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A PGA Tour player’s response to the USGA’s new golf ball proposal



On Tuesday, March 14, the USGA and R&A officially announced a proposal to introduce a Model Local Rule (MLR) option for “elite competitions.” The proposal was sent to equipment manufacturers yesterday (on Monday), and they have until August 14, 2023 to provide comment.

You can read the full proposal that was sent to manufacturers here.

Most notably, within the proposal, the USGA and R&A state as follows:

“Specifically, for this proposed MLR, golf balls will be tested for conformance to the Overall Distance Standard (ODS) limit of 317 yards (plus 3 yards tolerance) at modified Actual Launch Conditions (ALC), namely a clubhead speed of 127 mph and ALC values of 11 degrees and 37 revolutions per second (2220 rpm). Within the current Equipment Rules, all other golf balls will continue to be evaluated using the existing ALC values: 120 mph clubhead speed, 10 degrees and 42 revolutions per second (2520 rpm). The current ODS limit of 317 yards (plus 3 yards tolerance) will remain unchanged.”

The USGA and R&A also said in a press release:

“The MLR is intended for use only in elite competitions and, if adopted, will have no impact on recreational golf…The Overall Distance Standard was established in 1976 as a ball test intended to reflect maximum potential hitting distance by the longest hitters currently playing the game. There is a direct correlation between clubhead speed and hitting distance (further research having been published in the Distance Insights reports). Over the last 20 years hitting distance has increased on average by around one yard per year. The modified testing set-up in the proposed MLR is expected to reduce hitting distance by 14-15 yards on average for the longest hitters with the highest clubhead speeds.”

The proposal also states that the new local golf ball rule would be “available for implementation on 1 January 2026 (at the earliest).”

Addressing growing concerns with driver conformity, especially as it relates to distance and used drivers, the USGA and R&A said this: “While not pursuing a reduction in the CT limit, the USGA and The R&A are concerned that many of today’s drivers exhibit levels of CT creep – meaning their CT values are appropriate at the point of manufacturing/initial use, but can become non-conforming after repeated use, especially at the highest level of competition. This is contrary to the purpose and intent of the Equipment Rules. As such the USGA and The R&A are undertaking a comprehensive investigation of this phenomenon. Further details on this topic will be forthcoming in due course.”

Effectively, the USGA and R&A are proposing bifurcation in relation to the golf ball. Professionals (and elite amateur competitions) would play with a golf ball that flies shorter under the new testing requirements, whereas amateurs would use a golf ball with less restraints.

In the coming days, weeks, and months, golfers from every realm of the sport will ask questions and weigh-in with their opinions, and equipment companies will provide their feedback to the governing bodies. At this point, nothing is certain and the rules have not changed. We likely won’t know for sure until after August 14, at the earliest, what decision has been made.

To see where a PGA Tour player currently stands on the debate, GolfWRX asked tour player Doug Ghim for his thoughts. Here’s what he had to say on the new proposal:

“I’m a little indifferent about it. I do think it makes sense that they’re trying to do it. I think when it comes to the argument that the distance between the longest guy and the shortest guy will still be the same is not quite correct, because it’s exponential. I think guys that hit it the furthest will be affected the most, and the guys who don’t hit it as far, because they don’t spin it as much, won’t be affected as much. Because, I’m assuming if they roll the ball back that it will be spinning more, but at the end of the day, everyone is really good. They changed the groove rule on the irons and guys seems to be hitting it closer from the rough than ever.

“At the end of the day, if you’re a really good player you’re going to figure it out, so I don’t foresee it being a really big deal. I’m sure club manufacturers are not going to be happy, and ball manufacturers are not going to be happy, but, I feel like it’s not going to be as big of a deal as people think. The same guys are still going to be playing well. It’s in order to protect the golf courses that we already have. Obviously land is getting scarcer and scarcer these days, and water is also becoming scarcer. I think there’s no more room to expand courses so they have to roll the ball back.”

But what about tightening the fairways, growing the rough, pinching the fairways at 300+ yards, and increasing green speeds? Doesn’t that effectively limit the need to lengthen courses and give tour players all the challenge they need?

Ghim continued: “I understand that argument, and I feel the same way, but when it comes down to it, when a player decides not to use driver and he uses a 3 wood instead, it’s like playing in the NBA without being able to dunk the ball. At the end of the day, it is a product that we’re trying to sell to people. And the same thing with the designated events.

