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USGA/R&A Distance Insights Project (Updated Feb. 2021)


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34 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Here's where I come down on this.  For now, at least.  No bifurcation.  Freeze all club specs (COR, head size, etc.) and ball performance in place right now.  Nobody gets any longer; nobody gets any shorter.

Two things:

  • Those things have been frozen in place for years. Decades.
  • How are you going to stop people from optimizing launch conditions, or from swinging faster?
34 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Tour pros can still shill clubs and balls... but it's almost like buying a new car.  The design can change yearly (or twice yearly if it's TaylorMade) and be the bold, stylish, sleek new model.  But the performance specs stay the same.  Clubs wear out, we'll need new ones.  Balls get old with age, so the manufacturers can continue to release this year's model, just no performance changes that don't fit with the USGA and R&A.

Clubs aren't getting longer now, unless you believe the marketing bullshit.

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I have a few thoughts on the distance debate in golf. Except for the first, they're in no particular order. I'll try to be brief, but we all know how that tends to go… 1. I don't care about the 0

This right here, all my opinion. It's based on what I believe to be true, based on some relevant facts, and it's said with full understanding that none of us can truly know what would happen, so any o

I took the time to expand a little on my stance on distance on another forum, and thought I might post it here as well. I would say, in that vastly different scenario, that the courses should b

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Two things:

  • Those things have been frozen in place for years. Decades.
  • How are you going to stop people from optimizing launch conditions, or from swinging faster?

Clubs aren't getting longer now, unless you believe the marketing bullshit.

That's all I'm saying, keep everything frozen in place.  And I never believe marketing bullshit unless I can verify it.  Remember, I'm in marketing, advertising and TV commercial production.  So BS can't be slipped past me.  And, with self-integrity, I never exaggerate a product's or company's strong points.  Just won't do it and my clients understand this.

2 hours ago, iacas said:

How are you going to stop people from optimizing launch conditions, or from swinging faster?

I'm not.  That's in my statement.  Personal performance dynamics are encouraged and launch monitors are valid contributors.  So are devices.  All practice oriented.  But, to be truthful, I kinda believe we're almost maxed out there with respect to the touring pros.  Other than using illegal substances I don't think Cameron Champ has left any yardage on the table.

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(sarcasm) I'm wondering if the USGA will start putting restrictions on bicep and quadriceps size in relation to flexibility (/sarcasm)

Drivers aren't giving 5 more yards every year. The Ping G30 driver hits the ball about the same distance as the Epic Flash or TM M5 with the same golfer at the same SS - I saw the video. Maybe they're more forgiving today with their "AI designed" faces but that affects amateurs more than it does the pros who make center strike more frequently than the rest of us. A lot more frequently. 

I'm a musician, or rather tried to be. The people at the top of the field are freaks of nature. It's the same with golf. The people who play at the elite level in on the PGA tour are freaks of nature. How many people who start playing golf even aspiring to play on the tour make it to the tour at any level? What percentage of those are the 150 players who get to be on TV every week? And fitness, sports training, swing analysis, coaching, have all advanced. And now the USGA is about to make decisions for everyone based upon these 150 players. What will they do? Ban training? Ban swing analysis? 

My guess is that equipment manufacturers will have a big say in any decision, and they're not going to want to roll back drivers, irons, or balls because they won't be able to sell these ideas to the consumer that making the game harder for them is a good idea.

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15 minutes ago, DrvFrShow said:

(sarcasm) I'm wondering if the USGA will start putting restrictions on bicep and quadriceps size in relation to flexibility (/sarcasm)

Drivers aren't giving 5 more yards every year. The Ping G30 driver hits the ball about the same distance as the Epic Flash or TM M5 with the same golfer at the same SS - I saw the video. Maybe they're more forgiving today with their "AI designed" faces but that affects amateurs more than it does the pros who make center strike more frequently than the rest of us. A lot more frequently. 

I'm a musician, or rather tried to be. The people at the top of the field are freaks of nature. It's the same with golf. The people who play at the elite level in on the PGA tour are freaks of nature. How many people who start playing golf even aspiring to play on the tour make it to the tour at any level? What percentage of those are the 150 players who get to be on TV every week? And fitness, sports training, swing analysis, coaching, have all advanced. And now the USGA is about to make decisions for everyone based upon these 150 players. What will they do? Ban training? Ban swing analysis? 

