USGA and R&A Announce Golf Ball Rollback Plan
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USGA and R&A Announce Golf Ball Rollback Plan

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USGA and R&A Announce Golf Ball Rollback Plan

The USGA and R&A have taken the first definitive steps towards a rollback of the golf ball. The comment period will be open until mid-August after which time, presumably, the final decision will be made.

To be clear, absolutely nothing is happening right now—and even if the proposed change is adopted, it won’t take effect until January 2026.

That said, it feels like a certainty that a rollback is coming.

What is the golf ball rollback plan?

In a nutshell, the proposal is a model Local Rule (MLR) based on a change in the Overall Distance Standard (ODS).

It’s the same approach the governing bodies took in limiting (more accurately, providing the choice to limit) driver length to 46 inches.

The ODS is the rule that says a golf ball cannot travel more than 317 yards (+ a 3-yard tolerance) with launch conditions of 120 mph (clubhead speed), 2,520 rpm and a 10-degree launch angle.

The current standard was adopted in 2004.

The golf ball rollback proposal would modify the actual launch conditions to 127 mph and 2,200 rpm with an 11-degree launch angle. The maximum distance of 317 yards (+3) would not change.

If you’re wondering where the new standard comes from, 127 mph represents the top one percent of shots on the PGA TOUR. It doesn’t represent the fastest player on Tour. It’s not a number that any golfer, let alone group of golfers, achieves with regularity.

The launch and spin parameters represent the optimal distance generating numbers for someone with a 127-mph clubhead speed.

One could make an argument that these values are problematic. As noted, nobody on Tour generates 127-mph head speed with regularity. As far as launch and spin are concerned, there’s likely a sizeable gap between optimal and what golfers actually do.

One manufacturer we reached out to told us that they only time they’ve seen someone average 127 mph, the launch angle was around 6-degrees while spin was in the 2800 RPM range. In other cases where golfers have come close to 127, actual spin numbers have always been above 2600. The real-world implications are likely to be distance losses beyond the USGA’s predictions.

Today’s USGA numbers are the stuff of fairy tales.

“Future-proofing” the game

An oft-repeated theme during the USGA’s call to announce the proposed changes is protecting the future of the game. The general idea being that distance might be kind of a problem now, but in 20, 30 or 40 years it could threaten the existence of the game as we know it.

Hyperbolic? Perhaps.

There’s certainly not universal agreement on the extent to which a problem exists today and nothing I’ve seen from the USGA to date includes any information about the theoretical limitations on how fast humans can swing a club (while still maintaining passable accuracy).

The proposal seems to work off the suggestion that speed increases will increase linearly and indefinitely, which is arguably a bit of a stretch.

So, yeah, some of this does have an element of Doomsday Preppers (Governing Bodies Edition) but I believe the USGA and R&A hold a sincere belief that if they get this wrong, the long-term consequences will be dire.

This isn’t about where the game is today; it’s about where it could end up without a course correction.

Environmental responsibility

As has been a frequent refrain, the USGA again cited the need to be environmentally responsible, with the subtext being that longer courses are less sustainable. There’s some obvious nuance in that as a good bit of it depends on the design of the course itself.

I’d argue that a 8,000-yard course in the style of Bandon Dunes is significantly more sustainable than an 8,000-yard TPC Sawgrass.

At some point, it’s on course designers and operators to be more responsible and that’s without touching on the reality that the world has minimal need for 8,000-yard courses anyway. There just aren’t enough Tour stops to justify them.

A golf ball rollback won’t impact recreational golfers*

To its credit, the USGA appears to have listened to the overwhelming feedback that pleaded that it not do anything to negatively impact the recreational part of the game.

That appears to be how it landed on the proposed Model Local Rule. In theory, the objective isn’t to force change but to give organizations and venues the choice of adopting the rule where and when it sees fit.

The proposed MLR isn’t so much a decree as it is a new option within the Rules of Golf.

The USGA and R&A both stated that they would adopt the MLR for their men’s competitions, most notably the U.S. Open and Open Championship. Neither currently sees a need to apply the MLR to the women’s game.

Men’s and women’s professional golf championships hosted by the same organizations playing by different rules. Yeah … that’s not weird at all.

Likewise, it’s unlikely your home course or local muni will implement the MLR. There’s no point. We don’t hit the ball too far. The governing bodies have acknowledged as much (finally).

With all of that said, if the MLR sounds a hell of a lot like bifurcation, well …

“That’s a word that I think has caused some anxiety for governing bodies in the past but in this instance, if somebody wants to call this bifurcation, I’m not going to have an argument over words with them,” says USGA CEO Mike Whan. “Use of a Model Local Rule is something that we’ve done consistently over the years. We’ve always said it gives the game options and in this case we’re just giving the game options.”

That’s fair.

Call it whatever you want. It is what it is. Though it does feel like this isn’t your granddad’s USGA.

I’m old enough to remember when any form of bifurcation was a non-starter.

What does a golf ball rollback mean for most of you?

If you’re the typical recreational golfer, the proposed change means mostly nothing (more on the mostly part in a bit). You’re going to be able to keep playing the same type of balls you’ve always played and it’s a safe bet that manufacturers will continue to churn out new and improved models every year or two.

You’re not going to lose distance and, according to the USGA, there’s a chance you might even gain a few yards as it gives some thought to relaxing the distance standards for slower swing speeds.

What does a golf ball rollback mean for some of you?

If you trend a bit closer to what the industry likes to refer to as an “elite amateur,” if you compete in Open qualifiers, Mid-Ams or anything where pros mingle with amateurs or that serves as a pathway to professional competition or otherwise meets the uncomfortably loose definition of an elite amateur competition, the waters aren’t particularly clear.

