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Have your say in distance debate

Distance Measuring Devices
How far do we want the ball to go?

Golf’s governing bodies have upped the ante in trying to answer the seemingly eternal “distance debate”.

The R&A and the USGA overnight launched their combined “Distance Insights” project to “analyse distance in golf and gather perspectives from the worldwide golf community”.

From today, anyone interested can provide feedback by visiting randa.org/distanceinsights or usga.org/distanceinsights or by emailing either organisation directly.

The Distance Insights project, they say, will examine distance through a multi-pronged approach that includes global stakeholder engagement, third-party data review and primary research.

Focus groups and discussion forums will play an important role in the project to secure a broad range of perspectives throughout golf.

“Distance in golf is a complex issue which is widely debated at all levels of the sport,” R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said.

“It is important that we collate all of the relevant data and hear the many different perspectives on this issue that exist in the international golf community. We intend to conduct this process openly, comprehensively and promptly and will work with all of the key stakeholders to ensure we have a fully rounded view of distance and its implications.”

USGA chief executive Mike Davis said the topic of increased distance and its effects on the game had been discussed for “well over a century”.

“We believe that now is the time to examine this topic through a very wide and long lens, knowing it is critical to the future of the game,” Davis said.

“We look forward to delving deeply into this topic and learning more, led by doing right by golf, first and foremost.”

Stakeholder groups invited to participate in the project include amateur and professional golfers, worldwide professional tours, golf course owners and operators, golf equipment manufacturers, golf course architects, golf course managers and others.

Among the many topics to be explored, the organisations will seek distance-related data on pace of play, golf course construction and maintenance practices, the evolution of equipment, golf course design and player enjoyment and participation.

The R&A and USGA plan to deliver their combined report on the project during 2019.


Comments

Posted by Geoffrey O'Brien at
10/07/2018 08:31 PM
I think that the governing bodies will just miss the point, as per usual. There are four key components to how far the players are driving the ball. The first is the condition of the golf courses. There is no comparison between the average condition of a tour course during tournament play and the condition of the course that we week-end amateurs play. The fairway grass is cut much, much tighter on tour than it was ever cut 30 years ago. This really helps on the run-out, especially with low-spin bombs. The second is the ball. The ball is longer than it used to be, but not of itself ridiculously longer. It is a lot more consistent however and more solid and durable and can be hit as hard as possible and still not go out of shape. However, combined with the third input, the clubs themselves, the ball goes a long way in the hands of a tour professional. The modern drivers help the tour pros a lot - but the statistics show that the driving distance for the average player has not increased much over the last 25 years. I certainly haven't heard any complaints that my 60 year old mates are now "overpowering" the local courses. Finally, the under-reported variable, the pros themselves. The modern equipment and fitness regimes have allowed the average modern pro to be a lot taller and much fitter (and fit for purposes) than the "ideal" 5 foot nine or ten guys of 40 years ago. It is now a truly athletic game at the highest level and it did not used to be. So what is the fix? Well, the biggest problem in all of golf and the one that threatens its future is SLOW PLAY. No average golfer wants to be beaten up for 5 hours on Sunday on a 7,000 m monster that is designed to combat DJ or Day, not Bruce the 18 marker. Seriously! So do stuff to make golf faster, as a guiding principle. Laser range finders? Well they should absolutely be allowed on tour or at the local club, unless we want to keep watching the caddies endlessly debate whether it is 217
Posted by Geoffrey O'Brien at
10/07/2018 08:00 PM
comment
Posted by jeff at
09/07/2018 10:34 AM
I find any distance aid great. It speeds up my game just by knowing the distance. Whether my skill level is up to the task doesn't matter. On the downside though if you leave it at home you get a quick wake up call on just how dependant you've become.
Posted by Glenn H at
03/07/2018 06:31 PM
It appears the only way to attack increased distance at the top level is the ball. But how? We already have a maximum launch velocity, which took the ball makers about 3 months to make irrelevant by optimising launch angle, multiple spin rates and aerodynamics. A single "pro ball" has been suggested by some, but how do we avoid disadvantaging players whose game is poorly suited to that particular ball compare to players who are well suited to it?
Posted by greg nichol at
01/07/2018 05:25 PM
can some of the new rules be implemented early under the disguise of a local rule, to prepare members for the change
Posted by Robert Andrews at
29/06/2018 08:14 AM
I agree with the comments regarding GPS units they help play move along at an appropriate pace. Lasers just waste time as a lot of players who use them are high handicappers and usually have no idea how far they are going to hit the ball anyway. I don't use either and still rely on the fairway markers, most times I am not too far off the mark as far as distance is concerned, accuracy is another thing if only we had a device for this part of the game.
Posted by Paul Crain at
24/05/2018 08:44 AM
If the pros are hitting the ball longer why are they taking 5-6 hrs? So will the ball modification change this? Probably not. Changing tournament courses to make them harder with rough you cannot drive a 4WD through, and tee boxes back an extra 60-80 metres not only slows the game down but encourages players to get more distance and accuracy through equipment and hi tech golf ball development. Her is a radical idea.....why not shorten the hole by moving the tees forward so that driver is not the answer every hole, maybe the fairways could be hard and fast or even slow so that driving the ball is fraught with uncertainty. Yep, stop letting technology and the Pros dictating the way the game is played. Let them play like the rest of us non-elite golfing madmen do every weekend where even our 70 year old plus golfers get back to the club house in 4 to 4 1/2 hours! The technology is not the problem, it is the attitude of the egotistical US PGA administration and its pristine, carpet like fairways golf courses. Oh, and get rid of the caddie lining up shots and make the golfer alone make the decision. Equipment advances are not the problem! Maybe the people running the game are?
Posted by Glynn at
22/05/2018 08:13 AM
There are two areas I see - I see this primarily applying to Professional Golf. 1. Ball and club R & D. 2 GPS and Laser Techology 1. Ball and club R & D. I had to stop playing golf for 7 years and when i returned I was shocked at the extra length I was getting and the only change was the ball. I think that golf ball development needs to be limited as it ii making what used to be difficult course easy and the last thing I want to see is old historic course trying to be lengthened. What I can see happening in the future is these course making some Par 4's par 3's and Par 5's Par 4's. Club design has also got allot to do with this as bigger heads and more forgiving clubs mean more accuracy. Whats this has allowed is the increase in shaft length which when combine with the ball technology makes hitting the ball allot further. I would suggest that the Pros should be limited to a maximum shaft length similar to those prior to the introduction on huge headed drivers. 2. GPS and Laser Technology. Anything that speeds up play I fully support. Even though I like the idea of it all coming down to skill, today 99.99% of pros will be able to tell you withing a less than a yard the distance to the flag. So instead of them spending 2-3 minutes working out the distance manually a laser would simply make it quicker. But no SLOPE or WIND compensation should be allowed. Lastly, the one technology I do not think should be allowed in golf is Green Mapping. A golfer should need to rely on skill to read a green not look at a piece of paper that shows all the breaks. This is generally not available for an amateur golfer and should not be allowed in professional golf.
