Jack Nicklaus Thinks Golf Should Be Faster, Gives One Wild Idea On How To Speed Up Play

by 1 year ago
Jack Nicklaus


Like all sports, the game of golf has a handful of same problems that they can’t seem to fix. One of the most talked about problems, and the one with a pretty severe lack of solutions, is pace of play. It’s an issue on the PGA Tour — with most rounds exceeding five hours — and it’s an issue for weekend golfers, most notably those of us who hack it around public courses.

Don’t get me wrong, the occasional five hour round doesn’t bother me, but I would much prefer play in three and a half hours and get on with my fucking life. That extra 90 minutes should be used for eating a club sando and drinking beers in the clubhouse, not standing around waiting for on every shot while the guys in the group in front of you struggle to break 120.

The easiest solution, in my mind, is to force amateurs playing casual rounds to play faster. I mean, DUH. You can do this a few ways, like having rangers out on the course who actually enforce slow play rules and also create new tee box guidelines based on handicap and level of skill. How come men who are just taking up the game playing from the “men’s tees” when they should be playing from the forward tees? I don’t understand why players who are highly skilled can move back to the tips (or whatever) as they see fit, but guys shooting in the 100s can’t move up to the “senior tees” or “ladies tee”? It’s time we remove those antiquated names for tee boxes, and force people to play from a distance that is appropriate and probably more fun. Am I wrong? I dare you to tell me I am.

To me, that seems like the easiest solution for casual golfers that won’t force equipment manufacturers to completely alter all their products. Jack Nicklaus has a different opinion and he shared it during a press conference at the Honda Classic.

Via ASAP Sports

“There’s three things we have in the game of golf that really causes it to be slow and take longer: And that’s the golf ball, but the golf ball — it’s the length the golf course, the time that we play. The amount of money it costs is a very big detriment to the game because if you have more land and more fertilizer, more water, it costs more money. It costs more to play the game, and the game is pretty difficult.

….. The times today, people don’t have the time to spend playing five hours to play golf. They don’t have — a lot of people don’t have the money to be able to do that, and they find the game very frustrating and very difficult.

So if the golf ball came back, it would solve I think a lot of those issues, and it would make — it would — I think we only have one golf course in this country, my opinion, that’s not obsolete to the golf ball and that’s Augusta National. They are the only people that have enough money that have been able to keep the golf course and do the things you had to. They are even buying up parts of country clubs and roads and everything else to get that done.”

Nicklaus also shared a second suggestion. One that is kind of crazy and pretty unrealistic.

I also have the other philosophy, too, that rather than if you don’t change the golf ball, rate the golf courses. Rate the golf courses: 100 percent golf course, 90 percent, 80 percent, 70 percent, 60 percent golf ball, and then have the golf ball manufacturers make a golf ball that fits that golf course.

If you do that, then the manufacturers make a whole bunch more golf balls and a whole bunch more skews for them to sell. And what that means is when you get a golf course that’s, I don’t know, you go to any golf course here, you might rate it as an 80 percent golf course or 70 percent golf course, 70 percent golf ball. 80 percent balls are what we played in 1995 for all intents and purposes. Was that a bad golf ball? No. People played a lot of good golf with that. But you don’t need 7,500 yards to play it.

Wild. Absolutely wild. And not a good solution at all.

Here is my problem. Dialing back the technology on golf clubs and golf balls costs money. For everyone involved. Of course you still have the problem with technology pushing the game further and making pros better and longer. Designing and maintaining 8,000 and 9,000 yard golf courses is ridiculous. Instead of doing that, why not just slow down technology? Create new guidelines for manufacturers. The ball and clubs are long enough.

After that, you have average golfers play from tees that better fit their game. At first it might be emasculating for a beginner to play from the forward tees, but it is probably just as emasculating to play the back tees with a better golfer who is beating the living shit out of you.

TAGSGolfJack NicklausPGA tour