On Wednesday morning, the USGA and R&A announced a game-wide golf ball rollback. Meaning this change won’t only affect golf’s best players, but every amateur in the world.
“The longest players, which means those generating ball speeds of 183 mph or higher, are going to lose 13 to 15 yards [with their driver],” Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s chief governance officer, said. “The average PGA Tour player and elite male, like a college player, would lose closer to 9 or 11 yards. LPGA players, given their clubhead speed, were looking at 5 to 7 yards. And recreational golfers, we’re talking about 5 yards or less.”
Recreational golfers will not have to worry about this change until 2030.
Among all the changes mentioned about the ball in the USGA and R&A’s release, this section concerning the driver is worth keeping an eye on.
Continue to monitor drivers and explore possible additional options related to distance. Specifically, we will research the forgiveness of drivers and how they perform with off-center hits.
This is an ongoing review and we will seek input from and continue to work with the industry, including manufacturers, to identify driver design features that can be regulated as a means to reward center impact position hits versus mis-hits.
Thanks to technological advances over the past decade, drivers have become increasingly more forgiving. For example, TaylorMade introduced “Twist Face Technology” in 2018, a design feature meant to help accuracy with off-centered strikes.
This change wouldn’t just help the game’s distance problem but would reward players who are able to hit the center of the face on a more consistent basis.
If you’re interested in reading the USGA and R&A’s full statement, find it below:
— Golfweek (@golfweek) December 6, 2023