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The simple design of new golf clubs will be impossible to improve until someone builds a better marshmallow.
The simple design of new golf clubs will be impossible to improve until someone builds a better marshmallow. ()

When Bubbas start to dominate, it's time for golf to make big changes

William K. WolfrumBy William K. Wolfrum,

When a young, chubby-but-athletic Jack Nicklaus came along and started clobbering the ball, real golf fans knew something was wrong, but they kept it to themselves. That fat, tow-headed rascal was just too adorable to complain about.

As the years went on, more and more big hitters started making their mark on the hallowed grounds of the PGA Tour. John Daly won a couple of majors with a philosophy of "grip it and rip it." But he was a chain-smoking, hard drinking loon, so who wanted to go to extremes just because of him?

Then Tiger Woods burst on the scene. He could hit it as far as Daly, did everything else like Ben Hogan and started winning tournaments faster than anyone imagined possible. Still, he was the Chosen One. You just can't complain about anyone that ridiculously gifted and driven.

Now comes Bubba Watson belting 400-yard drives. Enough is enough. Sorry, no way are we letting some dude named "Bubba" make a mockery of the grand old game. Now it's time changes - big changes, according to Seve Ballesteros.

"It proves to me that if they continue the way they are, golf courses will be 10,000 yards long," Ballesteros recently told Reuters. "It would be a good idea to change a few rules."

In the 1980s Ballesteros was very likely the best player in golf. He won five majors, including three British Opens.

Plus, he had style. Imagine Antonio Banderas on a golf course and you have Ballesteros in his prime. You could envision him draining a putt to win a huge tournament, carving an "S" into his opponent's chest with the blade of his putter, then stealing his girl. He was the definition of cool.

So now, when Seve speaks, we need to listen.

"The clubs, the shafts, they are different now, and the players are more athletic than they were 20 years ago," he told Reuters. "Make the ball bigger is one thing they can do. Put less dimples on the ball to make things more equal."

Maybe Ballesteros is sounding a bit like the nearly-50 former champion he is. But he is not alone. There are dozens of old men out there having slow conniptions over the excitement and interest that young, fit golfers with modern equipment are drawing from fans.

So action must be taken, and taken now. And it will do no good to just put Band-Aids over golf's problems. No, what golf needs is a complete revolution based on knee-jerk responses and outright spazziness. And this is column is just the place to do it.

Modify the golf ball

Currently golf balls are small, hard little objects covered with hundreds of dimples to cut down on wind resistance and made from the same revolutionary material that currently covers Ted Kennedy's face - and they fly like the dickens.

Now, when golf began the balls were made of wood, or stuffed with feathers. A mighty drive could fly up to 15 feet or so. Then a golfer would have to battle some type of avian creature for possession of said ball. It was scintillating stuff, and terms like "birdie," "eagle," and "Hey look, Giles is being carried away by a hawk" became part of golf's vernacular.

The problem was, golf balls evolved. People started designing them to go further to make the game more interesting to the common man, who, as we all know, will ruin everything if you let him.

So golf balls need to be less effective. The only real way is to do as Ballesteros said: bigger with fewer dimples.

The solution? Using Mel Gibson's head as a model, golf balls can be made larger and less dimpled yet still have aesthetic value. Sure, occasionally your ball will freak out and try to baptize you, but it's a small price to pay to get rid of those brilliantly engineered little things masquerading as golf balls today.

Modify the golf clubs

Today's clubs are created by ingenious designers who should really be working on more important things, like designing bombs that will kill the maximum number of people yet leave the air smelling fresh and delightful.

Take the Adams Redline 460 Dual driver, for instance. It comes with a massive 460cc head equipped with moveable weights - you can just look at the club and any golf ball in the vicinity will fly 320 yards down the middle of the fairway.

For golf purists like Ballesteros, who grew up using the legs from still-living cats as golf clubs (and liked it), just about everything is wrong with today's golf clubs. They're too long and dependable, the club head is too strong and forgiving, and the grips don't tear your hands to bloody pieces the way they should.

To fix this, I've come up with a simple solution based on the theory of roasting marshmallows on a stick over a fire. OK, it's not actually based on a stick with a marshmallow on it - it is a stick with a marshmallow on it.

This will again take the advantage away from the young and athletic and make things fairer for all. As an added upside, it will be virtually impossible to improve the new golf clubs. When was the last time you saw an improved marshmallow?

Modify the golf course

Modern golf courses tend to be well-manicured areas, designed for optimum distance and personal enjoyment.

The problem with today's courses is that they are designed and planned, and in a fixed location. For the good of the game, we just can't have this. Golf courses need to be placed wherever the worst location is, at any given time. Preferably, in densely wooded areas that are on fire.

Wildfires will take the advantage away from the longer hitters and give it back to those who truly deserve it - the flame-retardant.

The verdict

By following these simple steps, we can protect the integrity of golf.

By dribbling your Gibson-head ball a few inches off the tee with a mighty swing from your marshmallow on a stick, all the while surrounded by flames, you'll be taking golf back to a time when it was an extremely boring game played by drunken, possibly insane Scotsmen.

