It's The Dimples!

Thanks to reader Graeme for this:

AUSTRALIAN golf great Peter Thomson has suggested golf balls should be redesigned to harness the distance they are being hit by pros and amateurs. In an article in the Australian Financial Review last week Thomson suggested the solution lies in the ball’s dimples. Ten years ago, testers found that the greater the area of the ball covered by dimples, the more aerodynamically effective it became and the better it performed in cross winds. They changed the dimple pattern to cover 100 percent of the ball. “If we restricted the dimple pattern to cover 40 percent or 50 percent of the ball, it would return the distance of the drive to 250 yards [228.6 metres],” says Thomson. “This would also reduce the incidence of balls flying over fences into neighbouring houses and onto roads.” The rules of golf state that every golf ball must comply with three things: its weight must not be greater than 1.62 ounces, its diameter must not be less than 1.68 inches and its initial velocity, when fired from a testing cannon, must not be greater than 250 feet (76.2 metres) per second. Manufacturers have been able to tinker with the ball’s cover, internal composition and dimple pattern to comply with these rules, and yet still get greater distance.

It can't be good for the USGA that one of the R&A's biggest supporters isn't talking up the grooves.