Has Golf Course Length Increased Over the Years?
It is true that golf courses have increased in length over the years.
The simple reason for the increase in length is due to golfers being able to drive a ball much farther than they did in years past.
In 1980, only six PGA golfers could hit the ball 270 yards from a tee shot.
Today, most professionals are able to drive a tee shot 290 yards.
Thanks to players’ ability to drive a tee shot so far, courses have had to increase their lengths. In 2011, 21 PGA pros could drive a golf ball 300 yards or more.
That was a number unheard of in 1980. In fact, it wasn’t until the turn of the millennium that one PGA Tour player registered an average drive of 300 or more yards.
In 2000, Augusta National, the home of the legendary Masters tournament, was measured at 6,985 yards.
However, 10 years later, Augusta had increased in length to 7,435 yards.
By lengthening the course, Augusta has become more difficult for players during competitions.
Difficulty isn’t the only reason courses have been lengthened by golf clubs.
The new technology that has gone into golf clubs has made hitting a long drive easier.
Top of the line drivers make it far easier for the average golfer to hit a perfect drive down the fairway.
If the average golfer on their local course can play a ball 200 to 300 yards toward the cup, imagine what a professional like Rory McIlroy could do.
The equipment that golfers are using is making it possible for players to go long.
It is also making it difficult for courses to keep players from reaching the green too quickly.
By increasing the length of a golf course, the slope and rating of a course will change, too.
However, in most cases, it will stay the same.
The reason it will stay the same is due to the course being able to keep its difficulty now that players are able to drive the ball much farther than they previously could.
Some golf course design experts state that golf courses are extending each hole by one yard per season.
It is an incredible rate if that figure is actually true.
There are plenty of golf fans, players and pros who are against the continued improvement of driver technology.
McIlroy is one that has talked about innovative club technology making the playing field far more even between good golfers and great golfers.
Others feel that the booming distance that is being achieved by golfers is going to ruin the game in the future.
With the continued increase of courses, and the ability to drive the ball so far, golf won’t resemble the game it currently is in 20 years’ time.
Golf pundits believe that players driving the ball around 300 yards consistently is unsustainable for the sport.
But there is the argument that golf could attract more interest from non-fans by having players who are able to, not only hit the ball long distances, but reach the cup quickly.
In an article published by The Telegraph newspaper, golf course architects expressed their fright in the continued increase in driving distances.
Architects feel players who continue to set new driving distance averages are putting others in danger.
The safety areas on a golf course can become compromised due to players being able to hit the ball so far.
The possibility of golf courses not fully putting safety measures in place when the course size is increased is a concern to architects.
An increase in golf course size also means potential increases in the costs to run a club.
It will take more money to pay for the water and the fertilizer to maintain the course.
While courses are getting longer, and technology in golf is evolving, some are afraid of what could happen to the game.
However, there are others who are open to the continued evolution of golf and aren’t afraid of where the sport is headed in the future.
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There should be a tournament ball. 200 to 8 iron shots? Nuts! It is interesting that while today’s pros hit the ball so far, they still score no lower than Messers Hogan, Nelson, Snead…
The pros play short courses for their distance. The pros average drive is 295 yards and play an average course of 7200 yards. Divide 7200/295=24.4. Now take your average drive times 24.4 and play a course at the distance and see what you shoot. I am 74 and did this my avg drive is 205. I played 100 rounds my avg score was 74.5 and never had a round in the 80’s. The pros do not impress me that much. I have never had a lesson. Play your pro yardage and see what you score.