Tuesday, September 16, 2014

William Flynn on the Ball and Course Length

Joe Valentine and William Flynn

Growing up in Philly, I was a Flynn fan before anybody started talking about him. And, having worked at Merion for Richie Valentine whose father, Joe Valentine, was Flynn's construction foreman and successor as Superintendent upon Flynn's departure, I heard all of the Flynn stories along with some pretty good Dick Wilson stories. But, what I wanted to document in this post, was just how forward thinking Flynn was.

Here are his thoughts from 1927 on the ball and length of holes and golf courses.

Again the question of the ball has a great bearing on what type a certain length hole will be. Time was, and not so many years ago, when a hole 400 yards long on average ground was a good two-shot hole for the star players; now, the same hole is perhaps a drive and spade for the better class golfers.

In view of this the architect of today plans his full two-shot holes from 440 to 500 yards, depending on the character of the land and if the distance to be obtained with the ball continues to increase it will be necessary to increase the length of all holes on golf courses accordingly if the same standards of play are to be maintained.

All architects will be a lot more comfortable when the powers that be in golf finally solve the ball problem. A great deal of experi- mentation is now going on and it is to be hoped that before long a solution will be found to control the distance of the elusive pill.

If, as in the past, the distance to be gotten with the ball continues to increase, it will be necessary to go to 7,500 and even 8,000 yard courses and more yards mean more acres to buy, more course to con- struct, more fairway to maintain and more money for the golfer to fork out. 

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