One of golf’s leading manufactures says the unification between elite players and recreational golf will be compromised by the R&A and USGA’s plans to put restrictions on the golf ball.
Acushnet, the company which owns a number of golf brands including Titleist and FootJoy, believes the controversial proposal is “a solution in search of a problem” as both organisations aim to address the potential negative impact of hitting distances in the future.
Titleist’s chiefs, who have been the most outspoken of the equipment brands on the matter, released a statement that read: “The performance changes of any rolled back ball would impact every shot in the round.
“Players would also be required to adapt to changes in equipment with some players disadvantaged over others by this disruption.
“Golf ball bifurcation would invite confusion as to what level of competition would use the MLR products and how to effectively manage and officiate.
“In addition, multiple versions of golf ball models in the market would be confusing to golfers.”
Under the new proposed Model Local Rule, Titleist, whose golf balls are used by all four of the reigning men’s major champions, and other brands would have to test golf balls under modified launch conditions that satisfy new distance and clubhead speed limits.
R&A and USGA chiefs Martin Slumbers and Mike Whan confirmed the new MLR will be used at the Open and the US Open if implemented, which could take effect as early as January 2026, while Bryson DeChambeau was the first big name player to weigh in – and he did not hold back in his criticism.
Despite the organisation’s endeavour to protect the sport in the long term, Acushnet argues bifurcation would have a negative impact on the future of golf.
“Playing by a unified set of rules is an essential part of the game’s allure, contributes to its global understanding and appeal, and eliminates the inconsistency and instability that would come from multiple sets of equipment standards,” David Maher, Acushnet’s president and CEO, said.
“Unification is a powerfully positive force in the game, and we believe that equipment bifurcation would be detrimental to golf’s long-term well-being.
“As a result, we will actively participate in this conversation with the governing bodies, worldwide professional tours, PGA Professional organizations, amateur associations and federations, and golfers, in an effort to contribute to the continued enjoyment and growth of the game.”