The findings of a detailed report into the effects of driving distances in the elite amateur and professional game are to be published in February next year, after the R&A and USGA announced that they needed more time to complete their research.
The last official update regarding the Distance Insights Project came in February, when the USGA and R&A said they had completed the data-gathering portion of the project. That data came from interviews and discussions with golf industry leaders, manufacturers, course designers, elite players and course operators. An online survey was also conducted in 10 languages by SMS, with more than 65,000 responses collected from 115 countries.
The stated goal of the project is to reveal the key contributors to distance, learn what effects distance is having on the game today and how it could impact the game in the future. The USGA and R&A are also trying to reveal what distance means to stakeholders such as pros, course owners, teaching professionals and equipment manufacturers.
A joint statement issued by the two governing bodies said: “Reinforcing our commitment to ensure that the Distance Insights Project report is the most comprehensive review of distance to date, we are taking more time to complete our due diligence. As a result, we will release the final report by 4 February 2020. We appreciate the contributions and support we have received and believe that the data and discussion will benefit the entire golf community.”
The most recent USGA and R&A Distance Report revealed that global driving distance increased by 1.7 yards in 2018, after increasing more than three yards in 2017. That report examined data from all the major professional tours around the world. The PGA Tour completed its 2018-19 season in August at the Tour Championship and the tour’s driving distance average dipped from 296.1 yards last season to 293.9 yards this year.