The USGA and R&A have announced that a new local rule beginning on Jan. 1 to allow those running professional or elite amateur golf competitions the option of limiting the maximum length of a golf club excluding putters to 46 inches.
“We’ve worked closely with our industry partners to ensure the future for golf remains strong,” said USGA CEO Mike Whan in a release.
“Admittedly, this is not the answer to the overall distance debate/issue, but rather a simple option for competitive events. It’s important to note that it is not a Rule of Golf, and as such, it is not mandated for the average, recreational golfer. Rather, this is an available tool for those running competitive events,” said Whan.
Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, agreed.
“We have taken time to consult fully with the golf industry, including players, the main professional tours and equipment manufacturers and have considered their feedback carefully,” he said.
“We believe this is the right thing for the game at this time and will provide tournament organizers with the flexibility to choose for themselves within the framework of the rules,” he added.
“We are working hard to maintain an open, collaborative and considered dialogue with these key stakeholders as we continue to evolve the Equipment Standards Rules to ensure they reflect the modern game,” said Slumbers.
Proposals submitted in February for changes to the testing method for golf balls and the testing tolerance for spring-like effect are still under consideration.