New local rule to limit length of golf club to 46-inches

A new local golf rule can be used to limit the length of a golf club to 46-inches, and Phil Mickelson isn’t happy.

In the first step (and hopefully not the last) to curb the distances that modern, elite golfers are hitting the golf ball, governing bodies have announced the introduction of a local rule to limit the length of a golf club that will come into effect on January 1, 2022.

Aimed squarely at driver length, the USGA and R&A announced the Model Local Rule this week, which means from the beginning of 2022 anyone running a professional or elite amateur golf tournament may enforce that no golf club in a player’s bag is longer than 46-inches.

It’s not mandatory and it’s recommended to be for elite golf events only.

Mike Whan, chief executive officer of the USGA, said, “We’ve worked closely with our industry partners to ensure the future for golf remains strong. Admittedly, this is not the ‘answer’ to the overall distance debate/issue, but rather a simple option for competitive events. It’s important to note that it is not a ‘Rule of Golf,’ and as such, it is not mandated for the average, recreational golfer. Rather, this is an available tool for those running competitive events.”

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said, “We have taken time to consult fully with the golf industry, including players, the main professional tours and equipment manufacturers, and have considered their feedback carefully. We believe this is the right thing for the game at this time and will provide tournament organizers with the flexibility to choose for themselves within the framework of the Rules. We are working hard to maintain an open, collaborative and considered dialogue with these key stakeholders as we continue to evolve the Equipment Standards Rules to ensure they reflect the modern game.”

The rule details:

MLR G-10 Prohibiting Use of Clubs Longer than 46 Inches.
Purpose. To limit the maximum allowable club length, a Committee may choose to
adopt a Local Rule which restricts the maximum length for clubs, other than putters,
to 46 inches.
A measurement tolerance of 0.20 inches is allowed above 46 inches.
For an explanation of the measurement of a club, see Figure 3 under Part 2.1c of the
Equipment Rules.
This Local Rule is recommended for use only in competitions limited to highly
skilled players (that is, professional competitions and elite amateur competitions).
For the avoidance of doubt, when this Model Local Rule is in effect, the application of
the physical need exception allowing a player to use clubs longer than 46 inches is
not available.

Some bloke called Phil isn’t happy for some reason.

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