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What great news! The USGA has a plan and it looks like they have the confidence to implement it!  Check out these quotes from the article I recently read:

“The Rules of Golf Committee and the Executive Committee of the United States Golf Association will take whatever step they think necessary to limit the power of the ball with regard to distance…”

Well that sounds pretty good.  It has become painfully obvious that the replacement of wound golf balls with solid core, ProV1 style balls has led to a steady ramp in distance at both the professional ranks and at the club level.  As a side note, the decrease in compression along with modern dimple patterns have critically wounded the functionality of shotmaking in the traditional sense.

But wait, there’s more:

“Limiting performance will, it is hoped, accomplish several objectives which the Association has long had in mind and which should be of benefit to the average golfer as follows:

1.  It should check further outmoding of golf courses as regards length. Thus, it should prevent clubs (and, therefore, their individual members) from having to pay more for golf on the score of re-designing and lengthening courses, which in the past has sometimes required purchase of more land, payment of larger taxes, and increased expense for course maintenance.”

Could this really be an end to the bizarro age of golf regulation where any golf course that wants to be considered a “championship venue” needs to keep up with TaylorMade and Callaway’s brightest R&D minds by buying new real estate and adding new tees?  Billions of dollars for the playing fields to adjust to new equipment.  Finally we might get some normalcy.

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“2.   It should restrict the distance walked and the time required to play a round of golf to the point of the player’s comfortable endurance.”

Thank God! Pace of play issues are getting out of control and chasing old players out of the game.

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“3.  It should result in greater emphasis  on individual playing skill by promoting  uniformity in the manufactured elements of the game.”

Another good point!  I don’t want to have to dedicate a yearly budget towards buying the newest technology just to keep up with the guy next door.

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“4.  It should tend to standardize golf and golf courses by controlling a factor which, if not controlled, could distort the whole game as now known.”

Distort the whole game as we know it?! How could it be much more distorted than… wait a minute… when was this article published?  NOOOOOO!!!!

1941jun11 <—— Download Link [640kb]

In all seriousness – it may be the R&A that makes the first move to restore sensibility.  Mike Stuchara recently tweeted a story from golf.se indicating the R&A’s intention to enroll Swedish volunteers of all skill levels to test out a new reduced distance golf ball with similar flight characteristics to the current ball.  The following texts are translated using Google.

From May 22:

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Want to test the future of golf ball? In early June, played two tournaments on Österåker and Åkersberga where everyone plays on the R & A’s prototype that can put a new ball standard. – It has developed a ball that is about eight percent less, said Anders Jonsson, equipment expert in SGF’s regulatory committee.

For several years the R & A has worked on developing a framework for a ball to go shorter. Many believe that even the modern courses in the near future be played for short. Work on a new standard ball is in the experimental stage but the ball should have the same flight characteristics, the only difference being that it goes a little shorter.

You want to see if ever there is a possibility and if it is a viable approach. Then you do as wide a basis as possible and use as many different types of players as we possibly can test the ball, says Jonsson told Swedish Golf.

Test competitions have already been implemented in the UK but now the R & A have a broader investigative material in order to make such a good decision as possible in the future. Therefore, they have been inquiring about Swedish interest.

Work on prototype is relatively secret and few actually know what the type of ball. But according to information, it will be modern and only differ pure length wise.  I know nothing about the ball more than it is developed together with a renowned manufacturer, said Jonsson.

The Swedish test competitions will be played on Österåker June 2 and Åkersberga June 3. Nikon sponsors the event and representatives from the R & A will be in place.

It is open to all to take this opportunity to become a test pilot.

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And from a follow up tweet May 29:

Want to become a historic June 3?

R & A. Everyone knows what it is? The world’s most famous golf club (without own orbit ….), that are driving majorn British Open, has been working with the USGA rule responsibilities in the golf world.

R & A always try to keep ahead of the thought of how golf should be developed in the future. One problem that can not deny!, Is to pull further and further. Especially the best players start to “outgrow” the best courses. Soon it’s just disgusting weather that can make golf very difficult.

For many years, R & A to have manufactured a golf ball that keeps today’s flight characteristics but goes a little shorter. Now, they have developed a prototype that you want to do tests with and not just the British Isles and in the form of a regular golf tournament, but the ordinary club player.

Now we turn. They have chosen to come to Österåker (2 June) and Åkersberga (June 3). Staff from the R & A will be on hand to provide information, interviews and of course provide all participants with balls. Our competition June 3 is open to all members and guests. Take a chance. First come first served.

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So keep your eyes open – eventually we’ll see the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  Or maybe golfers will look back on us in 80 more years and wonder how, despite good intentions, a historic game became so strangely warped.

6 Responses to “USGA to Limit Golf Ball Distance !”

  1. Avatar of Anton Anton says:

    man you almost got me there! June 1941 huh i guess they are still debating it…

  2. I was thinking maybe sanity would overcome insanity until I saw 1941.

    We can continue to hope that someday someone will wake up and see how the pure game of golf has been corrupted and changes will be implemented that will bring back the ball strikers and shot makers.

  3. Avatar of Anton Anton says:

    http://www.swedishgolfonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1678:the-test-designed-to-fail&catid=121:headlines

    couple of interesting things to quote here

    “… a bunch of raw data to assure that the average driving distance on all the tours has been unchanged since 2003.”

    “… he casually mentioned an agreement with the manufacturers that the R & A will act on the ball only if their data shows that the driving distance is increasing from the 2002 standard of 287 yards.”

  4. Good find there Anton, I hadn’t seen the follow up. It is interesting that they are testing it with a bunch of amateurs. I think bifurcation is the way to go. One ball for professionals and high – end amateurs / collegiate players and one ball for the general public. If you’re a 10hcp and want to play the pro ball, go ahead. You’ll get juniors playing it was well working towards college golf or with professional aspirations.

  5. Avatar of Daryl Morgan Daryl Morgan says:

    Great idea, R & A. Confine your test to amateurs who only hit their drives 230 yards anyway and do it in horrible weather in which any true test of the ball is impossible. No doubt they’ll call the results definitive which will make the ball manufacturers they report to smile like Cheshire cats.

  6. Avatar of Anton Anton says:

    dunno, i’d rather have the same rules and one game for everybody and whatever needs to be done to have that but maybe its pipe dream. i think alot of these issues can be addressed at course design and setup level. it seems to me that course designers really missed the boat and instead of getting creative and changing with the times came up with dumb band aid solutions like adding length while keep designing and setting up uber manicured perfect courses for pros with their perfect bunkers, perfect rough, perfect fairways, perfect greens. or maybe i been reading too much of that “Anarchist Guide To Golf Course Architecture” blog lately ;)

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