John Solheim, Chairman & CEO of PING, is proposing that golf’s rule making bodies consider a “Ball Distance Rating” system (BDR) that would replace today’s single golf ball limit with three different ball distance limits – one that is the same as today’s standard, one that is shorter and one that is longer. Solheim’s “A Long Term Response to Distance” explains how including a BDR system with a new “Condition of Competition” would give professional events and golf courses an efficient way to address future concerns about distance.
“A BDR Condition of Competition would create a simpler way to control distance at the tour level – and keep the competitive design of the world’s great courses in play” said Solheim. “This concept addresses the unique talents of the top 0.1% of the world’s golfers without hurting the other 99.9%.”
Solheim also noted that a key aspect of the idea is to give players who would benefit from it the option of using a longer ball, a choice many golfers may appreciate, especially when taking on today’s longer courses. “The distance rating of the ball used would factor into handicaps, just like slope rating or choice of tee box does today.”
Solheim recently sent his BDR idea to golf’s governing bodies, and suggested it could be a positive factor in helping to sustain and grow the game.
“I appreciate the challenges faced by those who help govern the game,” said Solheim. “I am hopeful they give my idea further consideration and use it as a starting point to address some of the issues the game is facing. The positive impact golf has on so many groups requires that we explore a variety of ideas to improve the health of the sport. I hope others have suggestions to offer as well.”