• PGA Tour

Nicklaus blames equipment for slow play

ESPN staff
July 31, 2013
Jack Nicklaus says the golf ball is to blame for slow play © Getty Images

Jack Nicklaus has contended that golfers are not the reason for the slow play currently blighting the game, but the advancements in the game's technology.

Nicklaus, a record 18-time major champion, believes new golf equipment - particularly the ball - that is designed to go further is forcing clubs to lengthen their courses.

"The main culprit in slow play, to me, is the golf ball and the distance the golf ball goes," Nicklaus confirmed.

"It's the difficulty of the golf course, the length of the golf course and the distance the golf ball goes, and you're playing a lot of golf course, and it takes more time.

ESPN comment

  • While you have to respect Jack for defending his fellow players, he obviously has not been unfortunate enough to be part of a gallery following someone like Keegan Bradley and his mind-numbingly sluggish pre-shot routine. It is well known in golf circles that these guys will take as long as they can until asked to speed up. They are very much part of the problem.
  • Alex Perry

"Golf used to take three hours, three and a half hours. At the Open Championship, you used to play the last round in three hours or less. Today they take close to five hours.

"The more time it takes to play it, the harder it is on the public to watch."

Nicklaus, speaking to the PGA of America, also believes the problem will filter down to the grass roots game.

"It is harder for the pros to become role models for the young people watching who are going to emulate a pro and copy what he does. And all of a sudden that kid takes five hours, five-and a half hours, and it just sort of escalates right through the game," Nicklaus said.

And when asked what he would do to solve the issue, Nicklaus added: "If we went back and left equipment alone but changed the golf ball and brought it back, you played a shorter golf course, not only from the Tour standpoint would it be good, but a shorter golf course all through the game would mean less maintenance cost, less cost to play the game, quicker play, less land, less fertilizer, less everything, which would make the game more economical."

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