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USGA coming after Phil & Bryson


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25 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

. Has the driver shaft length limit always been 48"?  With "tour length" shafts being shorter than the off-the-shelf standard for amateurs, it sounds like very few affected tour players.

No,  any length was allowed until 2004 when the 48” max was added along with the head size limitations.  As mentioned in the thread, very few Golfers will be impacted.  Phil and Bryson have been experimenting with longer shafts and Brooke Henderson has used a 48” shaft for years.

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29 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

Looking at how much most of the LPGA players choke down on clubs, they could use 50" driver shafts and, technically, meet the new change 🙂. Has the driver shaft length limit always been 48"?  With "tour length" shafts being shorter than the off-the-shelf standard for amateurs, it sounds like very few affected tour players.

I tend to agree that this ruling isn't going to do anything to reduce the average driving distances.  Perhaps their thinking is to stave off any sudden shift from the current play lengths and whatever increase that might have to "the problem"?

It’s been 48” for as long as I can remember. Henderson was the only I knew of that went longer than 46” until phil went 47.5 last year.

They saw what Bryson did at the long drive event and created a scenario in their heads of him doing that on the course despite throughout his entire chase for getting longer his on course swing is slower than his all out swing. 
 

Im guessing they also see Phil winning 3 of his 4 senior events and don’t want to give the other guys fans go to see have a chance 

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1 hour ago, fixyurdivot said:

Nope.  Next on their list of rule changes is "swoleness" or, more specifically, limits associated with it. 🤣  I think you are correct that the trend continues.  Maybe not at the same rate, but longer as the years roll along.  My guess is that the USGA and R&A believe that to be true as well and the 46" driver shaft limit won't be the only distance limit focused change.  My guess is balls.... anyone think otherwise?

I think there will likely be some sort of ball limits eventually, they can’t go back from where they currently are, that’s for sure. Honestly the best thing that could happen would be for tour courses to keep rough longer or plant more trees (ie. true punishments for hitting it 320+ and not worrying about accuracy) but I don’t think it happens. 

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For anyone who is surprised at this move from the Ruling Bodies, I suggest you take a look here:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/articles/2021/02/distance-golf-equipment-research-topics-areas-interest-usga-randa.html

I'll quote one small bit from the Proposed Equipment Standards Changes:

Quote

Proposal #1: Club length – reduction to 46 inches available as a Model Local Rule (MLR) (Original proposal delivered in 2016 and paused in 2017 due to the Distance Insights Project). Comment period ends on March 4, 2021.

Yeah, this was first considered 5 years ago.  IT was formally brought back in February of this year, two months of comment time for all interested parties, seven months of discussions and considerations.  Even Phil's twitter-rant in September was 6 months after the comment period ended.  

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My original thought was this is a dumb move, but as @DaveP043 has pointed out a couple times now it was already on the table in order to prohibit further increases in distance. I know I've gone on the record as saying I'm against a full-on rollback, but would be okay if the ruling bodies locked things down where they stand. I'd be a hypocrite to oppose this change.

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It’s all so dumb… When actual SCORES start going down by 10-15 strokes ON AVERAGE year-over-year, let’s think about it, but otherwise it’s ridiculous.

Whatever. 

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For everyone opposed to the change, who does this really impact?

We already know most tour pros play a shaft length which is less than "standard" and there's been plenty of discussion here and elsewhere that amateurs would be well served to follow suit.

The only golfers this would appear to impact in any significant way are Bryson (maybe), Phil (sometimes), and Brooke Henderson. So, why such strong arguments against the change? Just because it might eliminate some factor of fun and entertainment for the casual golfer?

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Rocky Thompson rolling over in his grave. Google it kids. 

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16 minutes ago, Headhammer said:

Rocky Thompson rolling over in his grave. Google it kids. 

He rolled over in 2004 when the 52 inch Killer Bee was limited to 48”. 

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57 minutes ago, TR1PTIK said:

For everyone opposed to the change, who does this really impact?

