Ball of the Future? Hopefully Not

The USGA has previously requested prototype "short" balls from the major manufacturers. The standard shorter ball got its debut at the Ohio Golf Association's tournaments in the form of a ball that flies approximately 15 yards shorter. The use of a short ball comes in effort to preserve the game of golf against bomb-and-gouge or driver-wedge play.

It is true that in this day and age, the average golfer can hit longer, straighter bombs off the tee due to pumped up drivers at 460 cc and a better golf ball. Of course, how many amateurs think the game is getting too easy? Maybe the game of the casual golfer is not destroying the game, (note: average handicap has seen little improvement in the last two decades), but is the birdie-fest that assaults courses on the professional golf tours a blow to the game?

The Ohio Golf Association, or O.G.A., sought out the answer to that question by requiring all competitors in their state championship to play a uniform ball. Competitors groans could not stop the OGA from forcing the ball on its competitors and the performance was of course drastically different The uniform ball not only flew 15 yards shorter than the players' normal V1X or HX Tour, but also did not produce nearly as much spin as the dominant balls on the marker. Despite the reversion in ball technology, scoring was still generally pretty good. Blake Sattler of the University of Akron fired two rounds of 67 to win the event by 9 strokes on a layout way over 6,822. Two low rounds by the victor do show some signs of a uniform ball being positive. Sattler said in response to the ball's affect on future ball uniformity, "I think it will move the idea forward. But this is just step one in a lengthy process." The ball used was produced by Volvik Golf is known only as the Volvik ProSpect, and could possibly be used in future competitions.

The use of uniform equipment is obviously not widespread, but the OGA's experiment certainly showed the potential of such requirements.

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