USGA, R&A Golf Ball Rollback Decision Not Far Away

Any decision on what the governing bodies plan to do involving distance might not be too far in the distant future.

Martin Slumbers, the R&A chief executive, told Golf Digest that officials have listened to strong opposition from the PGA Tour, the PGA of America and various players. At issue is a “Model Local Rule” to roll back the golf ball starting in 2026.

“There was a view that it would create a bifurcated game at the elite level,” Slumbers told Digest, meaning the rule would be adopted by some tournaments but not at every level. Recreational players, for example, could still use their regular golf ball.

“But our responsibility is to the long-term future of the game,” Slumbers said. “Along with the USGA, the R&A is a custodian of the game. We’re responsible for our period of time, something that has gone on for hundreds of years and will go on for hundreds more. So, we are listening. And we have made a decision about what we are going to do. We’re working that through at the moment and will make it public before the end of the year.”