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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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“You’re not seeing swimming pools expand; you’re not seeing tennis courts expand.”
...
“Yes, the marathon is run in less time than it was years ago. Yes, the world-record time for the 200-meter is faster than it was a generation ago. That’s all fine. We in golf welcome that kind of improvement. But we don’t want that to jeopardize the game.”

No one seems to be upset at swimmers breaking world records every single year. The 200 meters record isn’t getting slower, it’s being challenged every day.

Why is it we can’t accept, as many have stated, players are getting better? Yes, equipment is helping, not only in golf but other sports as well.

Scores aren’t going down? Let the boys play.


Sent from my iPad using MyGolfSpy

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35 minutes ago, Trial&Error said:

Again I agree. But all things bolded are also still not a "standard." They are attempting to implement a standard piece by piece, letting the engineers beat them to the next piece. Point still being, if equipment is where "they think" they can stop this, they must go all the way there and implement the "standard model." Without, leaves the companies to go around looking for all those things (or others) mentioned. But they won't yet do this for many reasons I'd imagine.

I agree with you and Brandel, my mind sees the implement of course design being most logical. Just being devils advocate, I understand what they are tip toing around with the basic throwing out for general public opinion.......but it's not really helping them to resolve because that would be tough and piss people off LOL

Except the usga an R&A want to reduce distance and not keep it where it’s at. Their goal is a roll back and/or to force the tours to bifurcate. Just like they aren’t considering course design they aren’t going to consider allowing current equipment. You can see it coming with their consideration of allowing a local rule. 
 

The usga is bent on cutting distance and it was obvious on the way they answered or didn’t answer questions on golf channel tonight 

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Pros love softer fairways.

Keep fairways firm then make them 30 yards at the widest spot. 

 

Pros will start hitting 5woods off the tee.

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I'm seeing a lot of comments "scores aren't lower" , the reality is, most courses used for professional tournaments are significantly longer than they were 30 years ago.  Augusta National for example is 500 yards longer than 20 years ago, about 28 yards per hole on average. Imaging what the winning score would be if the moved every tee forward 28 yards. 

On the other hand, distance is not a problem in the majority of amateur golf, and I can't see having the pro's use different equipment working. 

My suggestion to reduce the impact of the pro's hitting it further is pretty simple. Pro's can only carry 11 or 12 clubs, with a maximum of 3 with a loft greater than 42 degrees. This would create a need for more creative golf. Course setup should create some doubt as to whether driver is the right option, without taking driver off the table.

The idea of an equipment roll back is ridiculous, but there should be a way to keep the game from outgrowing courses at the top level.

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55 minutes ago, xxio said:

Pros love softer fairways.

Keep fairways firm then make them 30 yards at the widest spot. 

 

Pros will start hitting 5woods off the tee.

Pros do like soft fairways but if greens are soft they will go low every week.

The average fairway on tour is already 30 yards.

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10 hours ago, toehold57 said:

“You’re not seeing swimming pools expand; you’re not seeing tennis courts expand.”
...
“Yes, the marathon is run in less time than it was years ago. Yes, the world-record time for the 200-meter is faster than it was a generation ago. That’s all fine. We in golf welcome that kind of improvement. But we don’t want that to jeopardize the game.”

No one seems to be upset at swimmers breaking world records every single year. The 200 meters record isn’t getting slower, it’s being challenged every day.

Why is it we can’t accept, as many have stated, players are getting better? Yes, equipment is helping, not only in golf but other sports as well.

Scores aren’t going down? Let the boys play.


Sent from my iPad using MyGolfSpy

I had to roll my eyes when the two usga reps said on gc last night distances have been increasing for a hundred years and it’s time to end that. The usga rarely does anything to better the game and everything they do addressed symptoms and not causes. 

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2 hours ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Pros do like soft fairways but if greens are soft they will go low every week.

The average fairway on tour is already 30 yards.

20 then. 

 

 

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I know one thing. I won't be buying any new clubs until the USGA makes it final decisions. I doubt I am the only one to feel this way, and I bet the club makers just love this report coming out a couple weeks after they just released their newest products at the PGA show.

