Category Archives: R&A


The USGA and The R&A have published a research paper that reports important facts on driving distance in professional golf. Supporting data comes from seven major tours around the globe (PGA Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, tour, PGA Champions Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour), including PGA Tour data beginning in 1968. More detailed data is provided with regard to distance since 2003 on the PGA Tour (thanks to ShotLink, additional info is given) and the European Tour.

One of the key findings was that between 2003 and the end of the 2015 season, the average driving distance on four of the seven tours increased about 1%, or 0.2 yards per year.

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This press release certainly caught my attention. At this year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon, the R&A is setting up The Open Camping Village, which will feature two, four and six person pre-pitched tents along with inflatable camping beds for each guest — or as it’s being marketed, “the next generation of golf fans.” The location will be walking distance from Troon.

It’s an interesting initiative and definitely outside the box. Well, sort of. I have two friends in the media who have made camping when the Open is held at St Andrews some sort of tradition. It sounds different and adventurous until inclement weather comes along, which it often does at this championship. (Just ask them what happened in 2010!)

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It took much too long for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews to begin to modernize and join the rest of society in the 21st century — though the all-male membership was somewhat pressured into it — but kudos to the members for voting to admit women a little over a year ago in September 2014.

On Monday the R&A announced the addition of two more female members, Marlene Stewart Streit and Judy Bell, two of North America’s most accomplished amateur golfers. 

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Women now allowed in R&A!

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club has voted in favor of allowing female members for the first time in its 260-year history. The St Andrews-based club consists of approximately 2,400 members worldwide, all of whom were entitled to vote — 75% of the membership took part in the ballot, with 85% opting to change its outdated policy. 

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On Tuesday the USGA and R&A announced 87 changes — three new Decisions, 59 revised Decisions, one re-numbered Decision and 24 Decisions withdrawn — to the Rules of Golf that will be effective January 1, 2014, but there were four significant ones, with the most notable involving the use of high-definition or slow-motion video and other visual evidence in enforcing the game’s rules.

Golf’s governing bodies may have been prompted to make this new decision as a result of several controversies during the 2013 season, particularly the Oscillate-gate incident with Tiger Woods receiving a two-shot penalty for his ball moving at the BMW Championship. 

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Peter Dawson doesn't think same-sex clubs are a big deal

Peter Dawson doesn’t think same-sex clubs are a big deal

Interesting enough, the R&A press conference kicked off with Jim MacArthur, chairman of the championship committee, reading a prepared speech that included platitudes about the greatest golf championship in the world and the advancements in technology, like WiFi, that have enabled them to bring the Open into the modern era. All the while, the massive gender elephant loomed and it felt like they were filibustering the uncomfortable questions regarding Muirfield’s all-male membership policy.

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