In 2022, Brooke Henderson will have to change her driver.
The LPGA has confirmed to Golfweek that the Model Local Rule, which allows circuits to limit the maximum length of a driver to 46 inches, will be implemented starting with the JTBC Classic on March 21. (formerly the Kia Classic). The U.S. Golf Association and the R&A proposed the new local rule in October.
For her entire LPGA career, the 10-time winner has utilized a 48-inch driver. Henderson placed seventh on tour in driving distance in 2021, and she is known for her aggressive style, power, and the way she chokes down on her clubs.
“I started hitting a driver longer than 46 when I was 15, and I’ve never looked back,” she told Golfweek at the Pelican Women’s Championship.
“Henderson had hoped the tour would hold off on applying the new regulation, claiming that hitting a longer club requires talent. Longer clubs (and lengths off the tee) add more excitement to the tour, according to her father and teacher Dave.
Henderson had already started trying a 46-inch driver and “didn’t enjoy it,” losing several yards in the process.
To monitor driver lengths, the circuit put up a club-testing facility at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
Seven players, including Henderson, had clubs longer than 46 inches at CME, according to an LPGA spokesperson, and the majority were extremely near to the threshold.
The Executive Leadership Team, Rules Committee, and Player Directors made the decision to enforce the MLR. The same group will decide whether or not to change the rules for green-reading books.