USGA, R&A Propose to Roll Back Golf Ball Starting in 2026

Golf’s governing bodies, the USGA and R&A, issued a statement on Tuesday morning to announced a roll back of the golf ball for “elite players” in order to reduce hitting distance. 

The roll back would not take effect until January of 2026. 

“Hitting distances at the elite level of the game have consistently increased over the past 20, 40, and 60 years. It’s been two decades since we last revisited our testing standards for ball distances. Predictable, continued increases will become a significant issue for the next generation if not addressed soon. The MLR we are proposing is simple to implement, forward-looking and does so without any impact on the recreational game. We are taking the next steps in this process, guided first and foremost by doing what’s right by the entire game,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. 

USGA Officials PHOTO: Joe Calabro/GolfNewsRI

This is just the latest change that golf’s governing bodies are making in order to reduce distance. 

Previous changes included lengthening courses and changing the heigh of the driver. 

Read Actual Proposal HERE

What They Propose

According to the USGA, they lan to change the launch conditions for deciding whether a ball conforms to the distance standard. 

The current conditions allows for a combined carry and roll of more than 317 yards, but not more than 320 yards. 

Currently, balls are tested with 120 mph of clubbed speed, 42 revolutions per second of spin and a launch angle of 10 degrees. 

The proposed conditions would be 127 mph, 37 revolutions per second and 11 degrees. 

According to the USGA and R&A, the changes would reduce the average driving distance by 15 yards. 


PGA Tour Statement:

“We continue work closely with the USGA and The R&A on a range of initiatives, including the topic of distance. Regarding the Notice to Manufacturers announced today, we will continue our own extensive independent analysis of the topic and will collaborate with the USGA and R&A, along with our membership and industry partners, to evaluate and provide feedback on this proposal. The Tour remains committed to ensuring any future solutions identified benefit the game as a whole, without negatively impacting the Tour, its players or our fans’ enjoyment of our sport.” 

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