The Golf Ball Roll Back 

From_the_Cheap_Seats- With the announcement from the USGA and R & A of updated testing for golf balls which will limit the distance for all, I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject. 

First, this should come as no surprise to anyone as the subject is constantly discussed in Golf Circles and has been intently studied and diagnosed following principles developed and commonly referred to as the “Vancouver Protocols”.  And doing nothing was simply not an option as adding yardage is an expense from both economic and environmental standpoints. 

Second, a “modern local rule” that would only limit the golf balls for elite competitions which clearly looked like the path we were heading down back in the first part of the year was dropped mainly due to the lobbying efforts from the PGA Tour and the PGA of America.  Personally, I loved the modern local rule idea or what is commonly referred to as “bifurcation”, but then in putting on my Tournament Manager’s hat I had serious concerns about how this Modern Local Rule would be implemented.”

And finally, while the ball rollback will affect everyone (there are also other protocols being updated for driver faces as well) it will affect the longer drivers of the golf ball much greater than the rest of us and frankly, these changes will affect the overall distance (by my calculations) by under 3%.  And let’s remember that this change does not go into effect until 2030 for the vast majority of us and I’ll bet advances in physio and other enhancements will likely diminish the effect.

In closing we had to do something, and near as I can tell, this is the first time a rule change “Rolled Back” something.  (You Could Make an Argument about the Larger Ball being Mandated in 1974).  But most likely and importantly, it provides the process for doing this again in the future, as if history is any indication, I’m sure we will be right back where we are now in a few decades.

For Comments

For More on the History of the Golf Ball

For the Official USGA/R&A Statement

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