How far is too far? Thoughts on the new distance proposal from the USGA — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Mar. 16, 2023
Happy Golf Thursday, friends! This week is a bit of a doozy — lately I feel as though I’ve being saying that a lot, but golf has been going through some major changes. The United States Golf Association (USGA) and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club ( R&A) are golf’s governing bodies, calling the shots on all the rules and changes being made to the game we all love. This week they shook the table with a groundbreaking new rules proposal:
Golf’s governing bodies says that some pros are just hitting it too far. Why is that a bad thing? Ultimately, what it boils down to is that golf courses, like Pebble Beach, Augusta National, Quail Hallow, TPC Sawgrass, and so on can’t rapidly expand to accommodate those players who drive the ball 300+ yards. So rather than changing the environment, the governing bodies want to change a resource. Be mindful that this new proposal is meant to be applied to “elite competition” only, this begins at the pros and trickles down the skill hierarchy.
This separation, or bifurcation, takes something away that makes golf special — the fact that amateurs and pros essentially use the same equipment.
In his news conference yesterday, ahead of the Valspar Championship, Justin Thomas had a lot of words for golf’s governing bodies. It’s a must watch.
JT isn’t the only player vocalizing their issues with the proposal. Other players, have taken to social media to express their thoughts.
CEO of the USGA, and former commissioner of the LPGA Mike Whan went on the No Laying Up podcast to give a personal rebuttal to the mixed reactions after the news.
But to make things clear, the Model Local Rule intended to reduce distance at the highest levels of men’s golf won’t apply to the LPGA, other elite female players, or recreational golfers.
The LPGA released a statement following the news on Tuesday:
“The LPGA is appreciative of the leadership and stewardship of the USGA and The R&A on a variety of topics, including distance. At this time, we do not see distance as a hindrance toward the growth of the LPGA Tour or to the courses on which we can compete. We intend to explore and examine this proposal during the comment period and beyond from all angles. As always, we will act in accordance with what is best for our players, our partners, our Tour, our fans and the women’s game overall. We are committed to ensuring the golf course is an equitable place for everyone, and our focus will be on helping grow the women’s game and providing equal opportunities for girls and women of all ages.”
For the full breakdown of the proposal, check out this article that sums up everything you need to know.
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This week in women’s golf
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Five at The IX: Top Shots from the first round Aramco Team Series – Singapore
The sixth event of the 2023 Ladies European Tour season gets underway on Thursday with the Aramco Team Series – Singapore staged on the Masters Course at Laguna National.
Watch live on the LET YouTube channel.
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