“It’s all about the product and what fans want to see. And fans don’t want to see Rory hit a 4 iron off the last tee and still be able to hit a 7 iron into the green and win a tournament. They want to force guys to hit driver. When it comes down to that, it makes the product more compelling, it makes it easier for club manufacturers to market their drivers. When I think of certain tournaments, like DJ winning at Oakmont, he striped a drive at the last to win the tournament and I’m sure that sold a lot of TaylorMade drivers. At the end of the day, I see…I asked Jim Furyk the same question when we played in a practice round at Shinnecock in 2018, and he said no one wants to watch someone hit 5 iron off the tee each time, because it’s just not an appealing product.”

Everyday amateur golfers, I pose this question to you: In 2026, when you tee the ball up with your buddies for the first time after the new rules could take effect, would you use the shorter golf balls that the pros play with, or would you use the longer golf balls made just for amateurs? Let us know in the comments.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.



  1. Mat

    Mar 19, 2023 at 4:14 am

    We won’t have a choice; every ball now is non-conforming.

    They will make balls that conform, and this hurts everyone — there won’t be a choice.

  2. Rich D

    Mar 17, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    The ball is already bifurcated. Harvey Hacker might think he’s better off hitting a ProV1, but he isn’t. He can’t access its features; he’s spending twice as much as he should. He’d be better off with a 2-piece low-compression ball like the Callaway Supersoft. It curves less, launches higher, and it doesn’t spin as much around the greens. (That last one sounds like a bad thing, but Harvey can’t control spin around the greens anyway, so no.)

    If you dial back the tour balls, 90% or more of amateurs simply will not be affected. They’re either playing balls at lower tiers or would not be noticeably affected by the change in tour balls. (Again, because they can’t max them out.)

    The players are objecting to the dial back because they hate change. It’s a little bit difficult to predict the impact of the change, so they resist. But guys like Palmer and Nicklaus–two big hitters back in the say–were great even though they were 50-or-more yards shorter than today’s players. And they balls they used were mushy and spun like crazy. These guys today will be fine; they’ll adjust.

  3. Hughes Paul

    Mar 16, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    The USGA is not doing anything but give the Tour the option of using a special ball…if it wants to.

    The people complaining seem to think it a slur on their manhood to suggest the pros are so much better than them they (the pros) might need to use a special limited ball.

  4. Jacob

    Mar 16, 2023 at 5:07 am

    Why not increase size of the golfball? It will be easier to hit for the amateur, and fly shorter for the hardhitter.

    • Jbone

      Mar 17, 2023 at 4:22 pm

      Agreed but they might need to make the hole bigger if they do that right?

  5. Jacob

    Mar 16, 2023 at 5:01 am

    Why not increase the size of the Ball. It will be easier for the amateurs to hit, an fly shorter for the hard hitters.

  6. Mont

    Mar 16, 2023 at 2:34 am

    Is this really necessary??
    I don’t see Bryson winning every week? Sure, you have to be able to hit it long to compete but it is not like the really longest hitters easily win on tour every week.
    Look at the Masters 2020, Bryson ended up after Langer, Na and Poulter!!

  7. Montgomery

    Mar 16, 2023 at 2:32 am

    Is this really necessary? I don’t see Bryson winning every week? Sure, you have to be able to hit it long to compete but it is not like the really longest hitters easily win on tour every week. Look at the Masters 2020, Bryson ended up after Langer, Na and Poulter!

  8. Verners Tess

    Mar 15, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    3 simple changes

    1. 10 clubs
    2. 56 degree max loft
    3. Max 2 par five holes

  9. MhtLion

    Mar 15, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    The golf ball is the biggest money in the industry. After this rule change, why would anyone buy $50 box of balls? It’s not, definitely not the same ball, that your favorite pro uses. PLEASE THINK carefully. Such a rule will hurt the industry more than anything.

    • Kevin

      Mar 15, 2023 at 9:15 pm

      I’m playing what the pros play…

    • DeezNutz6943

      Mar 16, 2023 at 9:18 am

      What are you talking about? I buy the golf balls I buy because Iike playing them. Not cause some PGA tour player with 123 mph clubhead speed plays them. What are you? A teenage girl who does everything their favorite actress does?

