Rulemakers Want to Know: Is Distance Off the Tee Ruining the Game?
The lords of golf at the USGA and the R&A apparently are getting serious about the effect of distance off the tee on the future of the game – and they want your opinion for the USGA-R&A Distance Insights Project.
The two ruling bodies of golf recently sent out a survey to the golf media urging outlets like New Mexico Golf News to pass along the survey to any and all golfers.
Here’s the USGA-R&A Distance Insights Project survey, which takes maybe 15 minutes to fill out.
“The survey, conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc., will remain open until October 31 and is available in 10 languages,” the Golf Writers Association of America told its members recently.
USGA-R&A Distance Insights Project: a Serious Inquiry?
The USGA-R&A Distance Insights Project survey asks things like whether you think humongously long PGA Tour tee shots are good or bad for the game; whether distance off the tee is making classic courses obsolete; whether drivers are too forgiving; and whether more distance off the tee is something you look for in your own game.
The survey notes that after years of steady but negligible annual increases in driver tee-shot length on the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour, 2017 was a year when the professional tours saw unprecedented yardage increases.
A close reading of the survey questions suggests the USGA-R&A Distance Insights Project is trying to determine whether an amateur in pursuit of distance would agree to play with non-conforming clubs – basically creating an equipment disconnect from the men and women they see playing on TV.
Two Conforming Equipment Lists?
Of course, any non-elite amateur, especially an older player, wants more distance. But because there is only one conforming equipment list for both amateurs and professionals, any accommodation for us means an even bigger distance gap between us and the PGA Tour.
At its core, the USGA-R&A Distance Insights Project survey is a census of the golfing world. While anonymous, it asks about your age, sex, handicap, how often you play, what tees you play from, whether you generally play by the Rules of Golf, whether you walk or ride or both, whether you belong to an association, and so on.
Going back to the days of “bomb and gouge” when square grooves were still legal and errant tee shots landing in the rough didn’t penalize the PGA Tour player, the lords of golf have been talking about the impact of distance.
Now more than ever, with classic courses by Donald Ross, A.W. Tillighast, Alister MacKenzie, C.B. MacDonald and Seth Raynor in jeopardy of being tossed into the dustbin of history, it’s good to see someone is finally getting serious about what to do about it.