My guess is that equipment manufacturers will have a big say in any decision, and they're not going to want to roll back drivers, irons, or balls because they won't be able to sell these ideas to the consumer that making the game harder for them is a good idea.

We need a sarcasm emoji! 

I agree with you.   If they want to make the game more difficult for the pros, make the rough thicker and the greens more firm.  Leave the other 99% alone.

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I think its fairly important to read what the Conclusions actually say.  The Ruling Bodies are going to look at club design and testing in order to minimize any future equipment-related distance gains, but there are no plans to reduce distance across all levels of the game.  They will explore a Local Rule that, at the choice of the folks who run competitions, would specify the use of equipment that produces shorter drives.  But you and I will NOT be required to use short-flight balls, or less effective drivers.  

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14 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

there are no plans to reduce distance across all levels of the game.  They will explore a Local Rule that, at the choice of the folks who run competitions, would specify the use of equipment that produces shorter drives.  But you and I will NOT be required to use short-flight balls, or less effective drivers.  

Yeah, which as you then say, doesn't mean they won't try to reduce it for the PGA Tour.

3 hours ago, Double Mocha Man said:

That's all I'm saying, keep everything frozen in place.

Again, things have been frozen, but distances are still increasing, and they need to "stop" that trend.

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24 minutes ago, iacas said:

Again, things have been frozen, but distances are still increasing, and they need to "stop" that trend.

But those distances are increasing because of practice devices, launch monitors, focused workouts, better nutrition.  But, as in my Cameron Champ example, I think they are just about maxed out.  It is a very athletic/Olympics thing to let body improvement/body performance lead the way.  Not equipment.

And wouldn't that be a good thing to improve our performance through life-enhancing means rather than buying the new Ping driver offered up next season?

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3 hours ago, Double Mocha Man said:

That's all I'm saying, keep everything frozen in place.

Did you see the chart from post 15? Golf equipment performance has been regulated  as we know it today for at least 14 years. Yet, the distance “problem” has only emerged in the past three years or so.

3 hours ago, Double Mocha Man said:

I kinda believe we're almost maxed out there with respect to the touring pros.  Other than using illegal substances I don't think Cameron Champ has left any yardage on the table.

I agree there will be a limit to what’s physically achievable, but I don’t think we’re there yet. Modern technology has allowed people to understand and analyze athletic movements like never before, and you see improvement in athletic performance in almost every major sport.

Even if Champ was the ceiling (he’s not, LD guys swing faster than him), the next step in the progression would be a tour full of guys that swing just as fast. Tiger used to be pretty much the longest guy on tour and now he’s merely above average. It’s not so much that he’s slowed down, but that the rest of the field has caught up to him.

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1 minute ago, billchao said:

Even if Champ was the ceiling (he’s not, LD guys swing faster than him), the next step in the progression would be a tour full of guys that swing just as fast. 

LD guys are a freak side show, with freak equipment which I enjoy as a diversion.  And their "fairways" are quite wide and they rarely hit those fairways.  A lot of guys/gals win with one drive of 8 in bounds.  A lot of tour pros could compete in the LD contests but dial it back to score better on tour.

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Do the powers that be think the problem is distance off the tee or distance by all clubs?  Wondering if they would look more at reducing output of the driver or the golf ball to remedy what they see as a problem.

8 minutes ago, billchao said:

It’s not so much that he’s slowed down, but that the rest of the field has caught up to him.

No, he's slowed down from his heyday.  A couple of years ago at the Bahamas when he recorded the fastest single swing on Tour was how he used to swing all the time in the early days.  Tiger was WELL into the 120s+ clubhead speed.  Now, he just bunts it out there with that little cut of his to get it in play.

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It is interesting listening to some of the podcasts today and reading opinions. I mean I'm not sure where  Andy from Fried Egg got this stat, but adding even 150 yards to course involves obtaining on average 8 acres of additional land.

In an age of conservation and the younger generation being more and more concerned about conservation and land use, it's an issue I care about as a 34 year old who works in a field related to land planning.

