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USGA/R&A Changes to the Equipment Standards?


iacas

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

59 members have voted

  1. 1. Percentage Loss in Distance

    • 0%
      38
    • -2%
      2
    • -5%
      7
    • -10%
      3
    • -15%
      3
    • -20% or More
      3
    • They should increase smash factor!
      3


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7 hours ago, mvmac said:

Since it's so small, why do you think they're doing it? As a way to cap distances for the future? So they can say they did "something"?

I think a bit of the latter.

Here's what I don't understand. They moved the 320-yard limit from 120 MPH to 127. But we've had a limit at 120 and driver distance on the PGA Tour has increased about a yard a year for 20 years.

So if this reduces distances at the top end about 15 yards… aren't we going to be right back where we are now in about 15 years again? They can't regulate how fast people actually swing.

1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

After taking some time to think about it, I am fine with this change. My preference would be no rollback and no bifurcation, but I think this is okay.

Ditto here. But I've always said a few things:

  • I don't think a rollback is necessary. 6500 yards is more than enough for like 95% of golfers.
  • If they do rollback, they'd better understand exactly what the results will be. I wouldn't want a major disruption… that manufacturers and players work around in three months. Or three years, even.
  • Rollback, not bifurcate.

That said… I also agree here:

1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

I do think there's a good chance, even with bifurcation, that everybody moves to the new ball. There is almost no market for non-conforming clubs currently, even though nobody would care if your average hacker played a juiced ball and driver.

There's also a chance the ball could go a little farther for the shorter hitters. Maybe make the outer layers more springy while the inner layers are less so? (But that also might mess up the 8Is that a PGA Tour player hits, since that's a slower swing that wouldn't get "into the core.")

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
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6 hours ago, iacas said:

So if this reduces distances at the top end about 15 yards… aren't we going to be right back where we are now in about 15 years again? They can't regulate how fast people actually swing.

This is actually how I feel. Players will get faster regardless of the change.

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8 hours ago, iacas said:

So if this reduces distances at the top end about 15 yards… aren't we going to be right back where we are now in about 15 years again? They can't regulate how fast people actually swing.

Mike Whan said on the NLU podcast that this might be an every 15 year thing. Not a huge fan of that. He was saying that he hopes players have to only deal with this once or twice during their playing careers. For tour players, okay, that might be true. But if this is going down to the Mid-Am, this is going to affect people more than that. There are a lot of players at the Mid-Am level who also compete in senior events, too. If you include that as part of your competitive golf career, players are competing at a level that would be affected by this for 45 years. 

That said, I'm not sure I buy the 1 yard a year thing. That very much depends on when you start looking at things. Because there are a lot of big jumps in the 90s and early 00s, and then it's been a slow increase since then. So maybe it's not really every 15 years. Maybe it's once every 30 years.

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I'm just back from vacation and not sure if this has been said yet. ... This is a pretty long thread. But I keep hearing people say "They gotta limit the ball so they don't have to spend so much on taking care of longer golf courses.... etc..." 

Wouldn't it be easier to kill both of these birds with one stone?
Why not make the fairways smaller, and let the grass grow more? Back in the day they'd roll the greens for tournament. Now a days, they roll the fairways several times before tournaments. Wouldn't it save money just to make smaller fairways, smaller greens. Only roll the greens, let the fairway grass grow a bit higher. Let the rough grow a bunch higher. etc... 

I keep hearing "Well, to build a course for the pros it needs to be 8000 yards... blah... blah... blah..." Do we seriously think the only way to make golf more difficult is to make the course longer? 

2 more things. 

  1. I hate the idea of bifurcation. If a top amateur qualifies for The US Open with one ball, will he have to switch and play with a different ball in The US Open?
  2. ProV1's are already 60 bucks a dozen. How much will they be when Titleist has to make a ProV1-Pro and a ProV1-Am?
8 hours ago, iacas said:

So if this reduces distances at the top end about 15 yards… aren't we going to be right back where we are now in about 15 years again? They can't regulate how fast people actually swing.

This.

Again, can't we come up with more clever ways to achieve the same result? This feels so like throwing a bone to the old bitchy guys, who keep whining. Are golf fans complaining about this, or is it just old former golfers? 

My bag is an ever-changing combination of clubs. 

A mix I am forever tinkering with. 

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23 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I keep hearing "Well, to build a course for the pros it needs to be 8000 yards... blah... blah... blah..." Do we seriously think the only way to make golf more difficult is to make the course longer? 

To me, the only course that seemed consistent in scoring, without changing much the past 30 years is TPC Sawgrass. Which does have narrower fairways and is target golf 101. You combine the need for very accurate play, with typically Florida winds, and you get a shorter course that keeps scoring consistent. The PGA Tour players average -12 to -16 most every year. If you want to take -4 per round as a good typical round for your winner, then fine. Let's make every golf course like TPC Sawgrass. There is your benchmark design. 

