The Board of Governors of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) supports the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A launch of the Global Distance Insights Project, including the governing bodies’ intent to provide a “closer inspection and monitoring to understand the causes and effects of increased distance.”

The ASGCA Board of Governors—comprised of 13 leading golf course architects from across North America who have collectively designed and renovated hundreds of golf courses—discussed the topic with its members at the 72nd ASGCA Annual Meeting in April and has been asked by USGA and the R&A to provide additional comment.

“ASGCA is pleased to see the USGA and R&A study this important issue in an open-minded, objective way,” said ASGCA Immediate Past-President John Sanford, who is heading ASGCA engagement. “It is a complex issue, with long-term implications and various points of view. It is sensible for the game’s governing bodies to promote dialogue, and ASGCA has been asked to provide thoughtful, fact-based commentary. As people who love the game and help define it through our work, we look forward to playing a constructive role in the discussion.”

Sanford, from Jupiter, Fla., said ASGCA’s Board of Governors noted the USGA and R&A recognize that increases in distance can potentially contribute to demands for more resource-intensive golf facilities. “Golf courses are small businesses that should be operated in a sustainable way, both for owners and the surrounding communities. We are encouraged to see that sustainability is being considered as part of the distance issue,” he said.

ASGCA also appreciates how the USGA and R&A plan to engage with stakeholders throughout the golf industry to develop a comprehensive understanding. “Just as ASGCA members design courses for all players – not only championship-caliber layouts – we are glad to see the USGA and R&A looking at the entire golfing public,” Sanford said. “Golf course architects continue to blend preservation with innovations in their designs. ASGCA members work across a diverse array of course types and conditions in more than 90 countries around the world, and we are excited to bring our voice and expertise to this project.”