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Comments from the UK Golf Federation on the GBN Feature on R&A and USGA Study on Distance
The recent article on the weekly GBN newsletter (attached to our website) highlighted that the study had concluded 'average drive length increased by 1.7 yards on the previous year!'.
It seems strange that we are investing time and resource on this type of research when the grass roots of the game are struggling so much is beyond surprising. Surely all the time and effort could have been spent investing in new initiatives to grow the game or assist clubs in retaining members. To be truthful we believe it has absolutely no relevance to anyone in the game other than the upper echelons of the PGA Tour, where this sort of statistic is of great value.
The UK Golf Federation believe at any other level of the game, so for 99.9% of participation globally, any extra length that can be gained through club and ball technology etc is of benefit and will help to increase enjoyment of the game. Any suggestions that the USGA or R&A are making regarding the need to lengthen golf courses or limit technology (and this suggestion was made when the UK Golf Federation had a call with the R&A as part of this study), is complete nonsense.
On one hand we are being told to speed up play as a round of golf takes too long! And try playing 9 or 6 hole games and we need more shorter length courses to make the game more accessible. As for technology, if it helps to make the game easier and more accessible, then all for the better to assist growing golf participation. Finally, their approach is entirely in contrast to almost every other sport, where greater engagement comes from players/participants improving and scoring better. They didn't make flippers compulsory athletic footwear after Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile, or increase the length of the track - I think they actually made the race shorter.
It does appear that the R&A and USGA'S findings are out of touch with the universally agreed objectives of the game and the game of golf would be better served by a governing body who sought to broaden its base by making the sport accessible and enjoyable to all rather than simply focus on making the game more difficult for a tiny elite.
Comments by the UK Golf Federation Contact Doug.firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.