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USGA/R&A Changes to the Equipment Standards?


iacas
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Acceptable Amount of Yardage Decrease from USGA/R&A Equipment Change?   

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  1. 1. Percentage Loss in Distance

    • 0%
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    • -2%
      1
    • -5%
      0
    • -10%
      1
    • -15%
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    • -20% or More
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No, it hasn't happened yet (as of today), but I'm hearing that there will be some sort of announcement in the next few weeks (maybe months).

I hope little is done, or if it's done, it's done with full consideration for the ramifications. I also hope it's not a matter of bifurcation. I made a long post here that encapsulates my thoughts a bit on this:

I also found this article interesting:

Golf-Driver-face.jpg?w=640

Rules for equipment might be changing soon, so we asked the experts to weigh in.

This topic was formerly discussed here (same topic as the link above):

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  • iacas changed the title to USGA/R&A Changes to the Equipment Standards?
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Two years ago, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began, golf’s governing bodies announced that after significant study, they believed the trend in distance and the lengthening of golf courses was harming the game. Left unchecked, they stated, golf’s environmental footprint would grow too large, and the increasing costs of water and maintenance would damage many facilities. Many people also stated that as elite golfers hit the ball farther and farther, historically significant golf courses that can not be lengthened or changed become obsolete.

I always thought this take is BS. It's not like every new course (a lot of courses now are closing), but the new courses over the past 15 years or so, where never designed for championship play. I highly doubt that the owners of the course took into consideration how far PGA tour players are hitting it, or even high level amateurs. I think it had more to do with, you have a plot of land, let's maximize its usage. If that means we have a set of tees that are 7800 yards, that no one uses, then so be it. 

I do not think there is an issue with distance. Golfers have gone from looking like your average Joe to being athletes. It is only natural that the distance on tour would increase because the golfers are better. 

What I do not like is making the game less appealing to 99.99% of golfers out there. Golf is HARD! let's not make it harder. 

 

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6 hours ago, iacas said:

No, it hasn't happened yet (as of today), but I'm hearing that there will be some sort of announcement in the next few weeks (maybe months).

I hope little is done, or if it's done, it's done with full consideration for the ramifications. I also hope it's not a matter of bifurcation. 

I am totally against bifurcation. First of all, for a person who received his education where I did, it's really hard to spell bifurcation. 

Also, I still don't have any problem with the way golf is played today. If you think the scores are too low at some tournaments, grow the grass longer. Stop rolling the fairways 5 to 10 times before a tournament. You could pinch the rough in, narrowing the fairways where the longest hitters land. Still give Bryson a chance to hit his 330 yard carry, but make it at a greater risk. There's a lot of things that can be done. I personally don't think you need to, but if old farts are going to bitch and moan, there are things that can be done without rolling driver heads back to 0.75 COR or making the pros play limited flight balls, or something ridiculous like that. 

I do get frustrated when I'm at the driving range and I hear guys (mostly my generation) whining about how "all the skill has been removed from the game". Really? Because golfers now are MORE skilled than they've ever been. ,,, at least that's my opinion. "Back in the day" I'd watch golf and think; Yeah, I could do that. Now I watch golf and think; Man, I can't do that! 

I might also suggest that golf is a victim of the great marketing work that has been done over the years by some of the big golf manufacturers. For a while there every year drivers got "7 yards longer than last year's model". Now every year you get "30% more MOI than last years model". I've actually heard guys my age at the driving range say things like "If they would have made drivers like this when I was young, I could have played on the PGA tour." .... Please? 

Yes, equipment has improved over the last 3-4 decades. Of course it has. BUT so have the golfers, and we want to punish them for it. What if when Roger Bannister finally broke the 4 minute mile, the world track and field organization would have said: Okay, runners now have to wear 3 pound shoes? Or, okay now we have to make the mile a few feet longer? 

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I’m not sure what they could do at this point to make more huge gains.   We have ball, shaft and club fittings to improve distance.  The ball and club guardrails seem to be at their max.   Bryson can cream drives because he bulked up to increase club head speed.   
 