The same thing is true at the college level where the NCAA will have a decision to make. Will they or won’t they? And doesn’t make sense to apply the same rules to a guy that hits it 330 and seems destined for the PGA TOUR as it does to a D3 guy hitting it 280 while habitually posting scores in the mid to high 70s?

Ultimately, the challenge in equitable application of the MLR is the result of the unique nature of competitive golf.

In golf, amateurs sometimes compete with pros at the same venues. That doesn’t work particularly well if the rules are different and it doesn’t seem like the governing bodies have a handle on exactly at what level the application of the MLR should start.

While that exact question was posed in the post-announcement chat, it largely went unanswered with the R&A’s Martin Slumbers observing that golf wouldn’t be alone in tackling the challenge: “There are many other sports that have this sort of split model and they seem to find a very clear way of being able to do it and I’m sure we will too.”

Far from a definitive answer, but the upside is there is a bit of lead time to sort it out.

What does a golf ball rollback mean for golf ball manufacturers?

Chaos.

The USGA believes the proposal will lead to a reduction of 15 yards on the average drive.

At the Tour level, while that’s not nothing, it’s not massive. It’s small enough to make me wonder if this is actually worth doing. But again, we’re building for the future here.

Regardless of the actual number of yards lost to a rollback, the proposed MLR will require ball manufacturers to re-engineer absolutely everything of consequence within their current lineups.

With a firm proposal now in play, manufacturers will need to do more testing but, preliminarily, Acushnet (Titleist) believes the only ball in its current lineup that would conform to the new rule is the Pinnacle Soft.

For Callaway, the initial thinking is that everything other than REVA and Supersoft MAX would be non-conforming.

Bridgestone hasn’t been willing to say exactly which of its current offerings would conform, saying only, “Our TOUR B line was built to conform under the current standard.”

I think you get the point.

The ripple here is that none of what would be conforming under a new rule is likely to meet Tour player expectations. The feel is dramatically softer, the flight significantly higher and the spin is, by comparison, non-existent.

Ultimately, it means that every brand that makes a ball for the Tour will need to undertake a full-throttle R&D effort to redesign an entire suite of golf balls that otherwise performs like what the professionals are using right now while still conforming to the new standard.

Consider for a moment that a change to the golf ball impacts the performance of every club in the bag. Reengineering for a rollback is by no means a simple undertaking. Likewise, it’s not an inexpensive one, either.

Manufacturers effectively will be forced to invest a significant amount of money into a golf ball (likely several golf balls because, even at reduced distances, golfers have unique launch and spin requirements) that they can’t sell.

Are you interested in paying $50 a dozen for a ball that’s measurably shorter than what you’re playing right now?

I get the allure of playing what the pros play but it’s a hard pass for me.

Unfortunately, somebody is going to have to eat the extra R&D expenses and the seemingly inevitable likelihood is that part of the cost of developing a new Tour ball will be passed on to the consumer.

So, while the proposed rollback is unlikely to impact the ball you play, it could impact what you pay for it.

What manufacturers have said so far…

While we expect more in the coming days, weeks and months ahead, thus far only Titleist and Bridgestone have released statements.

As the #1 Ball brand on the market, as you’d expect, Titleist isn’t fully on board with any rollback plan. The company has disputed many of the findings in the USGA’s Distance Insights Report so it’s not a shock it has issues with the proposal.

Among other things included in the statement, company CEO David Maher says, “the proposal of a golf ball bifurcation is in many respects a solution in search of a problem.”

The company position is that “a unified set of rules is essential to the game’s allure” and that “bifurcation would be detrimental to golf’s long-term well-being.”

At a minimum, it sure does complicate things.

Bridgestone’s statement wasn’t nearly as pointed, with the key point being that the company is “pleased that the proposed changes do not appear to be aimed at recreational players.”

Me, too.

What does a golf ball rollback mean for the PGA TOUR?

It seems likely the PGA TOUR will adopt the MLR for all competition. Two of the four majors are controlled by the governing bodies. They’re going to use the MLR. Given the efforts involved in almost continuously lengthening the course, it’s logical to think Augusta National will embrace the rollback as well.

The idea of using one ball spec for majors and another for other Tour competitions is, frankly, unfathomable.

Of course, I said the same thing about a different set of rules for the men’s and women’s professional tours but that seems likely to happen … and so here we are.

Whom might benefit from a golf ball rollback?

The list of whom might benefit from a rollback includes course developers who may no longer feel the need to build those largely unnecessary 8,000-yard courses. The USGA and R&A benefit insomuch as they’ll feel like they have taken what they see as the necessary steps to secure the future of the game.

Those are the obvious ones.

Direct-to-consumer golf ball brands could benefit as well. The proposed MLR would create a clear line between golf balls for the pro game and golf balls designed for the rest of us.

It seems unlikely that any DTC brand would see any real benefit from developing a Tour ball (DTC play across all major tours is within a rounding error of 0%) but it would further bolster a common DTC narrative that the big guys are focused only on Tour players while “we” make balls specifically for average golfers (like you).

The wild card is LIV. I don’t have any insight as to what LIV will do with respect to a Model Local Rule but it certainly presents the upstart tour of not just being Golf, but louder, but also Golf, but longer.

If you believe golfers love watching the professionals bomb the ball, assuming the PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry Tours adopt the rule, it’s an area where LIV could score some points.

All of that is speculative and may not play out until the start of 2026 when the rollback rule kicks in.

More to come

Quite obviously, we’re only in the early stages of the rollback discussion. We’re in touch with ball manufactures and hope to get a better sense of what a rolled-back golf ball might look like and the other challenges in designing a Tour ball that, by comparison to the current catalog, sucks by design.

We’re also hoping for additional clarity on how the rule will be applied to “elite amateur competitions,” which will likely start with a clear definition of “elite amateur competitions.”

One thing seems apparent. Despite the USGA and R&A’s best efforts to offer a simple and straightforward solution to the “distance problem,” it’s a long road ahead as manufacturers, Tour operators and, of course, anyone involved in the elite amateur level of the game work to fully understand the real-world implications of the proposed rollback.

And with that, there will be plenty more to say.

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Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony is the Editor of MyGolfSpy where his job is to bring fresh and innovative content to the site. In addition to his editorial responsibilities, he was instrumental in developing MyGolfSpy's data-driven testing methodologies and continues to sift through our data to find the insights that can help improve your game. Tony believes that golfers deserve to know what's real and what's not, and that means MyGolfSpy's equipment coverage must extend beyond the so-called facts as dictated by the same companies that created them. Most of all Tony believes in performance over hype and #PowerToThePlayer.

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey





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      Shane Carey

      1 year ago

      I’m just a weekend golfer who also plays maybe once during the week if I can fit it in after working 8 to 12 hours a day. A dozen good golfballs are already quite expensive to many of us and now the cost of developing these new balls will be passed onto the consumer? Why aren’t these companies paying for it out of their R&D budgets and their hundreds of millions of yearly profits? If the PGA wants these changes let them cover the costs! But, as with everything else it will get to expensive to play and my round of relaxation will be reduced to a bucket of balls at the driving range.

      Reply

      Josh

      1 year ago

      Would the Kirkland golf ball conform to the proposed rule? It’s a urethane ball that performs well around the greens but spins excessively off the driver, limiting distance. It’s also very cheap.

      Reply

      Paul

      1 year ago

      Make the courses harder and give them ten clubs instead of fourteen. That should stop the pitch and putt game they play at present. Hitting a knock down 3 iron to a small green would test their skills and make for great viewing.

      Reply

      Mat

      1 year ago

      They make this out to be just “elite” players, but every golf ball today bar Pinnacle Soft would not conform?

      Every single ball will conform because they can’t afford for good players to appear to be non-conforming. This is not the way to do this. By setting the mark at something that appears not targeted, they obfuscate the real target, and that’s everyone.

      If the current ProV doesn’t conform, they’re going after everyone. Pretty simple.

      And that sucks. This could have been handled better. A lot better.

      Reply

      Old Tom Morris

      1 year ago

      we just need to go back to hickory shafts and Featheries!

      Reply

      Mr. Nobody

      1 year ago

      One solution is to narrow the fairway substantially past 280 yards. At 280 the fairway can be 40 yds wide but from 310 to 350 it is only ten yards wide with six inch or longer rough. Then we’ll see who pulls out driver. If you can hit a ten yard wide strip from 350 yards you deserve the advantage. As it is now there is very little penalty for leaving the fairway. especially at the Masters. Personally, I’m tired of seeing so many 62s. For 3.1/2 million $ the game should be a headache. not a walk in the park.

      Reply

      Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      Augusta just extended 13 by 35 yards.
      Also, Augusta has no rough like you’re thinking of. Not at all. There is barely any rough. There’s pine straw if you go wider, but compared to the rough at the US Open or The Open, there is no rough to speak of, not even compared to Sawgrass, even.
      So you’re wrong on the “just narrow the fairway” idea. We just saw some players hit 3wood to a 300 yard green last week.

      Reply

      Mr. Nobody

      1 year ago

      You want to say that some pros hit a green 300 yards away. Ok but how often? I’ve seen them many times miss a fairway with a long iron. Not saying that there aren’t pros who can hit the three wood 300 yards. But how many can hit a ten yard wide fairway from that distance. Like I said, if they can then they deserve the advantage they will be getting. I know that Augusta has short rough but that’s why I’m saying they should change that. Otherwise “Bombs Away” like it has become.

      Tom S

      1 year ago

      Bah. This is a big nothing. All this means is the Tour players will hit more drivers and fewer 3 woods on tee shots.

      Reply

      Mike W

      1 year ago

      Pinnacle Soft. The new #1 ball in golf….

      Reply

      Mike

      1 year ago

      Is it REALLY going to make ANY difference if the pros drive it 15 yds shorter??? Do some extrapolation & they’ll hit a 7i say, 6 yds shorter??? Typical usga idiot response. Been to any PGA events lately? Gone are the Tim Herron’s of the tour; most of these guys today are athletes!

      Reply

      Franc38

      1 year ago

      I have a hard time understanding in what regard that MLR would help anything. Bifurcating, yes, but the rest? The problem isn’t “distance”, it’s the use of distance. Make the courses narrower, with more punishing rough while planting a few trees, and make the greens smaller, and faster… As greens are fast and small you’ll prefer a shot where you’ll be able to control the spin, so really not from the rough (thick and juicy, remember), so the driver will not be a sure choice at every tee shot. Particularly if the course is made shorter. It may seem counter intuitive, but a long (and wide) course like Augusta invites a play that forces Augusta to be made longer (and then wide, since you still want to see some golf). Make the course short, and the rough thick, you’ll have less drivers, less distance problem.
      Remind me, what’s the scoring average on the Postal Stamp at Troon, short as it is? Do the short links in Scotland systematically get overpowerd by the long hitters on tour (particularly when it’s windy and rainy)?

