Architects Welcome Golf Ball Proposal

London, England: The European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) has welcomed the proposal for a Model Local Rule (MLR) on golf balls announced by The R&A and USGA.

This proposal is part of the on-going Distance Insights Project, and as stakeholders in the future success of golf, EIGCA has been closely monitoring progress of this project for the potential impact on the future of golf course design.

When EIGCA members were polled about their opinions on hitting distances in September 2020, 75% of respondents believed that increasing ball flight length and advances in equipment technology diminish the skill of the game, which leads to a simplification of golf course strategy.

A total of 88% of respondents considered a reduction in driving distance of between 10% and 15% would be appropriate, which is borne out by the current proposal looking to reduce hitting distances by an average 14-15 yards for the longer hitters.

Tim Lobb, President of EIGCA, said: “As golf course architects, EIGCA welcomes and supports this MLR proposal. Reducing hitting distances not only leads to shorter courses, which are quicker to play, cheaper to maintain, more sustainable, more accessible and potentially more profitable, but also retains the intended design strategies of older golf courses.

“We will discuss the topic with our membership over the coming months and submit comments to The R&A and USGA. Our Annual Meeting in April is focused on the future of golf resort development, so the MLR proposal and how it relates to the distances required for future golf courses is topical.

“We look forward to providing the views and experiences of our members as part of this crucial project.”

In the wake of the proposal for a MLR that would result in Tour professionals and elite level amateur events being required to play with a ball that reduces driving distances by 15 yards on average, the EIGCA issued a statement welcoming the move.

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