The potential for a rollback floated around the golf world for a number of years. This week, the USGA and R&A made it official. Then members of the golf world lost their minds.
I’m not saying that pro-rollback or anti-rollback people lost their minds; I’m saying we all lost our minds. As our society knows best, nobody really cares about important issues until they start to affect our own bubbles and when they do, we gather the pitchforks and torches and rush the gates.
“You may take our lives, but you’ll never take … OUR GOLF BALLS!”
I think it’s important for everyone to take a breath. Over the last decade, I’ve worked closely with the USGA and the thing I continue to go back to is the people that work in that building. They’re good people that love golf and understand their role in honoring the sport. Being a hall monitor isn’t a job you sign up for because you want to get more popular, but it’s an important job nonetheless. Without order, chaos reigns supreme.
I understand why everyday golfers would be annoyed by this announcement. About 99.9 percent of golfers are just trying desperately to hit the ball further and straighter. We salivate at new clubs and golf balls because we know that new technology helps us.
I understand why certain OEMs would push back on this. A lot of manufacturers rely on their golf ball sales to hit quarterly and yearly goals and to beef up future projections.
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. Look around your house and think about all the things you own that are meant to save you time and effort: washing machines (you want to go back and wash clothes by hand?), toasters, refrigerators, lawnmowers, hot-water heaters. The list goes on and on.
Golf companies are in the same business. They are constantly trying to create products that make the sport easier for the everyman and woman. That’s why they spend millions each year on R&D. Sure, it makes them money but it also makes you and me and our parents and grandparents enjoy golf a little more.
Something our society refuses to do these days is to hear the other side of arguments.
If something doesn’t sing to me, then I’m shutting it down, no questions asked.
But this is a very, very complicated issue that has been dissected and discussed for decades.
This isn’t someone coming for your distance. It isn’t someone saying that everyone in golf hits the ball too far. This is the result of thousands and thousands of hours spent trying to figure out a way to make golf as sustainable as possible for the future. And if you disagree with that and say that it doesn’t make sense to “penalize” all golfers for the pros hitting the ball too far, I also agree!
But at the end of the day, I think it would do us all good to just take a breath, calm down a little on the issue and try to see, for the sake of this great game, the other side of the argument.
We yell about a lot of stuff these days. Can we try not to yell about the golf ball too?
This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.