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23 minutes ago, Bosox04 said:

I know one thing. I won't be buying any new clubs until the USGA makes it final decisions. I doubt I am the only one to feel this way, and I bet the club makers just love this report coming out a couple weeks after they just released their newest products at the PGA show.

It probably won’t be for at least a year if not longer. They still have to put together their decision, send it out for feedback, review the feedback and then make final decision before it even has an implementation date. Then add in the possibility of legal battles. I think it was tony who tweeted or replied to a tweet about how a company would market they club they are now making is worse than the club they made last year. The amount of money and time invested into r&d, engineering of current and soon to be new products later this year for some companies like Srixon, ping and Titleist and others who release in January or in the fall. These brands imo aren’t just going to lay down and have to redo their entire business for clubs and balls. 
 

Also they are considering a local rule as I understand it that current equipment could be used which I would imagine lots of courses would implement. Lots of golfers I see play older equipment. Imagine a golf course 1) telling their members the equipment they being using is no longer allowed on their course 2) that course trying to enforce that. They aren’t going to alienate their customers.

outside of new courses that want to host some sort of tour event or high level amateur event how many golf courses are having to add length because their members/walk ons are hitting the ball too far

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I'm opposed to anything that would cut distance for 99.9 of all golfers.  This is an at the top issue.

 

As many have observed distance is king at the top level of the game.  Since I've seen the name of Webb Simpson bandied about as an example of winning while not hitting the ball a long way he's actually proving the opposite.  He recognized 5 years ago that he didn't hit the ball far enough and embarked upon  a program to boost clubhead speed which he has done between 1 and 1.5 mph each season since for a total of 6 mph or 12 plus yards over that time.  This allowed him to hit 3 wood GW on 18 at TPC when he used to have driver on a different line, 9 iron  - it makes a difference.  He finished 40th in driving distance for the week, top third, 3rd in the field in fairways hit, 4th in strokes gained tee to green all stats that are far more consistent with a winner than the isolated week where Leishman won with his putting.  Plus that's 40th in driving distance in a field of the elite - saying a touring pro doesn't hit it far is like saying an average major league pitcher is a soft thrower - grab a bat and see what 92 looks like up close and personal some time if you think that's "soft." 

It's up to the tours to determine if they have an issue or not - 3 mlb teams hit over 300 hrs last season - the game has changed - do you thin that the Kittle interference penalty would have been called 10 years ago?  The game has changed.  Andre Drummund is 6'11" 270 and I've seen him steal the ball on the perimeter, drive the length of the floor and throw it down.  The game has changed. 

 

I can still shoot hoops in my gym at work and feel as if I'm playing basketball even though the NBA guys play by different rules. 

 

Tell the tours you think there's an issue and let them determine what they want to do.  Leave the rest of us alone - please.  If you want to freeze stuff where it's at now - that's fine - but roll it back and I'm done with the USGA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Except the usga an R&A want to reduce distance and not keep it where it’s at. Their goal is a roll back and/or to force the tours to bifurcate. Just like they aren’t considering course design they aren’t going to consider allowing current equipment. You can see it coming with their consideration of allowing a local rule. 
 

The usga is bent on cutting distance and it was obvious on the way they answered or didn’t answer questions on golf channel tonight 

There is absolutely no evidence that this is the "goal" of the Ruling Bodies, and in fact the report says just the opposite. 

Quote

It is not currently intended to consider revising the overall specifications in a way that would produce substantial reductions in hitting distances at all levels of the game.

I'm certain that there are people within the organization who would prefer to reduce distance, but they don't have complete control.  The idea of a local rule allowing different equipment limits for certain events is almost certainly not going to be acceptable.  None of the professional tours will use it, because as a group their customers (you and I) love to see big hitters. I do think that they'll look at testing and limiting more aspects of the equipment than they currently do, in order to limit further equipment-related gains in distance.  I actually don't have a problem with finding ways to limit the equipment part of the equation, as long as they don't try to roll back distances, as long as they do what their documents says.  There are going to be further improvements in techniques, in training, and in fitting, that's unavoidable.  

