As long as I can remember, there has always been restrictions on golf equipment. From the metal in my golf head to the grip which I hang on to. This has never made any sense to me. Don’t we want to see players performing with the best possible equipment? I do.
Recently, Phil Mickelson fell under fire for using a Ping wedge which no longer conforms to USGA regulation (read here). Ridiculous. For a struggling sport, the USGA seems to be throwing a lot of road blocks in the way of golf’s recovery. Would it be so awful if we saw better play because better equipment was being used? And, would it be cheating if they all had the same equipment? I think not. Golf needs to be more exciting.
Remember in the late 90’s when baseball was seriously struggling? Attendance was down and people criticized the sport for being too slow. Then, 2 roid monkeys, Mark Mcgwire and Sammy Sosa came along and changed everything. They started treating baseball stadiums like the 200 ft fields you grew up playing little league on. They brought excitement back to the game, and with it, attendance, jersey sales and a love that had been dormant for a couple decades. It was a great time to be a baseball fan. However, they were eventually called cheaters for violating the leagues drug policy, and their achievements were tainted forever. However, baseball ended up recovering and is still doing well today.
Golf needs something similar. It needs something that can keep people interested. Something more fun. What golf doesn’t need is more innovative equipment, more rules on equipment, and more tradition. Maybe instead of these things, golf needs a needle. Hey, it worked for baseball.