If we don't act radically now, more common people named Bubba will start hitting the ball further, and more people will become interested in watching these Bubbas hit the ball further. And then more people will want to try it themselves. And we just can't have that. Listen to Seve: It's time to change the game.

William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • your a nutter mate

    vlad wrote on: Apr 25, 2011

    your a nutter mate slaging off all these golfers ,you can say the same thing about football aswell when one team scores 4 points and the other team scores 32 points its in all sports and its just the way it is sport has reverlutionised itself since 1oo years ago .


  • Golf

    LindaC wrote on: Nov 3, 2009

    I just read the article on Steve Ballesteros wanting to make drastic changes to golf because the pros seem to be getting too good for the game as it now stands. I truly think he needs a reality check. The reason they are getting better is not necessarily the equipment or the length of the courses; it's because golf is finally starting to attract REAL athletes to the game.


  • changing the equipment

    tj wrote on: May 24, 2007

    changing the golf ball would be the right solution


      • RE: changing the equipment

        Kyle wrote on: Dec 6, 2007

        changing the golf ball wouldnt work because it wold just set EVERYONE back 50 yards not just bubba everyone would be set back yards. what needs to happen in 350 yards down the middle of the fairway the fairway needs to be skinier with thick rough forcing the long long hitters o lay up with the shorter hitters.
        if you change the golf ball everyone will be set back 50 yards the average our pro would then be 250yards and bubbas will be 300 that wouldnt solve anything hes still head and shoulders abouve the field


  • you are an idiot

    Tiger wrote on: Sep 16, 2006

    Another winey old man ticked off that his joints and muscles won't work anymore. Keep on bitchin'..no one cares about you.


      • RE: "No; you are ignorante."

        Alex wrote on: Sep 30, 2006

        I expect you to sound like a fool.
        I'm 37 years of age, hold two course records, and have been shooting 66 since I was 16 years old. Oh, by the way, I am also a hell of a lot better golfer than you.
        Golfclubs are now designed for any 'want-to-be' with a cigar in his mouth to hit it 275.
        breaking 80 used to mean that a golfer made a real commitment of blood, sweat and tears. Most golfers in the 1970's used to quit after 6 months.
        98 percent of today's golfers still suck, regardless of their eqipment.
        The ones that think they are good, and score between 75 & 79, actually couldn't break 90 playing PW through 1ron, persimmon woods, and a bullseye. "Do you even know what a Bullseye is?"
        Its simple, hitting a ball has been made so easy, that big oaffs with ugly swings can score well.
        The art of playing golf is almost gone, and just as few people who would know what it looked like if they saw it.
        Yes, you are one of those clueless golfers.
        I bet you also think Barry Bonds is better than Willie Mays.


  • Right On!

    Bill wrote on: Mar 31, 2006

    Good on ya, Wolf
    Im a 55 yr old hacker who took up the game 4 years ago. I love the game and the technology that helps me hit the occasional 250 yd drive and spin a lob to the green. I'd have loved to play with Old Tom, but that ain't going to happen, and I look forward to playing with 'Bubba' in Myrtle Beach in June.


  • Seve Is A D**KHead

    Dean Adams wrote on: Feb 23, 2006

    Seve is a real first-cladd D**K! He should gfo back to sticking his head in the sand. Just because he won a few majors, now he thinks he represents the world governing body of golf. I was with Seve recently at an international event in Asia, and boy was he an asshole! Number One Asshole. He walked around not talking to fans, not signing anything, just pretending to look right past his fans. He needs a reality check. Happy to see that he has no game left at all!


  • response to Steve Ballesteros making changes to golf

    myk becknell wrote on: Feb 22, 2006

    Ya know what?, I NEVER post comments to articles that I read online, but this is an exception. I just read the article on Steve Ballesteros wanting to make drastic changes to golf because the pros seem to be getting too good for the game as it now stands. I truly think he needs a reality check. The reason they are getting better is not necessarily the equipment or the length of the courses; it's because golf is finally starting to attact REAL athletes to the game. Not the walking heart attacks of years past. The folks on tour (both the PGA and LPGA) are employeeing weight training, running,swimming, and any other sporting activity they can to get more fit for the game. Also, the pro golfers Mr. Ballesteros is talking about, are an extreamly small percentage of all the golfers out there. Not everyone can hit 400 yard drives. I would like to remind him that for the 20 million + golfers in the US, the equipment and the courses out there currently, are making it more enjoyable for us all. He remembers US right?, you know, the people that buy all the equipment, take all the golf trips, pay for all the lessons, and watch all the events on TV and in person. We are the reason HE and all the other pros out there have a job. So, yes Mr. Ballesteros, please make rules to change the equipment and courses that are making it fun for all us hackers out there to finally really enjoy the game of golf and you'll be cutting the throat of golf, which has seen unprecedented growth and popularity. We like to watch the pros rip up the golf courses they play on, it gives the 90% of us fellow golfers out there something to aspire to. Leave the rules alone Steve, the pro golfers today are simply just BETTER than you.


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