Jack Nicklaus’s War on Golf Balls


Some people miss the good old days. And for golf legend Jack Nicklaus, those good old days ended when they stopped making golf balls out of goose feathers. In a recent article in Global Golf Post, Nicklaus is described as lashing out against modern golf balls. Why? Because they go to far, destroying the “pure” experience of playing historic courses like Merion in Pennsylvania. But lest we give this point of view too much heed, the same article has a thorough rebuke:

“People tend to confuse pro golf with major-championship golf. On the PGA Tour. birdies and eagles on perfectly manicured, sometimes poorly designed and uninteresting golf courses are the norm. The players like it, television likes it, and everybody is happy. Major-championship golf, on the other hand, is very different. It’s what you saw at Merion. Narrow fairways, deep rough, challenging green complexes. In regular pro golf. all a player is typically asked to do is bomb the ball toward the hole and make a few putts. Championship golf. on the other hand, requires sound strategic thinking, precise execution and a level of patience not typically found among today’s bombers.”

As it turns out, not even modern, distance optimized golf balls can make championship courses easier. In fact, they present a new set of challenges, making golf a game where accuracy is much more important. Though “The Golden Bear” might not agree, there are plenty of golfers who will still be challenged by the great courses with modern technology. And as long as Jack is up to it, why doesn’t he play a round at Merion with an 1800s era golf ball?

Image: NY Daily News