October 14, 2021
OLD WESTBURY, NY – The USGA’s announcement earlier this week that it would implement a local rule limiting driver waves to 46 inches was hit by polarizing reactions in the men’s game. Some, like Phil Mickelson, lamented the change, while others, like Rory McIlroy, met the announcement with ambivalence.
In the world of women’s golf, the change has encountered a gentler response – one that can largely be described as indifferent. Korda sisters Nelly and Jessica perhaps best summed up the reaction at their pre-Aramco Team Series press conference.
“No drama,” Jessica said of the change.
“I don’t really agree with that”: professionals fade away with the 46-inch driver length limit
“It doesn’t affect us,” added Nelly.
This is a common belief among the best women golfers in the world. While the men’s game was embroiled in a distance arms race, that thirst for distance has not consumed the women’s game in the same way. With many of the best female players still having success with finesse, tricky driver setups haven’t been widely accepted.
According to the USGA, only 3 percent of professional players use clubs that are longer than 46 inches, and that number is certainly lower in women’s football.
“I would only see something like this as a problem if 90 percent of the field were playing with something like that,” says Anne van Dam, who is in first place on the LPGA Tour within driving distance. “I don’t really see that as a big point. You can do a lot more with other things – limit the driver’s heads or balls, things like that. I don’t think that much will change in this rule, especially for women. “
1 potential headache that could result from the 46 inch driver rule
To illustrate the tiny impact the change will have on women’s football, many of the professionals asked for comments on the matter at the Glen Oaks Club on Thursday afternoon had very little knowledge of the upcoming change, which will come on January 1st Will come into force in 2022. Gabi Ruffels told GOLF.com that she wasn’t even aware of the rule change, while Angel Yin said she only knew because she saw Mickelson’s critical tweets.
Even among those who know the details of the new rule, the news did not cause much excitement.
“I don’t care because I don’t have a driver who is longer than 46 inches,” said Sophia Popov, the 2020 women’s Open winner. “I know I’ve heard some criticism on the men’s side, but it applies to us : The shorter the driver, the harder you can hit him. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. … It’s something that I look at from a distance and look at it on Twitter and laugh at it. “
Zephyr Melton is Assistant Editor at GOLF.com, where he spends his days blogging, producing, and editing. Before joining the GOLF.com team, he attended the University of Texas, followed by stints with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He supports in all matters of teaching and covers amateur and ladies golf.