TaylorMade Questions Golf Ball Bifurcation Plans

The equipment manufacturer has also invited feedback it can present to the game's governing bodies

TaylorMade range balls
(Image credit: Getty Images)

TaylorMade is the latest equipment manufacturer to express concerns about the golf ball bifurcation plans proposed by the game’s governing bodies.

Following the announcement of the plans by R&A CEO Martin Slumbers and his USGA counterpart Mike Whan last week, several manufacturers commented on them, with Titleist being the most critical, saying they amounted to “a solution in search of a problem”. At that time, TaylorMade was among several manufacturers who had not commented, but it has now broken its silence on the matter with a statement published on its official website.

The Model Local Rule would see different golf balls introduced in elite competition to recreational play to limit the distance the ball can travel, which TaylorMade acknowledges “will introduce bifurcation into our sport, meaning that you – the golfer – will play with different equipment than the professionals”.

The statement then points out that because everyone can currently use the same equipment, it sets the game apart from others. It reads: “We believe a large part of golf’s appeal is this underlying sense of: ‘I can do that, too.’ And using the same equipment as the pros gives us a more accurate feel for how talented these players are.

"Most of us will never know what it’s like to play in Madison Square Garden, throw a touchdown in the Super Bowl, or score the game-winning goal in a World Cup final, but we can go to St. Andrews, walk across the Swilcan Bridge and for a moment feel what it’s like to be a professional. Walk in their shoes, play the same courses, and use the same equipment. It’s all part of why we love this sport.”

That is a similar sentiment to the one offered by Titleist in its response, where it said: “One of golf’s unifying appeals is that everyone in the game plays by the same set of rules, can play the same courses and with the same equipment. Golfers can watch professionals and compare themselves to the world’s best, aspiring to hit the same shots.”

The TaylorMade statement then notes that The USGA and The R&A has invited feedback on the plans, before concluding: “As we absorbed this announcement and tried to understand the why, as well as the impact, all of our conversations came back to one place – you, the golfer. We want your voice to be heard, so please, let us know what you think. We invite you to be part of the conversation and to be part of our feedback to the USGA and R&A”. Lastly, there is a link to a survey for players to provide the feedback.

TAKE THE TAYLORMADE SURVEY

It’s not just manufacturers who have raised concerns about the plans. One of the game’s biggest hitters, Bryson DeChambeau, described them as ‘atrocious’. Then, before last week’s Valspar Championship, Justin Thomas said the plans were ‘so bad for the game of golf’. Other players who have criticised the plans include Keegan Bradley and Charley Hoffman.

On the other hand, Slumbers insists the move is necessary to 'protect the long-term integrity of the game’.

Mike Hall
Writer

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.