      Reply

      Chris Hartman

      1 year ago

      Of all the sites to discuss this, I would think mygolfspy would be the first to discuss the technical merits. Every single review of a new soft compression ball includes 2- 3paragraphs about how soft balls are slow. We’ve seen that at even 120mph club head speeds, a soft compression ball can produce 6-7mph less ball speed than the traditional tour balls. Ramp that up to 127mph, and I wouldn’t surprised if many of the existing soft compression balls would easily lose 10mph of ball speed, and a corresponding amount of distance. And while most of the OEMs claim that most of their balls wouldn’t pass the new test, it would be interesting to actually see this. Grab the robot, grab a line of Callaways from Supersoft, Chromesoft, Chromesoft LS etc., and let’s see where they fall. Or Bridgestone from Tour B down to e12 Contact. Or Taylormade from TP5 to Tour Response to Noodle.

      Reply

      Franc38

      1 year ago

      Yes, it’s sure that the OEMs could take some of their “soft” (and slow) balls, put a urethane cover on it, and give them to tour players. But… if they are anything like me, they’ll hate the “mushy” feel. So the OEMs will have to make a hard (95 compression minimum) ball slow. That’s harder (pun intended)!

      Reply

      Randy

      1 year ago

      Great Timing????‍????
      All the R&D and retooling costs will be passed on to the people that actually pay for golfballs, not the rich guys who get skids of balls for free.. They want to make a stand? Decide on one conforming ball like MLB, NFL, NBA. Then watch it hit the fan.

      Reply

      Bob

      1 year ago

      I am not smart enough to understand all of the arguments and nuances going on there but I do know that I think it would be interesting to see more skill shots, strategy and a large majority of the field having to hit 160-185 yard approach shots going into par 4’s.

      Reply

      Bob

      1 year ago

      From my observations as a PGA Tour walking scorer, I’d say we are seeing superb golf skills and player-caddy strategies, including those long second shots on the par 5’s. Especially on the major championship tracks like TPC Sawgrass. etc. Their wedge skills/touch from 150 yards in are so impressive they make those shots seem easy. and perhaps unappreciated.

      Reply

      Don7936

      1 year ago

      After allowing the club manufacturers to design for maximum distance over the past twenty years, the USGA and R&A decide the ball is the problem?
      If courses were shortened, fairways were tightened and rough/bunkers allowed to be penal this whole distance issue would disappear. Seems like proper course design is the best distance regulator. The USGA and R&A have allowed distance-oriented club design to overwhelm traditional courses and slowing down the ball is not the fix. But they are afraid to restrict the revenue (or potential revenue and marketing strategy) of the club manufacturers by abbreviating COR and the distance potential of drivers. Now they wish to penalize the golfers who maximize the benefits of the equipment that has been developed. I don’t think this ruling will deliver the outcome they predict.

      Reply

      David

      1 year ago

      This is definitely not a local rule in the style of 46” driver limits and is bifurcation in my opinion.
      With the driver rule it was using the same equipment as before, just make sure an extra 2” is cut off for the very very few people who were using longer, and to prevent the experimenting of even fewer pro’s gaining traction.
      This is a completely separate set of equipment, that given the very small market we may not even see much of being released at retail as a lot of companies will not see the point as it will probably be economically unviable.
      Whilst I am fully aware that in reality the game pros play is very different to the one I play the concept that we use the same rules on the same course has always been a big draw for me personally (views may vary.)

      Reply

      Josh

      1 year ago

      My biggest concern is that Bifurcation of the ball is almost destined to lead to bifurcation of clubs., and we’re going to end up with The Gear they play on Sunday and The Gear I play on Monday.

      I’m not talking about the difference between blades and cavities either – if the pros are hitting a completely different ball, I expect them to be hitting different clubs before long..

      Reply

      Jon

      1 year ago

      They already do.

      Reply

      Josh

      1 year ago

      Who is? Pretty sure I can go out and buy any piece of kit being played at the top levels, but if Fujikura starts building shafts for Pro Balls, they’re far less likely to make them for the filthy casuals.

      Scott S

      1 year ago

      What is so absolutely STOOPID about all of this is two-fold; 1. they don’t need to lengthen courses to deal with long hitters, hazards can be strategically placed to force ht super long hitters to play short and allow the average player to hit their normal club (course construction 101); 2, the argument that they cannot come up with a relief from divots in the fairway because it is too hard to “define” a divot to prevent shenanigans is now ridiculous because in the time it took all of these morons to come up with this bifurcated load of B.S. one of us could have drafted a viable definition of “divot” that everyone, including the manipulative pros, could have played to. Such a wagon load of B.S.

      Reply

      Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      No, divots are an integral part of the game that requires skill and imagination to get out. Leave the divots alone.
      If you don’t like divots, go play tennis

      Reply

      Red Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      Or a less busy course. Maybe just hit it longer where there are less divots. It’s obviously ground under repair.

      Mike

      1 year ago

      Disagree. Too much luck involved w/ divots. “Fairway” should equal “fair lie” . And last time I looked there were no divots on a tennis court

      Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      Obviously it’s not ground under repair.
      And in tennis, you do have divots if you play at Wimbledon LOL
      Also, in tennis, and why I say go play tennis, is, you will always have a better player hit it past you and BEAT you, rather than you beat yourself in golf as you suck at it yourself and you have no excuse, whereas in tennis at least you can say that other player was actually better than you as he hit it past you all day LOL

      Mike

      1 year ago

      My biggest concern as you mentioned in the article is the R&D development of the clubs designed for these balls. If the pros are playing a different ball then consumers may get watered down or non-elite performing clubs for the balls they use. Only time will tell but I can see why manufacturers would be frustrated. Also this presents a HUGE risk for Titleist as there will be a large reset in the pro ball market and they risk losing market share if another company can produce a better “new” ball that tour players prefer.

