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Devil Ball Golf

Golf cart, long putter among golf’s controversial changes

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We like to think of golf as a timeless game, one not innately dissimilar to the one Old Tom Morris played all those decades ago. But in truth, the game has had fits of dramatic change, and, this being golf, those changes weren't often welcomed with open arms.

Golf Digest's Jaime Diaz has offered up his choices for the five most controversial innovations in the game's history. And while some have stuck, some are gone forever, perhaps with good reason.

Take, for instance, croquet-style putting, where the golfer stands astride his putting line and then putts the ball forward. The USGA banned the style in 1967, and then-executive director Joe Dey explained the decision with a quote that would get him eaten alive today: "The game of golf was becoming bizarre. It was some other game, part croquet, part shuffleboard and part the posture of Mohammedan prayer."

Also included: long putters, which are still around, of course; golf carts, specifically the Casey Martin situation; and oversized drivers. Arnold Palmer -- you know, the fella in the cart there -- endorsed such drivers for "recreational" play, sending the USGA into fits.

It's a fine little list, worth checking out at Golf Digest's site. Just don't read it croquet-style.

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