Posted by Lew at
21/05/2018 04:53 PM
The golf ball the professional uses should be designed to go less distance. All manufacturers could produce a ball with the agreed specifications for there stable of professionals.I understand the performance of the driver is now at its optimum level.This will protect the famous courses around the world that represent the history of golf.
Posted by AJ at
21/05/2018 04:39 PM
I'm not really fussed on the distance thing, I have no problem with manufacturers trying to make the ball go further. Just make the courses penalise you harder for getting it wrong. Pro's driving the ball 300+ all the time isn't an issue, having a paddock to aim for is. Make the rough ROUGH and narrow the fairways and the pro's will have to start thinking about strategy more than distance.
Posted by Peter Weire at
21/05/2018 02:23 PM
GPS devices should be allowed. Laser devices should be banned. Neither unit should ever be allowed in Pro or elite Amateur events ever.
Posted by Gordon Cazalet-Smith at
21/05/2018 05:30 AM
I don't really understand why the governing bodies really reduce the c.o.r. on all hollow bodied clubs The reason that courses are becoming longer and longer seems to be down to driving distances and the modern golf ball pretty easy really.
Posted by Dave Moran at
20/05/2018 08:03 PM
The image is confusing. The article is about golf ball technology and how far professionals are hitting the balls and not about GPS or laser distance devices. I agree with using a different ball/ control ball for professionals is something worth considering but i also think the use of GPS or laser devices should be discussed for professional events also.
Posted by Greg at
20/05/2018 06:45 PM
Well a lot of the answers above are not going to speed the game up. I for one is in favor of distance devices and they should also be allowed to use slope as well. I remember the days when every one was pacing off yardages and that got really slow. These devices are helpful and make the game more enjoyable. You only have to see how long it takes a pro to get back on course when they pace out yardages imagine a bunch of hackers doing the same, give us all a break. 100m in is where golf begins and I have seen it all red white and blue flags,players walking the the distance,good players need to know yardage so as to select the right club chip and run pitch and release pitch and check. These are all skills required guessing only adds another shot.
Posted by Chris Penn at
20/05/2018 12:53 PM
I feel range finders and gps systems actually speeds up my play. It allows me to know exactly wich club i need to use, were I've seen other players toing and froing trying to decide the distance and then guessing wich club to use.
Posted by Mark Lawrence at
20/05/2018 12:47 PM
I get all the cost issues related to the length the Professionals hit the ball....good reasons to think about throttling back the pro game. But the manufacturers will have to find another way to market new clubs. They won't like it.But I also find I am not relating to the spectacle. I find myself becoming disenchanted with driver/7 iron par 5s and another well thought out driver/wedge long par 4. The game is chess on grass for most of us. I would like to see a field of quality players having the same challenges.
Posted by Peter Bennett at
20/05/2018 07:16 AM
The horse has bolted. Today's pro has little in common with club golfers who keep the game alive. I prefer to watch the ladies whose golf is more atuned to the reality of everyday golf. Pace of play is a massive problem..watching Jordan Spieths endless practice swings and prevarications is just so boring. The pro ball must be re regulated as Nicklaus and Thompson advocated so many years ago, but that would be a lawyers picnic. As for measuring devices, take one of those devotees to a blank paddock and ask them to hit 3 shots..one to 87 yards, another to 109 and the third to 133. Good luck! It's still a great game if you stick to the basics. Its future is hampered by the lack of foresightful administration. Get a move on, you're on the tee.
Posted by Tony Dick at
19/05/2018 04:21 PM
For me, I find the GPS attached to my wrist actually speeds up my game. Walking to my ball I can glance at the distance to see how far it is to the front of the green and have the right (for me) club out as my buggy stops. Trying to guess yardage usually takes longer. Is it 120 metres or 130...can't see any posts...take a guess...I tend to agree laser finders can be slow but please don't take away my wrist-born gps.
Posted by Bryan Burrows at
19/05/2018 03:44 PM
Guys, even if we know the distance to the millimetre, it doesn't help us hit that ball! I coach golf and most of these golfers could never hit a ball on the range to any accuracy, to the same distance with the same club. single handicappers would have the talent but they don't need to use them! Give the average golfer a chance to enjoy the game and range finders would possibly make them think about going to the range to get practice with their clubs, get accurate distances with the balls they hit while practicing and get some exercise! lol
Posted by Brian Cox at
19/05/2018 08:59 AM
