The Distance Debate

Golf equipment has been a hot topic of the golf world since titanium drivers burst onto the scene and continue to be in the hot seat with the arrival of the modern ball.  The combination of club and ball technology has brought on the question of “is it too much?” All the high profile golf personalities have seemed to weigh in on the subject and many people believe that the golf ball needs to be “rolled back.” Others think the courses need to be modified by shrinking the size of the fairways and growing out the rough to put a premium on accuracy.  Some think that Pros and Amateurs should abide by different rules.   But where does speculation end and facts start?  In 2000, the longest driver on the PGA Tour was averaging 301 yards off the tee, in 2005 it was 319 yards, in 2010 315 yards led the Tour, in 2015 it was 317 yards and in 2019 that number was 318 yards (shorter than 2005).  I think that the distance debate is not one sided. Yes, equipment has gotten a lot better, but courses are also faster and firmer than ever before, players on the PGA Tour are stronger and more athletic than they once were and the modern ball seems to be flying straighter.  This combination has given the appearance that something needs to be done, and maybe something does need to be done, but if you compared 2005 to 2019 the longest driver on tour has decreased by 1 yard, contrary to popular belief. 

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