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MY Shot
Ron Drapeau
June 10, 2002
SI neglected to point out the real winner in the USGA-R&A compromise: the recreational golfer
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June 10, 2002

My Shot

SI neglected to point out the real winner in the USGA-R&A compromise: the recreational golfer

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SPORTS ILLUSTRATED missed the point about the recent USGA-R&A compromise on coefficient of restitution limits for drivers (THE WEEK, May 20). While glibly choosing its winners and losers, SI overlooked the real beneficiaries—millions of average golfers. With the likely adoption of the proposal next January, the reunified Rules of Golf will limit COR at .830 for highly skilled golfers, while setting the ceiling at an exciting .860 for the rest of us. The solution isn't perfect, but what compromise is? Even with the curious stipulation that the COR limit for all golfers shall be reduced to .830 in 2008, I think the compromise is good for the game for the following reasons:

?The proposal recognizes the vast difference between pros and amateurs. It calls for applying the more restrictive COR only as a "condition of competition" for the major professional tours. The rulemakers have wisely refrained from penalizing 50 million golfers who play for fun because of a perceived problem created by a small number of golfers who play for a living.

?The new rules reflect a global perspective. In 1998 the USGA broke away from the rest of the world by setting a COR limit, creating a serious problem for the game. Those most affected were recreational players from abroad who, while traveling to the U.S. and Mexico, found that their clubs did not conform to the rules.

?Rules that permit recreational players to get more distance—and enjoyment—by using high COR drivers will help increase participation. More golfers playing more often is in the interest of everyone with a stake in the game.

At Callaway we think the compromise was the result of rational minds looking at useful data. The game has not suffered outside the U.S., where high COR drivers have been in use for years. Who knows, maybe future study will convince the rule-makers that recreational players should be allowed to hold on to their .860 drivers in 2008 and beyond.