From the Morning Read inbox
March 7, 2018
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Fitness + technology = distance

I remember purchasing a TaylorMade metal driver around 1990. What I discovered, without simulators and launch monitors, was that I suddenly could reach par 5s in two shots. Combining technology advances in clubs and balls has accounted for massive gains in distance since that time.

A new way to increase distance became known to me in the past few years, and I think the USGA report touched on it (“Distance takes leap in golf, but what’s next?” March 6). I'm an old guy who is hitting longer drives than I did five years ago because I found a fitness system designed for golfers that works. It requires a little time and effort, but it seems to work better than simply adding the newest driver every year.

Short of launching a ball with some mechanical assistance, I don't know how much more technology can improve distance performance. I can get stronger and more fit, however, and maybe even be around to play an extra few years.

Jim Kavanagh
St. Augustine, Fla.

 

Limit ball rollback to Tour players

Roll back the ball for PGA Tour players only. A tour ball that would be rolled back 10 yards should be implemented.

This would be good news for any future PGA Tour tournaments.
Course owners will be able to host tournaments without any major reconstruction. Our historic courses would remain relevant and continue to test the best golfers for years to come.

For the best players in the world to have an 8-iron in hand rather than a 9-iron would make enough difference and would be more fun to watch on TV.

Glenn Monday
Tucson, Ariz.

(Monday is a teaching professional at Dorado Golf Course in Tucson and author of “Know Your Swing.”)

 

An outside influence on driving distance

OK, a number of variables enter into this “huge” increase in average driving distance over the last couple of years. No one has mentioned global warming. Please, let me be the first.

Bruce Wyrwitzke 
Astoria, Ore.

 

Strength assessment

While I appreciate Rich Tarvin’s perspective on working out in the gym to hit the ball farther, let’s take a closer look at history and those players with whom he might be less familiar (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 6).

Ben Hogan hit his 1-iron in 1950 on his 36th hole of the day (they played 36 in the final round of the U.S. Open in those days), only 1½ years after an automobile accident from which doctors said he not only never would play golf again but likely never would walk. His strength was in the courage exhibited in coming back to become a champion and, three years later, winning the three majors that he entered in 1953.

As for Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, they were as strong as bulls, even though Nicklaus carried the moniker of “Fat Jack” in his early days on Tour. Palmer had the forearms and wrists of a blacksmith, and like Jimmy Demaret, surely strengthened those muscles while building and regripping clubs in his spare time. With today’s equipment, I am certain that they would have outdriven Tiger Woods in his prime.

Finally, we never saw any of these gentlemen withdraw from tournaments due to back or neck injuries. Never. How many years did Woods miss due to his extreme exercise regimen? How many starts has Rory McIlroy missed during the past two years, by trying to keep up?

We were afraid to go into the gyms back in the 1970s, especially after seeing Johnny Miller nearly lose his career to his offseason routine of chopping wood to gain yardage. Golf at that level is a lot more about timing and solid face contact than it is about strength. Of course, it never hurts to swing the club faster, but you have to know where the face is pointing when it hits the ball.


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Bill Pelham
Houston

(Pelham played the PGA Tour in the late 1970s and early ’80s and is the author of “Burke and Demaret: The Wit and Wisdom of Golf’s Most Colorful Duo.”)

 

Golfers need to get fit to keep up

I read Rich Tarvin’s comments about fitness and how it relates to distance and technology. A reference to previous generations of golfers also was made, and I believe that Tarvin has hit the nail on the head as it pertains to the distance controversy.

Yes, technology has increased distance, but that is across the board. The USGA and R&A seem to want to penalize all golfers for some not keeping up with trends in fitness. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka, to name a few, have taken the time and effort to progress along with the technology. 

What will end up happening is these two organizations will outlaw various equipment to reduce the distance. When the fittest golfers continue to out-distance the field, are the USGA and R&A going to handicap pros to level the playing field?

Steve Hoffman
Hickory Hills, Ill.

 

Be like the ‘Black Knight’

Back in the ’60s, there was only one player who worked out, and that was Gary Player.

Looking at him today, one can see just how good he looks. It seems as if when we see the current workout guys when they reach Player’s age (82), they will look very fit.

Andy Fischer
Dayton, Ohio

(Fischer is a former LPGA tour player who teaches golf at Moraine Country Club, Community Golf Course and the Kettering YMCA.)

 

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