USGA and the future of the infamous golf ball


USGA and the future of the infamous golf ball
© Getty Images Sport - Luke Walker / Stringer

After three years of intensive study, sharp analysis, meticulous testing, in-depth interviews and thoughtful opinions, the R&A and USGA have finally made the long-awaited decision regarding the future of the infamous golf ball.

Golf, balls

Lately, we have often dealt with the issue of "less performing for professionals", receiving above all criticism or even open declarations of rejection of a Model Local Rule that would oblige the use of a "penalizing" ball for pros and top amateurs.

Despite this, it must be recognized that the R&A and USGA have taken seriously the data and information collected from different sources, including media, industry experts and manufacturers. According to what has been leaked, golf's two governing bodies will announce a substantial change to the golf ball next week, finally solving the achievable distance problem.

But the most interesting aspect is that this change will not only affect the world of professional golf. In fact, even amateur golf will undergo a sort of distance rollback. Within well-defined times (2028 for professionals and 2030 for the amateur world), the current balls will become non-compliant.

In short, it seems that the R&A and USGA have finally found a way to rebalance the game, making it more fair and interesting for all skill levels. The new regulations not only speed up the swing with which the balls are tested, bringing it from 120 to 125 miles per hour, but they keep the maximum distance limit of 317 yards intact.

R&A and USGA seem to have found a diplomatic solution to avoid conflicts with professionals, associations and federations. Understanding the gap between the two worlds, the choice to limit the performance of the balls used by amateurs seems to be the most balanced and Solomonic solution.

And perhaps it will be just like that, leaving everyone satisfied. The rules of golf are relatively complicated compared to other sports because they are applied outdoors, close to nature and animals. Respect for the rules is a basic element in the game of golf, which, almost always based on the self-control and free conscience of the players, often sees distorted results, consciously at times, but often unconsciously or through carelessness, due to non-compliance on the part of many players of the game rules.

In addition to rules, golf adheres to a code of conduct, known as etiquette, which generally means playing the round with due respect for the golf course and other players. Etiquette is an essential component of this sport.