Distance curbs “very important” for golf’s future, says Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus

The future of golf could be in jeopardy if driving distances are not curbed, according to Jack Nicklaus.

The 18-time major champion has claimed bringing in measures to reduce the distance a ball can travel are “very important”. 

Nicklaus has been an advocate of a rollback since he was at the peak of his powers in the 1970s – even though he himself was one of the longer hitters on tour in his heyday. 

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After claiming he had raised the issue with the game’s rulemakers decades ago, he accused them of reacting too late. 

It took until 2017 for the USGA and R&A to declare their concern, and a further three years to find that distance affecting the sport’s sustainability. 

Rules around drivers have since been tweaked, reducing the maximum shaft length from 48 to 46 inches. 

Some of the world’s top venues have already had to make radical changes to avoid becoming obsolete, while last year Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said he hoped “there will not come a day when The Masters or any other golf championship will have to be played at 8,000 yards”. 

“They’re slow about reacting about this issue,” Nicklaus, who will turn 82 later this week, told the 5 Clubs podcast. 

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“They didn’t pay much attention to a 30-year-old and they’re certainly not paying much attention to an 80-year-old. 

“For all concerned, for the golf ball to come back to bring back a lot of things back into perspective is very important for the game of golf. 

“I think something will get done, it’s just how long will it take for them to research the problem?” 

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