•Why is increased distance in golf an issue worth studying?
oGolf is played by more than 50 million people worldwide, of all abilities. Increases in distance may impact how all golfers enjoy the game and where and how they play well into the future. We believe that the entire golf community would benefit from integrated research and thoughtful dialogue to build insights on this important topic, with the goal of better understanding its potential long-term impact.
•Why do you think there has been a recent upward trend in driving distance within the professional sport?
oThis may be due to a combination of factors, and analysing this recent data is one of the objectives of the Distance Insights project. However, the project is far broader than this, as we will review the topic of distance from the past, present and future, and from a variety of perspectives.
•How will the USGA and The R&A go about gathering data?
oWe will use internal staff, third-party researchers (consultants, academics and contract research firms), and online tools to gather data from across the golf community. We have standardised our processes to collect data for any source related to distance in golf, which is explained in the Terms and Conditions posted on our respective websites. In addition, all are welcome to provide their opinions and perspectives directly related to the project via the official survey released in September and open until 31 October 2018. Access to the survey can be found at randa.org/distanceinsights or usga.org/distanceinsights.
•Which stakeholders will be involved in this project?
We are seeking perspectives from everyone in golf. The official survey, conducted by SMS and accessed from our respective websites, is the primary vehicle by which we will collect and measure stakeholder perspectives. In addition, we plan to conduct interviews with a variety of groups and individuals through SMS, an independent research firm. These groups include both elite and recreational players, national associations and federations, course architects, golf equipment manufacturers, golf course managers and owners and others.
•Since the release of the 2017 Distance Report, other studies have surfaced regarding driving distance in the game. Why?
Since announcing the Distance Insights project, we have received data from a variety of sources in the game. It is important to note that each data set is different in its purpose, methodology and segments represented. We are currently reviewing these data in an effort to more fully understand their applicability to the Distance Insights project.
•Don’t the USGA and The R&A already have significant research on this topic? Why is there a need for another study?
This project is intended to bring together the extensive research on this topic where reliable data is available, as well as the perspectives from the entire golf community, as it also looks at the present and possible future impacts. We also need to expand our perspective and take into consideration many viewpoints from throughout the game worldwide.
•What types of questions does the overall project address?
When looking at the past, present and future of golf and distance, many questions come to mind. Primary among them are: what are the key contributors to distance? What has been, and will likely be, the key impacts of distance in golf? What are the perspectives of our stakeholders on distance?
•When will results from the Distance Insights project be completed and when will we know more?
We plan to issue a report in 2019 when the research, analysis and documentation are complete.
•Do you plan to release the SMS perspectives survey results in their entirety as part of the final Distance Insights report?
Our independent research partner will provide a report that will be available at the conclusion of the study and following delivery of the final report. It is important to note that we have promised and will continue to protect the anonymity of all respondents.
•How can I get involved?
You can get involved by taking the survey from now until 31 October 2018. You can also share any verifiable data related to distance in golf until 20 December 2018 through the same webpage.