A lot of the complaints seem to be that old courses can’t defend par anymore.  I say, so what?  Birdie fests are fun too.  There are still ridiculously hard courses for them to play.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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News today:


The USGA and The R&A Release Updated Areas of Interest and
Research Topics on Hitting Distance in Golf

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J., USA AND ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (March 16, 2022) – The USGA and The R&A today released updated areas of interest and research topics on hitting distance in golf.

The governing bodies are continuing their work to assess potential future changes that address the long-term cycle of consistent increases in hitting distances. This results in course lengthening that threatens golf’s long-term sustainability and undermines the core principle that a broad and balanced set of skills should primarily determine success in golf.

The update follows a consultation with the industry and focuses on the Notice and Comment and Areas of Interest from the Feb. 1, 2021, release. 

The official notice to manufacturers regarding these new Areas of Interest can be found via this link.

The USGA and The R&A will investigate the potential impacts on hitting distance from increasing the ball test speeds for golf balls to reflect the clubhead speeds achieved by today’s longest hitters.

The governing bodies will also narrow the focus of previously announced research topics for drivers, specifically within the context of potential Model Local Rules, to explore a reduction of spring-like effect to reduce hitting distance and changes to the Moment of Inertia (MOI) limit to enhance the reward of a central impact. 

The USGA and The R&A have also made industry stakeholders aware that they are considering whether these potential changes could be coupled with other changes to the Equipment Rules that could provide the potential for enhanced innovation for recreational golfers. 

The governing bodies believe that the changes being considered could:

  • address hitting distances for the longest hitters, whose impact on the game and golf courses has been the most significant;
  • minimize the impact on shorter hitters with slower swing speeds at the recreational level;
  • allow for continued innovation of balls and clubs for players at all levels.

The updates released today are as follows:

Areas of Interest

1 - Potential changes to the testing methods for golf balls

Evaluate the effect of increasing the clubhead speed used to determine conformance to the Overall Distance Standard (ODS) to at least 125 mph and to use optimized launch angle and spin parameters (that are specific to each ball tested). In conjunction with the potential new test conditions for the ODS, the Initial Velocity Test may be modified or eliminated to provide the opportunity for innovation for shorter hitters. These potential changes would apply to balls used at all levels of the game.

2 - Model Local Rules – Club performance 

Investigate the impact of a reduction of the allowable spring-like effect and moment of inertia in drivers. The governing bodies are considering these topics within the context of Model Local Rules that could be utilized for competitions involving the highest level of elite golfers. There is also interest in considering whether the adoption of these potential Model Local Rules could also allow the elimination of the MOI limit for recreational golfers, which could facilitate greater innovation and provide modest distance increases at this level of the game.

Golf’s stakeholders can provide feedback and research on these topics by Sept. 2, 2022.

Distance in Golf

The Distance Insights Report released in 2020 identified a long-term cycle of hitting distance increases and lengthening courses that the governing bodies concluded is detrimental to golf and the way it is played. More specifically, the report highlighted how this cycle is impacting, and is likely to continue to impact, the strategic challenge of the game and alter the variety of skills needed to be successful.

The report also found that the overall trend of golf courses becoming longer has adverse consequences that ultimately affect golfers at all levels of the sport, including by increasing the cost and time to play, limiting the advancement of sustainability efforts especially with respect to water usage and reducing the challenge of courses – in some cases creating a risk of them becoming obsolete. 

The USGA and The R&A are working with the key stakeholders in golf to address these issues and to ensure that skill continues to be primary determinant of success in golf. 

The governing bodies have also researched how course-related factors such as setup, conditioning and maintenance could be selectively used to impact the way a course plays. These factors have modest and varying degrees of impact on distance, costs and golfer experience and, therefore, should not be viewed as a means to sustainably reduce the long-term impact related to distance across the game. These potential practices will continue to be reviewed as part of the ongoing conversation with the industry on distance.  

In line with Equipment Rulemaking procedures, the latest Areas of Interest confirm the key areas of focus of the governing bodies but do not represent a proposal or decision on any aspects at this stage.

“We’re moving forward on this important work because we want golf to remain just as strong 50 years from now as it is today,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “It energizes all of us to do what is in the best interests of the game and keep it thriving long into the future.”