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So right now...do we think we have reached peak physical ability to drive the ball in 2018/19? Do people want to maintain what is now but might not be ok if it got higher?

I know some will say different sport and situation but I cant help but think of today's long distance runners likely maxing out peak possibilities in endurance racing. However, Nike came out with the shoe that was giving those  runners almost a 2minute advantage and they just decided to not ban them for Tokyo.

In a way it's a reverse of the golf situation. Technology increased, no one saw it as a problem because players didnt max it out physically until 10-14 years later.

 

 

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Track and field’s world governing body ruled that the next-generation running...

 

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28 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

LD guys are a freak side show, with freak equipment which I enjoy as a diversion.  And their "fairways" are quite wide and they rarely hit those fairways.  A lot of guys/gals win with one drive of 8 in bounds.

I brought up LD as an example of human potential, not as a comparison of golf skill to tour pros.

33 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

A lot of tour pros could compete in the LD contests but dial it back to score better on tour.

We have threads on this. I don’t agree with your position at all. A small number of tour pros could compete for sure, but not a lot.

33 minutes ago, ncates00 said:

No, he's slowed down from his heyday.  A couple of years ago at the Bahamas when he recorded the fastest single swing on Tour was how he used to swing all the time in the early days.  Tiger was WELL into the 120s+ clubhead speed.  Now, he just bunts it out there with that little cut of his to get it in play.

Tiger Woods slowing down has nothing to do with the rest of the field speeding up. In 2007 there were nine players on the PGA Tour that averaged over 120mph club speed (Tiger was #2, 123.95mph). In 2019, there were 25.

Tiger didn’t play enough events to make the list in 2019, but in 2018 he was 17th on tour at 120.24mph. He’s not just bunting it out there.

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12 minutes ago, billchao said:

We have threads on this. I don’t agree with your position at all. A small number of tour pros could compete for sure, but not a lot.

My dream LD guy would be Jim Furyk.  Skinny arms and all.  😁  Otherwise you're looking at Koepka, maybe Reed, Kokrak, Woodland... the bulky guys.  But they would never ruin their swings by going all out.  Too much money to be made on the Tour.

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There's motion capture technology and a golfer can put on a suit and they can analyze minutia in their swing and make improvements. It's tech. Fitness. They can't stop it. 

Just make the rough more penal. 

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I may be wrong about this, but here is my opinion anyway.  

The real financial underpinning of the golf industry as well as the game played at the elite levels for big money is the millions of amateur golfers who buy the clubs and balls and pay the greens fees and take the lessons, and who shoot in the 80s and 90s.   That's where the billions of dollars that support professional golf really come from.   Those people are not demanding a reduction in their distances.  In fact, any action to reduce their distances or make the game even more difficult than it already is would cause a lot of them to give up the game.   And that would severely damage the sport.   

In addition, I don't I don't see any demand among the average golf fan to have the PGA Tour reduce distances.  Zero.    

I know Jack Nicklaus used a one-iron for that famous shot that hit the pin on that par-3 in the US Open.  And I know that same shot requires a lot less than a one-iron now.  But who cares, other than Jack?  

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Marty2019 said:

In addition, I don't I don't see any demand among the average golf fan to have the PGA Tour reduce distances.  Zero.    

Do you hang out with a lot of golf fans? Have you heard of the term "bomb and gouge"? It's boring golf to watch. Seeing wedges into par 4s all day just isn't interesting and can't be related to by most golfers. I know that it isn't the tour's goal to make their product relatable to the average golfer, but it is in their interest to keep it interesting for fans. At the moment, it isn't that interesting.

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10 hours ago, DrvFrShow said:

There's motion capture technology and a golfer can put on a suit and they can analyze minutia in their swing and make improvements. It's tech. Fitness. They can't stop it. 

Just make the rough more penal. 

I agree with you on this. If they can make a -15 winning score course a +1 for the US Open, then they can change other course designs to make it more risk reward for 300 yard drives. We’ve seen news about older course moving bunkers and such already. 
 

The human body is going to keep getter better regardless if they restrict golf technology (which they already have). 

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  • iacas changed the title to Usga/Ra Distance Insights Project
  • iacas changed the title to USGA/R&A Distance Insights Project (Updated Feb. 2021)

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