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  1. Joint Statement Regarding Green-Reading Materials May 1, 2017 The R&A and the USGA believe that a player's ability to read greens is an essential part of the skill of putting. Rule 14-3 limits the use of equipment and devices that might assist a player in their play, based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the judgement, skills and abilities of the player. We are concerned about the rapid development of increasingly detailed materials that players are using to help with reading greens during a round. We are reviewing the use of these materials to assess whether any actions need to be taken to protect this important part of the game. We expect to address this matter further in the coming months. FWIW I think they're talking about stuff like this… Edit (2018-10-15): The final "rules" are out:
  2. Dear USGA Member, After more than three wonderful decades working at the USGA, today I am publicly announcing my decision to move on from the organization by the end of 2021 to begin a new journey. I first discussed my long-term intentions with the USGA Executive Committee in 2018 to encourage proper time for planning and a smooth transition. More recently, I shared my plans with the USGA’s executive team and today I am sharing this news with all of my fellow staff members. While leaving the USGA will be hard, I’m excited to tell you that I will be pursuing my dream of designing and building golf courses by partnering with Tom Fazio II. I’ve been fascinated with golf design ever since I was a junior golfer. It started with doodling golf holes, and then reading and observing all that I could about golf course architecture. It also led to a quest to study as many of the world’s best courses as possible. The last 30+ years with the USGA have afforded me so many wonderful opportunities in that regard, including meeting and working with many of the renowned designers in the game. I have also learned a great deal about grasses, course maintenance and construction from our deeply knowledgeable Green Section agronomists. Tom lives in Jupiter, Florida, and has been a friend for many years. His family is steeped in golf design – he’s the son of golf course designer Jim Fazio, nephew of designer Tom Fazio and great-nephew of designer and 1950 U.S. Open runner-up George Fazio. Tom is a very talented design-builder, who has many accomplishments. Just recently, he’s worked on the venues for the 2023 Ryder Cup and the 2022 PGA Championship. Our firm will be called Fazio & Davis Golf Design, LLC. Beyond the opportunity to pursue my lifelong passion, it is the right time for me and my family. When I became Executive Director in March 2011, I told Cece that I would devote 10 years to this leadership position, and then we would move on. She and my family have been incredibly understanding of the long hours and the many days away from home. I’m excited to share that Cece and I will move full-time to Jupiter, where we are currently building a new home. A search committee that comprises a handful of USGA Executive Committee members, supported by an external search firm, has been appointed to lead the selection of the next CEO for the Association. Steve Schloss (USGA Chief People Officer) and I are working closely with the search committee to assist in the process. The board hopes to have my successor in place by the end of May to facilitate on-boarding and knowledge sharing, especially through a USGA championship season. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the USGA and the game, and so my departure feels bittersweet. The USGA has been such an important part of my life these last 30+ years, and I’ve been so proud to say that I work for the organization. My experiences going back to 1990 have been nothing short of amazing. So too have been the people I have gotten to know and come to call friends. There are so many to thank who have helped me along the way, and I’ll strive in the months to come to find the appropriate times and ways to express my gratitude. While I will sorely miss the USGA and its people, I am confident that the Association today is strong and healthy and poised to flourish under the leadership of the next CEO. My attention and energy for the remaining 15 months will be focused on four priorities: continuing to lead the organization through the impacts of COVID-19; advancing our commitment to create Golf House Pinehurst; driving our strategy (including, importantly, the outcomes of our Distance Insights project); as well as on-boarding and supporting my successor. I am looking forward to continuing my work on behalf of the game and this great organization and I remain steadfast in my commitment to the USGA’s mission. Thank you for your friendship and support over the years. Mike Davis CEO, USGA
  3. https://www.thepilot.com/news/usga-picks-pinehurst-for-hq/article_9d65f182-f218-11ea-954b-f7e53e8eae9d.html I wonder what a "second headquarters" will really mean.
  4. Take a guess. Vote in the poll. Then view this hidden tweet: So, how close were you?
  5. For the first time in a loooong time, I have a GHIN number (I was disappointed my old number was not still available. I still remember it, and it was only six digits). Anyway, I'm entering hole-by-hole scores with the "advanced stats." Now, let's be real: calling them that is a bit silly, as it's just fairways, greens, and putts. Counting stats. But still, it's something. One suggestion I'm passing up the flagpole: auto-select the GIR stat. Pre-select the checkbox for a GIR if the player gets: An albatross or eagle. A birdie with one putt. A par with two putts. A bogey with three putts (and a double with four). Pre-select the red X if the player gets anything but the above. The player can always change it, but this would basically make it so they almost never have to.
  6. Which golf rules need to go? - Golf Digest In our latest installment of the “Great Golf Debates” writers Christopher Powers and Joel Beall tackle the pressing question: Which golf rules need to go? Oy. More of this nonsense. In brief… Oy. Look, the Local Rule eliminates the need to "go back to the tee" not that people did that all that often anyway. And in tournaments, people tend to know to hit a provisional, from what I've seen as a contestant, rules official, spectator watching junior and college events, etc. And no, why should OB just "go away"? You've literally hit the ball off the property, most often. The game of golf involves hitting your ball around the golf course, not in the neighbor's yard or into the parking lot of a 7/11. It's a stiff penalty, yeah, but that's as it should be: you didn't keep your ball on the property. Again, my argument here is two-fold: Divot holes are part of the game. You sometimes land in 'em, just like you sometimes get a kick out of the trees back into the fairway. Learn to deal with them. When someone can define, in such a way that everyone can apply the rule very nearly exactly the same, when a "divot hole" is and isn't a "divot hole," then we can revisit the discussion. Until then, c'mon. Make this a rule and suddenly you won't believe how many "almost healed but still in a divot hole" divot holes people will find. They had a statement because people are dummies, and their statement points out WHY. Play the course as you found it and the ball as it lies. They have a strange definition of "often." The exceptions make sense, and people can pretty clearly define the edge of a cart path. Neither rule is more complicated. "Players being lined up by their caddies" was an epidemic elsewhere: the LPGA Tour, junior golf… and the drop rule, again, is SIMPLER. Just because some pros didn't brush up on the rules or forgot out of habit doesn't mean the rule is more complicated, only that it changed. Hey numbnuts, it's not an exact height. It's a range, from near the bottom of the knee to near the top of the knee. And you just complained about it being more complex, now you want to allow people to hold the ball high above their heads and drop? That won't make the rules simpler. Stupid. Just do what the British Open did and provide mandatory drop zones which are shitty, horrible lies. Why do we have to sign a contract? Because it's a final testament to you saying "I'm responsible and attest to the fact that I believe this to be my score." For f***'s sake, it takes one second. Whatever. At least they seem to understand it's a match-play only thing.
  7. Golf Journal, the USGA magazine, has returned. The first issue of the newly returned magazine (which might be volume 57, issue 1) feature articles by Tom Doak, Bradley Klein, and Ron Sirak.
  8. Greetings, As some of you may be aware, today at 11 a.m. ET, the USGA and R&A will jointly release the Distance Insights Report as well as an accompanying paper with conclusions based on our findings. You and all of our USGA members are central to our organization, and we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you directly what we have done and what we have planned going forward. As part of our mission to champion and advance the game, we are determined to lead the way in addressing the key challenges facing golf so that it may continue to thrive for future generations. Recognizing that increasing hitting distance is one of those challenges, the Distance Insights project was launched in 2018 as a joint initiative of the USGA and R&A. The report we are now publishing provides the most comprehensive research and analysis on the past, present and future impacts of distance in golf. It’s clear from our research that for more than 100 years there has been a cycle of increased hitting distance at all levels of the game and, correspondingly, increases in the length of golf courses. We believe this continuing trend is not in the best interests of the game in the long term and it needs to be addressed. As we stated at the project’s onset, we are not proposing any solutions in connection with this report. As described in the accompanying paper (Conclusions from the Distance Insights Project: Implications of Hitting Distance in Golf), we will now begin to work on developing and assessing potential solutions. We intend to continue being deliberate and thoughtful during this next phase while inviting participation from across the industry. I encourage you to visit the Distance Insights homepage if you would like to learn more about the report and conclusions. Thank you for your continued support of our mission. Best, Mark Newell, President of the USGA Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA
  9. I have a member who wants our club to adopt a local rule during off season events to allow "lift, rake, and place" in bunkers. Kind of "winter rules for bunkers". I'm against this because it is not an authorized local rule (Committee Procedures section 8). Violates rules 1.1 and 8.1. I would prefer to avoid precedents of disregarding USGA rules, even in the off season. Plus, I don't see why we should make it easier to play out of bunkers - they are a hazard. I would like to give the member an authoritative convincing answer. Already tried to get some help from the USGA - asked about their past experience with considering and rejecting this local rule request and/or to explain their perspective on why improving your lie in a bunker is fundamentally different than improving your lie in the fairway (allowed under model local rule E-3). They did not answer, just said it is not allowed. Thoughts on what I can say to this member?
  10. Matt Parziale has been celebrated a bit recently as an amateur… when really, the guy is a former (and failed, you could say) pro golfer who got his amateur status back. Many in golf feel that these "lapsed pros" shouldn't be able to get their amateur status back, or if they should, they should have to wait longer than a year or so. I don't really care too much myself, but I care enough to start the topic, and to discuss it. What do you think the rules for regaining your amateur status back should be? How long - or how much success - at being a pro should make you ineligible? Where do you draw the line between golf professionals and professional golfers? Just to give it a bit more space - so that people can enter their own posts instead of immediately debating whatever I end up posting as my take - I'm going to hold my take for a bit and just leave it as an open-ended question for now.
