Keeping Score

European course architects: Reduce driving distance

In a recent survey of the continent’s course designers, 95 percent of respondents call for action to reduce the length that the ball flies

95: Percentage of members of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects who, in response to a survey question regarding driving distances, agreed that action needs to be taken to reduce the length. Christoph Stadler, the president of the EIGCA, which is based in Abingdon, England, called the near-unanimous response an “eye-catching result.” Other findings from respondents in the survey: 75 percent said that increased ball flight and equipment advances diminish the game’s skill; and 88 percent favor a reduction in driving distance of 10 percent to 15 percent. Nearly two-thirds of respondents think that any restrictions should mostly exclude amateur golfers. “Reducing hitting distances could lead to shorter courses which are quicker to play, cheaper to maintain, need less land, are more sustainable, more accessible and potentially more profitable,” Stadler said. “At a time when we are looking to increase player participation surely these should be our objectives.” The EIGCA said its survey findings were sent to the R&A and the USGA for the governing bodies’ ongoing Distance Insights project.

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