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Ball Rollback

TaylorMade launches survey seeking everyday golfers' input on golf ball rollback proposal

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Keyur Khamar

Perhaps lost in all the talk of the USGA and R&A’s proposed Model Local Rule that would offer “Elite Competitions” the option to use a rolled back golf ball is the fact that this is not quite a done deal. Although it is likely the rule will be implemented as proposed, the process is currently in the “Notice and Comment” period. The governing bodies announcement served as the notice, now they wait for the comments, which will be accepted up to Aug. 14.

What you might not be aware of is that anyone can have their voice heard. But how? Well, you can write the USGA directly, but in an effort to make it easier for everyday golfers to have their say, TaylorMade announced on Tuesday that it is conducting a survey of golfers on the issue with the idea of forwarding the result to the USGA and R&A.

The survey, which you can access by clicking here, takes about five minutes, asks a variety of questions. Below is a sampling:

To the best of your knowledge, do you agree with the proposed golf ball rule?

Are you for or against bifurcation in the game of golf (i.e., different rule(s) for professionals versus amateurs)?

Do you think average hitting distances in professional golf need to be reduced?

How important is it for you to play with the same equipment professional golfers use?

If the proposed golf ball rule were to go into effect, would it have an impact on your interest in professional golf?

If the proposed golf ball rule were to go into effect, would it have an impact on how much golf you play?

Worthwhile questions all. What will be interesting is whether the results vary greatly from the USGA and R&A Distance Insights Report of 2019. In that report the following results were put forth:

Those who watch golf and said they “regularly” see drives that are “too long” is nearly equal to those who “rarely” or “never” see drives that are too long (36 percent to 34 percent).

Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed agreed that “recreational golf and professional golf are as different as two different sports.”

Those who agreed with the statement “Something must be done to stop distance continuing to increase” was slightly higher (36 percent) than those who disagreed (28 percent), but equal to those who said they neither agreed nor disagreed (36 percent). But respondents were less enthused about technology being changed to control distance. Only 26 percent agreed with the need for a technology change, while 38 percent disagreed.

Is distance a problem in golf? Those who called it a “major” problem: 17 percent; those who said it is a “minor” problem: 31 percent; those who said it is not a problem: 36 percent.

Are distance increases a threat to the game or an opportunity? An opportunity: 21 percent; a threat: 23 percent; both: 25 percent; neither: 31 percent.

The percentage of those who agreed with the statements “modern technology has made golf more enjoyable” and “too much attention is paid to how far a player drives” was exactly the same (55 percent).

Not exactly the same questions but the sentiments were similar.

In its announcement of the survey, TaylorMade noted, “As we absorbed this announcement and tried to understand the why, as well as the impact, all of our conversations came back to one place—you, the golfer. We want your voice to be heard, so please, let us know what you think.”

And now you can.