  11. U.S. Open 2019: USGA Confidential - Golf Digest Phil's fiasco (and others) have exposed a deepening rift between the ruling body and the game's best players, who once even considered a boycott of the U.S. Open I'm siding more with this article: Criticisms of the USGA and the U.S. Open have gone too far Are there problems with the USGA and the U.S. Open? Sure there are. Are the players and caddies overreacting? Absolutely. What do you think?
  12. Hrm. The USGA/R&A announced today that they were reverting to the 2018 Rules of Golf, save for a few, effectively May 1. The Rules that remain: Penalty areas may still include non-water hazards. The terminology will remain. Ties, penalty areas, general area, etc. Replacing a ball that moves for any reason after being marked will be replaced. Players may take an unplayable out of a bunker for two strokes, back on a line. Players may substitute a ball when they're taking relief. Suffice to say this is a massive setback in terms of promoting the "modernized" Rules of Golf. 😞 PGA Tour Whiny Babies: 1, USGA/R&A: 0. Of course… April Fool's Day, goofballs!
  13. 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.
  14. Update (9-19-18): https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=153511775654 <---- Visit that URL and complete the survey, please! http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/advancing-the-game/distance-insights.html Many of you have shared their feedback here (the topic below), but the USGA is courting it at the URL above: Have at it! The USGA and The R&A Launch Golf's Global Distance Insights Project LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. USA AND ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (May 15, 2018) - The United States Golf Association (USGA) and The R&A have launched a comprehensive project to analyze distance in golf and gather perspectives from the worldwide golf community. The Distance Insights project will examine distance through a multi-pronged approach that includes global stakeholder engagement, third-party data review and primary research. Focus groups and discussion forums will play an important role in the project, to secure a broad range of perspectives throughout golf. Beginning today, anyone interested in the topic can provide feedback by visiting usga.org/distanceinsights or randa.org/distanceinsights or by emailing either association directly. “The topic of increased distance and its effects on the game have been discussed for well over a century. We believe that now is the time to examine this topic through a very wide and long lens, knowing it is critical to the future of the game,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “We look forward to delving deeply into this topic and learning more, led by doing right by golf, first and foremost.” Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “Distance in golf is a complex issue which is widely debated at all levels of the sport. It is important that we collate all of the relevant data and hear the many different perspectives on this issue that exist in the international golf community. We intend to conduct this process openly, comprehensively and promptly and will work with all of the key stakeholders to ensure we have a fully rounded view of distance and its implications.” Stakeholder groups invited to participate in the project include amateur and professional golfers, worldwide professional golf tours, golf course owners and operators, golf equipment manufacturers, golf course architects, golf course superintendents and others. Among the many topics to be explored, the organizations will seek distance-related data on pace of play, golf course construction and maintenance practices, the evolution of equipment, golf course design and player enjoyment and participation. The USGA and The R&A will engage various golf industry stakeholders through 2018, with plans to deliver a report in 2019.
  15. USGA’s Mike Davis turns focus from course set-up to CEO duties | Golf Channel Beginning with this year’s championship at Pebble Beach, USGA CEO Mike Davis is voluntarily stepping away from his longtime lead role in setting up the golf course at U.S. Opens. Good move. Let a guy focus mostly on this, not being CEO and also doing the grunt work of course setup. I'm sure Mike Davis will still have a lot of input, he just won't be the point man in charge.
  16. https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2017/rules-modernization/downloadable-material/Certain Topics or Proposals Not Addressed in the Proposed New Rules of Golf for 2019.pdf That may be one of the easiest to read and best documents out there. It casually bats away a number of assorted complaints and things about "why didn't they change this" or "why can't I drop from a divot hole," etc. I encourage everyone to take ten minutes to read it.
