USGA/R&A publishes research on driving distance gains on PGA Tour
It seems that everyone, from media critics to former players, has a solution for the problem of distance gains in golf today, whether it’s to dial back the golf ball, change regulations on equipment or to continue to lengthen golf courses. Even Jack Nicklaus offered his advice: “Change the friggin’ golf ball.”
On Thursday, the USGA and R&A published research from a joint study on driver distance that may put those concerns to rest for the near future.
The study looked at data on driver distance across seven major professional golf tours — the PGA, European, Japan Golf, Web.com, Champions, LPGA and Ladies European. As presented in the research, distance gains are at a “slow creep,” as opposed to what some critics have suggested.
The chart below was used in the research study, showing yearly driving distance averages across the seven major tours — data for the PGA Tour dates back to 1980.
Also included is a look at yearly scoring averages, which the report also refers to as a “slow creep” downward.