When it comes to remote debate, USGA և R&A have friends at Augusta National

“You know Augusta National is going to be the real pillar when it comes to distance, right?”

I heard that sentence, or at least its version, several times during conversations with equipment manufacturers, when the American Golf Association և R & A announced that they wanted to study new model local rules that could reduce the distance to elite levels. Both companies want to potentially change the way they test golf balls.

USGA և R&A are the governing bodies of golf. They set the rules, set the standards for the equipment, and oversee the disability system. They study soil-grass sustainability, report on the game’s environmental impact, explore ways to improve the pace of the game, and host tournaments around the world, including the US Open and the British Open.

But Augusta National Golf Club will also play a role, as its reach has expanded beyond Washington’s Old Berckmans Road. These days, Augusta National is inviting the Masters of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship հաղթ to the winners of the Latin American Amateur Championship, so its impact is being felt in those regions. It hosts the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship, which quickly became one of the most coveted amateur golf titles, with the Drive, Chip and Putt national finals on the Sunday before the Masters.

The club has the most influential course in the world. With all due respect, St. Andrews’s Old Course, Scotland’s world-renowned golf course, is the most influential field in the world in Georgia. Since Dr. Alistair McKenzie և Bobby Jones turned Fruitland Nurseries into a golf course that opened in 1932, it has enjoyed great respect.

Only the privileged few can play in the holy land, but tens of millions of people watch it on TV every year and think. “It must look like a great golf course now.” The green swamps are lush, devoid of weeds, the edges of the bunkers are as sharp as a razor, the flowers explode in color, while the sand is pearly white. Even new trees seem to have been there for generations.

When it comes to changing course to make sure it continues to challenge the best players in the game, whether it means lengthening, adding or removing trees, or adjusting the position of road bunkers, no obstacles are too great. Augusta National has a state-of-the-art subsoil system that can pump water through the soil, push it deeper into holes, greens, lots of lawn mowers, and many fertilizers used to grow plants. , shrubs and trees are viable. Unlike many golf courses, money is not a problem at Augusta.

So if there’s one course in the world that can afford to go the distance, it’s Augusta National.

2022 Augusta Amateur National Women's Final Round

2022 Augusta National Amateur Women – Final Round

August’s national president, Fred Ridley, speaks at the Augusta National Golf Club during the August Women’s Cup National Amateur Golf Cup. Mandatory loan: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

If USGA և R&A decides to create Model Local Rules that would allow tournaments to force players to use distance reduction equipment, they will apply those rules to events they control, including the US Open and the British Open. The Augusta National Tournament Committee then has to decide whether to apply the exemplary local rules in the Masters and the American PGA to decide what to do in the PGA Championship.

If Augusta decided not to apply the local model of distance reduction, it would be a potentially deadly blow to the distance debate. But if you’ve heard of Augusta National President Fred Ridley over the past year, it seems unlikely to happen.

Before the start of the 2021 Masters Tournament, Ridley said: “We have a long-standing position to support the governing bodies. I was very excited to see the areas of interest published by ԱՄՆ R & A of the US Academy of Sciences [in 2021]»: “The growth of the game is a big problem, but our position will be to support the governing bodies. If for some reason no steps are taken, we must consider other options. “On our golf course, what we can do to continue to challenge these great golfers is to maintain the integrity of the design that was originally adopted by Mr. Jones և McKenzie.”

This year, after discussing the changes in the 11th և 15th holes, Ridley said: “We look forward to further discussions during this summer’s commentary period, as well as future proposals and eventual implementation.”

Ridley won the National Championship, playing at the University of Florida in the early 1970s, winning the 1975 World Cup. In the US Amateur Tournament (defeating Curtis Strange and Andy Bean), he played in five major games, and in 1977 played in the Walker Cup. He was heavily involved in the USGA, served as chairman of the USGA Championship Committee, and was elected President of the USGA in 2004. People call him “President Ridley” everywhere he goes at the Augusta National Golf Club, but in the USGA offices he is Fred.

Thus, if the Augusta National Golf Club were to play a role in the long-distance debate, USGA և R&A would decide to create local Model Rules that would require golfers to use distance equipment in an elite tournament, then the Masters has adopted those Model Local Rules if Fred Ridley has a say. And as president, he got the biggest vote of all.

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