      Reply

      Greg

      1 year ago

      I would have to agree with many of these comments. In the long run, my concern would be that Titleist and others would no longer put the extra effort into the “recreational” golf ball. There would be no incentive for the recreational golfer to buy the balls like those played on the PGA Tour. What recreational golfer would want to play a PGA tour ball that they know would not go as far? The MyGolfSpy ball testing could include the bifurcated balls and the tests would indeed show that they don’t go as far as the balls that conform to the current requirements. The ball commercials would change since your recreational golfer could care less about the ball that the PGA Tour players are using because they would never want to use it. It may help the PGA Tour for ball changes but there are other ways to reduce the impact of the driving distance improvements as mentioned in other comments here. I don’t see a benefit to the golf ball changes.

      Reply

      wick wude

      1 year ago

      Yes! This is what Jack has wanted for years, Every golfer will bow to the Golden Bear!

      Reply

      Paul

      1 year ago

      It somes too mea waste of time and to tell pro golfers what they can and cannot use for the worry of 29 to 30 years down the road.it will make them golf some where like liv.

      Reply

      Brad H.

      1 year ago

      Aside from all the “the balls performance is shorter” stuff, who is actually going to go to their favorite golf outlet and buy a ball that is, on purpose, going to go shorter distances? The balls will have to be specifically targeted to the pros and elite amateurs. So in a way it’s like forcing these ball companies to lose $$! Most ball companies that have sponsored players give the golf balls to them. Not to mention that driving ranges all over the world where the elite practice will need these balls to get more accurate yardages. Someone needs to rethink this.

      Reply

      Mike

      1 year ago

      Wouldn’t it be a lot easier, less expensive, and achieve the same result to just shorten driver shafts?

      Reply

      Ron

      1 year ago

      So how many years back will manufacturers have to go to when their respective ball would meet the proposed Overall Distance Standard? Three, five, ten years? How much R&D would be needed to manufacture a ball they’ve done in the past?

      Reply

      Larry London

      1 year ago

      This makes no sense. The best swingers are still going to be the best. Make courses shorter not longer. Shorter courses force players to use shorter clubs. This equalizes the game with players that are not as long. Great course design stands the test of time. All amateur records now will be an asterisk, not same equipment as pros vice versus.

      Reply

      Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      Obviously you haven’t been paying any attention.
      These Tour Pros are hitting 3woods into 300 yard Par 4s. Some of them can hit their Driving Iron 290

      Reply

      Hosel Rocket

      1 year ago

      I don’t think that is the point Larry is making. If every hole on a golf course was a 320 yd par 4 with treacherous rough around the green….everybody in the field can/would compete. The long hitters ability to hit it 340+ is null and void when the hole is only 320. And at 320 even the shorter hitters can still wedge it close and compete with the guys/gals driving the green. Especially with multi tiered firm greens not receptive to receiving drivers from 320 out…..If you make the courses shorter, it protects the integrity of the competition for the entire field…reduces maintenance/land/development cost…and provides a wider variety of tour winners/stars…When all of the holes are 520 par 4s…only the bombers are gonna win…

      Mark

      1 year ago

      What’s wrong with just having one ball available for everyone? All manufacturers producing one ball of similar specs, that would lead to players only having a manufacturer to pick from, not a multitude of balls from one manufacturer. This would lead to lower costs because there is only one ball spec. Golf is really the only ball sport where you can have so many options with your equipment. Manufacturers rub there hands together.

      Reply

      Chris

      1 year ago

      I don’t really care if they rollback balls for pro’s…my question is why do I need to play a USGA conforming ball now? Can Titleist create a ProV1XXX that is nonconforming and goes to far given the current constraints? If so I’d like to be able to buy that ball. Maybe they should open up the ODS for amateurs.

      Reply

      Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      Just use a non-conforming club! They make clubs that are beyond the legal COR limit, and also over-size than the 460cc limit. So use those!
      With the balls we have now, if you use these non-conforming high-COR drivers, you can literally crack an amazing shot without trying and easily gain 15 to 20 yards on your drives

      Reply

      Bubba

      1 year ago

      MLB is way different , I played it and who cares what rule they make .for baseball , basketball and football are moving to unwatchable .
      As specifically for Baseball , you have the hole field to hit it into . Not a tough task .
      Bottom line Money has ruined most all sports . Nobody is worth the money they are getting . Period and I don’t play PXG clubs ..

      Reply

      John Brown

      1 year ago

      Absent an actual complaint except “DISTANCE”, Is the complaint distance off the tee? Or the fact that the pro’s are hitting 9 irons 180 yards? MAYBE you could look at the way irons are flighted. Degrees of loft? We all know they play with the lofts of their irons. Increasing or decreasing a few degrees thus hitting wedges 150 – 160 yards. Lob wedges 100 yards and the recreational player OOO and AHHH thus their second shots are presented as incredible distance. Is it just distance off the tee?

      Reply

      Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      It’s both, or I should say, all clubs distances based on how far the ball goes.
      If the highest speed players on Tour are hitting their drives 320~330 carry and rolls out to 360, and hitting into Par 5 with their 8 irons that do go 170~190, yup, that 550-580 yard Par 5 is reachable with a simple mid iron. And depending on the conditions where the course is playing firm and fast, some are hitting a wedge, because the diver went 400 yards – you’ve seen it – that never used to happen back in the day.
      It literally has killed more than half the old courses as these guys can bomb-and-gouge them, thus.
      But again, yup, they could manipulate the courses and make the fairways a bit thicker and the rough longer like it used to be – but bombers will still CARRY the ball 330 and that’s a problem for them.

