Golf News: The R&A and USGA have announced a new rule that will limit the length of a drive shaft to 46 inches in professional and top amateur golf championships.
The new Model Local Rule (MLR G-10) will go into effect on January 1, 2022, after several years of research regarding how to combat the professional game’s expanding hitting distances.
Golf’s regulatory organisations announced last year in their Distance Insights Project that increasing distance was “harmful to golf’s long-term survival,” with the change implying that Tours can set their own regulations to reduce driver length from the current legal limit of 48 inches.
“We have taken time to confer fully with the golf industry, including players, the main professional tours, and equipment manufacturers,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A.
“We believe this is the appropriate thing to do for the game at this time, and it will provide tournament organisers the opportunity to make their own decisions within the framework of the Rules.” We are working hard to keep an open, collaborative, and thoughtful communication with these critical stakeholders as we continue to modify the Equipment Standards Rules to reflect the modern game.”
Before proceeding with the idea, which was first proposed in February, the governing bodies solicited feedback from players, professional tours, and equipment manufacturers, with the modifications potentially affecting a number of the sport’s top stars.
Bryson DeChambeau has already experimented with a 48-inch driver, while Phil Mickelson has also previously used a driver that would surpass the new local restriction, with the six-time major champion labelling the plan as “pathetic” earlier this year when speculating about the constraints.
Word is USGA is soon rolling back driver length to 46inches.This is PATHETIC.1st it promotes a shorter more violent swing (injury prone,) doesn’t allow for length of arc to create speed,and during our 1st golf boom in 40 years,our amateur gov body keeps trying to make it less fun
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) August 27, 2021
“We’ve worked hard with our industry partners to guarantee the future of golf stays strong,” stated USGA CEO Mike Whan. To be sure, this isn’t the “solution” to the overall distance debate/issue, but it is an easy option for competitive events.
“It’s crucial to note that it’s not a ‘Rule of Golf,’ and as such, it’s not required for the typical, recreational golfer.” Rather, this is a tool that is available to people who participate in competitive events.”
Changes to the testing technique for golf balls and testing for tolerance of the spring-like action proposed in February are still being considered.
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