"It's Important To Have A Balance Of Skill And Technology" Slumbers Speaks Out

The R&A Chief Executive said the governing bodies will be coming back to the issue of long hitting "with great seriousness"

Slumbers: 'Clubs Are Not Providing A Product Golfers Want To Buy'
(Image credit: Slumbers Speaks Out)

The R&A Chief Executive said the governing bodies will be coming back to the issue of long hitting "with great seriousness"

"It's Important To Have A Balance Of Skill And Technology" Slumbers Speaks Out

Golf's distance debate has shown no signs of going away in recent years, and Bryson DeChambeau's big hitting has added fuel to the fire over the past few weeks and months.

The American recently won his sixth PGA Tour title where he became the first PGA Tour winner to average over 350 yards.

DeChambeau doesn't seem to be finished there either, as it looks like he's going to continue searching for more distance.

The R&A and USGA released their Distance Insights Report earlier this year where they said that increasing driving distances are detrimental to the future of the game.

Martin Slumbers, the Chief Executive of The R&A, recently spoke to the Daily Mail where he hinted that equipment changes could be on their way.

He told the paper that "it's important to have a balance of skill and technology."

Slumbers says that the next stage of the report was delayed due to Covid-19 but the topic of equipment changes will be discussed.

He also said that the governing bodies will be coming back to the issue in "great seriousness."

"We published our report, along with the USGA, in February. And it said we needed to put a line in the sand and come back – because we think it's gone too far," Slumbers told the Daily Mail.

"My view is very much that golf is a game of skill. It's important to have a balance of skill and technology.

"We did intend to publish the next stage in March, sending out to manufacturers our specific areas of interest.

"Specific topics we wanted to evaluate before considering what equipment changes we would - or would not - put in place.

"But we will bring that topic back – because it does need to be discussed."

Related: Montgomerie clarifies comments on DeChambeau - "Something has to happen" 

Whilst Slumbers clearly is against this new-age of long hitting in the game, he did have praise for DeChambeau's transformation from an average hitter to the biggest hitter in golf.

"I'm not sure I can remember another sportsman, in any sport, so fundamentally changing their physical shape," he said.

"I can't think of anyone. I'm thinking of some boxers because I love boxing.

"But what is extraordinary is that Bryson isn't the first one to put on muscle in golf.

"How he's able to control the ball, with that extra power, is extraordinary. All credit to him, he's a true athlete.

"But I still come back to the belief that golf is a game of skill. And we believe we need to get this balance of skill and technology right.

"Once we feel that the industry is stable again, which isn't going to be tomorrow, because we don't know what's going to happen over autumn and winter, we will be coming back to that issue in great seriousness.

"It is too simple just to say change the ball. Way too simple. You can do things with the ball.

"But it's the relationship between ball and club which is most important, to me."

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV