Will the USGA and the PGA "Ever" wake up in the 21th century?

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DON
Will the USGA and the PGA "Ever" wake up in the 21th century?

As most of you know the PGA Tour was in Denver last week for the MBW Championship, the third round of the FedEx Cup playoffs. As part of the newspapers coverage of the event, they had a full page story on the "Yardage Book" that was put together by Tour Caddy Mark Long. Mark was the caddy for Fred Funk, long time tour pro. The Tournament ordered 400 of the books for the players and staff and event sponsors. Since there was only 70 players in the event, that seems like a lot of extra books to go around. The books cost $30 each and can go up to $100 if the tour player wants "More Detailed Data" . That means the tour just spent $12,000 of yardage books for ONE event. NICE job for Mark Long as he says it takes about 70 hours to put together the information for each course he creates a yardage book for. I'd be very HAPPY if someone paid me $12.000 for just under two weeks work mapping a golf course.
But the reason I bring this up is NOT what they paid for these books but what the books "CONTAIN" . To put it in simple terms, these yardage books that are NOT available to the public, have ALL the information Mark Long has obtained using high tech instraments to 'Map" the course. In the article Mark says that he does NOT just use Laser range finders but "HIGH TECH equaipment to goes beyond what a Laser can provide.
What it boils down to is he is using Surveying equipment to develop a Contour Map of the entire course, with elevation changes and full detailed contour map of each green. This is WAY more information you or I could every hope to get by using a GPS of a Laser, or even if we used BOTH.
So my question is this. Since the Tour Pros are each supplied with one of these highly detailed yardage books. developed with high tech equipment, WHY does the PGA NOT allow the use of a simple GPS or Laser range finder during a tournament event??? WHEN will the PGA and the USGA and R&A gets their collective "Heads Out of the Sand".???
The PGA just ordered and provided highly detailed yardage books to each of the players in the BMW Championship, books that were developed with "Modern Technology Equipment. and yet they continue to enforce "Ancient" rules on the public and tour players. Why is a yardage book okay when a GPS or Laser range finder is NOT???

Can anyone of you come up with an Intelligent answer to WHY the USGA and the PGA are living in the 15th century???

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Well, I don't know that there

Well, I don't know that there is an easy answer. From what I've read and heard over the years, I think there are several issues. The USGA feels like the players get any number of practice rounds at courses today so it's not like they are unfamiliar with the courses. And historically, printed yardage books have been treated like "course knowledge" and public information that anyone could get by coming out and walking the course. Hit the ball in the other fairway and you have to walk off the yardage and estimate the details, not just look at a screen and have an exact number. So I think they see it as a way of protecting the game's history and integrity. Yes you have a book that tells you specifics but you still have to interpret that books content, evaluate all the conditions and execute a shot. GPS's give you exact numbers from your point of play to the pin, can even adjust for elevation changes, etc. So it is removing part of that human element maybe?

Now they are changing, as there are situations where the distance measuring devices are legal. But I think most of that is in cases where players have no opportunity to play practice rounds and "learn" the course, so they allow the devices to help give them that knowledge.

So time will tell if they do happen to allow them in more situations.

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DON
Hit the ball in the other

Hit the ball in the other fairway and you have to walk off the yardage and estimate the details, not just look at a screen and have an exact number
Your point above is a good point. Fact is a caddy and golfer COULD figure it out using the yardage books if they had too. And it would take TIME. As we both know, SLOW play on tour and on every course in the world, is a growing concern. With the pace of play on tour, it would seem like a GOOD move to let the players use a GPS or Laser to get that yardage from the wrong fairway and SAVE time. One interesting thing in the article about the Mark Long yardage books was that they are NOT available to the "public". Which means that YOU or I can NOT buy one. A good question would be WHY? Tour players and their caddy also bet a "Pin Placement" sheet at the morning meeting before each round so they "Know" exactly where the hole is drilled into the green on every hole each day. Again this is something you and I don't have information on when we play golf. It would seem that the Tour players has lots of advantages that the rest of us don't get. This very detail about pin placement is the reason YOU just purchased your Laser range finder. The information you get at the course about where the pins are cut as often as not are WRONG. The use of a Laser by the tour players would give them the same data as the pin placement sheet along with the yardage to the front of the green, so why not just let the players use a laser? Why not make things EVEN for ALL players of the game, and not give the Tour Pros an advantage. They already have an advantage, it's called Talent. And a paid Caddy.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Well, some courses I play,

Well, some courses I play, more the upscale ones or ones at tournaments do give us pin sheets but yes, it would be nice if they all had them. The best I've seen most courses do is to give us a pin location and a chart so we know where on the green that pin is located for that hole.

I don't disagree Don, more information for all of us would be a good thing. But honestly, I doubt many people would buy the books. I tend to on a course I haven't played but unless it's a resort course with a lot of first time players, I don't think they would make enough money to offset the costs. But again, I agree it would be nice to have some of that information when we're lining up our putts.

Golf is a game that can only be played...

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