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USGA and R&A say distance needs to be reigned back in

USGA/R&A Distance Report  

100 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these has made the biggest contribution to distance gains on Tour in the last 30 years?

    • Ball technology
      32
    • Driver tech/fitting
      20
    • Fitness
      33
    • Launch monitor optimization
      4
    • Course conditions
      11
  2. 2. Is too much distance a problem on the Tour?

    • Yes
      44
    • No
      56
  3. 3. Is too much distance a problem for amateurs?

    • Yes
      6
    • No
      94
  4. 4. Which best represents your solution to the distance issue?

    • There's no issue. Keep things the way they are.
      19
    • Bifurcate: roll back the balls/clubs for the Tour, but leave the amateur equipment alone
      12
    • Change course conditions on Tour: taller grass, narrower fairways, etc.
      65
    • Roll back balls/clubs for everyone
      4
  5. 5. If the USGA rolls back the ball for everyone, would you switch to the new ball?

    • Yes
      38
    • No
      62


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Should distance be brought back in?

The results from the two year study are in.  USGA and the R&A say that distance increases are hurting the game.

Personally, some guys just hit the ball further than others and nothing will change that.  Equipment changes will still leave the longer hitters hitting further.  Reward accuracy and make missing fairways rough (pun intended).  Webb Simpson is in the bottom half of the PGA driving distance stat, yet is one of, if not the, hottest players on tour over the past year.  What say you?

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Long hitters are still going to be long and short will be shorter

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https://www.golfdigest.com/story/dustin-johnson-hit-jack-nicklaus-old-1-iron-and-persimmon-driver-really-really-far

 

The real question is how do we stop these elite athletes from playing golf?

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17 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/dustin-johnson-hit-jack-nicklaus-old-1-iron-and-persimmon-driver-really-really-far

 

The real question is how do we stop these elite athletes from playing golf?

I will say that while I am 100% against bifurcation, I am starting to believe that rolling back the ball some may become necessary. Not because it flies to far, simply because golfers in general are just swinging faster. Believe it or not we are just at the beginning of the "fitness revolution" in golf. Yes Tiger did it 20+ years ago but we are now seeing the younger generation that watched him take on the game. Take Phil for example, he has increased CHS at the age of 49. It is the evolution of the human. Golf is different from other sports in regards to this. If you look at Olympic athletes, they run faster, jump higher and throw farther than their predecessors, this is fine for their sport, however it creates huge problems in the world of golf. IMO the problem doesn't revolve as much around equipment as it does the evolution of the golfer. I'm 43 and swing faster today than I did when I was 25. We may not like but it is probably time to seriously look at how golf looks 50 years from now, as CHS continues to increase.  

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24 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/dustin-johnson-hit-jack-nicklaus-old-1-iron-and-persimmon-driver-really-really-far

 

The real question is how do we stop these elite athletes from playing golf?

Right. I just looked at the OWGR from the start of 1999. Tiger at the top, but there's no one else in the top 10 who I would have considered an "elite physical specimen." And even late 90s Tiger wasn't the same athlete that he is now.

Give Koepka, DJ or Rory a few days to practice with some 1999 equipment and they'd still blast the ball by a lot of those top 10 players.

Water the fairways, cut down on roll, grow out the rough if you want to make it more than bomb and gouge. 

 

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1 minute ago, THEZIPR23 said:

I will say that while I am 100% against bifurcation, I am starting to believe that rolling back the ball some may become necessary. Not because it flies to far, simply because golfers in general are just swinging faster. Believe it or not we are just at the beginning of the "fitness revolution" in golf. Yes Tiger did it 20+ years ago but we are now seeing the younger generation that watched him take on the game. Take Phil for example, he has increased CHS at the age of 49. It is the evolution of the human. Golf is different from other sports in regards to this. If you look at Olympic athletes, they run faster, jump higher and throw farther than their predecessors, this is fine for their sport, however it creates huge problems in the world of golf. IMO the problem doesn't revolve as much around equipment as it does the evolution of the golfer. I'm 43 and swing faster today than I did when I was 25. We may not like but it is probably time to seriously look at how golf looks 50 years from now, as CHS continues to increase.  

What problem does it cause in the world of golf? Scores aren’t dropping on tour in any sort of astronomical rate and really aren’t dropping much at all. 
 

mic ourses are worries about being obsolete then stop having wide firm and fast fairways.

Also the longest guys on tour aren’t winning every week. 

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For those interested, here's the text of the report and conclusions:

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2020/distance-insights/DIPR-FINAL-2020-usga.pdf

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2020/distance-insights/SOC-FINAL.pdf

I don't have any real issue with portions of the conclusions.  As overall players' increases, courses are doing renovations to increase length, new courses are built longer, more acreage is required, more expenses for maintenance.  That all seems logical, hard to dispute.  Qualitative judgments as to whether increasing length off the tee means that certain skills are no longer needed, and whether that is good or bad for the game of golf, I'm not so sure.  But it makes sense that SOMEONE is observing trends, and is considering whether something needs to be done, and considering options as to what that something might be.  