  10. Nathan Schrock

    Mar 15, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    I hate everything about this bifurcation idea, but I would choose to play the professional version of the golf ball. I am not a professional golfer, but I am a very good golfer. I’ve fluctuated between a scratch, and a 2 handicap player since high school. I’m now 30, and my favorite part of golf is OCCASIONALLY being able to hit the same shot as my favorite pros on tour. If you bifurcate the balls used by pros and amateurs, you’ve forced me to choose a lesser performing golf ball in order to achieve that same feeling of hitting a shot on the level of my favorite pros. My average capability is lessened, to preserve the integrity of my game in comparison to pros. That comparison, on a level playing field as the pros, is part of the magic this game offers to its players. Other sports don’t have the same ability as golf to offer one to one comparisons of amateurs to pros. A 320 yard drive, is a 320 yard drive. But as an amateur, you’ll never take on Lebron 1v1, and you’ll never step up in the pocket and throw a touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr.


    Mar 15, 2023 at 1:46 pm



  12. Jerry

    Mar 15, 2023 at 12:42 pm

    Any change won’t amount to a hill of beans for me. I haven’t bought new balls for years now as I play whatever I can find in the woods or pull out of water holes. For my game, they all play the same. One ball I won’t play is ProV1’s. I don’t have the swing speed to compress them and they feel like rocks.

  13. Larry

    Mar 15, 2023 at 11:52 am

    Its really a silly idea.make all the balls the same for everybody. Im not going to decide on two different balls when i buy.

  14. Mike J

    Mar 15, 2023 at 9:33 am

    Trifurication = red, white, and blue tees? All the hand wringing from the peanut gallery here….ugh.

    I think it’s a bad idea because I had to read a story mentioning meathead Bryson.

    At least Patrick Reed will have an opportunity to cheat by using an amateur ball.

  15. PJ

    Mar 15, 2023 at 9:09 am

    Why does golf allow the USGA to define the rules? Hopefully the golf ball mfrs tell the USGA to EAD. Can you imagine the NFL telling QBs they cannot throw the ball more than X yards? How about we tell Olympic sprinters you cannot run too fast because not everyone can run as fast as you and it isn’t fair. If this actually happens I’m done watching golf.

    • Scott B

      Mar 15, 2023 at 11:49 am

      Hey PJ, While I agree that bifurcation is not the answer, especially since amateurs are allowed to compete in pro tournaments, I wanted to let you know the NFL argument you make doesn’t work. NFL footballs are larger than college ones, and don’t have the white stripes, so not only are they harder to throw, but also harder to catch.
      We actually bifurcate a lot with amateur to pro levels, for example 3 point line distance in basketball, metal vs wood bats in baseball, and the above point about football.
      Bifurcation is not an inherently wrong idea. I think it just gets messy when amateurs and pros are playing on the same field, at the same time, for potentially the same stakes, and one is expected to play by a different set of rules.

  16. Anthony

    Mar 15, 2023 at 6:10 am

    I will not play the shorter ball. I’m 56 yrs. old and not the longest hitter. If I stripe a drive it’s going 240-250 with roll out with an average drive at 225-230. I play often and find that most amateurs are in that range and shorter. I already find it very difficult to hit a green in regulation on a 400 yard par 4 as do the vast majority of golfers out there. I hit my 8i 140 yards. Pros hit theirs 180-200. I think using course design is the way to go. Don’t penalize the player that can stripe one 330 yards. Penalize them if they are not accurate with OB, impossible rough, trees, etc. These options don’t really hurt the typical golfer at these courses. Rough can be cut for typical play. Greens can be rolled back from a 14 to a 9, etc.

  17. Two-tone ball

    Mar 15, 2023 at 5:50 am

    100% will conform. Why? Every ball manufactured by then will conform.

    What needs to be said is that the ball companies are going to have to make conforming balls because they don’t want to be caught out with bad PR. Will it affect amateurs? Probably not.

    Of course they’re missing the real win here – had they just required a 65-compression ball for everyone, they’d be fine. Instead, it’s manufacturers meeting tolerances, just like the driver head they are complaining about at the same time. ¯\_(?)_/¯

  18. Mike

    Mar 14, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    Of course I’ll still use my regular golf balls, I’m a regular golfer, not a pro. Not a big fan of this idea. There’s plenty of other options they could have come up with. Pinching the fairways. Growing the rough. Stop mowing the fairways down to a 10 on the stimp meter. And I can’t wait for the ball manufacturers to scream about this. “Hey, play a pro v1 one, but not the one the pros play”.

