fbpx
retief goosen roll back

Ban the 60-degree wedge! Does Retief Goosen hold the key to golf ball roll back?

Retief Goosen told NCG of his intriguing strategy to tackle golf ball roll back, a proposal masterminded by the sport’s governing bodies that could change the game as we know it…

 

Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen believes getting rid of 60-degree wedges is the solution to golf’s quarrel over distance.

The South African says the game could become “trickier” if the maximum loft in a player’s bag became 56 degrees which could force them to think more strategically about tee shots and re-consider hitting the ball as close to the green as possible.

Last December, the R&A and the USGA announced their plans to make all professional and amateur players use a shorter golf ball by updating the testing conditions used for conformance.

Players at the game’s top level could lose up to 15 yards in distance in a move that has received both hostile and supportive responses from players and industry figures.

The governing bodies are determined to address how far the ball travels to ensure golf remains sustainable in the coming years. Goosen, who now circulates the PGA Tour Champions, agrees with this in spirit but perhaps not in method.

“You don’t see anybody really hitting an iron off the tee anymore, just hit a driver down there,” he said to NCG.

“Personally, if they said instead of making the ball go shorter, if they said we’re getting rid of the 60-degree wedge, the maximum loft you’re allowed to have in your bag is a 56, that would’ve made a huge difference on these guys taking a driver and just ripping it down there 50 yards from the green.

“Now they’ve got a 64-degree wedge, you can hit the shot, but you can’t hit that shot with the 56-degree wedge. That would’ve forced them to really plan from the tee a little bit better, leaving yourself with a full 56 instead of trying to hit it 50 yards short of the green. But that’s my philosophy on a way to make the game a little trickier.

“That’s always been the case with some of them. Like Phil Mickelson, he will always hit a driver every time and get it there 50 yards from the green because he knows he’s got a 64-degree wedge that he can just lob straight up and stop it.

“If he had a 56-degree wedge, you couldn’t hit that shot, so you’d have no choice but to lay back a little. There are other things that have improved scoring too. At the end of the day, it’s all about scoring because scores are too low now and that’s why they want to bring the ball back and make the courses longer.”

retief goosen roll back

Retief Goosen: Roll back has come around with wide fairways and athletes

Those in favour of roll back have been somewhat drowned out by the opposition. Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas were among the first players to vocally oppose roll back plans, while equipment giants Titleist, TaylorMade and also the PGA Tour didn’t support the proposal.

However, some golf fans see roll back as the saviour of the sport’s most storied, traditional venues such as Augusta National which has expanded in recent years to cope with the most monstrous drives at the Masters.

Following a distinguished career that included seven PGA Tour wins and 14 DP World Tour wins, the 55-year-old Goosen has turned his hand to golf course design with projects such as The Legend Golf and Safari Resort in South Africa and Dayi Smokey Mountain Resort in China. As per his website, Goosen encourages golfers to think and doesn’t encourage golfers to hit the ball a long way.

But this is an issue that Goosen sees as a cause of the sport’s power move, stating that players will only try to hit the ball harder if the ballpark in front of them becomes wider. “Big and modern” golf courses are becoming the norm if you ask Goosen and venues such as the recently-visited Innisbrook, a tough track indeed, are sparingly used.

“Power has become such an issue with the players, all the golfers are now athletes really. You see the guys on tour now working out specifically exercising for golf, and it’s not like it was in the old days. You’d do a few push-ups and sit-ups and go to the bar, so it has become a power sport,” he said.

“The modern design of golf courses – I don’t understand the designs where they are going with these ultra-wide fairways and 540-yard par 4s and the guys are still hitting a driver and an 8 iron. If you keep building fairways that are 50 yards wide, the guys are just going to keep hitting it harder.

“Bringing the golf ball back now is also a thing where the players are like, hmm. Our poor guys on the Champions Tour are going to hit it even shorter.

“I honestly think the golf courses they play now, these massive fairways that are designed for marquees and crowds and all that stuff has encouraged all the players to hit it as hard as they can.

“All your old-style golf courses, they don’t play anymore either, it’s all this big modern stuff. So, you look at all the old-style courses. For instance, take Innisbrook in Florida, it’s one of the shorter courses on tour and the winning score is nine-under, you’ve got to shape the ball, you don’t have to hit driver.

“I think going narrower would’ve been better and more penal. At the end of the day, golf is accuracy but now the guys, with the fairways so far wide, they just hammer it.

“There are hardly any old-style courses now that they still play,” he added. “Everything is this modern 7,900 course, ultra-wide fairways, big greens. It’s none of those tricky courses anymore that really forces you to think a little bit off the tee instead of just bombing a driver down there.”

NOW READ: Hall of Famer Retief Goosen forecasts fearful future for the PGA Tour

NOW READ: Lee Westwood rallies for roll back: ‘Great drivers have lost their edge’

What do you make of this Retief Goosen roll back idea? Tell us on X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

Latest Posts

tony finau driver

News

Really? Tony Finau makes unusual equipment change at the Masters

By

Read full article about Really? Tony Finau makes unusual equipment change at the Masters

Shoes

Adidas S2G Spikeless Leather 24 Golf Shoe Review

By

Read full article about Adidas S2G Spikeless Leather 24 Golf Shoe Review
bryson dechambeau

News

‘It’s ridiculous’: Bryson DeChambeau takes on ‘roll back’ ball in must-watch vlog

By

Read full article about ‘It’s ridiculous’: Bryson DeChambeau takes on ‘roll back’ ball in must-watch vlog

Shoes

Duca Del Cosma Positano Golf Shoe Review

By

Read full article about Duca Del Cosma Positano Golf Shoe Review
Wilson Staff Model ZM wedge review

Wedges

Wilson Staff Model ZM wedge review

By

Read full article about Wilson Staff Model ZM wedge review

Hybrids

Mizuno ST-Max 230 Hybrid Review

By

Read full article about Mizuno ST-Max 230 Hybrid Review

News

Titleist Mini Driver? New Club Hits USGA Conforming List

By

Read full article about Titleist Mini Driver? New Club Hits USGA Conforming List
Ping G Le3 review

Drivers

The Most Forgiving Clubs For Women? Ping G Le3 Golf Club Review

By

Read full article about The Most Forgiving Clubs For Women? Ping G Le3 Golf Club Review

Launch Monitors

Rapsodo MLM2 Pro Launch Monitor Review

By

Read full article about Rapsodo MLM2 Pro Launch Monitor Review