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It’s the landmark decision that has split the opinion of the golfing world. 

And we now have official confirmation that golf’s governing bodies have changed the rules to roll back distance for everyone.

The R&A and USGA’s announcement means that the most popular balls currently played both professionally and recreationally will soon be non-conforming.

It marks a rethink from the bifurcation plans in March, where a Model Local Rule was proposed only to change the rules for elite professional and amateur golfers.

From 2030, the distance tax imposed by the authorities will mean that all balls that conform to the Rules of Golf will be as much as 13-15 yards shorter in drive distance for the longest hitters at the elite level.  

Average tour and elite male players are expected to see a reduction of 9-11 yards, with a 5-7-yard reduction for the average LET or LPGA Tour player. The changes are expected to see reductions of five yards or less for the recreational golfer. 

Top pros including Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau, have had contrasting views on how a rollback could impact the sport across all levels. 

Here’s what some of the top pros have had to say about the golf ball rollback…

• Golf ball rollback: Governing bodies announce major rule change

• Opinion: Golf ball rollback is unpopular – but it’s the best option

• Golf ball rollback debate: Will the new rules be good for the game?

Tiger Woods

I’ve always been for bifurcation. I’ve always said that. Just like wood [baseball] bats and metal bats. This has been I guess the talk ever since I’ve been out on tour. To finally see it come to this point where I think both governing bodies who control the rules around the world are going to come to a collaborative understanding — we just doesn’t have enough property anymore.

Padraig Harrington

Rickie Fowler

To take the game and knock it back when it’s in the best position it’s ever been in, I don’t want to see it as the golf ball being necessarily the right move. I don’t see how when we’re at the best place the game has ever been ‘Oh, you love the game? Yeah. Hey, thanks for joining us over COVID. Now we’re going to make you hit it 20 yards shorter. ‘Have fun.’ I understand both sides. But looking at it as far as the game and everyone talks about growing the game, I think it’s going to be a huge step back.

Keegan Bradley

For the amateur world to hit the ball shorter is monstrous. I can’t think of anything more stupid than that. I don’t think it’s very smart at all, especially when golf’s growing in popularity literally coming out of COVID.

Min Woo Lee

Bryson DeChambeau

I think it’s the most atrocious thing that you could do to the game of golf. It’s not about rolling golf balls back; it’s about making golf courses more difficult. I think it’s the most unimaginative, uninspiring, game-cutting thing you could do. Everybody wants to see people hit it farther. That’s part of the reason why a lot of people like what I do.

Rory McIlroy

I think it will make the pro game more entertaining to watch. You’re going to see a different variety of games succeed, it’s not just going to be this bomb and gauge that we see predominantly now when you watch the top level of golf. It will bring some of the great classic courses back into consideration when we go to major championships, that’s the reason I’m a big proponent of making the golf ball go a little shorter. The game at the top level will become more skilful again.

Lee Westwood

Michael Kim

Tony Finau

The thing is, we’ve all known that this could potentially be coming over the last few years. It’s been talked about for a very long time, whether it’s the driver that was going to change or the golf ball, so we’ve been talking about a rollback for a couple years. I can’t say it’s surprising, but now that it’s here, there’s a date, it’s official, and no matter where you stand, we’re going to have to deal with it starting in 2028.

Nelly Korda

You’re just going to have to adapt.  Technology constantly changes, and the best players are still going to be the best players. It’s just about who’s going to adapt the quickest and the easiest.


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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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