For the last couple of years one of the talking points around the game of golf has been the drastic increase in hitting distance by PGA players, and at the amateur level. This article will break down the USGA’s new announcement of the golf ball roll back idea that will help stop the increase in distance.
Since the turn of the millennium golf has seen an insane amount of technological advancement in clubs, balls, and training. As a result, players have been increasing their distance for the better part of the last two decades.
The era of a 300 yard drive being one of the longest drives of a tournament, is over. Everyone can hit the ball 300 yards now, and if you can’t you are at an extreme disadvantage against your competition.
Only over the last five or so years have people begun talking about the idea of limiting the technology to bring back hitting distance. Courses are having to be reconstructed to accommodate for the increase in distance, and it may be easier to change the clubs, and or, ball rather than modify some of the games most historic courses.
After years of deliberation the USGA has decided to implement something called, “Golf Ball Roll Back.” Which basically means they will have new rules on the type of golf balls that can be used at tournaments.
This hopes to shorten professional players’ average drive by 15-30 yards, depending on the player. The amateur level, and women’s tour will not have this implemented however, as the USGA did not have enough data to justify such changes at those levels.
This is similar to how the MLB uses wooden bats, but college and high schools have their own set of bats with different rules. Overall, the USGA has seen enough of golf courses being overpowered and the difficulties it causes in scheduling tournaments.
The first thought I had was the comparison to the baseball bat at different levels makes a lot of sense. The most skilled and experienced a player is, the less need for the best equipment they need.
Secondly, this will allow the course to stop making greens that are as fast as parking lots, and rough that swallows golf balls. This will hopefully make the tournament a little more like golf, and less like mini golf.
However, it does seem like this is a punishment for certain players, while others will be able to benefit from it. Overall, I think something like this needs to happen for the game of golf, but there will definitely be people who are opposed to the rule change.