Massive Rule Changes Could Be Coming To The Game Of Golf And Players Aren’t Sure How To Feel

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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

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.

Though not everyone felt the same way.

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.