The R&A and USGA have formally announced plans for elite golfers to use specially adapted golf balls that will not fly as far.
In an announcement on Tuesday, the governing bodies that write golf's rule book stated it is hoped the plans will be adopted across elite golf in 2026.
The move will reduce the length of tee shots by approximately 15 yards. There will be no change to the equipment standards at this time.
There will also be no impact on the majority of golfers. It represents the very first time that golf's rules will be bifurcated.
Titleist, who makes the No.1 ball in golf with its Pro V1 franchise, has immediately hit back at the proposals in a statement, which has just been sent to GolfMagic.
Acushnet, which operates Titleist, believes "bifurcation would divide golf between elite and recreational play, add confusion, and break the linkage that is part of the game's enduring fabric."
READ THEIR FULL STATEMENT HERE
What, exactly, is happening?
The R&A, which oversees the Open, and USGA, which oversees the U.S. Open, have proposed a Model Local Rule.
It will give competition organisers the option to require use of golf balls that are tested under modified launch conditions.
Manufacturers and golf stakeholders will have until 14 August 2023 to provide feedback.
What the R&A, USGA have said:
"All other balls, including those typically used by recreational golfers with lower swing speeds, would continue to be tested using the existing ALC values (120 mph, and a calibration set-up of 10 degrees and 42 revolutions per second – 2520 rpm).
"The Overall Distance Standard was established in 1976 as a ball test intended to reflect maximum potential hitting distance by the longest hitters currently playing the game.
"There is a direct correlation between clubhead speed and hitting distance (further research having been published in the Distance Insights reports). Over the last 20 years hitting distance has increased on average by around one yard per year.
"The modified testing set-up in the proposed MLR is expected to reduce hitting distance by 14-15 yards on average for the longest hitters with the highest clubhead speeds."
Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said:
Mike Whan, the chief executive of the USGA, added:
Distance has been an increasingly spoken about topic in recent years.
Rory McIlroy is the biggest hitter on the PGA Tour this year, averaging a total distance of 326.6 yards.
For next month's Masters, Augusta National's iconic par-five 13th hole has been extended 35 yards to 545 yards because it was judged too easy.
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