  19. Poo

    Mar 14, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    This will wreck golf for all.
    It would be so much easier to just leave it where it is, and cap it now.
    If they want to change anything they should roll back the COR and lower it to 0.800 and call it a day.

  20. Chris C.

    Mar 14, 2023 at 7:45 pm

    I will be 72 in 2026. I will play the “official” ball and give up any idea of hitting irons into par 4s. I hope that the professional tours opt to ignore the USGA and refuse to use the USGA’s 21st century feathery. If they do so, everyone should feel comfortable declaring that the “USGA is dead to me.”

  21. gdb99

    Mar 14, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    I’m playing the balls that I can play as an amateur. But I don’t like this change.

  22. Bill Prickelson

    Mar 14, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Why not just go with non-conforming drivers and illegal distance balls, if all fans care about is the long ball?

    It’s becoming like baseball where it’s just home run derby.

  23. Shank Machine

    Mar 14, 2023 at 4:56 pm

    Not really a fan of creating a two tier system. If they’re wanting to implement rules like this, apply it to everyone.

  24. Chuck

    Mar 14, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Bifurcation is bad because it ends the era of all golfers playing by the same rules. Bifurcation is bad, full stop.

    Trying to “protect” courses with hyper fast green speeds is bad because it eliminates a number of interesting hole locations, and might even cause delays when winds are high.

    Trying to control scoring by narrowing fairways and growing rough is bad because it distorts golf course architecture and limits strategic choices of lines of play.

    Trying to limit distance by water-soaking courses is bad because dry, firm and fast courses emphasize the ground game, demanding more and better course knowledge. Firm and fast golf is vastly more interesting than wet target golf.

    The one single obvious intelligent balanced proper solution to golf’s distance problem is a single unified rollback of solid core multilayer urethane balls. The only balls that elite players use.

    • James Kendzior

      Mar 15, 2023 at 2:39 pm

      So do you believe that there should only be one set of tees for all golfers? Do you play from the championship tees like the pros? Do you use a handicap if you play in a league or tournament? Of course there are different rules for different levels of players. Why should it be any different with the golf ball?

  25. Thomas Hertwig

    Mar 14, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    News Flash the NBA is limiting the height of players to 6ft 6in and let’s not forget Boeing just signed a huge deal with the Saudi’s so I guess you could say the PGA tour is condoning sponsors doing business with blood money countries.

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7 takeaways from an AWESOME equipment talk with Padraig Harrington



Fans of golf equipment have long known that Padraig Harrington is one of us. Throughout his career, Harrington has been willing to test new products, make changes from week to week, and play with a bag of mixed equipment brands.

What equipment fans may not know, however, is just how brilliant of an equipment mind Harrington truly has.

Ahead of the 2023 Valero Texas Open, I caught up with Harrington to pick his brain about what clubs are currently in his bag, and why. The conversation turned into Harrington discussing topics such as the broader equipment landscape, brand deals in 2023, his driver testing process, why he still uses a TaylorMade ZTP wedge from 2008, square grooves vs. V-grooves, and using a knockoff set of Ping Eye 1 irons as a junior.

Padraig Harrington’s 2023 WITB

Below are my 7 major takeaways from the extensive gear talk with Harrington.

1) Padraig’s stance on equipment contracts, and why he prefers Wilson

Harrington is a longtime Wilson staffer, and although he supports the brand and uses their equipment, he doesn’t use a full bag of Wilson clubs. He finds Wilson’s understanding of a player’s need for flexibility to be beneficial to the player, and it’s attracting more and more professional players to the company (such as Kevin Kisner and Trey Mullinax).

“Wilson wants me to play whatever I’m comfortable with. It’s very important. They’re not a manufacturer that says, ‘We want you to play 14 clubs.’ There’s always a club you don’t like. That’s just the way it is. So Wilson is like, ‘We want you playing well and playing the best clubs for you.’

