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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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13 minutes ago, revkev said:

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.

I don’t think anyone is saying fast firm fairways are a benefit to the players but rather result in the added distance from the rollout and thus the “problem” the usga is looking to address. Reducing the speed of the fairways as well as penalty for missing them is an option to address the distance problem. 


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14 minutes ago, revkev said:

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.

Same I have been busy as well, and I would hope it wouldn’t be all bad. It’s us regular people who fund the game, and I don’t think many people would pay to hit it shorter. That’s a great point of how they would tear up a soft course, and making it narrower sounds like an excellent idea. I’m glad to hear it may not rollback. 

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2 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

I don’t think anyone is saying fast firm fairways are a benefit to the players but rather result in the added distance from the rollout and thus the “problem” the usga is looking to address. Reducing the speed of the fairways as well as penalty for missing them is an option to address the distance problem. 

I'll claim that firm fast fairways are a benefit.  At that level, they'd rather be 30 yards closer on most holes, and accept that they'll be in the rough 10% more of the time, and that's what the fast fairways do for them.  This is just the kind of trade-off that Strokes Gained evaluations support. In fact, I wondered if at least some of the distance increases noted between 2014 and now are at least partly due to changing attitudes.  The advantage of driving longer has been statistically quantified, so players are using driver more often.  Every Shot Counts was released in 2014.


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2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

I'll claim that firm fast fairways are a benefit.  At that level, they'd rather be 30 yards closer on most holes, and accept that they'll be in the rough 10% more of the time, and that's what the fast fairways do for them.  This is just the kind of trade-off that Strokes Gained evaluations support. In fact, I wondered if at least some of the distance increases noted between 2014 and now are at least partly due to changing attitudes.  The advantage of driving longer has been statistically quantified, so players are using driver more often.  Every Shot Counts was released in 2014.

Could be - that is why I added pinch them with heavy, and I mean truly heavy penal rough, hazards and trees - normal tour rough is not enough to stop guys from bombing driver - I totally understand that.

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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. 

Dang “Californians”!


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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. 

Dang “Californians”!


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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. 

Dang “Californians”!


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I'm sure I'm in the minority with my opinions of the game in relation to distance.  Especially distance at the elite levels of the game.  The opinion of the best 1% of golfers on the planet is irrelevant to me!  I'm old enough and have been around the game long enough to remember the uproar of PGA Tour players when Soft Spikes were introduced.  As more and more clubs began to ban traditional spikes, PGA Tour players lost their minds!  To hear them ****** about it, one would think it was going to be the ruination of the game.  Now, many of us play without even Soft Spikes, including Touring professionals.  It was never as big a deal as the elite players made it out to be.

Technology is at a point where OEM's can limit the flight of the golf ball for elite swing speeds without penalizing moderate swing speeds.  Give them a year or two to come up with solutions however they see fit as long as the results fall within reasonable parameters.  It's simply not as big a deal as it's being made out to be! 

That's my takeaway after reading through the release. 

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I'll try to keep my points on this discussion simple and brief.

1) Distance seems to only be a real issue on the professional tours.

2) Rolling back equipment from its current state would merely reduce the enjoyment of golf by amateurs.

3) Reducing the amount of roll out on tour courses would go a long way toward curbing distance.

4) The USGA and R&A care far more about optics than they do about growing the game.

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10 minutes ago, TR1PTIK said:

I'll try to keep my points on this discussion simple and brief.

1) Distance seems to only be a real issue on the professional tours.

2) Rolling back equipment from its current state would merely reduce the enjoyment of golf by amateurs.

3) Reducing the amount of roll out on tour courses would go a long way toward curbing distance.

4) The USGA and R&A care far more about optics than they do about growing the game.

agree with 2-4. For 1 is it really a problem or a perceived problem by the powers to be running the tours and the governing bodies who are being somewhat influenced by course architects of new courses trying to host events and/or the owners/superintendents at curren tour stops?

I know there’s a segment of golfers who watch the pros and hate the bomb and gouge mentality but that’s as much about course setup as it is distance. 
 

Everyone tried to tiger pro off courses and he still won 82 times,  now it’s trying to distance proof all elite athletes with more yardage that may or may not be available to courses. If they looked at course setup like you mention in 3 and has been mentioned by myself and others they could avoid the problem. Fans like seeing the long ball

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18 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

agree with 2-4. For 1 is it really a problem or a perceived problem by the powers to be running the tours and the governing bodies who are being somewhat influenced by course architects of new courses trying to host events and/or the owners/superintendents at curren tour stops?

I know there’s a segment of golfers who watch the pros and hate the bomb and gouge mentality but that’s as much about course setup as it is distance. 
 

