‘An Absolute Joke’: $3.3B Worth Golf Manufacturing Company and Fans Unite to Criticize the USGA and R&A’s Bifurcation Announcement

Published 03/15/2023, 8:49 AM EDT

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In recent years, the sport of golf has seen many changes, whether it’s through technology or alterations in the rules. However, the recent proposal by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A) of rolling back the golf ball has been met with severe criticism from the golf world. Its most recent critic is one of golf’s biggest equipment companies, Titleist, which seems to be totally against the new proposition.

In golf, having a powerful swing has always been a goal of many players. From the legendary John Daly to the current talents such as Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, and many more, driving the ball more than 100 yards has been considered a work of art.

However, in the latest announcement, the USGA and R&A, hosts of the US Open and Open Championship, have announced reducing the size of the golf ball to provide golfers with lesser yardage. Top equipment manufacturers were informed about the proposal and hope to provide feedback to the governing bodies by August 14th of this year. Nonetheless, the first response from a $3.32 billion worth company is here.


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Acushnet Holdings unhappy with USGA and R&A’s new rule

Labeled as the Model Local Rule (MLR), the event organizers can adopt the policy for its designated events from the January of 2026. However, the primary entities to implement the new change are the golf ball manufacturers. Titleist Golf, a subsidiary of Acushnet Holdings Company, shared a statement disclosing their thoughts on the proposal.

Golfers can watch professionals and compare themselves to the world’s best, aspiring to hit the same shots”, wrote the legendary sporting company. It further questioned USGA and R&A’s demand by claiming the MLR policy would divide the professionals from the recreational players. “This bifurcation would divide golf between elite and recreational play, add confusion, and break the linkage that is part of the game’s enduring fabric”, Titleist executives added in their statement.

The company also stood for its athletes who would struggle to adapt to the smaller size ball. The $3.32 billion worth company ended by bringing back USGA and R&A’s 2002 statement which claimed equality among all players of the game. As per the old statement, the governing bodies wrote, “The R&A and USGA continue to believe that the retention of a single set of rules for all players of the game, irrespective of ability, is one of golf’s greatest strengths”. 

While the statement may have been made 21 years ago, the sport of golf has undergone several changes. Though the golf world has welcomed most alterations in the sport with open hands, the latest MLR rule isn’t a fan favorite. Fans shared their dismay with the USGA and R&A on social media.

New proposal criticized by the golf world

Apart from releasing its statement on its website, Titleist also shared it on its Instagram handle. Following their stand on not agreeing with the golf governing bodies on reducing the size of golf balls, fans in the comment section applauded the manufacturing company. “This rule proposal is an absolute joke”, wrote one fan.


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A post shared by Titleist (@titleist)


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Another fan wrote, “Yet again the R&A and the USGA coming up with a ridiculous proposal to justify what they actually do”, while one fan referred to the new proportion as ‘idiotic’. Titleist-signed athletes Arnaud Serie and LIV Golf star, Bernd Wiesberger, showered their support to their equipment provider. Moreover, despite being signed with Bridgestone, Bryson DeChambeau also sent his consent by liking the post.

However, among the heavy criticism, some also supported USGA and R&A. “Everyone is always afraid of change. But most of the time, change is good”, commented one Instagram user. Another fan even questioned the Titleist by stating, “You haven’t been selling the same balls to amateurs and pros for years get over it”.

While the implementation of the rule change will still take more time, the drama and criticism will be constant until then.


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With another massive change in the sport of golf, what are your thoughts on USGA and R&A’s latest proposal? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Abdul Bari Khan

747 articles

Abdul Bari is a Golf writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Abdul is currently pursuing his Master’s in the same. With great affection for the world of sports, this avid golf lover turned to the course at a young age.

Edited By: Manaal Siddiqui