Today the USGA and R&A announced a new Model Local Rule (MLR G-10) that will limit the maximum length of golf clubs to 46 inches beginning Jan. 1, 2022. These golf organizations are taking a proactive approach to prevent golfers from ‘hitting bombs’ too far down the middle of the fairway.
This rule change won’t affect most recreational golfers as the standard shaft length on most drivers is around 45-45.75 inches. It will, however, impact professionals golfers like Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson. DeChambeau has been experimenting with longer shaft lengths up to 48 inches, while Mickelson has been using a 47.5 inch driver shaft in recent tour events.
This newly proposed rule drops the maximum length of golf clubs from 48 inches to 46 inches. The two golf governing bodies have been researching the impact of longer shafts on hitting distance for a few years now and feel limiting golf club lengths is appropriate. The proposal excludes putters.
We’ve worked closely with our industry partners to ensure the future for golf remains strong. Admittedly, this is not the ‘answer’ to the overall distance debate/issue, but rather a simple option for competitive events. It’s important to note that it is not a ‘Rule of Golf,’ and as such, it is not mandated for the average, recreational golfer. Rather, this is an available tool for those running competitive events.Mike Whan (Chief Executive Officer of the USGA)
We have taken time to consult fully with the golf industry, including players, the main professional tours and equipment manufacturers, and have considered their feedback carefully. We believe this is the right thing for the game at this time and will provide tournament organizers with the flexibility to choose for themselves within the framework of the Rules. We are working hard to maintain an open, collaborative and considered dialogue with these key stakeholders as we continue to evolve the Equipment Standards Rules to ensure they reflect the modern game.Martin Slumbers (Chief Executive of The R&A)
As was expected, Mickelson had some things to say on Twitter today regarding this new rule.
Other professionals like Lee Westwood, seemed to disagree and responded to Mickelson’s tweet.
Because this a new ‘Model Local Rule’, it will be up to those running professional and elite amateur golf competitions the option to limit the length of golf clubs in their events. From a few articles I’ve read online, the PGA Tour plans to go along with this rule change beginning in 2022.
I get that professional golfers have been gradually hitting the ball longer each and every year, but these types of rule changes don’t always seem to be a great way to grow the game. However, since the rule doesn’t necessarily affect us recreational golfers, it may have no impact on our golf games.
What are your thoughts on this new rule change? Will it have much of an impact on the your golf game or only for the pro’s? Share your thoughts below.