The USGA and R&A have embarked upon a research project to consider a golf ball–distance rollback. What are your views on that idea?
The golf ball has been the most stringently regulated product in the history of the game. We feel that the rules in place regulating golf balls and golf clubs are more than adequate to contain any significant increases in distance caused by technological influences. The line in the sand has already been drawn. However, if the regulatory bodies determine that a rollback is necessary and seek to change the controllable variables of ball and club, we strongly believe that you cannot roll back the incremental distance of the past twenty years by focusing on the ball alone or the club alone. Based upon our research, the contributions of ball and club are equally weighted. It is both unfair and impractical to focus on one without the other. The ruling bodies have always been fair and practical, and we expect them to be no different this time around.
Given the regulations, what are the next exciting developments in equipment?
The roots and origins of the Acushnet Company are based upon product performance, and just as we have done for the past seventy years, we will continue to find ways to enhance performance within the existing regulations. Innovation will also come from a better understanding of the optimization of physical conditioning, swing efficiency and equipment. The Titleist Performance Institute is our learning laboratory. With 3D analysis, we can capture all of the rotational speeds of the body and get a precise picture of what is happening during the swing. We can measure a player's ability to generate and transfer speed while isolating any physical limitations. Integrating instruction to a custom-prescribed fitness program and custom-fit equipment will enhance a player's performance. The world's best players have recognized the potential for optimization, and the opportunity exists in the future for more amateurs to undergo a body, swing and equipment diagnosis to maximize their performance.
Where do you see the biggest growth opportunities for golf in the next decade?
As an industry, we need to embrace and promote the idea of education and instruction. As anyone who plays will attest, the game is extraordinarily difficult, and without more accessible and affordable lessons, particularly in emerging golf markets, it will remain a challenge to attract, retain and grow its player base. We applaud the PGA of America for its "Play Golf America" campaign to promote the game through education and instruction. In markets outside the U.S., we need to strengthen the infrastructure, akin to the PGA of America, so that the game is taught in a way that makes it enjoyable. When you and I play better, we play more rounds. That is a fundamental that most of the industry's major bodies have failed to grasp. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting people to believe that they are going to improve. Believing the next round will be a better round than the last one is what will induce you to want to play more often. That is the win-win for all parties involved. •
HANDICAP 4.6BEST SCORE 67, at CC of New Bedford, MA
MEMBERSHIPS Bay Club, MA; Caves Valley, MD; Sara Bay CC, FL
EQUIPMENT Titleist 905 S driver; Titleist Pro Trajectory 904 F fairway metals; Titleist 690 CB irons; Titleist Vokey Design wedges; Scotty Cameron by Titleist Red X putter; Titleist Pro V1 ball