We already know most tour pros play a shaft length which is less than "standard" and there's been plenty of discussion here and elsewhere that amateurs would be well served to follow suit.

The only golfers this would appear to impact in any significant way are Bryson (maybe), Phil (sometimes), and Brooke Henderson. So, why such strong arguments against the change? Just because it might eliminate some factor of fun and entertainment for the casual golfer?

giphy.gif (already?)

My main issue is the ruling bodies doing stuff that doesn’t fix any perceived issue. Other than Phil winning 3 of his 4 champions tours events and one major with the longer driver. His overall results with it in the bag are terrible. The major was the only success he had on the pga tour last season. 
 

Just like the whole distance issue they claim to have on the Pga tour IMO is more about influence from the big money developers that want to host event at their new courses but feel that longer courses is the only way to build them these days. Like @PMookie said talk to me when scoring average year after year has a significant change. 

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43 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

My main issue is the ruling bodies doing stuff that doesn’t fix any perceived issue.

Have you read the results from the Distance Insights project?  You may not agree that there's any problems related to increasing distance, but many people definitely PERCIEVE it to be an issue, for a significant number of reasons..

Edited by DaveP043
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35 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Have you read the results from the Distance Insights project?  You may not agree that there's any problems related to increasing distance, but many people definitely PERCIEVE it to be an issue, for a significant number of reasons..

Perception doesn’t equal reality. Reality is that long hitters are always going to be long and short hitters will always be short and that both win on tour. The other reality is that scoring average hasn’t changed in decades. So longer drivers aren’t equaling lower scoring. 
 

Numbers can and usually are manipulated to tell whatever story people want them to tell. 
 

So other than designers like Tiger, Jack and a few others who are complaining about distance when it comes to course design distance imo is a on issue. Maybe if they got creative like Dye and others they wouldn’t have to rely on long courses and more properly to build them. The funny thing about them two complaining is they were perfectly content being the longest off the tee during their prime and not saying they needed to be throttled back.

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1 minute ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

The other reality is that scoring average hasn’t changed in decades. So longer drivers aren’t equaling lower scoring. 

But courses have gotten longer at the top level, yet scoring hasn't increased.  Its fair to surmise that increasing distance and the increased length of the courses are offsetting each other.  If courses hadn't gotten longer, I think we'd probably have seen lower scoring.

But again, you said the Ruling Bodies weren't addressing any perceived issue, I merely pointed out that there IS a perception among many that future distance increases are undesirable.  Limiting driver length to about the length commonly used now limits one potential equipment-related mechanism for increasing distance.  They are taking a small step towards doing what they said was their goal over 18 months ago.

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21 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

But courses have gotten longer at the top level, yet scoring hasn't increased.  Its fair to surmise that increasing distance and the increased length of the courses are offsetting each other.  If courses hadn't gotten longer, I think we'd probably have seen lower scoring.

But again, you said the Ruling Bodies weren't addressing any perceived issue, I merely pointed out that there IS a perception among many that future distance increases are undesirable.  Limiting driver length to about the length commonly used now limits one potential equipment-related mechanism for increasing distance.  They are taking a small step towards doing what they said was their goal over 18 months ago.

Designers have created the issue of longer courses because that’s their perception of where design is going based off a perceived increase in distance that may or may not be there. Now that they created the problem they want the ruling bodies to save them. 

I haven’t seen it anywhere but I would be surprised at the courses that are deemed short of the scores have gone down at those events. Riviera is a perfect example of a shorter course that has withstood the distance game
 

Again perception isn’t reality so doing anything based on perceived issues is silly IMO. People need to look at reality and get out of the perception world. Facts>feelings

Like many other topics on forums this is one where the two sides of the story aren’t going to change the mind of the other side so I’m bowing out for now 

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2 hours ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

My main issue is the ruling bodies doing stuff that doesn’t fix any perceived issue

 

31 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

Again perception isn’t reality so doing anything based on perceived issues is silly IMO.

