Are you hitting it further too – part two?

bubba 4

“A perfectly straight shot with a big club is a fluke.”Jack Nicklaus

By Ian Hardie

In the post Are you hitting it further too? – which by the way

Is the only post out of the nearly 300 that are on Golf Habits at this point

That for whatever reason never formatted correctly but as I am a golf teacher

And actually have very little idea how all the website stuff really works – that’s just how it is

Anyway, you may recall that in that post I wrote about an interesting thing

That I had seen during the coverage of a PGA Tour event back in 2013

Which was a comparison of the driving distance of two players who were paired together

A pretty common thing to do during television coverage as you may be aware

Also common was the fact that the two players had virtually identical driving distances

One had an average of 285.7 yards and the other an average of 285.3 yards

What was fascinating though was that one of the players driving distance was from 1986

Which back then was long enough for him to be ranked first on the PGA Tour

The other player’s average driving distance though – had him ranked as

Tied for 143rd in driving distance on the PGA Tour in 2013

I suggested in the post that clearly some things must have changed over those 27 years

Last week I saw another example of just how much things have really changed in the game

While watching Bubba Watson hit his shot into the 18th green to set up his winning putt

In the 2014 Northern Trust Open played at the famed Riviera Country Club

The site of many great golf tournaments over the years, commonly known as ‘Hogan’s Alley’

Due to Hogan winning the Los Angeles Open (as the tournament was known in the 1940’s)

Three times, finishing second once – then winning the 1948 U.S. Open at the course as well

I’m not going to talk about Ben Hogan in this post though as I want to go

A little bit more modern and look at something that happened in the 1974 Los Angeles Open

Which featured a dramatic three way Sunday battle between a resurgent

Then 61-year-old Sam Snead, Dave Stockton and John Mahaffey

A birdie at the 17th hole astonishingly pulled 61 year old Snead within one of the lead

Before Stockton went on to win the title as a result of playing

The most memorable shot in the tournament’s history (at that point in time)

After his drive on the 18th had finished in the rough – Stockton went on to play

A 244 yard 3 wood from the left rough to within 12 feet of the flag on the 18th hole

Now I must point out that I haven’t been able to find out how long the hole was playing then

But I have found that in 2004 the 18th at Riviera was lengthened by 24 yards

Stretching the par 4 hole to its current length of 475 yards

Which makes what I saw Bubba Watson do last week even more astounding

Facing the slight uphill tee shot on the 18th with a one shot lead

He calmly knocked his drive down the middle of the fairway

And hit a smooth pitching wedge that finished 15 feet to the right of the pin

Just read that again, to let it sink in a for a bit and you will realise

That for the best golfers in the world

40 years of development in all areas of the game – including lengthening old courses

Have turned a solid par 4 hole from a drive and a three wood

Into a simple drive and a wedge

The big question is – are you hitting it further too?

Play well

 

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