The PGA Tour and PGA of America released statements on Wednesday oppoing the. The rollback is expected to reduce driving distances on the PGA Tour by 9-15 yards beginning in 2028. The recreational game will adopt the new golf ball two years later in 2030 with a 5-yard impact per drive, according to data provided by the USGA.
"Throughout the process, we have provided feedback to the USGA and The R&A and are pleased to see a number of our recommendations reflected in this most recent announcement," the PGA Tour statement read. "However, we believe the proposed increase in test clubhead speed to 125 mph is disproportional to the rate of increase we see when analyzing PGA Tour radar data. In conjunction with guidance from the Player Advisory Council, Player Directors and Policy Board, we will continue to share our feedback with the USGA and The R&A."
This decision follows a feedback period after the USGA and The R&A proposed a Modern Local Rule (MLR) in March, which was intended for elite competitions only. It would require the use of golf balls tested under modified launch conditions, reflective of the longest hitters in the professional game. Both the PGA Tour and PGA of America released statements against the proposed MLR, leading to the possibility of players having to use one type of golf ball in The Open and U.S. Open, and another in the PGA Championship and PGA Tour competition.
The current standard of 120-MPH swing speed, which produces ball speed of 176 MPH will be adjusted in 2028 to 125 MPH for those at the top of the game. The 5 miles per hour increase in swing speed represents roughly a 7-yard increase in ball speed to 183 mph. The revised conditions are based on data collected by the USGA and The R&A from the worldwide tours and the game over several years. The rollback ensures the Overall Distance Standard's limit will remain unchanged at 317 yards with a 3-yard tolerance.
"We remain opposed to any change that may potentially lessen the enjoyment of the game for recreational golfers or diminish the unprecedented momentum the game is enjoying," the PGA of America released in a statement. "It appears recreational golfers will see a greater reduction in distance than we would advise. While this decrease has been lessened, we continue to recommend being more moderate on the swing speed change for the golf ball conformance test."