Serious golfers speak out on USGA's proposed golf ball rollback
23 Mar 2023
by AmateurGolf.com Staff

Golf Datatech conducted a “snap” survey less than one week after the USGA/R&A announced their proposal for a “Model Local Rule” that would apply to “Elite Competition,” whereby it would reduce the overall distance a golf ball would travel off extremely high club head speeds.

The respondents to this survey come from Golf Datatech’s Database of Serious Golfers, an opt-in group of passionate, avid players who play the most and spend the most on golf equipment. As such, their opinions are particularly important and valued by the golfing community.

* 1,295 respondents from the Golf Datatech Database of Serious Golfers 36% single digit handicaps or better, 30% are 11-15, 21% are 16-20, and 13% have a handicap over 20
* 26% play most of their golf at a private course, 74% public access
* 83% were aware of a new rule, 17% were unaware

Feelings About the Proposed Model Local Rule

All respondents were exposed to a synopsis of the rule (below):

On March 14, the USGA and R&A proposed changes to the rules of golf to create a ball that flies shorter, which will be used by “Elite Professional and Amateur” events while maintaining the current ball for “Recreation” play. In other words, rather than having all golf balls be the same, the Elite players would be required to use the shorter golf ball, and recreational players would not have to change from what they currently play.

So, among those who currently have an opinion of the rule:

* 69% do not like the rule
* 31% are in favor of it
* Do Not Support the Model Local Rule
* Among those who don’t like the rule (669 respondents):

Interpretation of feelings (open-ended):

Courtesy Golf Datatech
Respondents were allowed to provide open-ended feelings about the rule and why they do not like it, and there a few general themes among those who are against the rule:

* It penalizes Elite players for being Elite
* Many like to play the same equipment as the Elite players to see how they are the same/different
* Some feel the ball is being held accountable when the focus should be on clubs
* There is an undercurrent of gofers who are concerned that the expense of designing and making two different balls will ultimately have to be borne by the consumer, and golf ball prices will rise as a result
* Support the Model Local Rule
Among those who support the new proposed rule (293 respondents):

Interpretation of feelings (Open-ended):

Respondents were allowed to provide open-ended feelings about the rule and why they support it, and there are a few general themes among those who are for the proposed rule:

* A shorter ball will bring more skill back to the game for Elite players
* Concern that bigger/longer golf courses require more resources to maintain (capital, water, fertilizer, etc.), and ultimately will create a sustainability case against the sport

This survey and write-up were provided by Golf Datatech. To read the complete article and view the survey responses graphically, click here>

Latest in 

Amateurgolf.com, Inc.
6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009

Instagram X Facebook YouTube