I have limited sympathy for golf course ownership complaints, because their marketing strategies have put them in the position of "needing" to make courses longer.  They market "championship" courses, and to be a championship course it needs to be long.  The agronomy practices seen for PGA Tour events have contributed to the problems, now the golfing public expects to play on fast greens (even if the greens are too fast for their skill level), they want their drives to roll 50 yards, and they want to play the back tees, to "play the whole golf course".  All of that is completely unnecessary, golf was great when fast greens rolled at 10, when players worried about flyer lies in the fairways.

 

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So, after a night of needing to get over my initial reaction of frustration at the idea of losing yards I selfishly want to keep.  I write this not having read the 80 something page plan, and this is just my general thoughts, and I would like to hear from y'all as well. I am not only trying to consider myself but others that play this beautifully frustrating game as well.  I will discuss both on the side of the pro's and as amateur golfers as well. Also, how will this affect both the technology of equipment and the sales of equipment?  Will this help more people go out and play at golf courses or run the casual golfer away?

First,  how will this roll back affect my game, and is this a old school vs new school battle?  I have seen plenty of people of both sides of the fence on this issue. The long hitters, I myself am not considered a long hitter, but I am a high speed player. I need to work on strike and that is my goal for 2020.  I workout, and I also do speed training. Yes I do enjoy when I do find the middle of the face, and really strike one, some say this is "ego golf",  and for the most part that is true, but I do not play for money I play for the love of it, and I will continue to play even if there is a roll back. To the ones saying, " move up a tee." My course has 4 tee boxes, and I play the one appropriate for my handicap, and yes I can move forward, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of the rollback? Also, when I do play in tournaments, and they require I play a certain tee box I will not be prepared. Will the USGA make tee boxes based of distance rather than handicap? What about seniors or ladies? Their tee boxes are already forward and someone like my mother she already goes driver, hybrid/3 wood off my most par 4's, if she loses more distance I fear she may not enjoy the game and be less inclined to play if she has no chance to reach par 4's. What about the casual golfer who plays randomly and not up to date about the rules of golf and only about having fun, and hits a driver around 200 yards, and now moves back even farther back? They may play even less because they do not want to hit it 180 and have to hit 3 shots to the green. Golf courses are struggling to stay profitable, and do we need another reason to alienate the casual golfer? How will this help the pace of play? The game the pro's play is not the way a majority of the way us mortals play, that is why they are where they are and why I have a day job.  As far as having a different ball for pros vs us, I am not a fan of either, I like that I can play the same ball as Tiger, that is the way the handicap system was in place, correct? It puts the way they play in perspective. So, as I have thought more about this, I thought about how on "No Putts Given" they discussed the death of the white golf ball, and how there is a old school approach, but with a new generation coming in will the old ways fade away? To me this feels like an old school way of taking away the young guys style of play. 

Second, how will this affect the technology of the golf industry? Will golf manufacturers slow down releasing new products as often? Will consumers not buy as often? Lets assume new drivers year to year produce 1 mph ball speed, why would anyone upgrade for .8? Will sales push OEM's into not releasing so often, and would this allow companies more time to put out better products? From a consumers stand point, I really hope so. Or will this keep the prices higher longer due to customers not buying as often?  

Food for thought, evolution in sports is going to happen. We as humans are getting more technologically advanced, and with that breeds gains, and yes we need to find a balance to challenge but remain enjoyable for everyone. For instance, basketball is no longer played with a flat ball and a peach basket, and has changed to the slam dunk to now raining 3 pointers. Football has evolved from run option, to more passing dominate game. Golf changed with Tiger, and "Tiger-proofing" courses and making them longer only more benefited the long ball hitters. 

