The USGA’s Distance Insights Report

After years of hand-wringing about how far touring pros are hitting the ball, the USGA s**t has finally hit the fan.

Their report, including recommendations, is titled Distance Insights Report and is available here as a 102-page pdf.

The Report has six chapters:
1. Scope
2. The evolution of hitting distances
3. The factors which impact hitting distances
4. Analysis of golf course lengths
5. Impact of increase in hitting distance and golf course lengths
6. Golf stakeholder perspectives and opinions on hitting distances

If you don’t have anything to do, you might want to read it. It really is pretty interesting, especially chapters 2-5.

After having assembled all their data, what does the USGA now want to do about it? Mainly, tweak equipment. For whom?

The answer depends on where you think the problem lies. Believe it or not, when stakeholders were asked, If distance is a problem, who [sic] is it a problem for? five percent of the respondents said it is only a problem for recreational players.

When comes the day that I can drive the ball 280 with one hand, I’ll agree.

There is even talk of bifurcation of the rules, which the UGSA likens to asking them all to drink a quart of rat poison, though there is baseball and softball, tackle football and touch/flag football, pro ice hockey and amateur no-checking ice hockey. Why not golf?

Rory McIlroy put matters into perspective a few days ago, saying that distance is a problem for only about 0.1 percent of golfers in the world. He said the solution is not to tweak equipment, which OEMs can find a way around, but to make golf courses harder for them.

The USGA says it is doing this because it says it wants to protect the game. But golf is not the professional game. Golf is way bigger than the professional game. It’s our game and if it needs needs protecting, it’s not from how far you or I hit the ball.

I feel like I’ve just said the same thing three times. If distance is a problem, it’s a problem because of and for Rory and Bryson and Dustin, not you or me.

So enough ranting. What to do? The Recreational Golfer knows exactly what to do.

Long hitters on Tour bomb it because if the ball ends up in the rough, even thick rough, they can still get par and birdie isn’t out of the question. The solution is to line each side of the fairway from 310-350 yards not with thick rough, but with a bed of pea gravel ten yards wide and two inches deep. If they figure out how to hit out of that, we can change it to 3/4 minus.

You have to think outside the box.

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