It seems to me that the bulk of the concerns are based on golf at the highest levels, as the length off the tee on professional tours has increased substantially more than for amateurs.  Just a qualitative review on my part, but the ball rolls a long damn ways on most of those tour courses.  It seems to me that a simple and inexpensive fix would be to raise the fairway mowers just a bit, and put a little water down, and you'd see roll decrease by a bunch.  Of course, the pro tours, and the pro players, wouldn't want to see that, long drives draw attention.

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1 minute ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

What problem does it cause in the world of golf? Scores aren’t dropping on tour in any sort of astronomical rate and really aren’t dropping much at all. 
 

mic ourses are worries about being obsolete then stop having wide firm and fast fairways.

Also the longest guys on tour aren’t winning every week. 

We have seen the problems it causes, water, real estate etc.

I am not referring to the present time, I am referring to the future. I believe that we are just starting the increases that will change the game completely. More than we have seen ever before. It may be 10 years it may be 50 but it is my opinion that it is changing. 

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3 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

For those interested, here's the text of the report and conclusions:

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2020/distance-insights/DIPR-FINAL-2020-usga.pdf

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2020/distance-insights/SOC-FINAL.pdf

I don't have any real issue with portions of the conclusions.  As overall players' increases, courses are doing renovations to increase length, new courses are built longer, more acreage is required, more expenses for maintenance.  That all seems logical, hard to dispute.  Qualitative judgments as to whether increasing length off the tee means that certain skills are no longer needed, and whether that is good or bad for the game of golf, I'm not so sure.  But it makes sense that SOMEONE is observing trends, and is considering whether something needs to be done, and considering options as to what that something might be.  

It seems to me that the bulk of the concerns are based on golf at the highest levels, as the length off the tee on professional tours has increased substantially more than for amateurs.  Just a qualitative review on my part, but the ball rolls a long damn ways on most of those tour courses.  It seems to me that a simple and inexpensive fix would be to raise the fairway mowers just a bit, and put a little water down, and you'd see roll decrease by a bunch.  Of course, the pro tours, and the pro players, wouldn't want to see that, long drives draw attention.

I agree with this but the problem becomes water in general. It is becoming more scarce and expensive everyday. I work and live in AG country and water is the #1 concern without fail. 

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23 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

We have seen the problems it causes, water, real estate etc.

I am not referring to the present time, I am referring to the future. I believe that we are just starting the increases that will change the game completely. More than we have seen ever before. It may be 10 years it may be 50 but it is my opinion that it is changing. 

Again if they stop building longer just because of a perceived distance issue then they wouldn’t have to worry about real estate or water. There’s plenty of courses on tour that don’t have -20 something as the winning score. Stop giving the pros wide open fairways and no rough and the bomb and gouge mentality goes away but we all know the long ball is what draws tv viewership.

The increase in distance over the next 10 years is going to minimal. The best in the world aren’t adding significant carry distance year in and year out.

Rolling back isn’t going to solve any problems and unless they bifurcate rollback will hurt the growth of the game. The guy who hits his ball 230 now isn’t going to be happy that he only hits it 210 or less under new equipment/ball guidelines.

 

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40 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

I agree with this but the problem becomes water in general. It is becoming more scarce and expensive everyday. I work and live in AG country and water is the #1 concern without fail. 

No doubt that water is an issue, one reason to watch distance-related increases on maintained areas for golf courses.  Same thing with the cost for chemicals, equipment, and labor..  But I don't think it would be a huge deal for just the courses being used for pro events each week to apply a bit more water.

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47 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

For those interested, here's the text of the report and conclusions:

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2020/distance-insights/DIPR-FINAL-2020-usga.pdf

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2020/distance-insights/SOC-FINAL.pdf

I don't have any real issue with portions of the conclusions.  As overall players' increases, courses are doing renovations to increase length, new courses are built longer, more acreage is required, more expenses for maintenance.  That all seems logical, hard to dispute.  Qualitative judgments as to whether increasing length off the tee means that certain skills are no longer needed, and whether that is good or bad for the game of golf, I'm not so sure.  But it makes sense that SOMEONE is observing trends, and is considering whether something needs to be done, and considering options as to what that something might be.  

It seems to me that the bulk of the concerns are based on golf at the highest levels, as the length off the tee on professional tours has increased substantially more than for amateurs.  Just a qualitative review on my part, but the ball rolls a long damn ways on most of those tour courses.  It seems to me that a simple and inexpensive fix would be to raise the fairway mowers just a bit, and put a little water down, and you'd see roll decrease by a bunch.  Of course, the pro tours, and the pro players, wouldn't want to see that, long drives draw attention.

Professional golf is a job for these professionals, they are there to make a living and like any other pro athletes are going to work on honing their craft and and doing what they can to be better then everyone else. With that has come the dedication to physical fitness and getting the most out of their bodies. That isn’t going to stop.

On the amateur side it’s a hobby for the vast majority of the golfing population and the vast majority of those aren’t working out, practicing, working with a coach to improve their swing and so on. So it’s pretty easy to see and understand why distance on tour has increased while not really increasing on the amateur level.