“I am very comfortable with their irons. I’m very comfortable with their wedges, as you can see. They have an old hybrid 4 iron that I love. They have a new hybrid 4-iron that is too powerful. I put it in the bag last week and I had to take it out. The thing is, I use a 4-iron and a 5-wood. My 4-iron has to go somewhat relative to my 5-iron, and then I have to bridge that gap between 4-iron and 5-wood, so it has to do both. The new 4-iron was going 230 yards. My 4-iron goes about 215-235, maybe 240 on a warm day. And my 5-wood is like a warm-day 265 in the air, but I have no problem hitting it 235, so I can cross it over. But this 4-iron, the new version, it just went. I couldn’t hit the 215 shot with it; it’s just too powerful. That’s why I have the old 4-iron in the bag, but it does the job to bridge the gap…

“As players get more money, they’re less dependent on manufacturers. They need the service of a manufacturer – because, like I need to be on that truck and get things checked. But you’re seeing more players see Wilson as an attractive option because you don’t have to use 14 clubs. If you’re not happy this week with the putter; you know, Wilson has the putters, they have everything, but if you want to chase something else for a moment…remember, there’s two things you’re chasing. If you’re a free agent, it’s not good to be changing a lot. That is a distraction. But it’s nice to have the option that if somebody…like I feel Titleist has come out with a great driver. And I’m able to work my way straight into Titleist and say, ‘Hey, gimmie a go with that. Oh, this is a great driver, I’m going to use this.’ Wilson is aware of that. They want their players to be happy and playing well. Like it’s still 10 clubs, but it’s just not 14 and the ball.

“The irons are great, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve won the most majors. They make a gambit of irons. If you want to use a blade, they have the blade. If you want to use my iron, which is just a good tour composite, it has a bit of a cavity-back, you can do that. If you want to use the D irons that have rockets going off there, you can have them. Like the 4 iron, the one they gave me, it was a rocket! And guys are happy to carry driving irons like that, but mine has to match in with the 5-iron. It was just too high and too fast.

“So yeah, I think you’re going to see manufacturers go more of that way. Our players want to be independent, but the problem is that full independence is not great. You don’t want a situation where you’re turning up – as you see kids who make it into their first tournament, and the manufacturers start giving them stuff, and they’re changing. You don’t want to be the guy changing too much.”

2) The dangers of a 64-degree wedge

Although Harrington himself uses a Wilson Staff High Toe 64-degree wedge, he seldom practices with it. Here’s why he warns against it:

“The big key with a 64 wedge is DO NOT use it. No, seriously, do not use it. It’s a terrible wedge for your technique. That club is in the bag and it gets used on the golf course, and it gets used when it’s needed, but you don’t practice with it, because it’s awful. So much loft will get you leading too much, and you’re going to deloft it. Hit one or two shots with it, then put it away. You’re better off practicing with a pitching wedge and adding loft to be a good chipper instead of practicing with a lob wedge and taking loft off. A 64-degree wedge is accentuating that problem. It’s a dangerous club. It does a great job at times, but it certainly can do harm.

“It’s not bad having it in the bag for a certain shot, but it’s a terrible club to practice with. I literally hit one or two full shots with it, a couple chips with it, and that’s it. I know if I spend too long with it, I’ll start de-lofting.”

3) The interchangeable faces on TaylorMade’s ZTP wedges from 2008 were Padraig’s idea?!

I couldn’t believe it myself, but Harrington says that the idea for TaylorMade to offer interchangeable face technology on its ZTP wedges in 2008 was originally his idea…

“The TaylorMade is obviously attracting a lot of attention, but that was my idea! Myself and a consultant for Wilson, I got him to build changeable faces and he sold that to TaylorMade…that’s fully my idea. He sold that then to TaylorMade, and TaylorMade produced them, which I was happy about. But TaylorMade couldn’t sell them. You can’t get people to clean the grooves, so they weren’t going to buy a new face. Why have 400 faces at home? So I went out and bought these faces to make sure I had them for life. And I was home chipping a while ago, and I have a nice 58. I like the grind on that wedge, and the fact I can just replace the face and have a fresh face every three weeks, it’s just easy, so that’s why that’s in there.”

4) Driver testing isn’t all about speed

“The driver companies know I’m a free agent when it comes to drivers, so every time a new driver comes out, they’ll come to me and say, ‘Hey, would you have a look at this?’

“I will test everything, yeah, but it has to beat what I have in the bag. And Wilson’s new driver is the same. They brought out a new driver and it’s great, but I love the driver I’m using. So I say, ‘Look, guys, not only do you have to be as good as the incumbent, you have to be better, because I already know this and I’m familiar with it.’

“Wilson has built a very, very good driver. There’s know doubt about it. But I love the driver I’m using. And none of these manufacturers can build me a driver that’s better.

