Golf distance debate: Ernie Els wants ‘knee-high rough’


Bryson DeChambeau is a polarising figure at the best of times, but his biggest crime in recent weeks is that he’s reignited the golf distance debate.

Before the coronavirus was a thing, golf’s governing bodies had decided enough was enough, while everyone had their say, whether it be us mere commentators or the very best in the game. Indeed, Nick Faldo’s plan is pretty out there, while Colin Montgomerie and Gary Player told us how worried they are for the future.

There may have been – and still is – a global pandemic going on, but it was a blissful couple of months where everyone with even a passing interest in our sport seemed to forget that there was even a debate about dialling back golf equipment.

But the new bulked-up, passive-aggressive, hitting-423-yard-drives version of DeChambeau has brought it right back into our lives.

And Ernie Els, in the most Ernie Els way possible, has just shrugged his shoulders and told us it’s a simple fix.

“Our game is in a good place,” he explains. “Equipment improvements and distance are here to stay. Full stop.”

So how would he solve the problem. If, indeed, he believes a problem even exists.

“We need a serious premium on accuracy,” he adds. “Golf courses don’t need to be longer.

“Make the tour rough knee high and fairways fast and firm which is fair for all players.”

Is Big Easy exaggerating when he says knee high? Probably not, this is a man that’s won two US Opens, after all. But every time the distance debate comes up the comments section on this site alone are lit up with people saying to grow the rough up.

Els always has been a man of the people.

Do you agree with Els that it’s as simple as ensuring there’s a premium on accuracy? Let us know in the comments below or you can tweet us.

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