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England Golf Club News    10th Apr, 2019 by ukclubgolfer.co.uk

Faldo: ‘Too late’ to stop distance boom

EXCLUSIVE Englishman says many factors are behind game’s distance increase

SIR NICK FALDO believes the opportunity for golf’s governing bodies to deal with the much talked about driving distance issue has long gone.

In the latest report released by the R&A earlier this year, data showed that distance on the seven worldwide tours increased yet again by an average of 1.7 yards – beyond the previous year’s gain of more than three yards.

Since 2012, the average driving distance of players on the PGA Tour has risen from 287 yards to 296 yards, while on the European Tour it is a similar story, with a six-yard rise from 288 to 294.

Faldo, however, doesn’t believe that anything can be done to curb the rise now and credits many factors – not just equipment – for the increase in the professional game.

“In terms of distance in the modern game, it’s gone, the horse has bolted,” the six-time major winner told UK Club Golfer at the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final in the United Arab Emirates.

“We’re in the era of the metal driver and you’ve got that, combined with advancements in ball technology and Trackman to fine-tune everything, as well as there being an awful lot of players on tour now making the effort to be big and strong for golf.

“Then there’s the design of modern driver faces, which should be making it more difficult – not easier. Back in my era of persimmon clubs, the sweet spot was the size of a pea and, if you didn’t hit it out of the screw, it would go left, right, all over. Now, the shortest of hitters on tour are hitting it 280 yards and the longest 320-340 yards.

“But there’s no changing anything now, unless they turn around and say no more metal, back to wood – and that’s not even factoring in changes to the golf ball. So we can’t go backwards. It’s too late. It’s happened.”

The 61-year-old created the Faldo Series back in 1996 with the aim of raising the profile of golf around the world and creating access to the sport for a younger audience through grassroots initiatives at its tournaments.

It has certainly achieved that, with its past champions including former world No.1s Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng, European Tour players Oliver Fisher and Marc Warren and Ladies European Tour pros Mel Reid and Carly Booth.

In those 23 years, meanwhile, Faldo has witnessed many differences in the abilities of golfers and called on them to continue embracing advancements in technology to get the most out of their games.

“The biggest differences I see in young golfers now from when I set up the Faldo Series is that we’re getting close to having a blueprint on how to play the game and it keeps advancing every five years, with developments all the time in instruction, nutrition and physical conditioning, as well as the sheer attention to detail of all the data provided.

“With Trackman, golfers can hit one golf ball and get instant, factual feedback about so many different things, whereas before there was so much guesswork and based a lot around feel. I encourage all of these kids to get onboard with these advancements. Talent has got them so far but if they don’t take on all of this knowledge, they’re missing out.”

2019 Faldo Series GB&I schedule

April 16: England South I Boys, Royal Ashdown Forest

July 1: England South II Boys, Brocket Hall (Palmerston)

July 8: England North Boys, Moortown

July 15: England Midlands Boys, Trentham

July 15: England Girls Championship, Trentham

July 29: Northern Ireland Boys, Galgorm Castle

August 5: Scotland Girls & Boys, Bruntsfield Links

August 12: Ireland Boys, Mount Juliet (White)

August 19: Wales Girls & Boys, Ashburnham

For more information on the Faldo Series and to register for events taking place during the 2019 season, visit faldoseries.com.


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