The USGA has consulted with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland regarding its plan. The R&A shares the USGA's intention to adopt the same indoor test procedure.
These updated tests would employ state-of-the-art computer technology in an indoor test range. According to the USGA, such technology would enhance the accuracy and repeatability of the golf ball tests. They would also test each ball at its true distance potential that would better reflect the actual performance standards achieved by today's elite players.
'The tests in force today for golf balls were first implemented in 1976,' said Dick Rugge, USGA senior technical director. 'They reflect the best technology and performance characteristics of elite players from the mid 1970s.
'Golf technology and player skill have evolved,' Rugge continued. 'We feel strongly that we need to modernize our tests using the best of today's technology. We intend to do so in a manner that maintains uniform golf ball conformity standards on a worldwide basis with the R&A.'
No golf balls listed on the current conforming list will become non-conforming as a result of the proposed new test methods.
The proposed timetable for implementation of the new tests is:
* Discussions with golf-ball manufacturers through May 2001;
* Completion of new test protocol and review by the USGA June 2001;
* Public notice and comment, including public hearing, through September 2001;
* Final USGA approval for implementation through October 2001;
* Worldwide Implementation of new test methods by January 1, 2002.
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