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A call for finesse

You are so right on, it is scary (“The death of finesse: It’s a different game,” Jan. 9,

This past year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills was a case in point. The course is about 20 miles from my home office in Milwaukee, and I have played it a few times. Although in my mid-to-late 60s, I can still get it around. When I played it the first time, I felt that someone would bludgeon this course, and they all did.

One only hopes that the members of Shinnecock Hills will bring back shotmaking and finesse into play this June for the Open.

Norm Hollander 
Roslyn, N.Y.


On target

Bill Fields’ “Too much of a good thing in golf” (Jan. 10, is too good. Well penned, Bill.

Like we did in the 1960s, make the ball bigger, leaving the smaller ball for recreational golfers. Too many of the great, classic courses struggle for relevancy in today’s power game.

Charlie Bolling
Glen Cove, N.Y.

(Bolling played the PGA Tour from 1985 to 1988 and owns and operates Delivery Point Golf.)


Drawing a line on distance

While reading more and more about the pros hitting the ball too long and all the suggestions to rein in the pros, I had this thought. Changing club design, restricting ball construction and redesigning our courses all involve big changes and even more money. So, here’s a suggestion that could be done tomorrow, at relatively low cost. Just as out of bounds and water hazards are marked and incur penalty strokes, add a distance line across the fairway. Any drive past the distance line would incur a penalty stroke.

It seems too simple, doesn’t it? For the cost of a can of spray paint, this could be tried without any drastic changes to equipment or courses.

So, let the debate begin on how far out from the tee to paint the distance line and clean those clubs now, because spring is right around the corner.

Al Horn
Bloomington, Ind.


Split decision

As a teacher, I deal with “I want more distance off the tee” on a regular basis.

I had an 82-year-old guy this summer who was unhappy because he couldn’t hit any farther than 200 yards with his driver off the tee. I suggested moving up to the forward tees. Not an option for him. What worked (an old tip I got years ago) was to split his hands about an inch on the grip. He was a happy guy with another 15 yards.

When he came back the next week, I asked him how it went. He said he refused to do that in front of his friends because he would look stupid.

Older guys can be a tough bunch to deal with. When the PGA Tour pros stripe it on TV, they think they shouldn’t be “that far” behind.

I don’t see anything changing in the way of equipment or course design. People want to see it, manufacturers want to sell it, and television wants to make the almighty buck.

Betsy Larey
St. Paul, Minn.

(Larey is an LPGA teaching professional.)


Evolve or get left behind

Talk of rolling back the golf ball seems like crazy talk. Technology is always moving forward, not backward. In no other industry are technological advances restricted or hindered.

Mostly, though, it’s like the old commercial: “Chicks dig the long ball.”

People go to baseball games wanting to see some home runs.

Likewise, the average fan at PGA Tour events loves seeing pros blast incredibly long drives.

Besides, there are ways to make life tougher on the pros, if desired, by tightening fairways and/or growing rough. Also, having a variety of courses on Tour helps. Harbour Town and Colonial are examples of courses that do not necessarily favor a long hitter. Places like Kapalua do. 

Keep the ball the way it is, if not longer. And keep those advances in club technology coming, too.

Jon Lucas
Little Rock, Ark.


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