Everyone tried to tiger pro off courses and he still won 82 times,  now it’s trying to distance proof all elite athletes with more yardage that may or may not be available to courses. If they looked at course setup like you mention in 3 and has been mentioned by myself and others they could avoid the problem. Fans like seeing the long ball

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy watching the pros drive the ball - it's what most amateurs envision themselves doing in their wildest dreams. What's wrong with seeing that come to life? However, it does present an issue for courses as they try to figure out how to lure pro events and maintain the integrity of the course. I think the idea to simply add length to a course is just that - a simple idea. It's "easy". It isn't overly thought provoking, and it doesn't always require significant redesigns. We have seen and will continue to see a small handful of "short" courses on tour and in the major rota that present a fair challenge for all players. Those courses should become the model instead of the current tiger-proofing model as you suggested. 


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4 minutes ago, TR1PTIK said:

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy watching the pros drive the ball - it's what most amateurs envision themselves doing in their wildest dreams. What's wrong with seeing that come to life? However, it does present an issue for courses as they try to figure out how to lure pro events and maintain the integrity of the course. I think the idea to simply add length to a course is just that - a simple idea. It's "easy". It isn't overly thought provoking, and it doesn't always require significant redesigns. We have seen and will continue to see a small handful of "short" courses on tour and in the major rota that present a fair challenge for all players. Those courses should become the model instead of the current tiger-proofing model as you suggested. 

Agree. Adding bunkers or other things to cause course management off the tee is a cheaper option. 

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I think #10 at Riviera is a good example. It's short at only 302 yards and 67% of all scores come in at par or worse because it presents a unique challenge. For starters, there are bunkers and deep rough long and short, the green doesn't have much depth when approached on a straight line from the tee, and the fairway slopes right-to-left away from the green on the left-side which makes threading that needle more difficult. Basically, unless you hit the perfect shot, you won't find the green or get close enough in the fairway for an easy birdie.

791138665_Screenshot2020-02-06at10_32_54AM.thumb.png.e9e1a98ee6277f70e3087b7aabb8ba03.png

The other thing that comes to mind when looking at this hole is that it is probably one of the smallest greens on tour - I'm sure there are smaller, but I'm not familiar enough with all the tour courses to provide a better example. How many tour setups offer large greens where playing from the rough is even less penal?

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1 hour ago, TR1PTIK said:

I'll try to keep my points on this discussion simple and brief.

1) Distance seems to only be a real issue on the professional tours.

2) Rolling back equipment from its current state would merely reduce the enjoyment of golf by amateurs.

3) Reducing the amount of roll out on tour courses would go a long way toward curbing distance.

4) The USGA and R&A care far more about optics than they do about growing the game.

I can agree with the first three, but not the last.  Yes, the optics are a concern.  But there are very real implications for owners and builders of golf courses.  When they lengthen a course, or install new longer tees, or even add bunkers, they're doing that based on a perceived demand for longer golf courses.  All of those things increase costs, which ends up being paid by the individual golfers, and increases consumption of resources, like water, chemicals, fuel for equipment.  That is and should be a very real consideration.  It doesn't matter that for 99% of us those back tees will never be used, its the mindset of the public that demands greater length.  So yes, the Ruling Bodies care about the optics, but they also care about the real impacts of distance.

 

1 hour ago, sixcat said:

Technology is at a point where OEM's can limit the flight of the golf ball for elite swing speeds without penalizing moderate swing speeds.  Give them a year or two to come up with solutions however they see fit as long as the results fall within reasonable parameters.  It's simply not as big a deal as it's being made out to be! 

I have no doubt that manufacturers can design a balls and clubs that will decrease distance.  I think that would be a horrible idea to enforce for all golfers, there really hasn't been a huge distance increase for most of us.  Sure, they're going to evaluate the use of a Local Rule to require "shorter" equipment for certain events or tours, but I can't believe it will ever be used.  As far as I've read, the Pro tours don't see an issue, why would they choose to force their players to use different equipment?  A major selling point for much equipment is that we can buy the same clubs as our favorite pro plays (or at least something dang close).  The players make money for endorsements, the tour gets money for advertisements, the manufacturers happily shell out those dollars in order to sell us new drivers and golf balls.  If we're not going to play the same thing the pros use, that whole system gets tipped on its head.


