Too Many Myths, Vol. 2

So let's look at USGA Distance Myth #1 (which has been endorsed by a posting over at

Golfers with faster swing speeds get disproportionately greater distance benefits from new golf balls that have been introduced after 2000.
Most have cited the ball as the easiest remedy to the distance issue. However, most would agree that the distance jumps in the last 8-10 years having occurred due to a few circumstances, with ball-club optimization of launch conditions topping the list. Anyway... 
False. Physics, scientific tests, and actual results on the PGA Tour all confirm that faster swinging players have not gained a disproportionate amount of distance from modern golf balls.  An example: Corey Pavin, the shortest hitter in 2000, gained about the same amount of distance from 2000 to 2005 (7.4 yards) as the longest (John Daly at 8.7 yards).
Interesting that these two players were chosen and the myth declared false with so little support.

Also interesting that 2000 was the chosen year when many have actually pointed to 1995 as the year things started happening, and when these two players were in their prime (compared to the other years selected). Factoring in 1995 adds a different twist: 

Player            1995                  2000                2005

Pavin            254.9                 251.3               258.7

Daly              289.0                301.4              310.1 

So in that ten year span, Pavin's increase was under 4 yards, while Daly's was 21 yards.

But back to the "myth" that players with faster clubhead speeds see disproportionately greater distance benefits. You saw what happened to Pavin, who in his U.S. Open winning year was able to drive it 254.9 and was a whopping 3.8 yards longer in 2005. How about some of the longer hitters?

Player               1995                2000             2005

Els                    274.3                278.4            302.9   

Love                 284.6               288.7            305.4

Singh               283.5                279.9            301.1

So just focusing on the 2000-2005 span the USGA cited, Ernie Els is up 25 yards, Davis Love 17 yards and Vijay Singh 22 yards. And on the shorter end of the driving distance spectrum?

Player                  1995              2000             2005

Funk                    256                266.8             270.0

Faxon                  261.2             264.4             274.7

Furyk                  256.2             269.9              280.0

Again, in the 2000-2005 span Funk has picked up 3 yards, Faxon 10 yards and Furyk 10 yards.