The R&A rebutts driving distance critics

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THE R&A | USGA

Driving distances aren’t out of control, according to The R&A and USGA.


The governing bodies have today published a research document from seven tours, which says that between 2003-15, driving distance on four of the tours only increased by 1%, or 0.2 yards per year.

As for the other three tours, the study showed that driving distance fell by 1%.

The R&A and USGA have been criticised for years about how the distance today's top players hit the ball has made some of the game's classic courses indefensible. “I tell you the simplest solution is change the friggen golf ball,” said Jack Nicklaus on proposed changes to the 13th at Augusta National in April.

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The R&A

And back in 2005, Gary Player said: “I play on the Champions Tour now, and there are guys on it who are shooting scores that they could never shoot when they were young men. It just doesn't make sense, and it's ruining golf.”

Speaking about the findings, which can be found in full here, chief executive of The R&A, Martin Slumbers, said: “I believe it is important in terms of good governance and healthy for the sport to achieve greater transparency on key issues such as driving distance.

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“We have decided to publish this report on distance data and will do so each year in the future. This is clearly a frequently debated topic in golf which elicits strong views. By publishing the data we can help to inform the debate and ensure reliable information is available.”

“Hitting distance is, and has long been, a constant subject of healthy and spirited debate in golf,” added USGA chief Mike Davis. “We want everyone in the game to have access to the facts, to better understand the decision-making process and the research we use to ensure that our game is both enjoyable and sustainable for future generations.”

The R&A :: Driving distances


What do you make of these findings from the joint survey from the R&A and USGA? Leave your thoughts in the 'Comments' section below.

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