The EIGCA welcomes the proposal for a Model Local Rule (MLR) on golf balls, announced by The R&A and USGA on 14th March 2023. This proposal is part of the ongoing Distance Insights Project, and as stakeholders in the future success of golf, EIGCA has been closely monitoring progress of this project for the potential impact on the future of golf course design.
When EIGCA members were polled about their opinions on hitting distances in September 2020, 75% of respondents believed that increasing ball flight length and advances in equipment technology diminish the skill of the game, which leads to a simplification of golf course strategy. 88% of respondents considered a reduction in driving distance of between 10% and 15% would be appropriate, which is borne out by the current proposal looking to reduce hitting distances by an average 14-15 yards for the longer hitters.
Tim Lobb, President of EIGCA, says: “As golf course architects, EIGCA welcomes and supports this MLR proposal. Reducing hitting distances not only leads to shorter courses, which are quicker to play, cheaper to maintain, more sustainable, more accessible and potentially more profitable, but also retains the intended design strategies of older golf courses.
“We will discuss the topic with our membership over the coming months and submit comments to The R&A and USGA. Our Annual Meeting in April is focused on the future of golf resort development, so the MLR proposal and how it relates to the distances required for future golf courses is topical. We look forward to providing the views and experiences of our members as part of this crucial project.”
Read previous statements from EIGCA on the Distance Insights Report
11th February 2021 - EIGCA encouraged by steps to mitigate hitting distance by golf's governing bodies
9th September 2020 - EIGCA members support measures to reduce hitting distance in golf
4th March 2020 - EIGCA response to the Distance Insights Report by The R&A and USGA