‘Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.’ Going by Archimedes’ brag, he may well have been a nifty golfer swinging away while coming up with his famous theorems. But in a bid to level the greens, there’s now a plan to limit the length of golf clubs used by professional players. According to current rules, a club (barring a putter) can be a maximum of 48 inches. A new ‘model local rule’ introduced by the R&A and US Golf Association wants a max of 46 inches. This change could be incorporated by PGA and European Tours. What danger lurks in these two inches that separate new legit from old legit?
Bryson DeChambeau, for instance, became the longest driver – the long-distance shot played from the tee box – on the PGA Tour last year, by using a 48-inch club. He has reportedly shelved plans to break the new 46-inch barrier. The physics of motion works on the principle of the longer the club, the larger the curve of the swing, the bigger the force of club-ball impact, the faster the ball’s speed, and, therefore, the farther the distance travelled by it. Too long a stick and, as any dandiya dancer knows, it becomes unwieldy. But fixing a limit limits a golfer’s trade-off between length and agility, part of his or her skill set. We can’t stick with such short-sighted conservatism.