English tour pro makes interesting prediction amid golf ball distance debate

English tour pro Eddie Pepperell has suggested clubs could be rolled back in addition to the golf ball in the latest episode of The Chipping Forecast.

Ben Smith's picture
Tue, 5 Dec 2023
English tour pro makes interesting prediction amid golf ball distance debate

English tour pro Eddie Pepperell has claimed clubs could be rolled back in addition to the golf ball. 

It is anticipated golf's rule-makers, the R&A and USGA, will announce plans to roll back golf ball technology to reduce distances on 6 December. 

The governing bodies want to help protect courses that are not long enough to cope with the game's bombers. 

World number three Rory McIlroy is the PGA Tour's biggest hitter and has averaged a mind-boggling 326.3 yards off the tee in the 2022-2023 campaign.

But the Northern Irishman is in favour of the roll back. The 34-year-old claims the plans will make 'no difference whatsoever' to the average golfer. 

Tiger Woods has also voiced his support for bifurcation. Other tour pros, such as Keegan Bradley and Rickie Fowler, are not pleased

One person in the know is Pepperell who talked about his time on the European Tour's committee in the latest episode of The Chipping Forecast to outline how he feels about the topic. 

Pepperell is in favour of action being taken. 

"As a committee on the European Tour when I was on it we had to make a decision and give some feedback and part of that decision and that feedback was that we felt that there was a way in which the clubs could also be amended," he said. 

"Because there was some interesting information that came out that was presented to us from the R&A on the club front as well, and we felt as a committee that it was more compelling to go down the route of changing the clubs as much as the ball.

"After listening to Titleist and them telling us that if the ball changes, they're going to have to change all of their clubs anyway, we figured well why not implement some interesting changes on the club front?

"So, I'm curious to see whether they're just going to announce something with the ball because I wouldn't be surprised if it's the clubs as well."

He added: "My feedback was – ball, club – take it back. Because now's a good time to do it.

"There's a lot of good things going on, I know people will disagree with that, but also, to the point with the five per cent rough figures, come 2028, my feeling is that will be down to one or two per cent and by the time we get to 2028, players are going to have come up with inventively creative ways to hit the ball far and swing faster.

"My feeling was – you needed to go quite hard and now to act fast."

Golf's governing bodies previously attempted to grapple with this issue by proposing a Model Local Rule in March. 

It would have given tournaments the option to require the use of balls which would travel 15 yards less. 

But it was rejected by the PGA Tour, PGA of America and equipment manufacturers. 

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has maintained that 'doing nothing' is not an option. 

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