“Ball speed gets a driver into the conversation, and then you bring it to the golf course. So the driver has to be going as good as my current driver, and then I bring it to the course and see if I can hit the thing straight. I have gone down the road [of prioritizing speed]…I used a driver in 2014, and it never worked weekends. But it was fast. I used it for about six weeks I’d say – six tournaments – and I missed six straight cuts. It never worked the weekend. It was really fast on the range, but it just wasn’t good on the course.”


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5) Playing with knockoff irons as a junior

“I played as a junior for Ireland, under 18’s, and I owned half a set of golf clubs, and they were imitation Ping Eye 1’s. I borrowed the other half set off my brother. We had a half set each. I had the evens, he had the odds. In that tournament, there was a guy playing with Ping Berylliums with graphite shafts. They cost 1,900 pounds. Mine cost 100 pounds, and they were knockoffs. So I played, for my country, with a set of knockoffs. Before I used those knockoff clubs, I used a mixed bag of clubs. As in, I picked up whatever club they had. The 6-iron might go farther than the 5-iron. The 5-iron might go with a fade and the 7-iron might go with a hook, but I knew what my clubs did. Each club had a purpose.”

6) Using square grooves and V-grooves simultaneously

Square grooves – or “box grooves” – were outlawed by the USGA in 2010 because they were said to help golfers spin the ball too much. V grooves are said to provide less of an advantage because they restrict the sharp edges of the grooves, thus reducing the amount of friction imparted on the golf ball. Prior to the rule change, however, Harrington actually used both V grooves and box grooves, and he’d adjust his setup depending on the golf course.

“What’s interesting is, when the box grooves were around – very few people know this – I carried two sets of clubs at all times. I carried a V groove and a box groove.

“Yeah, see, the box grooves were unbelievable out of the rough, spin wise, but if the rough got to a certain level, the ball would come out so low and with spin that it wouldn’t go very far. Your 7-iron coming out of this rough would only go like 140 yards and it wouldn’t get over any trees because it would come out so low. What I was doing was, if I got to a golf course with this sort of a rough, I’d put in a box groove 7-iron and a V-groove 8-iron. If I got in the rough and I had 170 yards, I’d hit an 8 iron and get a flyer, because the 7 iron wouldn’t get there depending on the lie. And I couldn’t get it over things. So if there were trees, you needed the V groove to get over the trees. A box groove wouldn’t get up in the air.

“No one else was doing it. I played with the box groove for a couple years before I realized that in certain rough, you need the V groove to get there. Hale Irwin played a U.S. Open seemingly with no grooves. Off the fairway it’s meant to make no difference. I would disagree, but that’s what the officials would say. But out of the rough you needed the flyers to get to the green. The V grooves were doing that for me. You get your flyer to get of the rough to get the ball there, but then if it was the first cut of rough, or light rough, or Bermuda rough, or chip shots, it would come out so low and spinny that you’d have no problem.

“I can’t believe that people didn’t realize that I was doing this two-groove thing all the time. I swear to you, you could stand here, you would not launch a 7-iron over that fence there if it was box grooves out of light rough, and V groove would launch over it. The launch characteristics were massively different.”

7) Blame the person, not the putter

Interestingly, Harrington, for all his tinkering, has only used a handful of putters. It turns out, there’s a good reason for that — although he’d like his current model to be a few millimeters taller.

“I used a 2-ball when it came out. Then I used a 2-ball blade, which I won my majors with. I always had a hook in my putts, so not long after I won my majors, I went to face-balanced putter because it helps reduce the left-to-right spin. I started putting really badly in 2013 and 2014 – I had some issues. And then come 2016-2017, I just said, look, I putted well with this putter. If I use this putter, I can’t go back and say it’s the putter’s problem. It’s gotta be me. So I went back to the face-balanced 2-ball blade because I’ve had good times with it. I may have only used 5 or 6 putters in my career.

“I’m really happy that I’ve got a putter that I know I’ve putted well with, and I don’t blame the putter. I can’t say that anymore. I don’t blame my tools, I blame myself if I miss a putt. So it comes down to…I know the putter works, then it’s me. Me, me, me.