In the end nobody wants to sacrifice yards whether you hit 300 or 216 yards. I think everyone can agree there is a distance problem on tour, but it is hard to see in the amateur at the local level. Will they target the pros or everyone? On "No putts given" they bring up course conditions the tour has vs what I play. I am lucky if I get 10 yards of roll, due to not cutting the fairways and playing soft fairways.  So, what are your thoughts of this?  

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15 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

There is absolutely no evidence that this is the "goal" of the Ruling Bodies, and in fact the report says just the opposite. 

I'm certain that there are people within the organization who would prefer to reduce distance, but they don't have complete control.  The idea of a local rule allowing different equipment limits for certain events is almost certainly not going to be acceptable.  None of the professional tours will use it, because as a group their customers (you and I) love to see big hitters. I do think that they'll look at testing and limiting more aspects of the equipment than they currently do, in order to limit further equipment-related gains in distance.  I actually don't have a problem with finding ways to limit the equipment part of the equation, as long as they don't try to roll back distances, as long as they do what their documents says.  There are going to be further improvements in techniques, in training, and in fitting, that's unavoidable.  

I have limited sympathy for golf course ownership complaints, because their marketing strategies have put them in the position of "needing" to make courses longer.  They market "championship" courses, and to be a championship course it needs to be long.  The agronomy practices seen for PGA Tour events have contributed to the problems, now the golfing public expects to play on fast greens (even if the greens are too fast for their skill level), they want their drives to roll 50 yards, and they want to play the back tees, to "play the whole golf course".  All of that is completely unnecessary, golf was great when fast greens rolled at 10, when players worried about flyer lies in the fairways.

 

They report has lots of things that don’t make sense when you read what they say and what they show in graphs and such. If you look at how the usga and r&a have talked about distance over the last several years their goal is to stop it. They said as much during their interview on golf channel about its been increasing for over a hundred years and that it needs to stop and their filibuster answer to several questions about the amateur game the writing is on the wall.

I don’t always agree with Chamblee but he noted last night that jack and tiger who have advocated for rollbacks and limiting distance are both course architects and they have some bias and can influence how things are interpreted and influenced. Chamblee notes tiger made a ball change before winning by 15 strokes at the us open and wasn’t pushing for any rollbacks despite him being the only one who switch to new balls and jack wasn’t either when he was playing.

 

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21 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

It probably won’t be for at least a year if not longer. They still have to put together their decision, send it out for feedback, review the feedback and then make final decision before it even has an implementation date. Then add in the possibility of legal battles. I think it was tony who tweeted or replied to a tweet about how a company would market they club they are now making is worse than the club they made last year. The amount of money and time invested into r&d, engineering of current and soon to be new products later this year for some companies like Srixon, ping and Titleist and others who release in January or in the fall. These brands imo aren’t just going to lay down and have to redo their entire business for clubs and balls. 
 

Also they are considering a local rule as I understand it that current equipment could be used which I would imagine lots of courses would implement. Lots of golfers I see play older equipment. Imagine a golf course 1) telling their members the equipment they being using is no longer allowed on their course 2) that course trying to enforce that. They aren’t going to alienate their customers.

outside of new courses that want to host some sort of tour event or high level amateur event how many golf courses are having to add length because their members/walk ons are hitting the ball too far

Indeed.  This has all kinds of adverse outcomes.  Perhaps most concerning, and one not getting much attention, is how the playing public will react - particularly to a roll back.  As @revkevstates, the problem does not affect 99% of the worlds golfers.  This is a tour issue and whatever changes are done should be restricted to tour play.  According to all the best sources, golf is a dying sport.  Enacting changes that would piss off the consumer base is a bad idea.  It won't matter what rule changes they make if no one is playing or watching.  The USGA and R&A need to tread carefully on this one.

 

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45 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

Indeed.  This has all kinds of adverse outcomes.  Perhaps most concerning, and one not getting much attention, is how the playing public will react - particularly to a roll back.  As @revkevstates, the problem does not affect 99% of the worlds golfers.  This is a tour issue and whatever changes are done should be restricted to tour play.  According to all the best sources, golf is a dying sport.  Enacting changes that would piss off the consumer base is a bad idea.  It won't matter what rule changes they make if no one is playing or watching.  The USGA and R&A need to tread carefully on this one.

