The U.S. Golf Association and R&A released their annual Distance Report on Monday and determined that distance gains, more than 3 yards on average among seven pro tours, deviated well above previous fluctuations. The report also stated that “any further significant increases in hitting distances at the highest level are undesirable.”
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, however, didn’t appear as concerned in a letter he penned to PGA Tour players regarding the Distance Report.
“Having carefully reviewed the data, we do not believe the trends indicate a significant or abnormal increase in distance since 2003 or from 2016 to 2017,” Monahan said. “Rest assured, we will continue to collaborate and share data with the USGA and the R&A – along with other industry stakeholders – in monitoring these trends, as we have since 2003, and are hopeful our perspectives will align.”
Monahan added that he has invited the USGA to attend the next PGA Tour Players Advisory Council meeting, which will take place during the week of the Wells Fargo Championship in May.
The Distance Report showed a 2.5-yard increase in driving distance on the PGA Tour over the past year, but Monahan downplayed the spike and also attributed it more to the golfer and not the equipment. Since the Tour started keeping track of player launch conditions in 2007, clubhead speed has increased by an average of 1.5 mph.
“While this may seem significant when taken in isolation, it has not been uncommon over the past 15 years to see significant gains or losses,” Monahan said. “Since 2003, there have been three instances where a significant gain was recorded between years, and five instances where the average decreased. … There is a strong correlation between clubhead speed and the total distance gains seen since 2003. We believe this increase in clubhead speed is mostly attributable to a combination of factors, such as increased player athleticism and fitness, physical build of the player, enhancements in equipment fitting and the proliferation of launch-monitoring capabilities. It is interesting to note that since 2003, the average age of a Tour member has gone down and the average height has gone up.”
Ian Poulter reiterated Monahan’s opinions.
“Remember the average age on your is younger than it was in 2003,” Poulter wrote. “Players are taller than 2003, we are being fitted for the perfect launch conditions to maximize our potential, guys are more athletic than 2003, which means guys are in better physical shape and able to hit the ball harder; that’s why the distance has gone up. Most players on Tour are working to increase clubhead speed to hit it further.”
Very very interesting details that will be released later today by the R&A and USGA about the distance in golf. And how that has increased in the last number of years… read below to see what really has happened… What makes me laugh is certain manufacturers claiming there product on release goes 12 yards longer than the previous driver and then the next time a driver goes 10 yards longer than that one then 8 yards longer than old one……😂😂😂😂😂😂 marketing BS. I think this detailed analysis puts all of that nonsense to bed…. The facts are 2003-2016 club head speed has increased by 1.5 MPH which is about 5 yards of distance and distance has jumped 6.6 Yards… So that tells you why… 2016-2017 an increase of 2.5 yards now that is a gain but remember the average age on your is younger than it was in 2003. Players are taller than 2003, We are being fitted for the perfect launch conditions to maximize our potential, Guys are more athletic than 2003 which means guys are in better physical shape and able to hit the ball harder that’s why the distance’s has gone up… Most players on tour are working to increase club head speed to hit it further Just thought I would let you all know know… enjoy the read…