In theory, the golf ball should be shorter

Patrick Cantlay is a thoughtful person and if you ask him a good question, he will give you a good answer. Cantlay, sponsored by investment bank Goldman Sachs, shared a Q&A with CEO David Solomon, who also happens to be his partner at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, earlier this month.

The Q&A is well worth your time, but it was one of the last questions that caught our attention. When Cantlay was asked what to do with the golf ball, it was arguably the most comprehensive, thoughtful, and insightful response from any current player in an era when nearly all of them were paid supporters of the various golf ball companies and simply recited the company’s talking points on the topic. He began: “It is not a round question. This is a very difficult question. I will answer it in theory with the caveat that I am not going to implement it.”

“This is the hardest part of it. The automatic reaction is to do nothing. They might mess up the execution, so it wouldn’t be worth it,” he said.

“Theoretically, the golf ball should be shorter,” he continued, “Every golf course I go to has different tee boxes dating from 4-5 years ago when I visited the golf course. It got to the point where the tee boxes are really in the vicinity of The property, so much so, that Augusta National was buying up all of the adjacent pieces of the property so they could put in more tee boxes and change the holes.

“This is not sustainable. Isn’t that just if playing speed is one of your biggest concerns, how many golf courses do I go on a run where the tees go back 100 yards? They can’t continue in that direction.

Cantlay added: “Not only is the technology better, but the youngsters are trying to reach it further and further because the stats say that the more you advance with it, the better you play. Something he has to give.

“I think the biggest shame is that I can’t go to Cypress Point and play the course the way the designer designed the golf course to be played. The biggest problem for me is when we lose the architectural integrity of the golf course. We got to the point where we are. Something to give” .

But Cantlay reiterated his warning that he remains unconvinced that anything should be done due to concerns about implementation

He said “that can be everything”. “It makes everything I say irrelevant.”

The USGA and R&A are expected to provide an update to their Distance Insights report soon. Until then, the wait and debate continues over what to do with the golf ball.