The R&A and USGA this afternoon officially announced their intent to see new limitations on the golf ball that will come into effect in January 2028 and leading original equipment manufacturer Callaway have released a statement outlining the company’s thoughts on the decision.
Following the initial proposal in March that saw the governing bodies float the idea of introducing a Model Local Rule ball for professionals and elite amateurs, it was announced today that a revision to the ball testing conditions will take effect in January 2028 for professional and January 2030 for recreational golfers.
The ‘bifurcation’ idea was vetoed in favour of a ‘one size fits all’ approach and Callaway, whose Chrome Soft ball is used by a number of Tour professionals including Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm, claim that they had consistently corresponded with the ruling bodies that bifurcation was their preferred approach.
Like several other leading manufacturers who have voiced their displeasure at the overall outcome, Callaway have pledged to support the decision and were appreciative of the four-year lead time for the ball manufacturers to prepare for the implementation of the new standard balls on the professional circuits and an additional two years to bring them to market for the general public.
You can read the Callaway statement in full below.
Statement From Topgolf Callaway Brands President & CEO, Chip Brewer
Topgolf Callaway Brands respects the perspectives of the governing bodies and knows they are acting in what they believe is in the best interest of the game. However, when viewing the same data, we have consistently communicated that we would not have chosen to roll the ball back and we would have preferred bifurcation over a change across the board.
Having said that, we would like to thank and compliment the USGA and R&A for their approach and process in making this decision. Throughout this process, we believe they have been open and thorough in their analysis. They took the time to actively seek input from multiple stakeholders, including us, on multiple occasions and levels. They clearly listened and were thoughtful in their responses; and, when they deemed it appropriate, they modified their approach in ways that benefitted both the game and the industry that supports it.
Along these lines, we appreciate the lead time the ruling bodies have provided to conform to the new rule. This will give us time to redesign and implement new products successfully. They also modified the testing protocols to avoid unnecessary testing ambiguity. Perhaps most importantly, they sought to minimize the impact on the end consumer by providing an adequate grace period for the transition in recreational golf. Certainly, all leading ball manufacturers, including Callaway Golf, will bear some added expense associated with redesign and tooling; however, there also likely will be new opportunities to differentiate which we look forward to.
Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of further conversation around this subject; particularly regarding whether this decision is good for the game and if all parties associated with the game will adopt the new regulations. In the end, we believe the game will be best served by us all aligning behind a common set of rules and standards. Therefore, while we will always participate actively in the debate; when a final decision is made, we will align behind it. The game at large has never been stronger and we look forward to being a major part of growing both on and off course golf moving forward.