NEWS FLASH: Gutta Percha Ball to be used at The St Andrews Open

Good news … at long last the R&A have decided to halt the advancement of technology and the need for longer and longer golf courses. Finally we can get back to how golf used to be played.

Last week I spoke to some of my golf course architect friends during the European Institute of Golf Course Architects conference held in St Andrews and many said if things carry on the way they were going, they would be designing 9000 yard courses by 2015!

Experts around the world have said for the last 20 years, that changes have to be made to the ball, and that’s exactly what has happened.

This morning the R&A will announce the reintroduction of the Gutta Percha ball, effective from Thursday 15th July 2010.

To begin with only professionals playing in R&A sanctioned events will be forced to play the affectionately known “Gutty”.

Interestingly this type of ball is made by boiling and then molding the latex-like sap from trees native to the Maylay peninsula. Rumour has it that Titleist have been working closely with a supplier in South East Asia, in a bid to secure the best crop of Sapodilla trees.

Robert Adams, CEO of Titleist, has already said on their Facebook page that they welcome this move by the game’s governing body and will be launching the new Titleist Gutty V1 in early May.

On a personal level it will great to see holes such as the par 5 5th hole ( “Hole O’Cross” ) on the Old Course play as a real 3 shoter during the Open in July.

Expect to see the full press release on the official R&A site later today at

Let me know your reaction by leaving a comment below. I understand not everyone will be happy with this new move.

74 Responses to “NEWS FLASH: Gutta Percha Ball to be used at The St Andrews Open”

  1. Joe says:

    Way to go, Andy. I told my golf buddy months ago about your gutty story, and he didn’t believe it. I noticed at the Open this year that you were wrong, and I didn’t clue in that this was an April Fool’s joke until today, July 18.
    May all your shots end up in pot bunkers.

  2. Gary says:

    Andy, I rang the Titleist rep and have organized for a few cartons of the new Gutty’s. He is going to deliver them on one of their flying pigs.

    I have had a bit of fun with your story at the Club.



  3. Roger garrett says:


    I couldn’t agree more with this move. Jack Nicklaus was advocating just this as early as the ’80’s. We are running out of areas big enough to accommodate a modern golf course. In the long run does it matter if a good drive is only 180 yds. and not the enormous distances achieved with today’s technology? It also makes it easier to follow the flight of the ball, particularly for those of lesser visual accuity.


  4. Tom Stewart says:

    And a happy 1stApril to you Andy.

    Mind you things do come round again, think of the advantage us ancient golfers would have with our experience of playing the “Gutty” in our youth

  5. john bridge says:

    and april fool to you to

  6. andy says:

    nice one andy you had me going there. i even looked at the r&a website, well done andy

  7. Mike W says:

    What about hickory shafts?

  8. Fiona Govan says:

    Thanks Andy, you did get me and to think I passed it on to my brother-in-law who is a senior professsional saying that “Hey, perhaps there is hope for him yet!”

    What an idiot!!


  9. Rich Moskyok says:

    I have this feeling that your finding is an April Fools joke, as even if the ball could be produced I think the monster swing speed players of today would tear these balls appart. Either way, happy April Fools Day to you, and a happy Easter to you also. Thanks for all the information you have provided me.

  10. Jeremiah Minifield says:

    Happy April Fools Day.

  11. Michael says:

    Dear Andy,

    It is now 2/4/10 here in Australia but we can recognise an April fools joke as well as anyone.

    Good luck


  12. Jens says:

    Hi Andy,

    You realy fooled me with this one.

    Best regards


  13. Brian says:

    Hi Andy

    Happy April 1st to you also.

    I am still using the gutta ball-I haven’t lost a ball for over 20 years!!

  14. Greg says:

    April 1 comes early in St. Andrews, I guess, or Andy needs to imbibe in a few less pints at the Royal I Wish Inn! It would be great to watch the pros struggle to hit the ball any further than I do!

    I thought the European Tour was falling into a sticky wick, but this would put it on par with the North Korean and Tibetan PGA Tours!

  15. Al says:

    A different ball for every age ,, why not ,, as we get older a ball that goes 10 yards farther for each 10 years of chronological age as each golfer gets older,, regulations and more solutions ..would be great for us with some of that chronological stuff ..

  16. David says:

    Happy April Fools Day, Andy. I’ve just dug out my old hickory shafted clubs. Does this mean that the R&A will go back to the old entry rules which let old fogies like me play and show El Tigre how it’s done.

  17. Gary Williams says:

    This is a step in the right direction; but only a step. If we really want to make golf more accessible to the masses living in the inner cities and to old men with gimpy knees like me, we need to adopt the wiffle-ball-like plastic practice ball with holes in it for regulation play. That would allow a course to be built in the space, roughly, of a vacant city block; and I could even walk a round. Of course, I expect intense resistance from the golf cart industry.

