Tony Jacklin reckons he has found a solution to golf’s great distance debate – colour-coded balls.
The two-time major champion believes the sport could learn a thing or two from squash, which offers balls in six varieties for senior players, each with different levels of bounce denoted by coloured dots. Younger players, meanwhile, can use a number of mini-squash balls that have a high, prolonged bounce.
Jacklin, the most successful European Ryder Cup captain of all time, believes that golf could adopt this approach in a bid to better regulate the distance that top pros are now hitting the ball.
"Let's have one colour for the ball that goes the furthest, then cut the distance 20 or 30% and use a different colour,” he told Reuters. “You would get round quicker while courses would be shorter and less expensive to run.
"It seems like everyone has bowed to new technology. The ball goes miles which also means we need longer courses, making them more expensive to maintain and having the negative impact of taking more time to play 18 holes.
"Meanwhile, the amateur game seems much the same as it ever was. I believe we could start to adapt by going the way of squash and using different colour-coded golf balls for the professionals and for the amateurs.”
Jacklin added that the modern game has become “a bit ridiculous” and believes that much of the art of playing golf has been lost.
“The skill of the game, shaping shots, keeping the ball in the fairway – they were attributes that used to be very important,” he said. "Nowadays, you just need to be blessed with a big, strong body and a putting stroke. Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm – they're all big hitters.
"The R&A and the USGA need to do something about the ball but they are frightened the manufacturers will start gunning for them if they make the decisions that need to be made."