If we can move away from the obsession with the PGA Tour and other professional circuits for a moment and focus on where the golf industry makes a living at the grassroots level, it’s getting increasingly difficult for the USGA and R&A to avoid the touchy subject of bifurcation in equipment.
It remains to be seen what the governing bodies of the game will do to curb the distance on tour in order to protect existing golf courses, including many classics, but the popular potential remedy often mentioned is rolling back the golf ball by as much as 20 per cent
Jack Nicklaus has several times accused the USGA and R&A of procrastinating on making a decision, but whether golf clubs are included with golf balls if and when the governing bodies do make their call, it should be remembered that recreational golfers are not threatening golf courses with their distance.
While the professionals make money playing the game, it’s the weekend warriors on the other end of the spectrum. They pay to play and that’s what keeps the golf industry going.
Business has been good in this year of the coronavirus pandemic with about every region reporting gains in rounds played and the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada reporting rounds were up 24 and 26 per cent in June and July, respectively.
Anecdotes suggest that several different demographics are showing up on the fairways, including men, women, juniors, seniors and families. Do we really want to them hitting the ball well and then have them disappointed by distance loss and risk losing them if the USGA and R&A decided any new equipment regulations applied across the board?
The PGA of America has said that it is skeptical that rolling back the ball would be in the best interests of its efforts to grow the game.
Do you agree?
Does the growth in golf participation this year make equipment bifurcation imperative, no matter what the R&A and USGA decide at the pro level?
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