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said, “We have been working through this process carefully and collaboratively with the golf industry and greatly appreciate the constructive feedback we have received. Our thinking on these areas continues to evolve and we believe we are moving in the right direction to maintain the balance between skill and technology in golf that we have said is important. We will continue to work quickly but carefully as we look to resolve this complex and challenging issue for the sport as a whole.”

The 2021 Annual Driving Distance Report

The R&A and the USGA also today released the 2021 Annual Driving Distance Report. The full report can be found here.

For more information visit www.usga.org/distanceinsights or www.randa.org.

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I didn't read this in detail, but it seems as if they will consider moving towards bifurcation of driver standards.  I had hoped that bifurcation wouldn't be found necessary, I just see complications when a player advances from "regular" golf to "elite" golf, or perhaps straddles that line.  I don't see anything as a done deal right now, but I can't say I'm excited to see this specific announcement.  I'll try to read it all in a little more detail later today.

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37 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I didn't read this in detail, but it seems as if they will consider moving towards bifurcation of driver standards.  I had hoped that bifurcation wouldn't be found necessary, I just see complications when a player advances from "regular" golf to "elite" golf, or perhaps straddles that line.  I don't see anything as a done deal right now, but I can't say I'm excited to see this specific announcement.  I'll try to read it all in a little more detail later today.

The ball too but my reading of it is mostly relaxing rules on the lower end of speed there.

Higher MOI for bad golfers and duller faces for good golfers.

That about it?

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(edited)

I'm no longer against bifurcation if only so I no longer have to listen to Jack complain about people hitting the ball too far, because amateurs who hit the ball 220 yds are ruining the game. And as far as going to elite amateur to pro? Think about it this way. A Classical pianist, or any pianist for that matter, unless they're very very rich, has to perform on the piano in the concert hall. They don't get to bring their own piano on which they've spent thousands of hours practicing. Not all pianos are the same, They don't feel the same. Yet they're expected to perform on them. This is similar to not being allowed to play with your own golf clubs but being handed a set at the event. So bifurcate and get it over with.

 

Edited by DrvFrShow
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1 hour ago, DrvFrShow said:

I'm no longer against bifurcation if only so I no longer have to listen to Jack complain about people hitting the ball too far, because amateurs who hit the ball 220 yds are ruining the game. And as far as going to elite amateur to pro? Think about it this way. A Classical pianist, or any pianist for that matter, unless they're very very rich, has to perform on the piano in the concert hall. They don't get to bring their own piano on which they've spent thousands of hours practicing. Not all pianos are the same, They don't feel the same. Yet they're expected to perform on them. This is similar to not being allowed to play with your own golf clubs but being handed a set at the event. So bifurcate and get it over with.

I hate the concept of bifurcation.... But I also wish the old timers would quite complaining that the new guys hit it too far. ... GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!!!!!!!!

23 minutes ago, Sandy Divot said:

I’m so tired of all this talk from the USGA. Just make a stinking ruling so we can get on with it!

I'd like to see them just draw the line in the sand where it is and STHU. 

I really don't know any fans who think golf is broken. But to listen to some of these guys you'd swear that the equipment has made the game way too easy. I remember when I was a kid I had to walk 25 miles to school every single day, in six feet of snow, up hill... Both ways! 

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I still don't understand what the actual problem is.

Quote

The governing bodies are continuing their work to assess potential future changes that address the long-term cycle of consistent increases in hitting distances. This results in course lengthening that threatens golf’s long-term sustainability and undermines the core principle that a broad and balanced set of skills should primarily determine success in golf.

I don't buy this at all.

Admittedly I don't keep tabs on every single golf course globally, but how many clubs are really concerned about not having 8000 yard layouts? There can't be a huge number of clubs that are worried about worried about adding length to hold professional/elite amateur competition. I can't think of any public courses (where I expect

And the "broad and balanced set of skills" thing, it's not like the longest hitters can only hit the ball really far, and suck in other areas of the game.

I think the entire thing is stupid.

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I have no problem with addressing ball testing parameters as described. 

