How le­git­i­mate was the USGA and R&A’s dis­tance test­ing?

Golf World (UK) - - PRIZE DRAW -

The sta­tis­tics came from data taken from the seven main tours, dat­ing back to 2003 and in­volv­ing roughly 300,00 shots in to­tal. That data was typ­i­cally recorded on two holes at each event, with 94% of PGA Tour play­ers and 96% on the Eu­ro­pean Tour us­ing a driver on those holes. Four­teen years and 300,000 shots-worth of data is a solid sam­ple size, but can it tell the whole story? Be­tween 1993 and 2003, driver heads got larger and larger and the wound, Balata ball be­came ob­so­lete, re­placed by the solid core, ure­thane-cov­ered ball – the Nike Tour Ac­cu­racy fol­lowed by the Titleist Pro-V1. In that sin­gle decade, the av­er­age drive on the PGA Tour jumped an as­ton­ish­ing 27 yards – or 10.38%. So, while the USGA/R&A re­port as­sess­ing data from 2003-2017 is nec­es­sary and ap­pears very thor­ough, there are many who ar­gue it’s re­dun­dant as the horse had al­ready bolted. Equally, does test­ing out­doors, with vary­ing wind and tem­per­a­tures in­vite too many vari­ables? Some would ar­gue that to erad­i­cate any doubt, the test­ing should have been con­ducted in ster­ile, sci­en­tific con­di­tions. Also, to paint the full pic­ture on driv­ing dis­tances, test­ing am­a­teurs would have also helped – test the ma­jor­ity as well as the mi­nor­ity.

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