Some comments have missed the point of the proposed revue.Maybe they have been mislead by the misleading photo at the top of the post.Distance of ball flight not distance measuring.But I do agree, some players do check the distance when very close to the hole but cant hit it out of their shadow.They slow down play to a near ridiculous pace. Make the pros play with ball with less dimples.
Posted by mjp dibben at
18/05/2018 11:18 AM
after playing with a guy( 23 handicapper) who even used a rangefinder from 40 yards out I would suggest banning them in favor of the simple gps, which is adequate for the ordinary hacker
Posted by ian findlay at
17/05/2018 08:59 PM
Distance measuring equiptment should be limited to GPS and laser measurement should be banned as it wastes a lot of time. Balls should be modified so that they don't go as far as they do now,shorter shots are less likely to go astray and so would speed up play.I wonder how many of the balls used by pros are checked after a tournament is won to ensure they are legal. Also as a comment there should be a severe limit on the time spent by pros in putting as it sets a very poor example with amateurs off a 20 handicap can be seen marking their ball and lining up a line on the ball with the direction they want to hit it then walking to the hole and then back to 10 metres behind the ball readjusting the ball and finally putting
Posted by Mike lowry at
17/05/2018 08:31 PM
It seems that those who commented on GPS devices did not take time to read the article. It was about current hitting distances and what could be considered in this regard. As of mid seventies age group from which it seems that a significant group of golfers now come from, I consider it necessary for the future of golf that we do not look at increasing the length of courses (which most clubs could not afford anyway) but rather make them 'friendly' and 'attractive' to good sport and good companionship. It is nice to finish a round without realising that "I could have had much more fun if I had self flagellated".
Posted by PJ at
17/05/2018 07:10 PM
It wouldn't be fair to stop amateurs using distance-mesuring devices, when the pros get a caddy, a full book containing measurements of the details of the course, plus the position of flags for the day. I'd be happy to give up my GPS if the pros go around without a caddy and have to lug their own equipment
Posted by Greg Cox at
17/05/2018 06:38 PM
I can't see why the average golfer should be denied the use of GPS distance measuring devices when the Pro's have access to all the information about green speed, green slopes etc. which is available to us
Posted by Ian McKenzie at
17/05/2018 06:24 PM
We should not be agonising about the professional game making courses obsolete - the courses are becoming obsolete for THEM but they are fine for the rest of us. Let them deal with the problem - after all it is their problem. And in the meantime us amateurs just carry on like we always have done.
Posted by Kevin at
17/05/2018 04:30 PM
Pga tour players should be able to use a gps to speed up play as 5-6 hours is way too long. Players with a handicap are always told to take no longer than 3-4 hours for a round, also I believe the Broomstick putter rules should revert back to being able to anchor. More players win with the short putter than the long putter, so there's not much advantage.
Posted by Kevin at
17/05/2018 03:21 PM
I don't believe we should have GPS devices at all , given that the majority of courses have a 200 MTR marker, a 150 MTR, and a 100 MTR marker, why do we need them at all. I'm a 5 handicapper and don't use one, yet I see players with a much larger handicap using these on a regular basis. One example was my fellow competitor was just under the 100 MTR marker and used his GP's, I said to him your about 99 out he replied 98 should I say more? This is only one example, speed up the game for all our sakes.
Posted by keith lindsay at
17/05/2018 09:41 AM
golf course length and architecture should concentrate more on the mug golfers enjoyment not for creating torment and not just in case a golf course may one day be the host of an infrequent if at all major tournament. more players will play if they are enjoying themselves rather than feeling punished. Bunkers directly in the front of greens or in the middle of a fairway could be designed by anyone you don't have to be a guru . Any idiot can make a hole ridiculously hard by making it of ridiculous length. Good shots should be rewarded not punished.
Posted by Mike Shearer at
16/05/2018 07:14 PM
I believe, in these modern days and hence the technology available, that GPS devices should be allowed to be used at ALL levels of golf. I am a 68 year old, playing of 20 and have a basic 'Golf Buddy' device set to measure the distance to the middle of the green. It is a fantastic device who's accuracy is amazing. (It's a pity that a large percent of my shots aren't as amazing). Golf rules need to move along with the present days. cheers Mike Shearer
Posted by DAVID AMBRIDGE at
16/05/2018 05:56 PM
Only male pros hit it a long way so let them get on with it. The vast majority need all the help they can get.
Posted by Garry Kind at
16/05/2018 05:29 PM
The professional ranks are the reason classic golf courses are being lengthened, bunkers added, greens set at 12 plus on the stimp meter. When intelligent concerned luminaries Jack Nicklaus, Peter Thompson advocate the balls distance should be restricted for professionals then the ruling bodies need to listen. It doesn't matter much to us mugs, we have handicaps to compensate, and grand classic courses would be relevant, bombers would still have an advantage, they always will, but slowing the ball is now overdue.
Posted by Jeff Ellis at
16/05/2018 12:08 PM
Slows down play. Should be banned from players home course at least.

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