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I see it like @revkev, Everything evolves and changes, ALL other major sports have Playing fields/courts that have not changed... For the most part, I do realize each baseball field can have variations of lenghth for the outfield, but for golf, every course is different. If every course was the same then there would be an issue IMO. But they are not, the course I play or Courses I should say Are not maintained to the level of the level of the tour courses. I think the focus should be on setting equipment limits as well as establishing course condition specifications.. I am not saying that they all have to be 7200-7300 yds with 150 bunkers and 3 ponds.. More like the fairways will be mowed to "X" height, and rough will be "X" ( 1st cut mowed to "X" height, 2nd cut will be "X"),  the greens will roll "X" in the stimpmeter, and everything will get 1" of water per night, not counting rain. as an example..  Then we can accurately dissect what the concerns should be. Is it with equipment, course length, or are the players are just that much better physically.. Until everything is on a level playing field there will be no diffinative answer to an abatrary issue.

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22 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I can agree with the first three, but not the last.  Yes, the optics are a concern.  But there are very real implications for owners and builders of golf courses.  When they lengthen a course, or install new longer tees, or even add bunkers, they're doing that based on a perceived demand for longer golf courses.  All of those things increase costs, which ends up being paid by the individual golfers, and increases consumption of resources, like water, chemicals, fuel for equipment.  That is and should be a very real consideration.  It doesn't matter that for 99% of us those back tees will never be used, its the mindset of the public that demands greater length.  So yes, the Ruling Bodies care about the optics, but they also care about the real impacts of distance.

 

I have no doubt that manufacturers can design a balls and clubs that will decrease distance.  I think that would be a horrible idea to enforce for all golfers, there really hasn't been a huge distance increase for most of us.  Sure, they're going to evaluate the use of a Local Rule to require "shorter" equipment for certain events or tours, but I can't believe it will ever be used.  As far as I've read, the Pro tours don't see an issue, why would they choose to force their players to use different equipment?  A major selling point for much equipment is that we can buy the same clubs as our favorite pro plays (or at least something dang close).  The players make money for endorsements, the tour gets money for advertisements, the manufacturers happily shell out those dollars in order to sell us new drivers and golf balls.  If we're not going to play the same thing the pros use, that whole system gets tipped on its head.

The course architects and owners are the ones who are making this more of an issue than it really is. Courses are being constructed with the hopes of hosting a high level tour event or amateur event. As a result they feel like they need length to get that rather than utilizing a design that challenges the best in the world to be accurate and or change their approach from bomb and gouge. The reason they feel his way is the tour has lots of courses that the rough isn’t penal enough, the hazards off the tee aren’t an issue for the elite of the elite. 
 

Penalizing the top players for wanting to get stronger, faster and therefore longer to separate themselves from the rest of the competition.

As Chamblee mentioned the other day the game has grown organically and the ruling bodies are stunting it via mandate

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Problem solved.

Create balls that have speed limits. Max ball speed of 170 for example no matter who hits it or what club is used to do so. Limits the 1%, doesn't affect slower swing players and limits distance. 


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1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

I have no doubt that manufacturers can design a balls and clubs that will decrease distance.  I think that would be a horrible idea to enforce for all golfers, there really hasn't been a huge distance increase for most of us. 

Completely not what I said!  OEM's have the technology to limit the flight of the golf ball for elite swing speeds without affecting the rest of us at all.  Nobody in the thread is swinging the driver at DJ or Rory speeds!  If they claim they can, they need to be over on WRX!

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36 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Penalizing the top players for wanting to get stronger, faster and therefore longer to separate themselves from the rest of the competition.

As Chamblee mentioned the other day the game has grown organically and the ruling bodies are stunting it via mandate

I'm not sure what that first sentence fragment is intended to convey, cold you explain it? 

In what way does the current report intend to "stunt the game", given that there's no intention to roll back the distances for the huge majority of players?  In what way did the WHS or the 2019 Rules of Golf "stunt the game"?  I didn't hear Chamblee, but I accept that you quoted him accurately.  It kind of sounds pithy and wise, but I don't see much wisdom behind it.

27 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Problem solved.

Create balls that have speed limits. Max ball speed of 170 for example no matter who hits it or what club is used to do so. Limits the 1%, doesn't affect slower swing players and limits distance. 

And how would you test this?  Part of making a rule about ball speed is determining exactly how you're going to test the ball speed.   You'd need to have a standard clubhead and clubhead speed, I believe, but clubhead speed may continue to increase with better mechanics and fitness, making the old standard test obsolete.


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1 minute ago, sixcat said:

Completely not what I said!  OEM's have the technology to limit the flight of the golf ball for elite swing speeds without affecting the rest of us at all.  Nobody in the thread is swinging the driver at DJ or Rory speeds!  If they claim they can, they need to be over on WRX!

My apologies that I misunderstood.  I honestly don't care if the elite players have to play with reduced flight balls, but I don't think it will happen in my lifetime.  I just don't believe they'll ever accept that voluntarily, for reasons I mentioned in that previous post, and I don't believe the USGA/R&A would ever choose to develop mandatory bifurcation.  

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