      Reply

      Red Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      Yet the scoring average at Sawgrass was 72. Hmmmmm….

      Mike

      1 year ago

      Check your stats. Over the last few years, the highest PGA tour driving averages have been in the low 320s, and that’s carry AND roll. They’re not carrying it 330 and hitting it 360 on any type of regular basis. Maybe a downwind shot with fairways cut low, ok. But the numbers don’t lie.

      I just watched the Players and they were barely carrying it over 300 (if at all).

      Jimmy

      1 year ago

      Gotta be skeptical of PGA driving distance stats. They only track a couple of shots per round and it’s no guarantee that every shot was actually hit with a driver.

      Kilted Golfer

      1 year ago

      Tony, you bring up a good point about LIV tour. What rules govern their play? USGA and R&A? They have their own rules book?

      Reply

      peter

      1 year ago

      Really? Is golf not hard enough?

      Reply

      June C

      1 year ago

      Why not go back to sub 46 inch drivers? It’s not the ball that’s the problems, it’s the drivers and shafts. Driver heads are lighter.

      Reply

      Tampon Woods

      1 year ago

      They could also shrink the driver heads from 460cc to 200cc, for example

      Reply

      Patrick

      1 year ago

      I see most of the comments here are negative about the roll back of the ball. This is the only sport I know of where you can use your own ball. If the roll back is only 15 yards, and if all “ elite “ players use the same ball, I’m good. I’ve played with pros that destroy a 6800 yard course. It’s golf, not long drive. Something had to be done. Us old farts can still use the latest , greatest balls.

      Reply

      Tim Norvell

      1 year ago

      This makes no sense at all and I will be very surprised if it is adopted. It puts a considerable financial burden on the ball manufacturers to develop a number of new balls for a very limited customer base, of which many don’t pay for their balls.

      Also, it will be interesting to see how PGA players feel about having to find a completely different ball and figure out how much it effects all of their distances when they go from the old standard to the new one in one tournament. They may need different clubs in the bags and different lofts for gapping.

      The simplest and easiest solution would be to calculate the max distance with the new swing speed and launch conditions and make that the new standard moving foward for everyone. I don’t know of any golf fans who think the pros hit it too far now and are scoring too many birdies and eagles. Rolling the ball back is unnecessary and will negatively impact fan interest.

      Reply

      Gregor

      1 year ago

      Its a good start, but they should have done much more and done it a long time ago. Lets be honest here, the difference that a Stealth driver and ProV1x ball can travel is massively further than an old driver with a balata ball. We’ve allowed all the courses to get stupid long, wrecked how they play, and given the bird to great historical rounds and shots.
      Only brain dead morons cheers for distance made possible by modern equipment and rock hard fairways. And we already have bifurcation with regards to the tee blocks we play and the fact that weekend warriors shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the tips of a decent golf course. We should all be adopting the new balls, and removing the back tee boxes.on our local courses so we can play a shorter course. We should be doing everything we can to shorten the playing time of the game, and stopping amateurs playing with souped up equipment that just makes it more likely for them to play a 5 hour round just makes sense.
      Every other sport that has encountered equipment advanacement issues, whereby it challenges old records and hallowed sporting venues, has found a way to reign in equipment (baseball, tennis, cricket). Why the hell did golf just sell its soul to Accushnet for a few dollars of sponsorship. Lets get Augusta and Saint Andrews back to the lengths they were.

      Reply

      EBA

      1 year ago

      If you read this with a Scottish accent it makes good sense.

      Reply

      john mckay

      1 year ago

      I totally agree with you, everyone should play the same ball as the pro’s, who cares if we lose a bit of distance. It wont be anywhere near as much as the pro’s and would return to playing the older courses as they were designed to be played, not smashing the ball out of sight and hitting iron’s into par 5’s. I don’t remember ever reaching a par 5 in my youth with the old persimmon driver and fairway woods on my best day. It was just as much fun then as it is now.

      Reply

      Jim

      1 year ago

      What about the Champions Tour? Is Moynihan going to tell all those major winners that they are amateurs/women or are they going to kill their ability to get off the tee?

      Reply

      Jackie golf

      1 year ago

      Ok so ball makers.- throw away all of your current R&D planning and start over. You must have a product designed, tested and in final production in 30 months. Oh and there are no final specs yet. Only a burocrat with no real world business experience would do this and think this is reasonable. Oh and these are the balls you give out for free. So where does titlest get the money to pay for bifurcation? Oh from the playing public. Golf is in the best shape ever. Only an idiot would screw this up!

      Reply

      Tony P

      1 year ago

      I had the same thought about the DTC brands, Tony. As a consumer, I’m not necessarily thrilled about the possibility of rising prices from the big OEMs needing to fund new R&D projects to develop balls for a handful of tour players. If quality, affordable DTC options already exist and are more resistant to this kind of price increase potential, this could definitely play in their favor.

      Reply

      Craig

      1 year ago

      We had bifurcation of the ball in the past, it’s wasn’t that big a deal.

      Reply

      Greg

      1 year ago

      It is disgusting that they allow massive investment into products then roll out hair brain ideas. The elite are the elite .This all about liv nothing else.
      All it will do is just make them all straighter and accurate .
      Not to push the boundaries of physics is not golf .
      It is like Governments any attempts to make things better will only make them worse .
      THE IDIOTS all want throwing out .
      What will come next is more spin , straighter ,more green side spin then what change more changes

      The game is against all laws of the environment and manipulating that will make things worse .Golf is the gift to the world to understand physics why destroy this.
      It is about athlete’s in their prime 1 % .
      They are destroying golf

      Reply

      Cody

      1 year ago

      This is incredibly stupid and really takes away one of the more interesting aspects of golf in that you and the pros are essentially playing the same game, with the same rules, and the same equipment.

