Why booming distance is ruining golf

John Daly
Getty Images
John Daly's booming drives used to make him a novelty on the PGA Tour. Now, however, smashing drives are the norm.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, January 14, 2013 | 8:36 a.m.

Ben Alberstadt, a featured columnist on BleacherReport.com, has an interesting piece that focuses in on why it is that the distance the golf ball travels is ruining golf.

Alberstadt writes:

Although many believe that the 2004 USGA decision regarding driver head size and maximum COR quashed the issue of increasing driving distance on the PGA Tour, this is not the case. Further, the "distance plateau" -- that is, the fact that the driving distance of the top players on tour has only increased marginally from that point until the present—is a red herring.

As Karen Crouse of the New York Times explains, although the top players on tour have been constant with an average of about 315 yards off the tee, the averages of the moderately-long hitters on tour have increased substantially: "In 1997, the 50th-ranked player averaged 272.3 yards. By 2002, the distance had risen to 285.0. In 2012, it was 294.7."

This points to a fundamental shift in the way the game is played at the professional level: the bomb-and-gouge player (typified by John Daly) is becoming the rule, rather than the exception.

Shotmaking, on life support for the past 20 years, is now surely dead and the tour has become a pitch-and-putt exhibition of booming drives and high-lofted approach shots.
To read all of Alberstadt's interesting piece, click here.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.