Distance Insights: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is increased distance in golf an issue worth studying? Golf is played by more than 50 million people worldwide, of all abilities. Increases in distance may impact how all golfers enjoy the game, and where and how they play well into the future. We believe that the entire golf community would benefit from integrated research and thoughtful dialogue to build insights on this important topic, with the goal of better understanding its potential long-term impact.

  • Why do you think there has been a recent upward trend in driving distance within the professional game? This may be due to a combination of factors, and analyzing this recent data is one of the objectives of the Distance Insights project. However, the project is far broader than this, as we will review the topic of distance from the past, present and future, and from a variety of perspectives.

  • How will the USGA and The R&A go about gathering data? We will use internal staff, third-party researchers (consultants, academics and contract research firms), and online tools to gather data from across the golf community. In addition, all are welcome to provide perspectives directly related to the project by email or through our respective websites, which we hope will stimulate further engagement.

  • Which stakeholders will be involved in this project? We are seeking perspectives from everyone in golf.  The forms on our respective websites provide a vehicle for all to provide us with input. In addition, we plan to conduct stakeholder research that will include surveys, interviews, focus groups or meetings with a variety of groups via a third-party researcher. These groups include both elite and recreational players, national associations and federations, course architects, golf equipment manufacturers, golf course managers and owners, and others.

  • Since the release of the 2017 Distance Report, other studies have shown discrepancies in driving distance in the game. Why? Since announcing the Distance Insights project, we have received data from a variety of sources in the game. It is important to note that each data set is different in its purpose, methodology and segments represented. We are currently reviewing this data in an effort to more fully understand its applicability to the Distance Insights project.

  • Don’t the USGA and The R&A already have significant research on this topic? Why is there a need for another study?  This project is intended to bring together the extensive research on this topic where reliable data is available, as well as the perspectives of stakeholders, as it also looks at the present and possible future impacts. We also need to expand our perspective and take into consideration many viewpoints from throughout the game worldwide.

  • What types of questions does the overall project address?  When looking at the past, present and future of golf and distance, many questions come to mind. Some of those questions include: Does distance play a role in the golfer experience? How have the costs for golfers to play the game evolved over time? Is there a relationship between skill and technology when discussing distance? Have land development practices affected, and been affected by, increased distance? As the project progresses, more questions may arise.

  • When will results from the Distance Insights project be completed and when will we know more?  We plan to issue a report in 2019 when the research, analysis and documentation are complete.