  17. The USGA and R&A are hosting a teleconference (I'll take part and may "live blog" it if possible this Wednesday, March 1, at 8:30am eastern time. It's scheduled to last one hour. Purpose: The USGA and The R&A will host a joint media teleconference on Wednesday, March 1 regarding the Rules of Golf Modernization initiative. Participants: Thomas Pagel, Senior Director, Rules of Golf & Amateur Status, USGA David Rickman, Executive Director – Governance and Chief of Staff, The R&A The expectation is that the rules will see massive, sweeping changes that greatly simplify and reduce the number and complexity of the Rules of Golf. Reportedly some of the changes may be: All water hazards will have four options (play it as it lies, stroke and distance, line back from last crossed point, two clublengths). Dropping may be eliminated. Measuring anything via clublengths may be eliminated (it will be interesting to see how that works if so…). Stroke play penalties will apply to match play, with the score coming at the end of the hole. Bunkers will be treated very differently (ability to move loose impediments, possibly take practice swings or ground clubs?) One stroke penalties almost exclusively. Kinder, gentler rules (like the 18-2 Local Rule) that relies more on player integrity to determine intent and fault. DMDs may be acceptable by rule for all rounds. Three (3) minutes for search instead of five (5). Could look very similar to http://simplegolfrules.com/CodeTwo/?showfile=CodeTwo.html minus the "points" system. Remember, those are a list of the rumors and "maybes." We'll know more shortly. It's expected that these Rules will undergo a long comment period, and the USGA/R&A are looking to enact the rules in 2019. The old thread discussing this was renewed again in early January: This will be the topic of record from now on. I'll lock the other thread as it was largely speculative, and in less than 48 hours, we'll have actual information to talk about. Update: 3/2/2017 - https://cl.ly/063A3i0a0q0d There is a PDF of the teleconference call that took place March 1 at 8:30am eastern time.
  18. https://www.golfdigest.com/story/this-latest-usga-equipment-decision-might-bring-artificial-intelligence-closer-to-competition The title is "This latest USGA equipment decision might bring artificial intelligence closer to competition" Arccos (and eventually, GAME GOLF) has a "virtual caddy" system that can tell you what club to hit and where to hit it. I don't think the USGA is saying that's allowed. If I read the Golf Digest story, it reads to me that the ability to tell you the yardage is allowed (it's the same as a GPS app)… but the article is written very confusingly. I don't understand how the recommendation "off the tee" is legal (but for an approach shot, it's not?) because "those recommendations can be made before a round begins." What about on the second tee? The round has already begun. It then goes on to say: But that's what the caddy does: offer club selection information/advice. It later adds: Okay… so that means it can't say "you're hitting your clubs shorter today, so instead of a 7-iron here, hit a 6-iron." Fine. That's easy enough. So… Is the "ruling" basically saying the Virtual Caddie, before you begin your round, can make a recommendation for what you should hit off each of the 18 tees before your round? I.e. it can't use information "live" from that round, and it's basically published "before" your round and doesn't change. If so, big whoop. Who cares about that? That's not a "virtual caddy." That's just a tiny bit of pre-planning, and for all you know the course is playing softer or firmer or the wind is in a different direction that day. Am I reading that right? Or did I miss something? The headline and the writeup are not very well done, IMO.
  19. http://www.golfdigest.com/story/usga-executive-director-says-variable-distance-ball-could-be-part-of-golfs-future First… Then… Now, I don't see that happening, either. Why would the players voluntarily accept a limited distance golf ball, and how would that even work - the USGA has a list of approved golf balls. Also… reduced distance balls will not affect everyone equally. Some players will lose more distance relative to others given different launch conditions, some will have a harder time with the change in spin, etc.
  20. This is for the discussion of this portion of the new Modernized Rules. Areas of the Course When to Replace a Ball That Moves on the Putting Green Repairing Damage on the Putting Green Touching Line of Play on a Putting Green Ball Played From Green Hits Unattended Flagstick in Hole Areas the Committee May Mark as Penalty Areas Touching or Moving Loose Impediments or Touching the Ground in a Penalty Area Expanded Use of Red-Marked Penalty Areas Elimination of Opposite Side Relief for Red Penalty Areas Moving or Touching Loose Impediments or Touching Sand in a Bunker Unplayable Ball in Bunker
  21. This is for the discussion of this portion of the new Modernized Rules. Player Behavior Expected Standards of Player Conduct Code of Player Conduct Elimination of the Requirement to Announce the Player's Intent to Lift a Ball Reasonable Judgment in Estimating and Measuring
  22. I am just using the language from the USGA question, and posting it here for discussion. I added the "In tournament play" precursor, though, because it's like the USGA/R&A don't consider what virtually everyone already does this in casual/recreational play. So… answer as if you're playing in your club championship or something, not about what you'd do in casual play. This is the type of rules change that could still make it into the 2019 Rules of Golf. So, let's discuss it. I voted as you can see above. Most of the time, OB is in a bad area, and I'd rather take my chances hitting a second drive to get into a better spot than to drop in amongst some trees or really close to the margin of OB. To put it another way, I just hit a bad shot… I think I have a good chance of hitting a better shot and lying three than playing from where my bad shot is lying three. Of course, that's in tournament play. In casual play, where I'm not even really keeping score, I just drop a ball and play on.
  23. This is for the discussion of this portion of the new Modernized Rules. When to Play During a Round Encouraging Prompt Pace of Play Maximum Score Form of Stroke Play
  24. This is for the discussion of this portion of the new Modernized Rules. Ball in Motion Ball in Motion Accidentally Deflected
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