SPORTS ILLUSTRATED missed the point about the recent USGA-R&A
compromise on coefficient of restitution limits for drivers (THE
WEEK, May 20). While glibly choosing its winners and losers, SI
overlooked the real beneficiaries--millions of average golfers.
With the likely adoption of the proposal next January, the
reunified Rules of Golf will limit COR at .830 for highly
skilled golfers, while setting the ceiling at an exciting .860
for the rest of us. The solution isn't perfect, but what
compromise is? Even with the curious stipulation that the COR
limit for all golfers shall be reduced to .830 in 2008, I think
the compromise is good for the game for the following reasons:
The proposal recognizes the vast difference between pros and
amateurs. It calls for applying the more restrictive COR only as
a "condition of competition" for the major professional tours.
The rulemakers have wisely refrained from penalizing 50 million
golfers who play for fun because of a perceived problem created
by a small number of golfers who play for a living.
The new rules reflect a global perspective. In 1998 the USGA
broke away from the rest of the world by setting a COR limit,
creating a serious problem for the game. Those most affected
were recreational players from abroad who, while traveling to
the U.S. and Mexico, found that their clubs did not conform to
Rules that permit recreational players to get more distance--and
enjoyment--by using high COR drivers will help increase
participation. More golfers playing more often is in the
interest of everyone with a stake in the game.
At Callaway we think the compromise was the result of rational
minds looking at useful data. The game has not suffered outside
the U.S., where high COR drivers have been in use for years. Who
knows, maybe future study will convince the rulemakers that
recreational players should be allowed to hold on to their .860
drivers in 2008 and beyond.
Ron Drapeau is the president and CEO of Callaway Golf.