We know how to get scores down to even par, trick it up to US Open standards. 

Take Torrey Pines, usually back tees are 7200-ish yards. The US Open played at 7685 for the week. Then they dry the heck out of the course to make it play fast. They firm up the greens. So, they basically reduce the effective green size. If the area gets any sort of rain, the scoring can jump from even par to -16 quickly. Like Rory in 2011 at Congressional. 

Not every course can be designed like TPC Sawgrass. So, you have to increase distance to keep scoring down. You need to force longer irons into their hands. They are too good with shorter irons. 

36 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Again, can't we come up with more clever ways to achieve the same result? This feels so like throwing a bone to the old bitchy guys, who keep whining. Are golf fans complaining about this, or is it just old former golfers? 

I am not sure. They can't make the club smaller because it actually doesn't do much when it comes to golfers who can swing 120 mph and hit the center of the clubface 98% of the time. You would have to make drivers smaller than 3-woods. I do not think they want to make golf like that for Amateur golfers. 

How about this, it can be an MLR. The tournament can outlaw the driver. This way, when you go to the shorter courses. It would have the old driver feel from pre-2000. If the course is going to be like sub 7300 yards, no driver that week. 

The idea that we can make clubs less forgiving would be highly detrimental to amateurs. The only other factor is the golf ball. 

Yea, I am not sure there is an issue. I do not know what the USGA is seeing in terms of course set up and course management. 

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18 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

I am not sure. They can't make the club smaller because it actually doesn't do much when it comes to golfers who can swing 120 mph and hit the center of the clubface 98% of the time. You would have to make drivers smaller than 3-woods. I do not think they want to make golf like that for Amateur golfers. 

How about this, it can be an MLR. The tournament can outlaw the driver. This way, when you go to the shorter courses. It would have the old driver feel from pre-2000. If the course is going to be like sub 7300 yards, no driver that week. 

The idea that we can make clubs less forgiving would be highly detrimental to amateurs. The only other factor is the golf ball. 

Yea, I am not sure there is an issue. I do not know what the USGA is seeing in terms of course set up and course management. 

I'm sorry, Matt. I wasn't clear. I don't mean change the equipment. I just mean if you want to bring the scores up, change the way courses are designed. Build the course to put a premium on accuracy. Put in cleverly place hazards. Narrow the fairway in portions. 
I think the equipment is fine. Leave it as it is. 

My bag is an ever-changing combination of clubs. 

A mix I am forever tinkering with. 

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9 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I'm sorry, Matt. I wasn't clear. I don't mean change the equipment. I just mean if you want to bring the scores up, change the way courses are designed. Build the course to put a premium on accuracy. Put in cleverly place hazards. Narrow the fairway in portions. 
I think the equipment is fine. Leave it as it is. 

I do not see many new golf courses being built in the future to accommodate PGA tour players. Maybe the PGA Tour and USGA should invest in like 15 new golf courses built around challenging the best in the world. Then opening them up to the public for use (at reasonable prices please). 

If we do not build new courses, then more scores will just be getting lower and lower as these golfers get better. Which if people want to see -20 or better every week, sure. I do not mind; I just want like 3-4 good golfers there on Sunday to make it interesting. I can see the issue on the property size needed to build these golf courses, the resources needed to maintain them, and how much strain you put on the course if you want to really get the scores near par. 

I might be coming around on the rule here. I really want to see how they write the rule. I would prefer them to set a handicap limit for the elite tournaments. Like 3.4, which is the handicap limit for the USGA Mid Am. 

Edited by saevel25

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
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The more I think about it, even after reading the USGA stuff, the less I like it.  As someone above pointed out, the "elite" players are only playing on a few courses.  The "little" courses I play on don't need to be made longer to hold them, they don't play there!  Actually, I would like to see what would happen if they played the little greens, shaggy fairways, hardpan rough, tight doglegs, etc. , that some very non-pro courses have.   (A subject for another day, but ....) The big jumps in distance happened when "they" let ball and club technology change without regulating more at the time.  Now, we are where we are, and golf seems to be popular, the pros can shoot low scores sometimes, at some courses, but there are still a lot of bogeys out there!  A few courses (Augusta) add distance to protect their designs, others change rough and bunkers, other allow the scores to be what they are.  And no one seems to be hurt by that.  As long as the regulations keep things about where they are (other than unregulatable swing speed), what's wrong with the status quo?  What is changing the ball protecting the world from?  If they want to tweak the ball regulations back for everyone over the course of a few years, I could live with that, though it seems unnecessary.  I imagine that could be done without much controversy at all, in fact most might support it.

 

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Again, not that I am in support of the MLR. 

Imagine back in the early 2000's the USGA had infinite foresight to say, you know what we believe athletes are going to come into the sport, tech is going to continue to explode, and we want to make sure to protect the game. So, in conjunction with the COR limits, they add in rule about maximum distance from golfers who swung 127 mph, that will be 317 yards. 

