Massive changes are coming to the world of professional golf.
Yes, the game already saw significant changes with the introduction of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series a year ago.
But the latest changes are expected to change the game from top to bottom.
USGA And R&A Announce Massive Rule Changes For Professional Golf
The USGA and R&A (which helps shape the rules of golf) announced a huge move on Tuesday morning to limit the types of golf balls that professionals can use in competition. The goal is to shorten the distance which competitors are able to drive the ball and, in turn, prioritize precision and shot-making.
The USGA and The R&A have proposed a Model Local Rule (MLR) that gives competition organizers the option to require use of golf balls that are tested under modified launch conditions to address the impacts of hitting distance in golf.
The MLR is intended for use only in elite competitions and, if adopted, will have no impact on recreational golf.
The proposal notice, which can be found here, was sent to golf equipment manufacturers on March 13, following the Equipment Rulemaking Procedures established by the governing bodies in 2011. Manufacturers and golf stakeholders can provide feedback until Aug. 14, 2023. If adopted, the proposal would take effect on Jan 1, 2026.
Golf balls that conform to the MLR must not exceed the current Overall Distance Standard (ODS) limit of 317 yards (plus 3 yards tolerance) at modified Actual Launch Conditions (ALC) with a clubhead speed of 127 mph and based on a calibration setup of 11 degrees and 37 revolutions per second (2,220 rpm) as part of this proposal. – via USGA.org
The full press release revealed a number of additional findings. One of those findings is that distance has improved, on average, one yard per year each of the last 20 years.
The new rule, if adopted, will not begin until 2026. And it would only apply to “elite” (read: professional) competitions.
Most golf fans appeared on board with the proposed legislation.
This is going to be messy, but it’s for the best. https://t.co/XgU0NVE0AH
— H2 (@ShortParFore) March 14, 2023
This is a sensible regulation. Won’t effect shorter hitters much because they won’t get the compression differences, and it forces the long hitters to have a broader array of shots and be able to hit every club in the bag. Makes pro golf more interesting and a truer test of skill https://t.co/b8S6Ujo2QD
— Conley (@Conley76) March 14, 2023
I don’t want to get my hopes too high yet but golf may just have saved itself here. https://t.co/oLkeV1Rwkr
— Matt Enderle (@Matt_Enderle) March 14, 2023
A nod to Shac here, who has spent years (decades?) advocating for some regulation, motivated only by common sense and his background in the game, and against the animus and intense lobbying efforts of equipment manufacturers and the players/media they sponsor. https://t.co/UsT29uah4e
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) March 14, 2023
Though not everyone felt the same way.
Trash!!!!! It will ABSOLUTELY affect the recreational golfer and their pocketbook and also affect the growth of the game and your viewership. As usual, you continue to make awful decisions https://t.co/1iVu5rs3R5
— BaggerVance (@pilotpack97) March 14, 2023
Not a fan of bifurcating the game https://t.co/bq6yPiSUP5
— Zach Kastelic (@ZKastelic) March 14, 2023
Getting the temperature of the room before recording tomorrow.
On the topic of distance and equipment, which option would you personally choose of the 3?
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) March 14, 2023
Gone are the days of “Tiger-proofing” courses. Now it’s Bryson-proofing. And Brooks-proofing. And Rory-proofing too. The longest hitters still have an advantage. But the game just changed for all involved.