As far as bifurcation, I don't really care at this point. I can see both sides to the argument and to be honest, this doesn't affect me, unless I practice really hard, take advantage of the super forgiving modern equipment, speed train and then make the Tour next year. Then, and only then, would I care! 🤣

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Well, I’m an Old Timer, old enough to remember when the previous generation of old timers complained that something had to be done because Jack Nicklaus was hitting the ball too far.  Regardless of the decade, the  level of golf played at the local level has always been a shadow of what the professionals were doing.  It would certainly be refreshing if the USGA focused its energies on improving the golf experience for the 99.9% instead of writing their hands over the elite.  Sports analogies abound. The NBA hasn’t raised the height of the basket, etc …

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22 hours ago, Darkfrog said:

I still don't understand what the actual problem is.

I don't buy this at all.

Admittedly I don't keep tabs on every single golf course globally, but how many clubs are really concerned about not having 8000 yard layouts? There can't be a huge number of clubs that are worried about worried about adding length to hold professional/elite amateur competition. I can't think of any public courses (where I expect

And the "broad and balanced set of skills" thing, it's not like the longest hitters can only hit the ball really far, and suck in other areas of the game.

I think the entire thing is stupid.

From your mouth to God's ears, brother. 

I am 100% with you. 

I'd like this comment twice if I could. 

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19 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

From your mouth to God's ears, brother. 

I am 100% with you. 

I'd like this comment twice if I could. 

I didn't even complete one of my sentences I was so irritated by the whole thing.

"I can't think of any public courses (where I expect the majority of golf is played, but could be wrong) that are in my area, and are planning to add championship length tees."

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42 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

"I can't think of any public courses (where I expect the majority of golf is played, but could be wrong) that are in my area, and are planning to add championship length tees."

There are very few courses that do have Champ Tees that even set them up for public play.  At the home course, I haven't seen them in years. I always joke that to play the tips, you just have to have one foot in the rough on the end of the tee box.

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We can probably temper down the distance point with a couple of things:

- Was it Mickelson or Poulter who said just make them use no lower than a 10.5 degree driver?

- ban the fitness trailers

- make them go drink beer in the bar instead of protein shakes after their rounds like the old days.

I realize these things won't happen, but these are professional athletes. You can slow down the perceived problem, but I don't think you can ultimately solve it short of bifurcation, which I am not a fan of.

Changing/rolling back equipment will just hurt the shorter hitter, professional or otherwise. Not much you can do when some of those guys are working out to look like Mr. Universe.

 

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(edited)
1 hour ago, paperclip said:

but I don't think you can ultimately solve it short of bifurcation, which I am not a fan of.

Changing/rolling back equipment will just hurt the shorter hitter, professional or otherwise. Not much you can do when some of those guys are working out to look like Mr. Universe.

 

I have three comments. 

1 - I don't think we have a problem. So, that's the first part.

2 - Put me in charge of the grounds crew and I'll bring the scores up if that's what you want. It's very simple. You don't have to lengthen the course. Watch old golf matches on Youtube. Look at the fairways, the rough, it was different back then. They used to roll the greens twice before a pro-tourney. Now they roll the fairways 8-12 times before a tourney. Stop rolling the fairways. Let the fairway grass grow a bit. Let the rough grass grow a lot. Pinch the fairways in where you are worried about the big hitters landing. I play plenty of courses where the fairway narrows dramatically where I plan to land my drive. Do that more often, and more severely. Make landing in the rough actually cost you shots.

3 -  If you make it harder to hit the ball farther, you will give an even bigger advantage to guys who can hit it farther. 

Lastly, no matter what they do, I hope they still leave a couple of holes per tournament where the guys can really swing away. Because, you know what, that's a skill. (And it's really entertaining.) Some folks talk like the only skills in golf are hitting 5-irons into greens. Hitting it 325 yards is ALSO a skill. If it wasn't anyone could do it. 

It feels to me like people have created this perceived problem. "Oh its so disrespectful to the game...blah, blah, blah..." Once again, draw a line in the sand where the equipment is now. If you want the scores to be higher, let the grounds crew create better risk/reward opportunities. And quit your damned whining. Thank God this didn't happen in 1954. "That bastard Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile. That's so disrespectful to runners. From now on all professional runners have to wear shoes that are heavy enough to keep them running at a pace which makes them run the mile in just over 4 minutes." 

Oops, I guess that was more than 3 comments. 

Edited by ChetlovesMer
typo, I should proof read more
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  • iacas changed the title to Acceptable Amount of Yardage Decrease From USGA/R&A Equipment Change?

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