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USGA/R&A Release 2018 Driving Distance Study


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http://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/driving-distance/2018 Annual Driving Distance Report.pdf

This is from the press release:

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. and ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Jan. 29, 2019) – The USGA and The R&A have released the 2018 Annual Driving Distance Report, containing driving-distance data from seven men’s and women’s professional golf tours around the world. This is the fourth annual distance report issued by the game’s governing bodies, completed in an effort to monitor current trends in driving distance.

The 2018 data show that driving distances on these seven tours increased by an average of 1.7 yards, beyond the previous year’s gain of more than 3 yards.

The full report, which can be found via this link, summarizes data provided by the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Champions Tour based on available data at the time of publication. Introduced in 2015, the report includes data starting with the 1968 PGA TOUR season.

The average driving distance is typically measured on two holes at each tournament and usually results in nearly 40,000 shots being measured over the course of a season on some tours.

The USGA and The R&A continue to be diligent in studying the long-term effect of distance on the game of golf, a global focus first expressed in their Joint Statement of Principles delivered in 2002.

In that document, the organizations reinforced their commitment to ensure that skill is the dominant element of success throughout the game, and that all factors contributing to distance would be considered on a regular basis.

The 2018 report represents one set of data among the already substantial collection of information currently being studied within the context of the ongoing Distance Insights project, which was launched last May to provide a comprehensive and definitive study of the past, present and future impacts of distance at all levels of the game globally.

A progress update on work conducted to date on the Distance Insights project will be delivered by the end of the first quarter of 2019. The USGA and The R&A remain on target to distribute the comprehensive Distance Insights report in the latter half of 2019.

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45 minutes ago, cooke119 said:

1.7 yards, so I guess the hype of 10 to 20 extra yards with a driver by all the major manufacturers is BS.

The 10-20 yard gains are all about what your point of comparison is. Against last years model, no. Against a 25 year old driver? Maybe. Maybe not.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, I don't know of any major manufacturers claiming that their current model driver can outdrive their previous year model by 10-20 yards


From the PDF doc:

"The R&A and the USGA believe, however, that any further significant increases in hitting distances at the highest level are undesirable. Whether these increases in distance emanate from advancing equipment technology, greater athleticism of players, improved player coaching, golf course conditioning or a combination of these or other factors, they will have the impact of seriously reducing the challenge of the game. The consequential lengthening or toughening of courses would be costly or impossible and would have a negative effect on increasingly important environmental and ecological issues. Pace of play would be slowed and playing costs would increase"

 

This is a really interesting quote and I'm not sure how to process it. I wonder what their definition is of "further significant increases"

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“Whether these increasesin distance emanate from advancing equipment technology, greater athleticism of players, improved player coaching, golf course conditioning or a combination of these or other factors, they will have the impact of seriously reducing the challenge of the game.”

 It will only change the game for a small number of golfers. Us common folk will continue hacking about as usual on the golf course. Go ahead and use iron Byron to check and limit driver/ ball distance for everyone but not rein it IN. And also I’d leave athleticism out of the equation. Looking at golf , minus the pga, we don’t have a distance problem. But taking out the pros it would seem bifurcation would be a solution and I’m not sure anyone is in favor of that

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2 hours ago, klineka said:

This is a really interesting quote and I'm not sure how to process it. I wonder what their definition is of "further significant increases"

I think even 15 years ago or whenever the first one of these came out they said the same thing, so "significant" must be another 15 yards or more? 20? 10?

2 hours ago, chilepepper said:

It will only change the game for a small number of golfers.

If they roll the ball back (without bifurcating) it will affect EVERY golfer, and if they bifurcate it will affect a large portion of golfers.

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A guy on Sirius golf channel made a good point, every year a certain amount of golfers retire from the PGA or are marginal players that are bumped out of playing privileges. The new young guns, like Champ replace someone and driving average for tour is increased by younger, and a lot more skilled. 

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25 minutes ago, Edsland said:

A guy on Sirius golf channel made a good point, every year a certain amount of golfers retire from the PGA or are marginal players that are bumped out of playing privileges. The new young guns, like Champ replace someone and driving average for tour is increased by younger, and a lot more skilled. 

I mean yeah, that's how all sports work... Old guys retire and young guys take their place.

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I apologize, when I said 10 to 20 yards I was just trying to being humorous, I guess it didn't work. All I meant was that the manufacturers keep claiming increased yardage with their newest clubs and apparently the facts don't prove them out. 

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18 hours ago, Edsland said:

And the old guys don't average 330, so when the PGA distance average goes up its not just equipment. 

I'm only guessing, but I don't think that every tour rookie averages 330 either.  Champ is a freak that way.

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