August - 2009

New Groove Regulations

I'm not sure how closely everyone is following the New Groove regulations that the USGA and the R&A adopted with their letter to manufacturers on August 5, 2008, but a few members mentioned that this might be a good subject to try to explain.

After a period of study, the USGA and the R&A decided to adopt a new rule regarding the allowable dimensions of grooves on clubs (irons). The USGA felt that with the development of "box grooves" that some of the skill required to play a shot out of the rough was negated by this advance in technology. Specifically, the clubs affected under the new USGA regulations must have lofts of 25 degrees or higher.

These new groove rules become effective for all new clubs covered by this rule change that are manufactured on or after January 1, 2010. A Condition of Competition requiring the use of clubs that conform to the new groove rules for competitions conducted after January 1, 2010 will be added to the USGA Rules of Golf.

The U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, and the U.S. Senior Open will adopt the New Groove regulations for championships conducted after January 1, 2010 (this includes all qualifying events for these championships). All other USGA championships will apply the Condition of Competition requiring the new groove regulations for competition beginning January 1, 2014.

Currently conforming clubs (the one's that you are using now) may continue to be used in all situations where the Condition of Competition is not in effect (our tournaments) until at least 2024.

Because of a previous lawsuit, one exception to this new Rule of Golf are all Ping Eye 2 clubs manufactured before March 31, 1990. The USGA will continue to treat these clubs as conforming for all USGA competitions.

This change in the Rules of Golf will only have affect on you if you are competing at the highest levels of competition.

The interesting (and controversial) part in all this, is that for the first time there are two separate sets of rules governing play- one for general play and one for the top level of the game.