The announcement by the USGA and R&A to introduce a Modal Local Rule (MLR), which would limit the maximum length of golf balls for elite tournaments, has found more opponents than supporters in the professional sector. TaylorMade has now surveyed almost 45,000 everyday golfers from over 100 countries on their opinion of the possible split between professional and amateur golf – and the opinion picture is quite clear.
81 per cent of respondents said they were against the proposed rule change and the division it would create between the professionals and amateurs and believed it would not be good for the game of golf. 77 per cent of respondents to the TaylorMade survey also believe that there is no need to restrict the hitting distances of the pros at all.
Will golf ball changes divide pros and amateurs?
While the R&A and USGA officials are interested in regulating only the stroke lengths for professionals, as they would otherwise “become a significant problem for the next generation” thanks to ever-improving training and equipment possibilities, as USGA boss Mike Whan points out, many people, however, fear a drifting apart of professionals and amateurs if they play different balls. Almost half (48 percent) of the respondents affirmed that it was extremely important for them to be able to play the same equipment as the pros, and only 17 percent did not attach any importance to this.
The context of this survey on the part of the equipment manufacturer Taylormade is also that the majority of the respondents are good and experienced players who have a great interest in professional golf. 87 percent of the participants stated a handicap of under 20, 33 percent even a handicap of under 10. Almost three quarters of the respondents (73 percent) played golf for more than ten years, more than half (51 percent) for more than 20 years.
However, almost four-fifths of the participants (79 per cent) said they mainly play golf for recreation and only one-fifth play competitive golf. Accordingly, 85 per cent of participants believe that the Modal Local Rule (if it is actually introduced) would have no impact on their own playing behaviour. Some consider the rule proposal “fair”, ” needed” and “good”. However, the overwhelming opinion in the survey is that the proposed change to golf balls is “stupid”, “unnecessary”, “ridiculous”, “wrong” and “confusing”.
TaylorMade to provide feedback to USGA and R&A
“The goal of our survey was to give golfers the opportunity to voice their opinion on this proposed ruling as we absorb the MLR and its potential effects on the everyday golfer,” David Abeles, TaylorMade CEO, said. “The overwhelming amount of responses show the passion, knowledge and care for the game our audience possesses. Each response and data point is being reviewed as we will utilize this feedback in our preparation to provide a response to the USGA and R&A.”