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Brandel Chamblee has voiced his displeasure at the R&A and USGA’s plans to roll back the golf ball at elite level. 

The former PGA Tour pro turned Golf Channel analyst has branded the proposed introduction of a Model Local Rule that  could reduce hitting distances by between ten and 15 yards for the longest players with the fastest clubhead speeds. 

If ratified following the upcoming period of provide feedback, the rule will be introduced in January 2026.  

That, however, is up in the air. Several equipment manufacturers are understood to be unhappy at the proposed rule, with Titleist releasing a lengthy statement outlining their objections yesterday.  

Bryson DeChambeau is the first of the game’s biggest-hitters to speak in opposition, whilst the PGA Tour and PGA of America have articulated their own reservations, too. 

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Chamblee explained his position… 

“It seems to me that this proposal by the USGA and R&A derives from what a very small number of people, namely the executive committees of the USGA and R&A, think about how a very small number of players, namely the longest hitters on the men’s tour, play a very few number of holes, namely a few at The Old Course and Augusta National and perhaps the 10th at Riviera,” he wrote.  


“They are willing to disrupt the entire golf world for their interpretation of how the game is broken and how it should be fixed, with no convincing evidence for their position. 

“The proposed new testing parameters for the ball will likely lead to a reduction in distance, not of 14-15, but likely 20-25 yrds when one considers that no player on tour in ‘22 averaged 127mph clubhead speed and no player on tour averaged as little as 2200 rpm’s of spin and the proposed launch angle of 11 degrees is higher than the 2022 tour average.  

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“As for the proposed bifurcation, it is essentially the USGA and R&A executive committees proclaiming that they don’t like how the professional game is being played. It is no small number of people who would argue that it is the PGA Tour’s call, and not the governing bodies, as to how the professional game is played.  

“I don’t imagine Roger Goodell would allow an outside agency to dictate how he runs his business. And by playing the same equipment are spectators not better able to judge the athleticism of great players more accurately and be appropriately awed by the difference and isn’t that accurate depiction of the disparity between what they can do and the pros can do, part of the appeal of watching the best play?  

He added: “Every player knows that bifurcation of the ball means bifurcation of the equipment because these new balls will have unique characteristics that will require new golf clubs to accommodate and maximize the totally new launch conditions.  

“And since professional golfers don’t pay for clubs and nor do a large number of elite players, the cost of the R&D to create and retooling to build these new golf balls and clubs, not to mention the actual production costs will be passed on to the consumer, making an already expensive game, even more so.  

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“One also needs to consider how far down into the elite and amateur ranks this bifurcation will go. Given that it will be for all WAGR point events, that means state Amateur events and qualifying.  

“Will the LPGA adopt the MLR or will the men’s and women’s game become bifurcated? How about women’s amateur events? How about Champions tour events?  

“This announcement and proposed reduction in the ODS of the ball and bifurcation of the game implies the game is broken, when in fact it has never been healthier.”

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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