Your behavior appears to be a little unusual. Please verify that you are not a bot.

USGA releases Distance Insights Report with rolled-back ball proposal

By |  March 27, 2023 0 Comments

The USGA and the R&A released the annual Distance Insights Report, which shows a continued increase in hitting distance.

As a part of the report, the two associations proposed a Model Local Rule (MLR), which gives competition organizers the option to require the use of golf balls that are tested under modified launch conditions.

The USGA and R&A say the MLR is intended for use only in elite competitions and, if adopted, will have no impact on recreational golf. The expected drop in hitting distance is 14 to 15 yards on average for the longest hitters with the highest clubhead speeds.

The report also found that the overall trend of golf courses becoming longer has adverse consequences, including increasing the cost and time to play, limiting the advancement of sustainability efforts and reducing the challenge of courses — in some cases creating a risk of them becoming obsolete.

The USGA and the R&A believe the long-term trend of increased hitting distances and course lengthening threatens golf’s long-term sustainability and undermines the core principle that a broad and balanced set of playing skills should remain the primary determinant of success in golf.


The MLR has drawn mixed reviews from golf professionals. Some, like Pádraig Harrington, have backed the USGA’s plan. Harrington argues the MLR and reduced hitting distances could potentially bring more courses into play for professional events.

“The cost of building a golf course, the cost of maintaining a golf course, the speed of play is going to be incredibly improved by reducing the distance, by reducing the size of the golf course and also reducing the amount of waiting time on par-fives and par-fours,” he said. “Old golf courses come back into play, great golf courses come back into play.”

Others, like Justin Thomas, believe the MLR is a continuation of the bifurcation of the rules of golf.

“For an everyday amateur golfer, it’s very unique that we are able to play the exact same equipment … you can go to the pro shop and buy the same golf ball that I play or Scottie Scheffler plays,” Thomas said. “The USGA wants to bring it to a point where that’s not the case. They want it to be, ‘Okay, well, the pros play this way and the amateurs play this way’ … I don’t understand how that’s better for the game of golf.”

This article is tagged with , , , and posted in Industry News

Post a Comment