Survey Reveals 81% Of Golfers Against Ball Rollback Plans
A survey of around 45,000 golfers across the world by equipment manufacturer TaylorMade has returned overwhelming results against the proposed rollback of the golf ball and bifurcation of the sport.
A huge majority of the golfers surveyed did not see the need to limit the golf ball for the pros, saying the changes were not only unnecessary but also that they saw bifurcation as bad for the game, while a worrying majority of younger golfers said they would make the sport less interesting to them.
A new Model Local Rule has been proposed for January 2026 by the R&A and USGA which competition organisers could enforce to ensure competitors play golf balls that go shorter than the current legal models on the market used by pros and amateurs alike.
This would mean that all current balls would be non-conforming at the 'elite' level and new tour/elite balls would not travel as far.
It would also lead to the bifurcation of golf as a sport, with the game split between the elite tour pros and the amateur golfers who would be using different equipment to each other – something which has caused uproar among many.
Current players have differing opinions, with many such as Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau against it, but the likes of Rory McIlroy backing the plans by saying it would reward the better players and bring more skill into the game - hitting more mid to long irons and leaning on short game skills.
Golf ball manufacturers aren't pleased, as they'd presumably have to cover the costs of developing new conforming golf balls to comply with the new rule.
One of those, TaylorMade, has sought to gather the views of the golfing public, and commissioned a survey that drew almost 45,000 responses from golfers from 100 countries – with the headline results unsurprisingly being that the vast majority thought the changes were unnecessary and unpopular.
A whopping 81% of respondents did not agree with the proposed golf ball changes, with the same number being against bifurcation of the game and saying that the changes would not be good for the sport.
There was also a huge 77% of the golfers surveyed who thought that driving distances did not need to be reduced in the professional game, and what could be a concern is the 45% who said that they would be less interested in pro golf if the changes went through.
The custodians of the game, charged with growing the sport to a younger audience, may also be particularly interested to learn that that number goes up to 57% of golfers aged 18-34 who said golf ball changes would lessen their interest in pro golf.
“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,” said TaylorMade Golf President & CEO David Abeles.
“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.”
Most golfers also thought it was important to them to be playing with the same equipment as the pros (48% extremely important, 35% moderately important) and that has long been one of golf’s real strong points.
And 14% even said they’d play less golf due to the new rules, which will be one of the many outcomes of the survey that will give food for thought to the lawmakers about whether they actual go through with the plans.