Boon or Bane? USGA and R&A Introduce New Rule and the Golf World Is Against It

Published 10/12/2021, 4:01 PM EDT
Jun 14, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; Golf coach Chris Como listens to Phil Mickelson on the 2nd green during a practice round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports


The two governing bodies of golf, USGA and R&A, have brought in a new local rule. This rule says that the tournament organizers will have the option to limit the club length to 46 inches. Moreover, they also made it clear that this rule will come into effect on January 1. 

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This rule will allow various tours the option to implement a local rule (MLR-G10), which will cap the driver’s length at 46 inches.

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Meanwhile, people believe they have brought this new rule to control the increasing distances, especially with drivers. However, this is not going to affect many professional and amateur golfers, but there are a few who will be disturbed by this decision.  

Blessing or a curse? How will this new rule affect the game of golf?

If we just go by what USGA and R&A are saying, then definitely this will look like a great rule. However, there are few other perspectives to it. Phil Mickelson had already mentioned this in August. Using shorter drivers may lead to an increase in injuries, especially in older players who use longer drivers to maintain their distance. 

But capping the club length and making it shorter will promote shorter and more violent swing. And this type of swing puts more stress on the body. Hence, this will make older players struggle to keep up their distance game off the tee as they would want to put unnecessary pressure and stress on their bodies. 

Jun 14, 2021; San Diego, California, USA;Phil Mickelson chips onto the 11th green during a practice round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Moreover, this is also going to affect players who need longer clubs because of their height. And by capping it to 46 inches, the governing bodies are almost restricting the taller players from playing this sport.  

Meanwhile, Mickelson is one of the prominent names on the Tour who is currently using a club that is over 46 inches. He won the 2021 PGA Championship with a 47.5 inches driver, which helped Mickelson maintain his driving distance.

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What does the USGA’s chief executive officer have to say about this? 

“Admittedly, this is not the ‘answer’ to the overall distance debate/issue,” said Mike Whan, the USGA’s chief executive officer. “But rather a simple option for competitive events,” he said.

Yes, USGA’s chief executive says this rule is not for distance control. Despite that, it is crystal clear that this capping is coming to prevent players from using longer shafts to gain distance. 

Moreover, it is said that PGA Tour has reviewed the subject. And they have decided to implement this rule on January 1, 2022. However, it is still unclear whether all professional and amateurs tours will implement this local rule or continue with the current 48 inches capping. 

Fans react to this new rule

Fans have reacted to this new rule, saying it’s not the right thing to go ahead with. So here are a few reactions from the fans.

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So these were a few reactions to this new local rule on Twitter. Almost everyone is against it and wants this rule to go back to 48 inches. But what do you think? Have USGA and R&A done the right thing by introducing this rule?

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Amey Kulkarni

376 articles

Amey Kulkarni is a Golf writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in mass media from HR College, Mumbai. Before joining EssentiallySports he used to write articles on Golf and Cricket on his personal blog cricgolf.

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