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Modern balls have ruined ‘the balance between the club and the course’: Mike Clayton


Space age advancements in golf ball technology means modern professionals thump the ball distances never imagined by those who designed the world’s most iconic courses.

It’s a fact not lost on Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley, who used his pre-Masters press conference to apply pressure on the USGA to address the serious issues relating to the modern ball.

Courses like Augusta have been forced to renovate, lengthening some holes and redesigning in the face of powerful distance hitters dominating the game. Augusta have made what they deem necessary changes, however Ridley says “Amen Corner (13th hole) is a sacred place in the world of golf. I am hesitant to move too quickly in that regard.”

Speaking with Drive host Mark Allen, course designer Mike Clayton says “The balance between the club and the course is completely out of whack.”

“While people hold out some hope that the R&A and USGA will do their job in trying to defend the golf course and the skill it takes to play them, Augusta really is the one place that could just introduce a tournament ball,”

“If they got fed up with what’s going on and went to Callaway and Taylor Made and Tietlist and said, ‘here are the rules, make us a ball for the players” he said.

“If the companies refuse to do it then they would go to someone else and get a ball made and say ‘boys, if you want to play in the Masters this year, here’s what you’re going to play with.”

Clayton says golf’s governing bodies are concerned that introducing restrictions for ball technology, or even mandating a tournament ball, would attract legal action from the cashed up golf companies who manufacture the ball.

“That’s their fear, but hopefully Augusta can fire that shot and get them to finally do something about it.”

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