John Solheim proposes Golf Ball Distance

By: abadam


Ping Golf isn’t in the golf ball business, but any time company Chairman John Solheim talks, people need to listen. That includes the U.S. Golf Association and Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland.

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.

For as long as I can remember, golf has been challenged by concerns over driving distance. Unfortunately, over the past dozen or so years, many actions taken in response to that challenge have often been short sighted, costly and/or controversial – such as altering some of golf’s most revered courses and adopting restrictive golf club rules. Now, we learn average driving distance on the PGA Tour just had another increase – it broke through 290 yards for the first time (and with so many dynamic young golfers working toward a Tour card, who knows where it will go from here). So, once again we are hearing the question: “what, if anything, should be done about it?”

It’s a must-read for any¬body inter¬ested in golf balls and golf equip¬ment in general.

Solheim believes his BDR proposal is a better alternative than some recent decisions made in response to the distance question. He writes in his proposal, "Unfortunately, over the past dozen or so years, many actions taken in response to that challenge have often been short sighted, costly and/or controversial--such as altering some of golf's most revered courses and adopting restrictive golf club rules."

“A BDR Con¬di¬tion of Com¬pe¬ti¬tion would cre¬ate a sim¬pler way to con¬trol dis¬tance at the tour level – and keep the com-pet¬i¬tive design of the world’s great courses in play,” Sol¬heim said. “This con¬cept addresses the unique tal¬ents of the top 0.1 per¬cent of the world’s golfers with¬out hurt¬ing the other 99.9 percent.”

"All of us, including those in the manufacturing community, have a responsibility to offer new ideas and appropriately work with the rule making bodies to help improve the game. ... I will continue to do what I can, and I believe others will as well. The game has seen many positive changes over its long history, changes that appropriately recognize the relationship between the challenge and the enjoyment of the game at all skill levels. I believe a BDR system would provide a way to continue do just that--for a long time to come."

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