‘How depressing’: LPGA pro decries pending golf-ball rollback

Jenny Shin of South Korea looks on from the 16th hole during the ISPS HANDA Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club on December 01, 2023 in Sydney, Australia

Jenny Shin is not happy about the golf-ball rollback news.

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The idea of a golf-ball rollback has elicited an intense reaction on social media, with many commenters lamenting the idea of losing precious yards off the tee and elsewhere. While only a handful of top pros have publicly weighed in, you can count LPGA player Jenny Shin among those who think the rollback is a bad idea.

Shin, who has one victory and 41 top-10s on tour in her 12 years as a pro, hits the ball an average of 257 yards off the tee. But in a tweet she posted on Monday, her own driver distance wasn’t top of mind.

“I finally got my 7iron to fly 152yards, carry, now they want to roll it back,” she wrote. “How depressing. Why can’t men just have different driver heads.”

Shin’s sentiments are shared by many, including her PGA Tour counterpart Adam Scott, who voiced his thoughts on the game’s evolution on Smylie Kaufman’s podcast, The Smylie Show, over the summer.

“The ball is the ball,” Scott said. “The biggest fundamental change in the game since I’ve been a pro is traditionally the driver has been the hardest club to hit in the bag, and now it’s the most forgiving. That’s the biggest evolutionary change in the golf bag to me, out of the equipment.

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“The penalty for missing a driver just isn’t high enough anymore, in my opinion, at the top level,” he continued. “I’d want to address that first and see what knock-on effects that has. If guys wanna swing at it 130 with a tiny driver head, then good luck.”

One pro with a dissenting opinion from the masses is Rory McIlroy, who took to X (formerly Twitter) to share his take.

“I don’t understand the anger about the golf ball roll back,” he wrote. “It will make no difference whatsoever to the average golfer and puts golf back on a path of sustainability. It will also help bring back certain skills in the pro game that have been eradicated over the past 2 decades.”

McIlroy then doubled-down on his statement with a reply to a follower: “I don’t believe an average golfer giving up 5-10 yards off the tee is going to have a material effect on their actual score, handicap or enjoyment of the game.”

While there still is much to be revealed on the issue, one thing is for sure: There will be no shortage of opinions.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.