USGA

USGA, R&A take next steps in distance discussion by zeroing in on Local Rule, equipment-testing measures

Almost a year to the day after the U.S. Golf Association and the R&A declared distance is taking the sport down an unsustainable path, golf’s governing bodies formally announced Tuesday they are interested in researching equipment topics related to distance.

The USGA and R&A want to work with manufacturers and other stakeholders to learn more about how potential changes in equipment standards and testing procedures could curb the growing distance trend at elite levels of play.

“After two years of research and crafting a statement of conclusions, it was our hope to say that now we are going to get into the beginning of the solution phase,” Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA, told Golfweek in an exclusive interview. “That was to be in March of 2020, and obviously, with COVID, we rightfully delayed that.”

With Tuesday’s announcement of two Areas of Interest – the potential use of a

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USGA, R&A propose equipment standards changes that could include different rules for elite players

For the first time, golf’s governing bodies appear poised to allow for significant rules differences between elite players and other golfers as a way to combat the distance gains the sport has seen with the advancement of technology.

Known as “bifurcation,” it would mean the professional tours and elite amateur competitions could require competitors to use equipment that is restricted while allowing everyday players the benefits that those technological gains bring them.

The United States Golf Association and the R&A jointly announced Tuesday that they are proposing equipment standards changes, including a potential local rule for club and ball specifications. They are also proposing changes to club length.

A year ago, the USGA and R&A released their “Distance Insights Project,” in which

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