Could handicaps be rated according to what golf balls are used?

Ping CEO proposes a three ball system to eliminate the need to lengthen golf courses.
Here is a really interesting piece courtesy of Mike Stachura at Golf Digest: Ping’s Solheim files equipment handicap system patent.
According to Stachura, Ping’s chairman and CEO John Solheim has just announced application of a patent application that effectively outlines a way to include equipment used when calculating a golfer’s handicap.
Details of the patent are expected to be released tomorrow, but a previous article featuring Solheim’s idea says he has pitched it to golf ball manufacturers and looks like it will incorporate a system that uses three balls and using a ‘ball distance rating’ or BDR for calculating handicaps.

The three balls in Solheim’s proposal include one that is the same as today’s current standard, a second ball that would be as much as 30 yards longer and a third ball that would produce distances 30 yards shorter than current balls. Courses, tournaments, tours and even individual players could choose their ball based on the course they’re playing or the skill level of the players in the event. Solheim equated the BDR system to varying tee boxes.

Golf ruling bodies seem reluctant to go down the path of bifurcation of the rules of golf; two sets of rules, one for amateurs and one for professionals. Solheim claims his idea means birfurcation is not needed.
This is no doubt very interesting and has the potential to do away with the need lengthen golf courses any further than they already are. Solheim admits in the article that his idea is merely a starting point, and although on first thoughts I like the idea of it, I think the ball that goes the furthest should be today’s golf ball and wind back the other two. In fact, perhaps two balls are just needed.
These comments were also interesting.

“The tone coming from the USGA and R&A in recent years suggests another significant equipment rollback may not be far away,” said Solheim in a press release issued by Ping. Solheim applied for the patent in June of 2011. “We’ve already seen it with the groove rule and the proposed rule banning anchoring. We continue to hear whispers of more changes. But as we’re also reading on the proposed anchoring ban, many directly involved in the game favor more equipment options, not fewer. I’m looking for ways to keep the game enjoyable for every level of golfer.”

Read both articles for the full details. It looks like interesting times ahead.

One thought on “Could handicaps be rated according to what golf balls are used?

  • I think at least they are on the right track.

    The golf ball technology needs to be reigned in no question. Golf courses cannot continuously be lengthened to accommodate technology.

    Golf drivers additionally should be added to the list so they don’t get out of hand.


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