In the wake of the Distance Report published by the USGA and R&A Monday, other stakeholders like the PGA Tour and PGA of America sounded off with their own conclusions from the data shared.
Acushnet, the game’s leading ball manufacturer, also joined the fray. In a press release shared Monday evening, the company that owns Titleist and FootJoy shared findings of their own, adding further context to the Distance Report’s finding of a three-yard average gain year-over-year across golf’s seven prominent professional tours.
Acushnet’s research shows a 0.5-yard gain in distance at PGA Tour events in 2017 that were played at the same course as 2016. Of the courses that were new for the 2016-17 season, Acushnet found the majority of increase came at three of the major championship venues: the U.S. Open (Erin Hills vs. Oakmont, +20.4 yards), the British Open (Royal Birkdale vs. Royal Troon, +8.1 yards) and the PGA Championship (Quail Hollow vs. Baltusrol, +7.0 yards).
The company also said that 24 of 25 Web.com graduates experienced distance declines in their respective first years on the PGA Tour, which could be a result of more distance-friendly set ups on the Web.com (i.e., faster, firmer layouts).
In short, the equipment manufacturer sees the Distance Report as more nuanced than a single statistic.
“In any given year there are variables that impact distance, and any movement as in 2017 is not suddenly indicative of a harmful trend,” said Acushnet CEO and President David Maher. “We continue to believe equipment innovation has benefited golfers at all levels, and our analysis of the 2017 Distance Report affirms that the USGA and The R&A have effective regulations in place to ensure the game’s health and sustainability. We look forward to continued dialogue with the governing bodies and stakeholders as we seek to position the great game of golf for future success.”