This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

shafts and the use of forging machines (presses) for iron heads and carving machines for wood heads fueled their growth. (The carving ma- chines had been originally designed to create wooden gunstocks and were adapted to the new purpose.) In the mid 1960s, manufacturers generally introduced new club models every five years. There was very little difference in their products, since every club maker had the same factory equipment and the differences in club design were more aesthetic than performance-based. Golf- ers used to buy new clubs roughly every five years, so the manufacturers would change their models slightly to keep their happy custom- ers from looking elsewhere. As I said, this was the

era when small, privately owned companies were dominant. Hogan, Ha- gen, Ram, Faultless and Shakespeare were a few who were soon to merge with such larger compa- nies as Spalding, Wilson and MacGregor. Many of these larger companies had a complete line of golf products including balls. Acushnet, maker of Titleist, was one of a few ball-only companies. Few of the manufacturers were public companies, and meet- ings of the ball and club manufacturers’ associations were friendly get-togethers because the market was healthy and growing. Marketing ideas were exchanged and even production processes were openly discussed, except for closely held secrets about ball production. This cha-

52 / NCGA.ORG / FALL 2012

rade was amusing to watch as there were no secrets, because the same material suppliers, winding machine manufacturers, and mold makers serviced the entire industry.

In the mid 1960s,

however, some new design concepts were introduced such as the less expensive solid-core two-piece ball, toe-heel weighting, and cavity-back clubs that were more forgiving than the standard blades, starting a new wave of competition. Start-ups were entering

the market with a single product and then expanding to other clubs. Examples of these are Ping (put- ter), Cleveland (woods and wedges), Cobra (bafflers, the utility wood), Callaway (Big Bertha) and Taylor-

be the main retailers, sell- ing sets to their members, the market shifted to large chains of sporting goods or golf specialty stores that buy in bulk and offer lower prices. Component parts manufacturers who sup- ply amateur club makers (numbering in the tens of thousands) have become a force as well. As the busi- ness concentrated into fewer hands and the financial con- sequences of unanticipated change became significant, the concomitant litigation problems became a fact of life for the ruling bodies. It behooves them to be in close communication with and take seriously the input of the manufacturers and their associations as they develop standards and con- sider new rules or changes.

Combined with the springlike effect of titanium-faced drivers, the multi-covered solid ball is close to a perfect product.

Made (metal drivers). These companies have subsequent- ly gone public or merged with bigger ones. Large public companies

now run the golf business, and the friendliness has gone the way of the persim- mon driver and wound ball. The business has become cutthroat and the market has stopped growing. As a result, they feel the need to innovate more rapidly and get their new products in front of the consumer before the competitors can get to market, in some case introducing a new model up to three times a year—in many cases with very little measureable change in performance. Where club pros used to

A logical sequence of events can make the transition to a rules change uneventful and relatively seamless. When a problem—real

or not—surfaces from whatever source, be it anec- dotal or perceptual, it is im- portant to define it clearly and quantify its magni- tude by gathering all the evidence available. Is any action really needed? This question must be resolved before even considering any proposed change. If the foregoing has been

satisfied, make the evidence available to everyone who might be affected by the change, for consideration and comment. This includes but is not limited to golfers at large, administrators, as-

sociations, and the industry. If everybody can see the proven reason for a change and understand the effect on the game as a whole, the transition will be rela- tively smooth. This kind of transpar-

ency is essential, and has been missing in the process recently. Today, it seems that once

a standard is proposed it is a done deal. Some input from the manufacturers have al- tered the numbers and even the implementation date, but not the overall concept and standard itself. This was not true in the past. Feed- back from golfers played a vital role in addressing the ban on steel shafts in 1924 and the adoption of a lighter ball in 1930, which was repealed later that year. To avoid the appearance of an autocratic process, the governors in 1976 included a “notice and comment” period so interested parties could present their views. This was effective during the adoption of the ODS in 1976 and also with the adoption of the symmetry rule for balls in 1980 and the reorganization of the rules and numerous changes in 1983. We had discussions with those who were most affected by the changes— explanatory, informative, and in most cases very amiable. The process started

falling apart in 1998 with the adoption of the limit on Coefficient of Restitution for clubs. Our instructions were to not say much but rather to listen, the implica- tion being that we should filter all input by consider- ing the speaker’s hidden

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76