Golf rule makers R&A and United States Golf Association have introduced new regulations to reduce the distances that golf balls can travel starting in January 2028.
The governing bodies say the elite golfers average over 300 yards off the tee. The average driving distance on the PGA Tour is around 300 yards — up from 286.5 yards in the 2004 season.
World Number 2 Rory McIlroy for example is over 320 yards off the tee and the only way to combat the additional distances that are being achieved by these players is to extend golf courses and that is very costly and environmentally dangerous as well.
Longer golf courses require additional resources such as water, the cost of renovating or moving elements like tees and bunkers continues to rise and other long-term impacts have been identified as a result of increased distance.
What are the pros saying about this rollback?
Keegan Bradley said: “I think that the USGA … everything that they do is reactionary,”
“They don’t think of a solution. They just think we’re going to affect a hundred percent of the population that plays golf. For the amateur world to hit the ball shorter is monstrous. I can’t think of anything more stupid than that.”
“I don’t think it’s very smart at all, especially when golf’s growing in popularity literally coming out of COVID.”
Rory McIlroy, on the other hand, doesn’t think the potential changes will affect everyday players but thinks it will help the game more skillful.
I don’t understand the anger about the golf ball roll back. It will make no difference whatsoever to the average golfer and puts golf back on a path of sustainability. It will also help bring back certain skills in the pro game that have been eradicated over the past 2 decades.…
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) December 3, 2023
Story By: Princeton Wiredu