Dusek: Why 2022 will be the most significant year in golf equipment in decades, perhaps centuries

This year — welcome to 2022 — will be the most significant year in golf equipment in decades, perhaps centuries.

After two years of explosive growth and a surge in participation, a storm that has been building offshore is poised to make landfall, but unlike hurricanes that meteorologists can see and predict, we don’t know how big this storm is going to be or exactly where it is going to strike. All we know is that it’s coming.

The storm, of course, is the announcement of what the United States Golf Association and the R&A plan to jointly do about, in their words, the unsustainable trend of increased distance. Last year, the game’s governing bodies announced that, after conducting research studies and examining trends, they felt the trends in distance and courses being made longer need to be stopped. The environmental and cost impacts of distance would make golf unsustainable in the future, and if that is going to be averted, changes need to be made now.

Look for announcements to be made in February. There is an unwritten rule among golf’s controlling organizations: you don’t make announcements or news when it is someone else’s time to shine. In late January, the PGA of America is holding the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. The PGA Tour will host the Players Championship in March. Then we get into the major season with the Masters in April, the PGA Championship in May, the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open in June and the British Open in July. The USGA and R&A don’t want to wait until after the FedEx Cup Playoffs and the Presidents Cup to make their announcement, so February is the most logical time.

Aside from some complaints from Phil Mickelson, the USGA and R&A’s first move to reign in distance, creating a Model Local Rule to limit the length of clubs (aside from putters ) to 46 inches or less, was met with only a passing notice. The USGA and R&A stated the rule was designed to be implemented at events for elite golfers only and should not be in place for weekend games among amateur players. Very few pros use a driver over 46 inches, so closing that potential avenue to more speed did not affect many people.

My gut tells me the next move is going in one of two ways:

Creation of Model Local Rules to reduce distance at the elite level

For years, the USGA and R&A have steadfastly refused to entertain the idea of bifurcating the Rules of Golf and developing different rules to govern pros and recreational players. Men and women in blue blazers on both sides of the Atlantic have said words to the effect of, “One of the things that make golf special is that we all play using the same rules, and that shouldn’t change.”

The creation of Model Local Rules could sidestep that position with semantics while leaving most clubs, and nearly all club players, unaffected.

Requiring Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda to use distance-reducing clubs and balls would

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By: David Dusek
Title: Dusek: Why 2022 will be the most significant year in golf equipment in decades, perhaps centuries
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2022/01/01/golf-equipment-history-2022/
Published Date: Sat, 01 Jan 2022 14:00:52 +0000

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