  18. maurice says:

    Hi, April fool to you too!!!!!
    Cheers Maurice

  19. Brian Jones says:

    Ho, Ho Ho !! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  20. jim says:

    I think it is a good idea.!!!!

  21. Simon Leach says:

    Bring back hickory shafts and mashie niblicks!

  22. Bill Burch says:

    Good April Fools joke.
    However, it would fun to see how the professionals of today would score on the Old Course.
    On another note, bring back the BALATA balls. In some ways TECHNOLOGY has made scoring easy and scores to low.


  23. Todd says:

    Wow! Andy I never thought I would have even MORE detailed info than you, but apparently you missed the second half of that news release. Not only will they reintroduce the Gutty, it will also be CUBE shaped so that course designers can finally create par 3’s with 90+ degree doglegs!! It’s a brilliant piece of sporting fun on the part of the R&A that should add a dynamic new element to the game. I wouldn’t want to be a spectator standing tee-side when that first shot in struck though…ouch! Thanks for the chuckle, Andy! Cheers!

  24. Skip says:

    And a Happy April Fools Day to you too, Andy. Great joke!

  25. Randy B says:

    April Fools Day from here in America!!

  26. THOM says:


  27. Owen Barnes says:

    You forgot to mention that these “new” Gutta Percha balls are only for play on April 1st. They are illegal for the other 364 days of the year.

  28. diane says:

    It is April 1st!!!!!!!!!

  29. Anne says:

    You had me there for a few secs…worrying about rubber trees!

  30. Kevin says:

    Good April fool’s Andy.

    Although it might be an idea to force the pros to use the ‘guttys’ and us mere mortals to use the technologically advanced balls to try and narrow the gap between the pros and the amateurs.

    All the best,

  31. George says:

    Yea, sure it’s the 1st of April (April Fool’s Day) in Canada as well. Hey we drive for show and putt for dough. With this old ball if indeed it is re-introduced back into the game will sure change that along with a number of others including the game. JD’s drive will now only be 150 yards, boy that’ll be something to watch won’t it.

  32. Lynda Henderson says:

    I think its a great idea, look how modern technology has ruined tennis, golf should not be all about big hitters and big clubs, it should be about touch and skill not brute force. I say good on the powers that be bring it on.

  33. trev says:

    happy April fools every one

    Trev ireland

  34. Eric Lasker says:

    Hi Andy,
    What does this mean as far as my ” lake balls ” are concerned? Are Golf Clubs expected to adopt this ruling as obligatory in the not too distant future?



  35. Tom says:

    Hi Andy,

    In speaking with a local golf course designer, she said that a high percentage of golf courses are land locked and don’t have the real estate to be lengthened. Something had to be done, hence the V grooves and now the golf ball.

    I think this is good news…


  36. Peter says:

    All sport have different changes in equipment. Why single out golf? Don’t you think what applies for the one sport should also apply for all the others, example look at bikes, mountain bikes, tennis rackets and so forth. what applies for the pro golfers I think then should also apply to all other golfers, to make it interesting. It can then only improve everybody’s game. don’t you think the long hitters must still learn to chip and putt. I know many young pros that can’t.

  37. Ragnar Nilsson says:

    Hi Andy, I understood your first April joke directly.

    I cheeted my wife this morning that I had won a trip to the south poole by boat. To get to the poole itself, we would go by scooters. And right in the middle of the poole, there would be a longdrive competition with only one shot. The one who won the competition would get a trip to the north poole next year. My wife belived in me and I had a good morning.

    Best regards

    Ragnar Nilsson

    Knivsta, Sweden

    PS. I will make a golftrip to Italy (Parco de’ Medici) next week to start up my season. DS.

  38. Loof Lirpa from Finland says:

    Thanks for this breaking news!

  39. Paul Sanderson says:

    Great try Andy – Happy April Fool’s Day to you too!!

  40. Bob says:

    And April Fool to you! Best wishes

  41. Malcolm Blair says:

    good try Andy It’s April 1st today

  42. Bob says:

    And a happy First of April to you too!!

  43. John says:

    Hi Randa (nice Anagram) I think the above say’s it all, but on a serious note? why not make the Pros play with limited distance balls instead of playing to their strenghts, and making courses longer….Duh, surely tighter is the answer not longer, I was thinking of the opening drives of Woods & Mickleson last year at the Masters, It was like the Red Arrows starburst display, miles off line both of them and if I am remembering right they both had pars! can not be right at that level
    Regards John

  44. Michael Black says:

    Ha Ha

    Nearly as good as the double headed maggot featured in Angling Times nearly 30 years ago!

    It’s still a good idea though!

  45. Terry Jones says:

    It is april fools day here in South Africa as well as in Scotland, so do not really believe your press release.

    In any event a gutty would not make much difference to my game, the way I am playing at the moment.

  46. Ian Rudge says:

    Hi Andy,
    If only I could believe it!!!

  47. Dave Twycross says:

    I personally believe we should go back to the original ball stuffed with feathers, we could all then carry a small kit of bits and when we lose our last ball just stuff another one to suit the conditions. We could even carry a small gun and shoot a pheasant for the freshest possible ball with maximum rebound.
    In case your wondering I’m not a pheasant plucker, I’m a pheasant pluckers son, I’m only plucking pheasants cos I’ve run out of nike number ones.

  48. sean says:

    April Fools day I think !!!!!!!!!!

  49. Trevor Hyde says:

    Nice try, Andy, but I don’t think many will be fooled by this. First of the month’s greetings!

  50. Mick says:

    Morning Andy It’s a lovely April Fools Day here in Sussex !! Wishing you a very happy Easter.

  51. Mike S says:

    Smiles, and a happy April Fool’s day to you as well. Hit them long and straight….or at least straight.

    Sacramento, California

  52. Ken turner says:

    Hi Andy , have you seen the price of these balls, ($198 ) and that is for old ones!.

    Regards Ken.

  53. Neil Mossman says:

    Hi Andy,

    You had me for a mo,Then I looked at the date.Very good

    Thanks Neil

  54. Derek says:

    very funny – the gutty was one of the first golf balls to be introduced – goes about 3 yards when whit with a driver

    Good april 1st jipe


  55. jock says:

    Nice one Andy. You have a great April too.

  56. Richardd in NZ says:

    April Fool ha,ha,ha, but seriously Imagine they had to play with the same ball and clubs from Bobby Lockes’ days:-)

  57. Raghu says:

    Hi Andy,

    April fool or not, it is about time we did something to make the game more skillfull than a matter of power. In fact they should do that for tennis too. I just cant imagine 350 yard drives, when, not so long ago we had beer over just one 200 yd drive in a round!

    Raghu, India

  58. John Grey says:

    By the time you were out of bed this morning, Andy, April Fool’s day had been & gone in New Zealand – but I await news of the bamboo shafted drivers to be released soon by some enterprising Scotsman.

  59. Gary says:

    Hi Andy: It is March 31 where I am writing this but it is April 1 where you are. I enjoy your commentary. Thanks.
    Moraga, California

  60. Russell says:

    Interesting that you scored some believers, in spite of the date. Well done.

  61. Ray C says:

    Very good Andy . All joking aside though , it is time that the pros were reined in a bit so that we , once again , all played the same game . By the way . . . . what do the Scots think of Global warming now?!?!?

  62. Rob says:

    Joyeux “Poisson d’avril” de la belle Corse!



  63. peter roberts says:

    Oh that it were true. The we would see the world’s best struggling to reach long par fours like the rest of us mere mortals.
    Well done Andy!

  64. peter brown says:

    In New Zealand we get the April Fools treatment ahead of the rest

  65. Geoff says:

    Happy April Fool’s

  66. Bob Crawford says:

    Andy:I tried but could not get past this page. Sorry, have a good day.It must be April 1st. ,your time , by now. BobC

  67. Bob Crawford says:

    Andy: Your a day early or is it ApriL 1 in good old St. Andrews now. Actually , sounds like agreat idea. Jack Nicklaus has been talking about a new ball for some time. Have a good day. BobC

  68. Barry T says:

    Hi Andy,

    Sounds like a good April’s Fool joke to me too! Have a good Easter.

    Barry, Auckland NZ

  69. Peter says:

    Sure and you’ll be tellin’ us that next year we will all be limited to a driver, mashie, niblick and putter… and with hickory shafts to boot. Happy April Fool’s Day!

  70. Robert Butler says:

    It’s April Fool’s Day in Australia

  71. John says:

    Hi Andy,

    We could go back to hitting with sticks or wooden shafts also. Even with all the technology the average score for the average player has really not changed that much over the last twenty years and as for the pro’s why are they not all shooting in the fifties. Until tiger came along scores were pretty much the same as the seventies, give or take a stroke or two. I think this is much to do about nothing and gutta percha is a supply problem also.

    By the way even though I’m a American I have played Glen Eagles many times it is by far one of the prettiest courses in the world. I love playing there Andy and your country is just fantastic.



  72. Peter Brown says:

    Hi Andy what is a “Gutty Ball’ and what will it do for the game of golf?

  73. Brett says:

    And happy April fools to you too!

  74. Steve says:

    Andy … I totally agree, it will be a welcome change … let’s get back to the essence of the game.


    Perth, Australia

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