USGA and R&A to release Distance Insights Project Report by February 2020

David Dusek/Golfweek

USGA and R&A to release Distance Insights Project Report by February 2020

Equipment

USGA and R&A to release Distance Insights Project Report by February 2020

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The United States Golf Association and the R&A jointly announced on Tuesday morning that they are in the final stages of completing the much-awaited Distance Insights Project Report, a comprehensive review of distance and its effect on golf. In a release, the two governing bodies of golf stated that they will release the final report by Feb. 4, 2020.

The last official update regarding the report came in February when the USGA and R&A said they had completed the data-gather portion of the project. That data came from interviews and talks with golf industry leaders, manufacturers, course designers, elite players and course operators. An online survey was also conducted in 10 languages for the USGA and R&A by SMS, Inc., with more than 65,000 responses collected from 115 countries.

The stated goal of the project is to reveal the key contributors to distance, learn what effects distance is having on the game today and how it could impact the game in the future. The USGA and R&A are also trying to reveal what distance means to stakeholders such as pros, course owners, teaching professionals and equipment manufacturers.

As Golfweek reported in January, the most recent USGA and R&A Distance Report revealed that global driving distance increased by 1.7 yards in 2018 after increasing more than 3 yards in 2017. That report examined data from all the major professional tours around the world.

The PGA Tour completed its 2018-19 season in August at the Tour Championship and the tour’s driving distance average dipped from 296.1 yards last season to 293.9 yards this year.

Since the Distance Insight Project was announced in 2017, there has been speculation that the USGA and R&A might change the rules that govern equipment standards or make recommendations about how golf courses are set up to reduce the effects of distance. At this point, neither organization has said changes are on the way and it is very likely that Distance Insights Report will not include recommended changes when it is released.

It is anticipated by many insiders that if the report concludes that distance is having an adverse or undesired effect on the game, it could take several months for the USGA and R&A to announce any rule changes, and potentially years for those changes to take effect.

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