High rough and tough bunkers would do it.
Go back to the past and see that these courses natural defences are what make them the tests that they are. Smart decisions need to rule the day and in this case both the USGA and R&A need to be held to blame.