The golf ball rollback – whether you love it or loathe it – is coming. For real this time. Yesterday, R&A and USGA officials confirmed that revised ball testing is set to go into effect for professionals in 2028 before, uh, rolling out to all golfers in 2030. The two governing bodies are implementing the changes to “protect the game’s future and the integrity of golf courses”. They believe this will come at the cost of three-to-five yards off the tee for the average male player and one-to-three for the average female.
We have finalized the next step in our years-long effort to address consistent increases in hitting distance and golf’s sustainability.
These changes to the Overall Distance Standard will take effect in January 2028.
— USGA (@USGA) December 6, 2023
Go ahead and debate this until you pop a blood vessel in your eye. That’s not what we’re here to do. What we’re here to do is marvel at the 382-metre (418-yard) nuke Christo Lamprecht launched at the Alfred Dunhill Championship overnight, Australian time. Impeccable timing, Christo!
Depending on which side of the barbed wire-lined rollback fence you sit, this is either the greatest rebuttal or greatest endorsement of the coming rule changes the sport could have possibly delivered. On one hand, just look at this sucker. Lamprecht punches a hole in the sky. All the announcers can do is laugh at the previously unthinkable level of power on display. On the other hand, should an amateur golfer – even a top one like Lamprecht, who is currently second in the world amateur ranking – really be able bomb it 382 off the tee? Is that really going to put their full range of golf skills to the test, which, last time we checked, is what a professional tournament is designed to do?
Big questions still awaiting big answers. We’ll leave those to brighter minds, because for now we’re busy watching golf ball go boom.