Golf Ball Rollback and Amateur Golf

Golf Ball Rollback and Amateur Golf

5 December 2023

By now you will have no doubt heard of the golf ball rollback and wondered, what does this mean for me? Well, hopefully, this blog will answer your questions.

We have pulled from our database the current driver and seven iron distances of amateur golfers to compare with the estimated impact of the infamous, rollback of the ball.

Here we have the driver distance of amateurs pre-rollback.

Currently, nearly ¾ of amateur golfers hit it less than 250 yards off the tee, find out more on the current driving distribution figures here.

Top flight Tours like the PGA Tour will be implementing the rollback in 2028 and for recreational players, the change comes in 2030. 

For club golfers, the rollback will alter driving distance by approximately 5-15 yards depending on their swing speed. For example, the longest hitters with the fastest swing speed could experience a 14-15 yard difference.

A significant reduction in distance off the tee, which in turn, translates to longer second shots. Where players may have hit a 5 iron into a green previously they will now have to take an extra club, or two, to hit it the same distance.

So, not only will we be shorter off the tee, but we will also need to take more club than pre-rollback.

For a 15 handicapper, in terms of hitting the green, the difference in success rate from 130-150yds versus 150-170yds is roughly 8%. 

We take a closer look at green success up to 150 yards away in this blog.

A 15 handicapper is twice as likely to hit the green with a 7 iron as opposed to a 5 iron. Unfortunately, when the rollback is introduced this is a scenario that many amateurs may face. 

As we move further away this difference grows and our chances of successfully hitting the green drop meaning we are required to try and get up and down. We know from previous blogs, the likelihood of converting an up and down is not very high for most golfers.

The rollback comes as certain players and governing bodies, believe that aspects of the game are being lost due to the high-performing balls that are currently in circulation. 

Those in favour of the rollback believe that it will force players to re-learn skills that have been ‘eradicated’ from the game over the last 10/20 years. Courses have been lengthened to try and combat the year-on-year increase in distance players are gaining.

It is hoped that by rolling back the ball, courses that have been ‘overpowered’ in the past may be more of a challenge for the Tour pros.

The rollback is a highly contested topic amongst golfers and players alike which will be interesting to observe over the coming years. Players are clashing heads already with those in favour and those against voicing their opinions.

Are you in favour of the rollback?

Should it be for Professionals only? For both Professionals and amateurs? Or not at all? Time will tell and if it goes ahead, for the amateur golfer, the 2030 season will be an interesting one!


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