A week after the USGA and R&A announcement a proposed model site rule (MLR) that could require top players to use a reduced distance golf ball, TaylorMade joined other equipment manufacturers in expressing skepticism and concerns about what this might mean for the sport. The second sentence of the statement read, “This will introduce a fork in our sport, meaning you – the golfer – will be playing with different equipment than the pros.”
On Thursday morning, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based equipment company released the results of a poll it conducted to gauge recreational golfers’ perceptions of the proposed model local rule. More than 45,000 people attended, according to TaylorMade, and the overwhelming response was that recreational golfers did not approve of the USGA and R&A’s plans.
When asked, “To the best of your knowledge, do you agree with the proposed rule of golf ball?” 81 percent of the poll answered “no,” while 77 percent said average shot distances in professional golf did not need to be reduced.
“The goal of our survey was to provide golfers with an opportunity to provide their views on this proposed decision while we understand the MLR and its potential impact on the everyday golfer,” said David Abeles, President and CEO of TaylorMade. “We are grateful that nearly 45,000 golfers around the world felt the need to have their voices heard. The overwhelming amount of responses shows the passion, knowledge and care for the game that our audience has. Each response and data point will be reviewed as we will use this feedback in our preparation to provide a response to the USGA and R&A.”
TaylorMade’s survey consisted of 14 questions, including the respondent’s handicap level. 85 percent of respondents said the MLR would not affect how much golf they play when TaylorMade asked for three words to describe the proposed MLR. The most commonly used words were “unnecessary”, “stupid” and “stupid”. .”
Following the announcement of the proposed MLR, the USGA and R&A stated that a comment period would be held until August 14th. During the comment period, stakeholders such as equipment companies, players, golf course operators, professional tours and others can contribute and provide feedback to the game’s governing bodies. After the comment period, the USGA and R&A will likely review reports and new submissions, and are expected to issue a decision on the proposed MLR by the end of 2023. If passed, it would give equipment manufacturers like TaylorMade, Titleist, Callaway, Bridgestone and Srixon two years to develop balls that pass modified testing procedures and comply with the Model Local Rule.
USGA Golf Tees (David Dusek/Golfweek)
The TaylorMade study does not claim to be a scientifically prepared cross-section of all golfers. It is safe to assume that golfers who decided to take the survey after seeing it promoted on TaylorMade’s social media channels and website think positively about the brand and its viewpoints.
While some people will see the poll as biased, it clearly challenges the USGA and R&A’s position that distance is an issue at the elite level and needs to be reduced. The game’s governing bodies were aware of how divisive removal has become before announcing the proposed MLR, and a key to its acceptance within the golf community is to attract weekend golfers and recreational players who will not be affected. While the USGA and R&A are strongly opposed to bifurcation, many golfers believe that the introduction of the MLR would do just that, creating different rule sets for players of different skill levels.
Source : sports.yahoo.com