Which is it?  Are they doing something that doesn't address any perceived issue, or is it silly to address perceived issues?

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2 hours ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

My main issue is the ruling bodies doing stuff that doesn’t fix any perceived issue. Other than Phil winning 3 of his 4 champions tours events and one major with the longer driver. His overall results with it in the bag are terrible. The major was the only success he had on the pga tour last season. 
 

Just like the whole distance issue they claim to have on the Pga tour IMO is more about influence from the big money developers that want to host event at their new courses but feel that longer courses is the only way to build them these days. Like @PMookie said talk to me when scoring average year after year has a significant change. 

That's a valid point, and I don't disagree. I think the ruling bodies are simply trying to control what they can and prevent the possibility of an arms race. Is it the best move? No, absolutely not IMHO. However, the alternative is that they begin to heavily regulate course design and setup and I don't think that's something we want either. In fact, I think we want that a whole lot less.

I think the USGA & R&A ultimately have the right to try and lock things down where they stand, but should not do any sort of rollback. The real issue lies with the professional tours (not even all of them) and that's something they either need to accept, or start having serious conversations about with those tours.

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16 minutes ago, TR1PTIK said:

However, the alternative is that they begin to heavily regulate course design and setup

The USGA and R&A do have authority over Equipment Rules, but they really don't have any authority over course design and maintenance practices.  As you say, they're trying to control the things they have authority to control.  I don't have a problem with their stated intentions, I'm happy that they have said they won't try to decrease distance for all players.  This step seems to me to be in line with the previous releases, it should have come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention.

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3 hours ago, Headhammer said:

Rocky Thompson rolling over in his grave. Google it kids. 

I remember the Killer Bee! Crazy. Infomercial club!!!

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4 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

The USGA and R&A do have authority over Equipment Rules, but they really don't have any authority over course design and maintenance practices.  As you say, they're trying to control the things they have authority to control.  I don't have a problem with their stated intentions, I'm happy that they have said they won't try to decrease distance for all players.  This step seems to me to be in line with the previous releases, it should have come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention.

They may not now, but as the governing bodies I could easily see how they could dictate course design to some degree. It's really no different than how they dictate equipment right now and would bring golf more in line with other sports. "If you want to hold a USGA/R&A sanctioned event, the course must be no more than X yards, use X grasses, etc., etc." I'll admit it's a highly improbable scenario, but I don't think it's something we could say with 100% certainty will never happen. 

All I'm really saying is that if they currently have control over how the game is played, and what equipment is used, then they can certainly extend that control to where the game can be played - at least as far as sanctioned events. What that scenario would end up creating is not unlike what we see elsewhere in sports and would really be worst case. Perhaps the biggest flex golf has on other sports is the ability for recreational players to play on many of the same venues with much of the same equipment as tour pros.

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On 10/14/2021 at 11:32 AM, DaveP043 said:

The USGA and R&A do have authority over Equipment Rules, but they really don't have any authority over course design and maintenance practices.  As you say, they're trying to control the things they have authority to control.  I don't have a problem with their stated intentions, I'm happy that they have said they won't try to decrease distance for all players.  This step seems to me to be in line with the previous releases, it should have come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention.

To be fair, the only real authority these organizations have is over their hosted events and they even have a history of not aligning on rules. While regulating course conditions is unprecedented, there really is nothing to stop the USGA from adding it in the rulebook although it is highly unlikely given that they have historically been one of the worst offenders when it comes to unsustainable conditioning (especially fairway height). Setting a good example at the US Open could potentially go a long way. 

This first new local rule is a reasonable change since adoption above 46” is almost non-existent. The second proposal of lowering the upper CT tolerance is reasonable as well but again will have minimal impact. The third proposal is incredibly ambiguous which is concerning and opens the door for a potentially sizable rollback of the ODS which has clearly been the target all along. Ultimately the USGA has had a poor track record when it comes to equipment regulation so it is reasonable for stakeholders to be skeptical and want to push back against any proposal. 

Edited by storm319
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