Now, imagine for the past 20 years or so we had this boom in golf were under these hypothetical equipment changes. Our whole perspective would change on what we consider to be the long game. We would have nearly 2 decades of higher-level athletes bombing the ball, not as much as today, but still very long compared to the 1990's. We would still be in awe of the distance, but it would be under a new baseline. 

Imagine in 2023, would anyone be complaining that the game needs more distance? I doubt it. 

So, maybe it isn't that big of a deal. Maybe our whole instinct on this is just because we have 20 years of data that really doesn't mean anything at all. 

 

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
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:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: Sub 70 TAIII Fordged
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6 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I'm just back from vacation and not sure if this has been said yet. ... This is a pretty long thread. But I keep hearing people say "They gotta limit the ball so they don't have to spend so much on taking care of longer golf courses.... etc..." 

That just encourages bombing.

Imagine a 400-yard par four with a two-yard wide fairway. Nobody's going to hit a PW off the tee and try to hit the fairway — they're going to blast driver down as far as they can and play from there.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 :edel: :true_linkswear:

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

That just encourages bombing.

Imagine a 400-yard par four with a two-yard wide fairway. Nobody's going to hit a PW off the tee and try to hit the fairway — they're going to blast driver down as far as they can and play from there.

True. And there's no way they can consistently make the rough penal enough to stop these guys from hitting greens with wedges. Same goes for bunkers - unless they build 30-yard high walls in front of them.

So what are we left with? Complete rollback, bifurcation, or nothing.

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 :edel: :true_linkswear:

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Just curious here; how would this affect long driving championships? They don’t use non-conforming golf balls but do allow 50” drivers. So will they use the new balls or just keep using the ‘normal’ balls?

Edited by Vinsk

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4 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Just curious here; how would this affect long driving championships? They don’t use non-conforming golf balls but do allow 50” drivers. So will they use the new balls or just keep using the ‘normal’ balls?

No they don't. They obey/follow the Rules of Golf.

I imagine they might keep using the "fast" balls unless we end up in a situation where we're not really bifurcated.

They're all ABOUT distance and there's no real sustainability argument.

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
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It seems I'm in the minority, but in principle I like the idea of rolling back distance. Maybe a lot! I disagree with Erik's take on less distance not making watching pros more fun or exciting. For one, as Erik noted, risk/reward is one of the most fun parts of golf (watching and playing!). The pros play so many par 70s and 71s because they hit it too long to fit four par 5s onto the course! But Par 5s are the most consistent source of risk/reward. I'd love watching tournaments with characteristics like:

  • Three or four par 5s where, say, 80% of the field was hitting 3w or 5w to get there in two (so like 10% couldn't get there and 10% hitting an iron approach). IOW, 3-4 holes where the specifics of the architecture are dramatically accentuated and players are forced into a really tough decision with a good drive
  • A par 72 where on the 10 par 4s where the average tour player is hitting seven different clubs on the approach, including at least one, say, 5i or longer. This without gimmicky forced irons off the tee or the like.

Current courses just aren't long enough for that!

I dislike, however, the bifurcation. I'm not sure I read it right, but I also dislike the idea of using the ball regs to compress the distance distribution. I get that's one way to prevent bifurcation. But I hate the idea of artificially lessening the advantage to players who learn how to hit it really far while staying accurate (enough). Which is to say, I would hate it if instead of the longest and shortest hitters on tour both seeing 15% drops in distance, the longest hitter saw a 20% drop and the shortest hitter saw a 10% drop.

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3 minutes ago, mdl said:

But Par 5s are the most consistent source of risk/reward. I'd love watching tournaments with characteristics like:

Isn't a short par five converted to a long par four a great risk-reward opportunity that a lot of players feel they must take the risk since it's a par four?

3 minutes ago, mdl said:
  • Three or four par 5s where, say, 80% of the field was hitting 3w or 5w to get there in two (so like 10% couldn't get there and 10% hitting an iron approach). IOW, 3-4 holes where the specifics of the architecture are dramatically accentuated and players are forced into a really tough decision with a good drive
  • A par 72 where on the 10 par 4s where the average tour player is hitting seven different clubs on the approach, including at least one, say, 5i or longer. This without gimmicky forced irons off the tee or the like.

Do you honestly think that 15 yards of reduced ball flight with a driver will do this?

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 :edel: :true_linkswear:

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Yea that makes sense. They might make a later react different suck it could slow it down at high swing speed but maintain most on slower swing speeds.

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
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What's in My Bag
Driver; :pxg: 0311 Gen 5,  3-Wood: 
:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: Sub 70 TAIII Fordged
Wedges: :edel: (52, 56, 60),  Putter: :edel:,  Ball: :snell: MTB,  Shoe: :true_linkswear:,  Rangfinder: :leupold:
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