SAN DIEGO — Even in early December, the sun shines most of the time, and this week the temperature has been in the high 60s at the Torrey Pines municipal golf courses. No one living east of Arizona is going to feel sorry for members of the Torrey Pines Men’s Club, but the group’s golfers will tell you that this is their least favorite time of year. It’s rough growing season on the South and North courses as the site prepares to host the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open in late January.
Searching for balls in the unmowed, five-inch jungle becomes a predictable and maddening part of any round—so much so that the starters offer a reminder on the first tee to spend no more than a minute looking for a ball, lest your noon tee time come to an end with you playing by your phone’s flashlight.
In other words, golf is challenging enough at Torrey Pines, so when the players in the men’s club hear that they might be further taxed by a rule that will make their golf balls fly shorter—well, they’re about as happy as playing behind picture-taking tourists from Iowa.
“I don’t want to be too dramatic about this, but I can ill afford to lose any yardage,” Larry Prosi, the 79-year-old president of the TPMC, said this week in advance of the USGA and R&A formally announcing their plans for a universal rollback of the golf ball. “If you’re taking away the enjoyment of the game, why?”
Added Roy Burchill, 70, a former TPMC president, “We all focus on length and hitting the ball as far as we can. We aren’t the problem. It’s the guys on tour hitting it 340 and 350 yards, playing golf courses as they were not designed to be played.
“We have to follow the rules,” he added, “but no one is saying the LPGA is hitting the ball too far. I think we’re focusing on less than 1 percent of the golfers in the world, and to change the rules based on them, I don’t support that.”
This article was originally published on golfdigest.com