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Position Statement

GOLF EQUIPMENT TECHNOLOGY
ADOPTED BY THE NGCOA BOARD OF DIRECTORS ON NOVEMBER 22, 2004

It is the mission of the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) to enhance the lives of golf course owners by making their businesses more profitable, more efficient, better managed and more stable.

We join the USGA, the R& A, the PGA TOUR and the American Society of Golf Course Architects in expressing concern about the impact of technology that, without any improvement in swing technique, enables golfers to hit the ball farther; and, the possible negative effect this may have.

We endorse the rules and regulations of the USGA and the R&A.  Further, the NGCOA agrees that the purpose of the equipment rules is to protect golf’s best traditions, to prevent over-reliance on technological advances rather than skill, and to ensure that skill is the dominant element of success throughout the game.

It is the belief of the NGCOA that any further significant increase in hitting distances is undesirable.   Our concerns are the following:

Increased golf ball distance results in errant shots missing their intended target by greater distances than before.  New golf courses are required to be built with more land in order accommodate the need for larger safety buffers to either side of the preferred line of play.  The effect has been that golf courses take up more land, with subsequent increases in land acquisition, construction and maintenance costs.  The consequential lengthening and widening of courses will also have a negative effect on increasingly important environmental and ecological issues.

Older courses, many of which have been brilliantly designed, are being rendered powerless to challenge the modern power hitter and no longer play as designed.  Additionally, in most cases the older courses are faced with a concern due to their inability to expand the safety buffers required with the longer-hitting golf equipment.  Owners and operators of older courses are burdened with increased liability costs as a result.

Off-line shots, due to the greater dispersion that is generated by increased distance, also contribute to slow play.  Additionally, greater hitting distances subject longer hitters to increased waiting periods between many shots, further impacting the pace of play. The result is diminished enjoyment of the game and increased cost of play. 

The NGCOA is in support of the efforts of the rule making bodies to limit the impact technology has on golf ball distance.  We view this issue as a top priority for the industry; and, encourage both the rule making bodies and the manufacturers to develop a timely and credible set of parameters that restrict further technology-driven increases in hitting distances.


© 2000, National Golf Course Owners Association