CEO of Leading Golf Market Company Hits Out at USGA and R&A for Disrupting 1.5bn Market

Published 10/17/2021, 5:09 AM EDT
LOUISVILLE, KY – OCTOBER 03: An official Ryder Cup Logo ball on the tee at Valhalla Golf Club venue for the 2008 Ryder Cup Matches, on October 3, 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)


The latest announcement made by the USGA and R&A has received a lot of backlash from golfers all around the world. The new club length rule forbids any club apart from the putter to be longer than 46 inches. Much to the dismay of a lot of people in the golf community, this rule will be implemented from January 1st, 2022.

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Popular belief is that this rule has been introduced to curb the growing distances and sudden affection for distance play. Most have not taken well to this already controversial topic with varying views. Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy have already given their views on it, and it won’t be long before we hear the rest.


Moreover, most recently, criticism has come from Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist and FootJoy. They have called out USGA and R&A for “singling out the equipment industry to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

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How will the new rule impact a major industry in golf?

David Maher, president, and CEO of Acushnet made these statements in a letter to Steve Otto of the R&A, and John Spitzer of USGA. He said, “We believe that the GBs [governing bodies] are inequitably singling out the equipment industry to solve a problem that does not exist.” 

Maher mentioned that the driver market across the world is estimated at around $1.5 billion and that the new rule will cause a huge loss and predicts “at least 50% of the driver market would be lost in the first year of implementation of this proposal”. 

Stating the cons of this decision, he said that it will, “disrupt an increasingly healthy game while creating uncertainty, confusion, complexity and cost. While rolling back equipment performance that will negatively impact all levels of play.”

May 7, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Phil Mickelson after his bogey on 15 during the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

He emphasized by saying, “The increases in development, production and selling costs will result in higher prices to golfers… Manufacturers would be required to redesign most if not all driver products [and] that cost would be in the tens of millions of dollars and would take several years to complete.”

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In conclusion, Maher said, “The GBs’ data does not support the conclusion that current distance is or that future potential distance will be harmful to the game. Further, even if there were a problem, the small gain potentially achieved by the proposal measures is far outstripped by the harm to the manufacturing and retail communities. Not to mention the potential disruption to the momentum golf is currently experiencing.”

The new rule is under heavy criticism from all sides. However, what is your view on this angle?

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Club Length Rule Estimated to Cause Significant Loss to $1.5bn Golf Market: Reports

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Ishita Bhargava

243 articles

Ishita Bhargava is a Golf content writer at Essentially Sports. Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, she has a keen interest in sports and fitness. When not playing or watching a sports event, Ishita can be seen spending time with her pets or binge-watching.

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