United States Golf Association chief Mike Davis has suggested the use of “variable distance” golf balls as a solution to one of golf’s burning issues; the distances hit by modern professional golfers.
Speaking at the North American Golf Innovation Symposium, Davis said he supported the idea of ‘variable distance’ golf balls, which would fly a fraction the distance of current golf balls. The 52-year-old used World No.1 Dustin Johnson to illustrate the concept.
“What happens if all of a sudden I want to play with Dustin Johnson and say, ‘Dustin, here's an 80 percent golf ball, I'm going to use a 100 percent golf ball and we're going to play the same tees’. It sounds radical, but it might not,” Davis said.
The USGA and R&A released a report last month that described distance gains on seven professional tours since 2003 as ‘negligible’. But these balls, in theory, would minimise the need to alter or redesign iconic courses – like Augusta National – to accommodate for today’s equipment and players.
“Think about any other sport … Have other sports allowed their equipment to influence their playing field the way golf has?" Davis said. "I don't think that you can find another sport that has allowed equipment to dictate how playing fields get changed."