The governing bodies of Golf have announced a new local rule that allows high-level tournaments to limit the length of drivers to 46 inches.
This is called a Model Local Rule and comes into effect on January 1, 2022. The PGA Tour said Tuesday that it will accept the rule, which does not apply to putters.
The American Golf Association and R&A have received feedback from players, equipment representatives and the various professional tours in the past few months prior to the announcement.
Bryson DeChambeau, who leads the PGA Tour in driving distance, experimented with 48-inch drivers. Phil Mickelson, who won the PGA Championship with a 47 ½ inch driver, was criticism of the possible move last month.
“It’s pathetic,” Mickelson said on Twitter in September. ‘First, it promotes a shorter violent swing (prone to injuries), does not allow the bow length to create speed, and during our first golf boom, our amateur government tried to make the body less and less fun. ”
Because it is a local rule, it will not prohibit amateurs from playing with a longer driver for disabled purposes. And it is unlikely that regular competitions will invoke the rule; golf manufacturers do not manufacture drive shafts more than 46 inches.
There are numerous ‘local rules’ in the rulebook that allow the game to be played at different levels. The professional tours (except for the PGA of America) invoke the ‘single ball rule’ which requires a player to use the same brand and trademark during a round.
“We’ve worked closely with our industry partners to ensure that the future for golf remains strong,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA, who announced the change with R&A. “Admittedly, this is not the ‘answer’ to the overall distance debate / issue, but a simple solution to competitive opportunities.
“It’s important to note that this is not a ‘rule of golf’, and as such it is not a mandate for the average golfer. It is rather an available tool for those who offer competitive opportunities. ”
The PGA Tour said in a statement that it had investigated the use of clubs in all its tours and ‘found that a very small number of players who have used clubs or are currently using more than 46 inches’ and that the player advisory board has reviewed before deciding to implement the local rule on 1 January.