Webb Simpson: "I Don't Think Equipment Is The Problem"

The 2012 US Open winner says golf courses need more doglegs, tighter fairways, thicker rough and smaller, firmer greens

Webb Simpson: "I Don't Think Equipment Is The Problem"
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 2012 US Open winner says golf courses need more doglegs, tighter fairways, thicker rough and smaller, firmer greens

Webb Simpson: "I Don't Think Equipment Is The Problem"

The R&A and USGA announced that the organisations are considering bifurcation, with maximum driver shaft lengths set to be introduced into the pro and elite amateur games.

The governing bodies have also proposed new testing measures on golf balls and driver faces to reduce hitting distances.

However, one high-profile pro says that distance isn't a problem and that the real issue is golf course design.

Webb Simpson says that he doesn't think equipment is the issue and that architects need to design more doglegs, as well as tighter fairways, longer rough and smaller, firmer greens.

"My first problem I have with the driver length is if a 6'10" really good golfer comes out, like are we really going to tell him he can't use anything longer than 46?" Simpson said.

"So that's my only problem with the length of the driver.

"But I've been kind of saying for the last few years, I don't think equipment is the problem.

"Jack Nicklaus hit it a lot further than Bobby Jones, and then the guys after Jack are going to hit it further than Jack.

"Distance was never really that big of an issue when Jack was playing and hitting it 300 yards.

"I just think the issue comes down to golf course architecture.

"We need more doglegs. We need tighter fairways. We need longer rough. We need smaller greens. We need more firm greens.

"All those things I just named save money, saves water, saves land that you have to build a golf course.

Related: Montgomerie calls for birfurcation - "Something has to be done"

"We know that 8,000-yard golf courses are not the answer.

"Books Koepka shot 16-under at Erin Hills. I believe that's what he shot.

"Lengthening courses is not the issue.

"Bunker placements, doglegs, tree placements.

"I even think at Augusta on 13 we don't need that tee 40 yards back.

"What they need is a mid-sized tree 20 yards in front of the tee box and five feet left of the tee box because the issue right now is guys can tee it up on the right and they can even cut it, some of these guys, over the tree. Well, if you put a tree there guys can't do that.

"It's just like the 4th hole this year at Winged Foot; it's a dogleg left par-4 but there's a tree there with branches so the bombers can't hit their cut over that bunker, so a lot of the bombers just hit 3-wood.

"So I really think the attention does not need to be on equipment or the golf ball.

"Billy Horschel had a great comment a couple years ago. He said the golf ball is not an issue; I hit a 7-iron in college 180 yards and now I hit it 180 yards, so it can't really be the golf ball is the problem.

"Now, the driver, the face is a lot thinner. They're bigger. I understand that.

"But I don't think an equipment rollback does anybody any good when we can change the way golf courses are designed and it's better for amateurs, it's better for pros, and there are plenty of golf courses on the PGA Tour that have stood the test of time because of the way they're designed.

"Equipment advances don't really pay off or pay a dividend on those courses, and I just feel like these tweaks we could make are really not that hard and they're cost effective.

"I respect the USGA and R&A a great deal, and I know that their intentions are great, but I don't think an equipment rollback is what we need.

"I think we need to tweak our golf courses."

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x