Titleist chief hits back at R&A and USGA's distance report

Driving Distance Insights

One of the biggest names in golf equipment has fired back at the Distance Insights Project conclusions drawn by the R&A and USGA. 

The Acushnet Company, which owns Titleist and FootJoy, has released a statement in which its president and CEO, David Maher, disputes the findings of the report that was published a fortnight ago.

In it, the R&A and USGA described the trend of increased hitting distances as “undesirable” and “detrimental to golf’s long-term future”.

It further pledged to consider limiting the conformance specifications for golf clubs and balls as well as the possibility of introducing a local-rule that would allow courses impose their own restrictions on equipment for competition.

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This, according to Maher, would do the game more harm than good.

“We believe the conclusions drawn in this report undervalue the skill and athleticism of the game’s very best players and focus far too much on the top of the men’s professional game and project this on golf and golfers as a whole,” wrote Maher in a statement entitled ‘A Perspective on the Distance Insights Report’.

“We believe that existing equipment regulations effectively govern the prospects of any significant increases in hitting distance by the game’s longest hitters.”

On the prospect of the local rule proposed by the governing bodies, Maher added: “We believe that playing by a unified set of rules coalesces our game, is an essential part of its global understanding and appeal, and eliminates the inconsistency and instability that would come from multiple sets of equipment standards.”

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The Acushnet Company is the first of golf’s major equipment manufacturers to speak publicly on the Distance Insights Report.

The R&A and USGA have invited input from manufacturers and other interested parties to help them develop a set of plans to take their conclusions to the next stage.

It is expected that this process could take up to a year. 

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