“You know, I’ve toyed with using other shafts in the putter, and I will look at other putters, but things are askew to me when I look down. So I can’t have a putter with a line on it. It doesn’t look square to the face. I’ve never putted with a putter that has a line on it for that reason. I line up by feel. I know that putter works, I know it suits me, so that’s why I go with that…

“I prefer a deeper putter (a taller face). The one issue I have is I hit the ball too high on the face, but they won’t remodel the whole system to make me a deeper putter. I’ve tried some optical illusions to try and get it where I hit the ball more in the center, but I hit it high. It seems to be going in the hole so I’m not going to worry about it too much. But in an ideal world, if someone came along and said they could make the putter 3-4 millimeters higher, I’d be happy with that.”

See more photos of Padraig Harrington’s 2023 WITB here

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TaylorMade survey on ball rollback finds everyday golfers massively against introduction of Model Local Rule



In response to the USGA and R&A’s recent announcement that they plan on rolling back the golf ball for the professional game, TaylorMade Golf issued a survey asking everyday golfers to voice their opinion regarding the topic of golf ball bifurcation. Today, they are sharing the results.

Almost 45,000 golfers across more than 100 countries spanning a variety of ages, abilities and participation levels took the time to complete the survey and have their voice heard, with some of the major findings shown below:

  • To the best of your knowledge, do you agree with the proposed golf ball rule?
    • 81% No
    • 19% Yes
  • Do you think average hitting distances in professional golf need to be reduced?
    • 77% No
    • 23% Yes
  • Are you for or against bifurcation in the game of golf (i.e., different rule(s) for professional golfers versus amateurs)?
    • 81% Against
    • 19% For
  • How important is it for you to play with the same equipment professional golfers use?
    • 48% Extremely important
    • 35% Moderately important
    • 17% Not important
  • If the proposed golf ball rule were to go into effect, would it have an impact on your interest in professional golf?
    • 45% Less interested
    • 49% No impact
    • 6% More Interested

The results also show that 57 percent of golfers aged 18-34 years old would be less interested in the pro game should the rule come into effect, while five percent said they would be more interested.

“The goal of our survey was to give golfers the opportunity to voice their opinion on this proposed ruling as we absorb the MLR and its potential effects on the everyday golfer. We are grateful that nearly 45,000 golfers across the world felt the need for their voice to be heard. The overwhelming amount of responses show the passion, knowledge and care for the game our audience possesses. Each response and data point is being reviewed as we will utilize this feedback in our preparation to provide a response to the USGA and R&A.” – David Abeles, TaylorMade Golf President & CEO

You can check out the survey results in full here.

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Spotted: Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Three “anti-right” prototype putter



Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K putters have really taken off on tour, and we have seen a handful of models in tour player’s bags. The latest version we spotted out on tour is a very unique design.

Odyssey makes this putter head with a standard flow neck that offers plenty of toe hang for golfers who prefer or need that weighting. This prototype has a long slant neck installed more near the center of the putter head that lets the toe sit slightly up in the air when held horizontally. This is pretty different since most putters sit with the toe hanging down towards the ground or are face balanced (face sits parallel to the ground). A full shaft offset looks to be achieved with the slant neck and the look at address is definitely different.

We spoke to Callaway PGA Tour manager Joe Toulon about the putter and he had the following to say

“On course [we had a player who] had a little push bias that didn’t necessarily show up in practice but it is something that he felt on course. So we wanted to build something that was a little easier to release and maybe not necessarily open the toe as much in the back stroke and not have to work as hard to release it in the through stroke. That was kind of designed to give a little offset and when you rested it on your finger it would rest toe up a little bit. We thought for that player it would help him square the putter face at impact rather than leave it open a little bit.

“It was more of a concept we had and will continue to work on it. When we had it on the truck and we were hitting some putts with it we noticed that you had to work really hard to push this putter. We wanted to make an anti-right putter. Just a fun little concept that we have an idea and work with our tour department to test things out.

“It isn’t something that ended up in a player’s bag but we learned some things in that process and will keep in mind for future builds and projects.”

The finish also looks to be a little different than the standard Tri-Hot 5K putter’s black and silver motif. The face and neck are finished in silver and the rear done in more of a blueish-gray tone. The White Hot insert looks to be standard and the sole still contains two interchangeable weights.

The shaft looks to be painted in the same metallic red as their standard Stroke Lab shaft, but we don’t see a steel tip section. Not sure if this putter has a full graphite shaft or painted steel.

Toe sitting slightly up

Check out more photos of the Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Three Putter.

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