      I really don’t understand why courses aren’t just cutting fairways and roughs in such a way as to really punish wayward shots. Narrow the fairway, and make getting out of the rough a real penalty. Bring back the idea of real “risk-reward” with your tee shots instead of allowing distance to be the only factor the pros consider. Just my 2 cents, but it seems a whole lot easier and more in the spirit of the sport than bifurcating the field.

      Reply

      Tim

      1 year ago

      Right on Cody. They can make any course much tougher as evidence of the US Open every year. I would much rather see guys shooting a few under par then see them shooting 30 under. It wouldn’t matter which ball they used if the courses were hard.

      Reply

      Craig

      1 year ago

      They dont really play the same equipment as us. And your suggestion is they should also make the course much different to what we play, where the intention of this is to make the course closer to what we play.

      Reply

      Cody

      1 year ago

      Except the courses are NOT really what we play, the roughs are cut down to the length of most muni fairways and these guys have zero fear of being penalized coming out of the rough.

      And this myth that pros play some “secret sauce” clubs is ridiculous. Outside of some fitting considerations and additional QC for potential manufacturing defects, the T100s that they play are exactly the same as you can play. The clubs are already artificially restricted by the USGA, so how does it make sense that the pros would have a “better” version of a club.

      Mr. Nobody

      1 year ago

      I’m with you 100 percent. Leave things as they are with the ball and equipment. Narrower fairways and deeper rough. Then we won’t see so many 62s and 63s being shot. Sand is not a penalty to the pros. They would rather have that than long rough.

      Reply

      Vic

      1 year ago

      Just like LIV vs PGA, Nascar and almost any other sport, this world is turning sideways and into a bunch of overregulated BS, will it ever end? No, everyone wants to hit the ball as far as they can, quit making the courses longer and let that regulate ball distance.

      Reply

      Jason S

      1 year ago

      I’ve said that the “distance problem” isn’t really an equipment problem. Sure, can a little tweak here and there help lessen this mostly made-up issue. Yes. But there are other areas that have directly contributed to longer (and less straight) drives on the Tour – Players, Course Set-Up, and Information.
      Players are bigger and stronger than they’ve ever been. They work out, a lot compared to 20 years ago. They’re more flexible than in the past due to knowing more about the body and what makes it function at peak golf performance. Those workouts are even directly golf-focused for their specific movements, not just moving a bunch of weight around. Even swings have changed over the years where players aren’t as constricted to “swing it like Jack” teaching methods like they were years ago. The teachers are even better at working within the confines of the individual swing thanks to technology.
      Course supers aren’t helping either. Have you ever seen what a fairway looks like for a tour event? I’ve putted on greens at the local courses here in AZ that were “shaggier” than the tour fairways. They’re just so tightly mowed it’s basically a golf ball runway. Then to make it worse, they dry the course out over the 4-day event. Not just the greens, but the fairways too. Laughingly, it looks like divots are kicking up dust instead of dirt. Water the grass and let it grow!
      Finally, professionals are armed with so much data it’d make a NASA engineer cringe. Not just all the data about their swing speed, ball speed, launch angles, spin rates, etc. But data about how they play, how their competition plays, and even how we play. Companies like Arccos and Shot Scope have gathered tens of millions of shots from pros to ams and everyone in between. Why do pros tee it high and let it fly – right into the rough? Because the data says that closer to the green in the rough is better than farther away in the fairway. Laying up is a thing of the past thanks to golf’s information revolution.
      So it’s not just the balls or the drivers. There is way more involved in this “issue” that the governing bodies aren’t really addressing, because it takes away their power over the game. And that’s just sad, for all of us.

      Reply

      Garen Eggleston

      1 year ago

      Ball manufacturers have been reaping huge profit off our backs for decades , the cost of creating this new ball is one they can manage , they already produce specific balls for their players , Dean Snell in one of his podcasts basically said this was doable when he was at the OEMs , I would love to see pros again hit a 3 irons in from 212 yards to a tucked pin instead of an 8 iron , a game I play

      Reply

      Raymond

      1 year ago

      Last several tournaments balls have been bouncing over greens. Reason balls too hard. Tour models are over 100 compression.Make the standard 90 or less and see what happens.

      Reply

      JP

      1 year ago

      It removes the aspirational aspect of golf – the playing field is currently even bc we can all dream to hit that same shot the pros can – it creates accessibility inequalities, at what point are you forced to play with a ball you can’t regularly afford to practice with…

      It also feels like chasing a problem that doesn’t exist… What are we protecting… “Par” …? is Augustas feelings hurt bc today’s elite can shoot lower scores? Slow the fairways, grow the rough.

      A realistic change would be limit pros to a 1/2″ tee, that’s accessible to all and to be the 1% of the 1% you would have to learn how to use it – but at least everyone would have the chance!

      Reply

      Gunzzz

      1 year ago

      Stupid….make the course conditions a battle every time. Long rough and fast greens make long balls irrelevant. A score in the -20’s every week is ridiculous, that’s not golf. It should be modelled after the US open where the scoring under par is a challenge..
      When will they realize that it’s the rest of us that actually buy the balls and pay for it all and we want distance.

      Reply

      Rick

      1 year ago

      At the beginning of the arrival you state that none on the PGA tour regularly generates a 127 mph ball speed. That is incorrect and probably should be club head speed

      An edit is in order to be accurate.

      Reply

      Jon

      1 year ago

      Why not just go all the way and make just ONE ball for all professional golf? Level the playing field.

