Golfers Divided Over Bifurcation Ball Rollback Proposals

Two Golf Monthly polls have revealed the conflicting opinions on the controversial plans

 Close-up of a club hitting a ball off the tee
The results of two Golf Monthly polls have revealed conflicting results on the plans
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The decision from the governing bodies to introduce golf ball bifurcation plans was always likely to provoke debate given the long-running issue of increased driving distances and the wildly differing opinions from the game's key figures on how – or even if – to tackle it.

According to the results of two polls conducted by Golf Monthly, the announcement hasn’t left golfers much clearer as to whether the plans, which propose curbing driving distances in elite competition by limiting the distance the ball can travel, are the correct course of action. 

After 843 votes in a newsletter poll asking, “do you support the golf ball being rolled back for Tour pros?” 55% answered “yes” with just 37% saying “no” and the remaining votes opting for “unsure”.

Graphic of a pie chart showing poll results on the golf ball rollback proposals

One Golf Monthly poll showed 55% in favor of the plans

(Image credit: Future Publishing)

However, while that result offers some evidence of backing for the plans, which CEO of The R&A Martin Slumbers said are being proposed to protect the long-term integrity of the game, a separate poll offered a different result.

Golf Monthly also ran a Twitter poll for three hours following the announcement, posing the same question. This time, though, 57.5% of the 475 voters answered “no” with just 31.2% in favor of the move. Finally, the “unsure” category accounted for 11.4% of votes.

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While the general public seem conflicted on the proposals, the same can’t be said of the initial reactions from pros, who have largely spoken out against them. LIV Golf player Bryson DeChambeau was one of the first to voice his disdain, slamming the idea as "atrocious" and saying: “I think it’s the most unimaginative, uninspiring, game-cutting thing you could do”.

Those comments were followed by Keegan Bradley, who declared the plans “too extreme”, while Justin Thomas said the proposals are “so bad for the game of golf”. Another pro, four-time PGA Tour winner Charley Hoffman, has also criticised the proposals, saying “bifurcation would be a travesty”.

During the press conference outlining the plans, Slumbers confirmed that “subject to this next comment period, it is intended to become effective January 2026 at the earliest”. Given the divisive nature of the issue, it seems likely much of that time will be spent addressing the concerns of players at all levels of the game.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.