As you mentioned tour courses have generous fairways and guys get lots of roll. Tour event layout can solve most of the issues. It doesn’t have to be US open tough but growing some rough and reducing the width of the fairways and having the second cut of rough be more penal.

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It doesn’t have to be US open tough but growing some rough and reducing the width of the fairways and having the second cut of rough be more penal.


That makes too much sense Ricky.
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16 minutes ago, bens197 said:

 


That makes too much sense Ricky.

 

I know right. Not sure what I was thinking applying that to the ruling bodies and tour 😂

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3 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/dustin-johnson-hit-jack-nicklaus-old-1-iron-and-persimmon-driver-really-really-far

 

The real question is how do we stop these elite athletes from playing golf?

The Webb Simpson example is a good one.  Webb, like Zach Johnson and a host of other average length tour players,  can win with other aspects of the game.  What they lack in distance just simply needs to be made up elsewhere - and a good many have done that. I do think they are still at a slight disadvantage but not sure how to go about leveling out the length question.  Many of us have said on other discussions that watching the "bomb and gouge tour" has become boring.  I think most would prefer to see the pros playing woods and long irons, on more holes, similar to how we play.  The USGA and RA saying it's time to reign in distance suggests to me it has more to do with not allowing advances in equipment further influence hitting lengths.  For example, in his prime, how far would Jack be hitting Dustin's driver and tour ball?

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I have three overriding thoughts.

I keep hearing the talking heads suggesting the women's professional game has only seen a 3 yard increase in distance over the past 20 years.  Yet, the USGA/R&A spreadsheet from today's release suggests that LPGA driving distance went from 239 in 1999 to 258 in 2019.  Somebody is misrepresenting the facts or lying. 

If the USGA/R&A roll back COR and/or driver head size, will the OEM's file a lawsuit?  Imagine starting over after years of research and development for a specific set of parameters!

Given the data clearly shows the lions share of gains in distance are from the most elite players in the game, shouldn't we implement mandatory testing for all equipment at every tournament stop before trying to reinvent the wheel?  I'd sure hate to see a rollback in equipment only to find out everyone on Tour is playing juiced equipment.

Just some thoughts!

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5 minutes ago, sixcat said:

I have three overriding thoughts.

I keep hearing the talking heads suggesting the women's professional game has only seen a 3 yard increase in distance over the past 20 years.  Yet, the USGA/R&A spreadsheet from today's release suggests that LPGA driving distance went from 239 in 1999 to 258 in 2019.  Somebody is misrepresenting the facts or lying. 

If the USGA/R&A roll back COR and/or driver head size, will the OEM's file a lawsuit?  Imagine starting over after years of research and development for a specific set of parameters!

Given the data clearly shows the lions share of gains in distance are from the most elite players in the game, shouldn't we implement mandatory testing for all equipment at every tournament stop before trying to reinvent the wheel?  I'd sure hate to see a rollback in equipment only to find out everyone on Tour is playing juiced equipment.

Just some thoughts!

The driver xander had that failed testing would have given him something like 1’ of extra distance with being 1 ct point over limit. Juiced drivers don’t really give as much advantage as people think 

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15 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

The driver xander had that failed testing would have given him something like 1’ of extra distance with being 1 ct point over limit. Juiced drivers don’t really give as much advantage as people think 

Maybe the driver alone doesn't but nobody is testing the balls these guys put into play!

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16 minutes ago, sixcat said:

I have three overriding thoughts.

I keep hearing the talking heads suggesting the women's professional game has only seen a 3 yard increase in distance over the past 20 years.  Yet, the USGA/R&A spreadsheet from today's release suggests that LPGA driving distance went from 239 in 1999 to 258 in 2019.  Somebody is misrepresenting the facts or lying. 

If the USGA/R&A roll back COR and/or driver head size, will the OEM's file a lawsuit?  Imagine starting over after years of research and development for a specific set of parameters!

Given the data clearly shows the lions share of gains in distance are from the most elite players in the game, shouldn't we implement mandatory testing for all equipment at every tournament stop before trying to reinvent the wheel?  I'd sure hate to see a rollback in equipment only to find out everyone on Tour is playing juiced equipment.

Just some thoughts!

On your first thought, I totally agree.  I've been to LPGA events over the decades and the current players are waaaaay longer.  Part of this is improved equipment/performance and part is physique. 

To your second point, I don't think we'll ever see a "roll back" but rather a hard stop. 

Lastly, there is nothing they can do about "juiced players".  Take DeChambeau for example; he's just recently bulked up and gained significant hitting length. 

 

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3 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Just a qualitative review on my part, but the ball rolls a long damn ways on most of those tour courses.  It seems to me that a simple and inexpensive fix would be to raise the fairway mowers just a bit, and put a little water down, and you'd see roll decrease by a bunch.

Good point and most definitely the quickest and least expensive change.  


:ping-small: G410 Plus, 9 Degree Driver | Official 2019 MGS Tester

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 16 Degree 3w

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 19 Degree 5w

:ping-small: G410 Irons 4-UW 

:ping-small: Glide 2.0 56 Degree SW   (removed from double secret probation 😍)

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