Saturday, 1st October, 2016

The Golf Ball ‘Myth’

Story published at 16:20, Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Page last updated at 7:24 pm, Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016


Dr Steve Otto of the R&A shows a graph that suggests that the pros, since around 2003, have not been hitting the ball any further, whereas throughout the 1990s length increased dramatically

Dr Steve Otto of the R&A shows a graph that suggests that the pros, since around 2003, have not been hitting the ball any further, whereas throughout the 1990s length increased dramatically

Dr Steve Otto, The R&A’s guru on testing equipment, spoke at BTME, the Greenkeepers trade show at Harrogate last month, about a number of what he called ‘myths’. One being that the ball is being hit ever further.

Steve showed a graph that suggested that the pros, since around 2003, have not been hitting the ball any further, whereas throughout the 1990s length increased dramatically.

This suggests to Lorne Smith, Editor of www.FineGolf.co.uk that The R&A and USGA have successfully reined in the ball manufacturers and achieved a measurement technique to stop balls being manufactured to go further.

He asks whether does this not pose the question: “Why can’t the regulators now require that these distances, for numerous reasons, be reduced?”

(For those interested in these numerous reasons, see article giving a summary of Nick Park’s History of the ball’ and Donald Steel’s address to FineGolf’s Enjoyment Day on YouTube.)

Steve would also prefer that definition of tees by gender be abolished to help encourage shorter hitters to play off the forward tees.

Some interesting fact snippets:

  • The average clubhead speed of male pros on tour is 113mph. Longer hitters can be around 128mph
  • For longer hitters the toe of a driver travels 15 mph faster than the heel.
  • The average male golfer drove 206 yards in 1996 and 210 yards in 2015. Female: 145 yards.

Fine Golf www.finegolf.co.uk

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