 

Yeah the ruling bodies are addressing an optics issue that imo isn’t an issue really. Players are working hard at their game and getting faster and stronger and companies are using technology to get the most of gear in accordance with equipment rules.

The ruling bodies are being influenced by course designers and superintendents of courses that have or want to have high level events. If the tour stopped setting courses up that doesn’t penalize wayward shots the perception of overpowering courses would go away imo.

This is the ruling bodies made pros are getting better

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1 hour ago, fixyurdivot said:

Indeed.  This has all kinds of adverse outcomes.  Perhaps most concerning, and one not getting much attention, is how the playing public will react - particularly to a roll back.  As @revkevstates, the problem does not affect 99% of the worlds golfers.  This is a tour issue and whatever changes are done should be restricted to tour play.  According to all the best sources, golf is a dying sport.  Enacting changes that would piss off the consumer base is a bad idea.  It won't matter what rule changes they make if no one is playing or watching.  The USGA and R&A need to tread carefully on this one.

Again, its important to read what is actually written, they do NOT intend to reduce distances from an equipment regulation standpoint.  They DO discuss the potential to change the equipment regulations so that any future equipment-related distance increases are minimized.  They say that by April 1 (45 days from now, I gave them a few extra days) they'll release a specific set or topics that they will research thoroughly.

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16 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Again, its important to read what is actually written, they do NOT intend to reduce distances from an equipment regulation standpoint.  They DO discuss the potential to change the equipment regulations so that any future equipment-related distance increases are minimized.  They say that by April 1 (45 days from now, I gave them a few extra days) they'll release a specific set or topics that they will research thoroughly.

So you take that to mean no rollback from current limits - for the tour and non tour play?  Presuming that to be the case, it's their safest, least confrontational path forward IMHO.  Even I don't want to reach par 4's off the tee.... well, maybe one per track 🙂.

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1 hour ago, fixyurdivot said:

So you take that to mean no rollback from current limits - for the tour and non tour play?  Presuming that to be the case, it's their safest, least confrontational path forward IMHO.  Even I don't want to reach par 4's off the tee.... well, maybe one per track 🙂.

That's the way I read it, no roll-back in the rules of Golf.  This is on page 3 of the "Conclusions",  https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2020/distance-insights/SOC-FINAL.pdf.  Under B. Next Steps, #2 talks about equipment related  reviews, and says :

Quote

It is not currently intended to consider revising the overall specifications in a way that would produce substantial reductions in hitting distances at all levels of the game

They do specifically mention in #1 that they'll study the development of an optional Local Rule that could require the use of what I'll call "distance limited" clubs and/or golf balls.  Individual golf courses, or individual committees could choose to utilize the local rule.  This is the likely avenue to allow professional tours to roll-back distances on their tours, but I just can't see anyone deciding to use such a rule.

 

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3 hours ago, cjeffs12 said:

I am lucky if I get 10 yards of roll, due to not cutting the fairways and playing soft fairways.  So, what are your thoughts of this?  

I think most of us experience the same on the majority of courses we play.  Begs the question that if they can maintain these conditions for non-tour play it would seem both logical and easy enough to do so for tour events. 🤔  

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19 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

I think most of us experience the same on the majority of courses we play.  Begs the question that if they can maintain these conditions for non-tour play it would seem both logical and easy enough to do so for tour events. 🤔  

With all due respect I think you guys are assuming that the fast firm fairways are of a benefit to tour players - its the opposite - they will hit tons more fairways under softer conditions - If you carry driver 280-300 little to no roll out is not that big a deal - it is when you carry it 200-215 though.  If you want to limit the distance keep it fast and firm and then pinch the fairways with thick, gnarly rough, hazards and trees.

I'm pretty busy with work - so far what I've read in the actual report is not all bad - there's no talk of rollbacks now - there's a concern to figure out how to limit distance going forward.  This is much more sensible than the anchor ban or the groove thing IMO.

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