      Reply

      Bubba

      1 year ago

      No monopoly in the ball. Keep it as it is . Higher rough, Smaller greens and fast speedy rolls . Set courses up way tougher . You know Liv golf
      will do the opposite .. Liv Golf Kindergarten league play .

      Reply

      Trex444

      1 year ago

      The USGA was past their time frame to once again propose something stupid! This entire proposal is such BS! They say it will just be for touring pros, but it won’t take long for all elite amateur events and college golf, then a couple more years and it will be all amateur golf tournaments. At some point the manufacturers aren’t going make two classes of golf balls. So within 5 years of rolling this idiotic idea out it will impact everyone and that is exactly what they want! Total Trojan Horse!!!

      Reply

      Dave Tutelman

      1 year ago

      I think golf is shooting itself in the foot. Your comment about “golfers love watching professionals bomb the ball” is on target. The professional tours will lose some appeal if that stops. (I’m not sure that 15 yards will make all that much difference, though.)

      The problem is that the USGA has long equated “protecting golf” with “protecting par”. They are not the same thing. The USGA needs to get over that hangup. Unless your goal is to protect par from the guys on TV, there is no reason that today’s ball means we must have longer courses tomorrow.

      Reply

      Jim

      1 year ago

      Beware…courses will use the rule during local tournaments to sell balls. Just like the “one ball” rule was used. I played a lot of tournaments in the 90s and watched people scurry in to the pro shop to buy enough of the “same” ball to make it through the day.. Greed never stops…

      Reply

      Steve S

      1 year ago

      I still think the issue should be to change the clubs for the pros. The manufacturers sort their driver heads now for the pros. Why not just sort them so the models sorted for the pros can’t exceed 0.80 COR? I saw heads from a tour van for Matt Kutcher that had “Kuch” and a COR and CT written on them. They were rejects because they weren’t close to the limits.

      Changing the ball seems to be a big expense for a very small market.

      Reply

      Joe Hyland

      1 year ago

      I mean i dont think what was really touched on in this article is what the hell they are going to do with hnadicaps….now you’ll have to have handicaps for the elite am’s who are using a different ball than the common folk. So two slopes and ratings depending on the ball type. Not to mention when i start out playing with the new balls, run out but find an old model in the woods on hole 13 :)

      Reply

      Tim

      1 year ago

      Of course Titleist doesn’t like it since a huge majority of Tour Pros use their balls. Let’s see if their Engineers can make a lower distance ball that is as good as a ProV1.

      Reply

      Gary Sohiosky

      1 year ago

      Obviously the ball has made a big difference in distance, but let’s not forget about the drivers; clubhead size and shaft length to be specific. In 1997 Tiger was hitting a 43.5″ driver with an X100 steel shaft and a 225 CC clubhead. 300 yards. I still remember him cutting it around the corner on 18 at Augusta and hitting a SW for his second shot. It wasn’t long before the hole was lengthened to eliminate that from happening. These two factors made the club self limiting. Lighter, lower torque shafts have allowed the shafts to be longer with little loss in accuracy creating more distance. The size of the club head made center contact paramount in the past. Now you can hit the ball almost anywhere on the club face and get a reasonable result. Take the clubheads back to 300 CC or less and make max shaft length 44″ and we won’t have to talk about rolling back the golf ball so much. Why do you think baseball has continued to use wooden bats and balls the same as they were 100 years ago? To maintain the traditions of the game.

      Reply

      Trex444

      1 year ago

      You don’t think baseball has changed in the last 100 years? Come on! You can’t be that clueless! Why don’t we just play with hickory shafts and balls stuffed with feathers? SMH!

      Reply

      Tim

      1 year ago

      Baseballs and bats for that matter have changed many times over the years.. They actually changed their ball years back because it was too lively and the ball was flying out of the park at an abnormal pace.

      Clay Nicolsen

      1 year ago

      I’ve been waiting for this announcement for some time. It’s as I expected.

      I’m very pleased the Ruling Bodies have clearly exempted non-elite, or recreational golfers. No need to make Mrs. Havercamp hit it any shorter.

      As far as bifurcation being evil, Major League Baseball has had that regarding bats ever since metal bats were invented. Amateurs use metal bats and professionals use hickory bats. Hasn’t hurt baseball any.

      All-in-all, I think it’s a good move.

      Reply

      Trex444

      1 year ago

      Remember anchoring the putter? That was only for pros and elite amateur competitions at first too! “It will be up to your local club if they want to adopt it.” Do you know one course anywhere that will let you anchor a putter in any kind of event? Nope! Charity scramble? Nope!

      Reply

      Clay Nicolsen

      1 year ago

      Here’s another shocker: I have never played a single course that has implemented the MLR that lets you hit out of bounds, take two, and “drop it there.”

      al berg

      1 year ago

      perhaps the dumbest of decisions ever considered——–the equipment rules should remain the same for all golfers. There will be no end of unintended consequences if this change is adopted and most of them bad

      Reply

      FNBG

      1 year ago

      While the distance argument blaming the ball is fairly bogus. Further bifurcation of the game is ill advised – just as we are benefiting from the pandemic surge. lets cut the legs out of the growth viewership – we don’t watch golf to see what we can do, but what we can’t do. We don’t watch other sports to see professional athletes play like our pickup games, but to see athletic achievements that are beyond the normal skill levels. Golf and to some extent tennis are the sports that amateur players can play the same equipment of the highly skilled professional. Yes my Ping 400 is not the most current – but the basic remain similar to the current edition. My ProV1x is essentially the same as the standard ProV1x as those used by the majority of professionals.

      Reply

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