As the distance debate rumbles on, England Golf has stepped in to address concerns the organisation has with the proposed new rule that could mean different golf balls are used in professional and amateur competitions.
Watching Rory McIlroy smoke his driver 330 yards is fun, right? Well, sadly, the USGA and R&A disagree and have decided that in order to protect golf courses from being overpowered, they want to roll back the ball in the professional game.
However, not everyone has the ability to find the centre of the club face as well as McIlroy, so a new rule would mean that amateur golfers would be able to continue using their preferred ball of choice.
So don't worry too much; when the proposed rule does come into play in 2026, you'll still be able to smash a dozen Pro V1s into the nearest trees at your monthly medal.
According to England Golf, though, this is all part of the problem. In its recent statement, it said:
So let's pick that apart, shall we?
In order to graduate to the elite level of professional golf, you must first excel at an elite amateur level, and here in lies the issue England Golf appear to have with the proposed bifurcation rule.
If golfers are hoping to join the elite ranks of the various professional tours, under the new rule, they could have to change balls during the transition, which presents a whole host of issues.
A golfer's ball of choice is very particular, so to change to a ball that is designed to travel less far than their current one would mean a complete overhaul of how each golfer approaches their game.
The majority of elite golfers get dialled in with Trackman and GC Quad these days, which means they know exactly how far they hit each club and exactly how hard to swing in order to achieve half or even three-quarter shots.
By making aspiring professional golfers change the ball they use at one of the most pivotal times in their careers could massively hamper their ability to perform well when they reach a higher and much more competitive level.
While many notable figures in the game of golf share England Golf's concerns, including most major OEMs, PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan, Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau. Some have welcomed the proposed new ruling, including two-time major champion Tony Jacklin and the current longest hitter on the PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy.
Discussing the rule with Bunkered, Jacklin said:
Jay Monahan has been one of the biggest sceptics of the new ruling, even declaring that the PGA Tour wouldn't support the proposals. So, where does this leave us in the grand scheme of things?
Well, in all honesty, it's difficult to say. With good arguments to be made for and against the ruling, it appears golf is headed towards a bit of a crossroads.
Can bifurcation really be achieved? England Golf doesn't think so, but if the proposed law is passed, then professional golf is headed into a new era and one that we think won't be quite as fun to watch.