The R&A and the USGA have published their annual review of driving distance, a research document that reports important findings on driving distance in golf.
Introduced last year, the review examines driving distance data from seven of the major professional golf tours, based on approximately 285,000 drives per year. Data from studies of male and female amateur golfers has also been included for the first time.
Key facts noted in the paper include:
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “In the interests of good governance and transparency it is important that we continue to provide reliable data and facts about driving distance in golf.
“Driving distance remains a topic of discussion within the game and the review provides accurate data to help inform the debate.”
Mike Davis, Executive Director/CEO of the USGA, said, “We appreciate the collaboration we have received, industry-wide, to access and review this data to benefit the entire golf community, which can be used to both educate golfers and advance the game.”
The R&A and the USGA published the Joint Statement of Principles in May 2002, which confirmed their commitment to the fundamental notion that skill, not technology, should be the primary determinant of success in the game. The Joint Statement acknowledged the benefits of equipment technology for golf but noted that any further significant increases in hitting distances at the highest level were undesirable.
Since then, The R&A and the USGA have continued to monitor equipment technology’s effect on the game, and considered the effects of other factors, such as course set-up, athleticism and coaching. When appropriate, new Rules have been introduced after discussions with equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders, in accordance with the Equipment Rulemaking Procedures produced in 2011.