Scarsdale High School's daily online news source

Maroon

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Scarsdale High School's daily online news source

Maroon

Scarsdale High School's daily online news source

Maroon

What Golf’s New Rule Means for the Game

17th+hole+on+the+East+Course+at+Winged+Foot+Golf+Club+in+Mamaroneck%2C+NY.+The+new+rule+is+set+to+impact+professional+golfers+in+2028+in+all+tournaments+including+the+US+Open+which+will+be+played+at+Winged+Foot+in+2028.++%0A
Maroon Staff
17th hole on the East Course at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, NY. The new rule is set to impact professional golfers in 2028 in all tournaments including the US Open which will be played at Winged Foot in 2028.

In the past hundred years, the game of golf has changed tremendously. A century ago, golf clubs were made of wood, and golfers had just begun using balls with dimples and a rubber core. They knew little about the perfect golf swing, and the tour’s average driving distance was around 220 yards. In the 2021-22 season, Rory McIlroy’s average driving distance was 321.3 yards. This distance increase is undoubtedly caused by better technology and a greater understanding of golf. From clubs designed to increase precision, balls manufactured to go further, and familiarity with the golf swing, many factors have contributed to further hits and lower scores. And it didn’t look like this increase in skill will plateau any time soon. That is until golf’s governing bodies announced their new rule.

Recently, the USGA and R&A, the golf governing bodies, announced a rule about how golf balls would be tested in an attempt to curb distance. Essentially, golfers are hitting the ball too far. What might have been a driveable par-4 20 years ago is now an easy 4-iron for many pros. Although it is entertaining to watch golf pros hit the ball 300 yards, it’s also a problem. As distance is likely to continue to increase, there is fear that modern-day golf courses will become obsolete. If distance no longer holds the same challenge to players, other aspects of golf courses such as hazards and green speed must be changed to toughen the game. Although these factors can increase the game’s difficulty, they are also harder to maintain and not always effective against distance. The solution? Stop golf balls from going so far. The new rule announced, which is set to come into practice in 2028 on the professional level, and in 2030 for everyday golfers, changes how golfballs are tested.

Currently, golf balls are tested at a swing speed of 120 mph and are limited to a distance of 317 yards with three yards of tolerance. This new standard ups the speed at which balls are tested to 125 mph, maintaining the maximum distance of 317 yards. Essentially this change impacts how golf balls are manufactured as companies will not be able to create legal balls that travel further than the new standard distance.

Recreational golfers will not likely see a change in their driving distance, as this rule mainly impacts elite golfers. Golf’s longest hitters will expect to see up to 15 yards lost on driving distance in contrast to the average golfer who may see five or fewer yards lost. However, it is hard to know exactly how this new rule will change the game as it will only begin to take effect four years from now.

This uptrend in skill is not unique to golf. In the 1920 Summer Olympics, the world record marathon time was set for 2:32:35. In October of 2023, the world record marathon time was 2:00:35. Records across all sports continue to be set and broken as players and technology improve. As these players refine their talent and exceed current standards, sports must also adapt to remain competitive. For some sports that means setting standards, and for other sports it means upping the difficulty. Regardless of what changes might occur, sports must continue to evolve to stay competitive. Golf’s new rule is their attempt to do so.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Rory Winston, News Editor

Comments (0)

All Maroon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *