Tony Jacklin calls for colour-coded golf balls, just like in squash

Jacklin urges golf's governing bodies to have one colour for the ball that goes furthest. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Fri, 2 Nov 2018

English golfing legend Tony Jacklin wants golf's governing bodies to follow squash and use colour-coded balls to distinguish the professional game from the amateur side when it comes to distance off the tee. 


Jacklin, 74, has urged the sport to make those changes in the light of monster hitter Cameron Champ's maiden PGA Tour victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship last week.

Champ, 23, currently averages close to 330 yards off the tee and appears certain to be one the Tour's longest drivers for years to come. Last year on the Tour, Champ averaged more than 340 yards off the tee! 

"Cameron is like a lot of guys on tour these days, they smash it a mile," said two-time major champion Jacklin.

"And most courses are set up to allow them to do it because there is no premium on accuracy any more.

"It seems like everyone has bowed to new technology. The ball goes miles which also means we need longer golf 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.

"Let's have one colour for the ball that goes the furthest, then cut the distance 20 or 30 percent and use a different colour. You would get round quicker while courses would be shorter and less expensive to run."

Squash balls for senior players come in six varieties, each with different levels of bounce denoted by coloured dots. For younger players, there are a number of mini-squash balls that have a high, prolonged bounce.

"It's become a bit ridiculous," said Jacklin, the most successful captain in the history of the Ryder Cup.

"The skill of the game, shaping shots, keeping the ball in the fairway, they were attributes that used to be very important.

"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.

"It's a sad reflection on the game the likes of Peter Thomson, Bobby Locke, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus used to play."