Limit ball carry and use more par-threes: Jacklin

Fri May 15, 2015 4:11am EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Ryder Cup captain Tony Jacklin has called on golf's ruling bodies to take action over what he describes as the biggest divide that has ever existed between professional players and weekend hackers.

The sport is going through a worldwide crisis with courses closing down and amateurs leaving the game in their droves.

Jacklin believes more par-three layouts need to be built to encourage players back out on to the course and wants to limit the huge distances that top players hit the ball.

"There's never been a bigger divide between professional and amateur golf and I think the golf ball's the issue," the 1969 British Open and 1970 U.S. Open champion told Reuters in an interview.

"The pros are the only ones who really hit the ball in the backside every time and amateurs struggle to do that.

"Also a tremendous amount of golfers around the world are 50-plus. They come to that time in life when they ... get shorter in distance and less physically capable," said Jacklin.

"I think par-three golf offers a great opportunity for the social intercourse that's enjoyed by golfers."

The 70-year-old Englishman, who is redesigning the par-three layout at Magnolia Park Hotel, Golf and Country Club in Oxfordshire (, said it was not imperative to bludgeon the ball vast distances in order to enjoy the game.   Continued...

Tony Jacklin of England tees off on the first hole during the first round of the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am golf tournament in Haikou, China's Hainan province October 20, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu