Local Knowledge

Our latest podcast tackles golf’s most complicated issue: The distance debate

February 21, 2022

Gregory Shamus

The distance debate is everywhere: broadcasters talk about, tour players weigh in, golf's governing bodies of golf have released studies and reports. Just this weekend Tiger Woods chimed in with thoughts.

In this week’s episode of Local Knowledge, we take on the distance debate, peeling back the layers of this complex issue to explore both side's arguments, and looking at what potential solutions could be.

Technically, the distance debate goes back over a century, when golf balls went from being stuffed with feathers to having a rubber core. The ball, unsurprisingly, started to go a lot farther and some began to question: Is this right? Is this the way the game should be played? The principles are still the same in the current distance debate, which was catalyzed by the 2020 release of the USGA and R&A’s distance insights project. The governing bodies are essentially asking the same question from the original distance debate: If people are hitting the ball farther than ever, is that the way golf should be played? Does Bryson Dechambeau hitting 400 yard drives and playing a game that looks far different from the past fray golf’s relationship with its history? Is hitting the ball longer, and thus having to make golf courses longer, sustainable? Should equipment rules and regulations be implemented to keep distance in check?

The other side to consider is this is the natural progression of golf, no different than what we’re seeing in other sports. Plus, there is the complicated question of how regulations would be enforced, and for whom.

There’s no denying, this issue is complicated. Take a listen to the podcast and decide which side of golf’s hottest debate you fall on: