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R&A Looking For A Golf Ball Testing Engineer?!

Nice spot by Ben Stephens to post the job ad on

Currently, the USGA handles ball testing for the two governing bodies. Does this mean the R&A would like to do its own testing at headquarters in St. Andrews?

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Reader Comments (15)

It doesn't matter a damn WHERE the testing takes place. It only matters that it occur in the same place with the same test devices.
The only reason the testing is done by and at the USGA is that the USGA could afford to hire a full time tehnical director inthe 1970s
when the R&A couldn't scrape up two dimes to test equipment. Later, when the R&A finances improved they voluntarily sent us
(the USGA) $75,000 a year, a nice symbol.. The worst possibe outcome would be for the R&A to test independently. Better the USGA should move all its testing stuff to St.Andrews to help the R^A;s ego, A truly major USGA person told me that a big equipment maker (not Acushnet) offered the R^A one million dollars to get into equipment testing so as to drive a wedge between the USGA and R&A.
A USGA president flew to St. Andrews to cut it off.
02.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Hannigan
Frank - From my feeble mind, I don't understand why it is imortant that the ball testing be done at the same place,with the same equipment, etc.? Didn't the R&A have different ball rules until recently? I think my question is better phrased as, "is it important that the USGA and R&A have identical rules and, if so, why have two rule making organizations?"
02.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHBL
@ HBL ... probably because the USGA has golf jurisdiction over the USA and Mexico whereas the R&A has jurisdiction over everywhere else!

Begs the question ... how did that happen? Could it be because 'the world of golf' doesn't begin and end on USA/Mexico borders?
Frank, gotta be Taylor Made and Mark King considering his recent comments in the press about the USGA. Thanks for that scoop.
02.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Why do we think the usga has a monopoly on wisdom for testing. Looks to me like it is the opposite. Wouldn't we be better off with more testing?
02.15.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
Are they looking more for someone to "test" golf balls to ensure compliance with current standards...or take it to the next level of "testing" for defining the standards for the future. It would seem that the first one I listed could be handled by one or two people, while the second one would need a lot more money and personnel. I've been to the USGA test center and it seems like they have at least 10-15 people working there. From what I hear, the R&A only has one or two people involved with equipment adding one engineer doesn't seem to put them in a position to study and make recommendations in the neat future.
02.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
I would like to recommend that Wilson fella over on TurfNet, cause he's been testing golf balls for the last two weeks on turfnet tv.
02.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLudell Hogwaller
Just remember the US measures the distance in yards, along with Liberia and Burma. The rest of the planet uses metres. But the US has roughly half the golfers on the same planet.
Go with Wilson on turf net. It would also put some common sense back into the equation.
02.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Strangelove
Colin...having played golf in dozens of countries, it is surprising how many have courses in yards, even though the rest of their society is metric. Just got back from a trip from Costa Rica and every course was in yards. Same in Panama, Mexico and most of South and Central America.
02.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
The testing was conducted, and verified by the best players in the world. That's why the USGA - R&A put out their: Joint Statement of Principles in the summer of 2002. It was becoming evident to many then that DISTANCE was about to get out of hand.......and it did.....and it has.

The only thing someone with honesty and integrity has to do is GO BACK to the Darrel Survey and Identify the balls being used in 1998, 1999 and 2000. The Pro V 1 made its debut in October of 2000, so you see the effect slightly in 2001.

In 2002 launch monitors helped even more, just being honest.

By 2003, (After the USGA and R&A Joint Statement of Principles, SEE BELOW) we saw the Introduction of the Pro V 1-X ( a new 4 piece constructed ball with TWO CORES designed for club head speeds that 99% of amateurs cant achieve ) we witnessed elite players with significant club head speeds driving these balls INSANE distances. After the Tournament of Champions event at Kapalua where Ernie Els had picked up 40 yards over night Golf Digest writer Jamie Diaz wrote an eyeopening article.

One Example: number 18 and TPC Scottsdale had to add a bunker beyond the water on the left where the old carry was 295 yards, with the added bunker the forced carry on that LINE is now 320 yards. Many players today on the PGA Tour are consistently standing up on the 18th and taking that line of flight as the green opens up more from the left hand side. I mentioned to Tom Weiskopf last summer that he needed to run the water on the left all the way up the left hand side to the green, he agreed that something needed to be done since players were flying the water/bunker on the left and having 100 yards to the middle of the green. Tom said the hole was designed for a 250 yard shot off the tee leaving 200 yards into the green. Based on Tom's angles the hole would play 450 yards. Based on the line of play i've described, the hole is playing 435 yards. These yardages can be verified on Google Earth.

The argument put forward today is that WE CANT slow the ball down Because amateurs wouldn't want to play a ball that goes a shorter distance. This is really an absurd argument once you understand the fact that 99% of amateurs cant obtain the desired club head speed to activate the CORE to the golf balls designed with two cores. Without the significant club head speed needed to Compress the CORE'S to some of these 4 and 5 piece constructed two-core golf balls, one ONLY then begins to understand that the USGA and the R&A have in FACT already Bifurcated the sport at the Professional Level by allowing someone like John Daly an exponential distance "advantage" over someone like Corey Pavin, and all of it being based on club head speed and the "Right Ball". Bottom line, if you can swing fast enough today with a driver we're not going to make you play the 18th at TPC Scottsdale as it was designed, we're going to allow you to play Long Drive tidily winks. Here's a link to help those that don't really understand how compression, golf ball cores, and distance are factored.

"Now even I can reach par 5s," says Jay Haas, 49, who after jumping from an average of 266.3 yards in 2000 to 273.7 in 2001, is up to 280.4 this year. "I'm thinking: Wow, is this what it's like to finally be long? No wonder these guys have been kicking my butt for so long."

There is no debate that the biggest reason for the largest increase in tour driving distance has been the advances in golf ball technology. When the majority of tour players switched from Titleist wound balls to Titleist's solid-core Pro V1 in late 2000, driving distance increased by more than six yards. That more than doubled the largest one-year gain since stats were first kept in 1980. Now another hot ball, Titleist's Pro V1x, is routinely cited as fueling another distance surge this year.

The new ball has encouraged many of the game's power players to swing harder. "There is an exponential increase in distance the faster you swing," says Mickelson. "With the greens getting firmer and pins getting cut tighter, it pays to hit as many short-iron and wedge approaches as you can. On most nonmajor courses, it's not a difficult decision to go after the tee shot as hard as I can."

The USGA and R&A quickly released their "Joint Statement of Principles"

The R&A and the USGA believe, however, that any further significant increases in hitting distances at the highest level are undesirable. Whether these increases in distance emanate from advancing equipment technology, greater athleticism of players, improved player coaching, golf course conditioning or a combination of these or other factors, they will have the impact of seriously reducing the challenge of the game. The consequential lengthening or toughening of courses would be costly or impossible and would have a negative effect on increasingly important environmental and ecological issues. Pace of play would be slowed and playing costs would increase.







Just one more crazy thought. If you were in the business of selling residential lots and million dollar homes could you then see the UP SIDE to stretching golf courses out an extra six or seven hundred yards?? Strange how I feel this factors into the distance explosion as well.
02.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy
One more thing to consider.

Great Big Bertha, with her larger club head, 45 inch, 65 gram graphite shaft made her debut in 1995, thats when I switched from persimmon to metal.

When I hear the argument that the light weight shafts have to be factored into the distance equation I would say look at the driving distances for the years covering 94 to 2000. This is when the reality that its mostly ALL BALL finally hits you.

The CORE of golf balls designed for exceptional club head speeds need a RULE or GOVERNOR ( if you will ) written into the rules.

The USGA's over all distance standard was set at 294 yards based on 109 MPH testing swing speed. For the modern balls to fit that testing protocol someone at USGA would need to see the cor of restitution AND distance beginning to diminish at the 110 MPH clubhead speed. With a governor on the core of the golf ball someone with 120 MPH club head speed would still be one of the longest hitters on Tour, but we would all know that his Drives have a decrease in cor of restitution (concerning the core of the golf ball ) beginning at 110 MPH. This was true with the old three piece wound balls, big hitters simply Over Compressed the old balls but were still the longest on tour.

Its TIME for the USGA and the R&A to fulfill their responsibility in ensuring the INTEGRITY of the sport is adhered to........they keep ducking this responsibility. Look what they want to do and have already done to St. Andrews!

The USGA should be ashamed for not releasing their golf ball testing study that has gone on into perpetuity, especially since they are a Non-Profit. Maybe someone should file a Freedom of Information request.
02.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy
Sorry, here's the link for Optimizing Distance and how compressing the CORE is the Engine.

As a professional golf ball engineer, I have designed balls for golfers ranging from top touring pros to high handicap golfers.

Think of the core as The Engine of a golf ball.

4-5 piece balls are typically for players with higher swing speeds that generate higher spin. The additional layers allow for a more optimal ball flight to counteract the traditional effects of excessive spin. They also reduce the spin off the driver for maximum distance.
02.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy
Optimizing Distance: As a professional golf ball engineer, I have designed balls for golfers ranging from top touring pros to high handicap golfers. is that missing link.

Pay close attention to the CORE is the engine, and how club head speed is crucial for the 4 and 5 piece balls.
02.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy
Optimizing Distance: As a professional golf ball engineer, I have designed balls for golfers ranging from top touring pros to high handicap golfers. is that missing link.

Pay close attention to the CORE is the engine, and how club head speed is crucial for the 4 and 5 piece balls.
02.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy

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