Titleist's parent company says that the proposed equipment changes introduce a wide range of complexities


Acushnet Responds To Proposed Equipment Changes

Acushnet, parent company of Titleist and FootJoy, says that equipment innovation is a “great contributor” to enjoyment of golf at all levels.

The company’s CEO, David Maher, has responded to the R&A and USGA’s proposed equipment changes, which relate to driver shaft length and the testing of golf balls and club faces.

The initial proposals have not gone down well with the world’s best players, with Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Webb Simpson all coming down on the governing bodies.

McIlroy called the Distance Insights Project “a huge waste of time and money,” whilst Thomas said the R&A and USGA have been “extremely selfish.”

2012 US Open winner Webb Simpson said that course design was more to blame.

Acushnet, the company behind the Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, says its initial response to the new proposals is focused on the change to the golf ball testing process, which “introduces a wide range of complexities.”

Acushnet Company CEO David Maher’s statement:

Acushnet’s position is rooted in the belief that equipment innovation, while conforming to the rules of golf, has been a powerful force in the game and great contributor to its evolution and enjoyment at all levels of play.  Equipment evolution, along with the increased athleticism of today’s competitive player, has helped to advance the game’s timeless and aspirational appeal.  This was a cornerstone of our response to the governing bodies’ request for stakeholder participation prior to their issuing the Distance Insights Report in 2018.

Our initial response is focused on the proposed change to golf ball testing methodology which would represent a meaningful departure from the current Overall Distance Standard (ODS) which is fixed around a specific set of speed, launch and spin conditions mirroring the launch characteristics of the game’s elite player.  Established by the USGA in 1976, the ODS has stood the test of time and has evolved over the years to take advantage of improved testing technologies and reflect updated player launch conditions.

The proposed consideration of a bandwidth approach, with launch angle between 7.5 and 15 degrees and spin ranging from 2200 to 3000 rpm disconnects the process from the elite player and introduces a wide range of complexities as it relates to golf ball design, manufacturing and conformance which we need to further research.

Acushnet looks forward to participating in this process and contributing our perspective which is informed by more than 80 years of experience designing and manufacturing conforming equipment and our daily interaction with thousands of golfers across the globe and wherever the game is played.

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