February - 2014

This year started quietly, but a very significant event occurred that the USGA initiated back in 2010.
The Rules of Golf, for the first time for amateurs, has that funny word in play-
Under the dictionary's definition, it means:    "the division of something into two branches or parts"

But why does this mean anything to the Rules, or to me?

The Rules now separate the difference in skill levels at the highest levels of competition, so that anyone wishing to compete in amateur championships and or qualifying events must use clubs that conform to the Conditions of Competition that were established January 1, 2010, which became effective as of January 1, 2014.

The Southern California Golf Association was kind enough to forward this letter from the USGA explaining this change and why, so I could pass this information along to you.
There are two important parts of this change.
One, this is only in effect at "at the highest level of amateur golf, and is recommended only for competitions involving expert players".
Two, the second part of Decision 4-1/1, that will affect everyone else, does not occur until January 1, 2024.
At this date, all clubs used for handicap purposes, and all competition are required to be conforming to the guidelines set in 2010.
Until then, at all San Clemente Men's Club tournaments, you have until 2024 to replace your clubs and comply to the new standards…

United States Golf Association
PO Box 708, 77 Liberty Corner Rd., Far Hills, NJ 07931
T 908 234-2300


To:          USGA Officials in Charge of Qualifying, International Association of Golf Administrators/State & Regional Golf Associations,
                 NCAA, GCAA, WGCA,USGA Championship Participants & Friends of the USGA

From:      John M. Bodenhamer - Senior Managing Director - Rules,
                  Competitions& Equipment Standards

Re:            USGA to Adopt Groove Condition for all USGA Amateur ChampionshipsBeginning in 2014

Date:         September 18, 2013

The United States Golf Association (USGA) today confirmed January 1, 2014 as the date for implementing the Condition of Competition for all USGA amateur championships and qualifying events that limits players to clubs manufactured with grooves and/or punch marks that conform to all aspects of the Rules of Golf, including those that were made effective on January 1, 2010. This Condition of Competition reads as follows:

  • "The player's clubs must conform to the groove and punch mark specifications in the Rules of Golf that are effective from January 1, 2010."

  • Details of the condition are described in Decision 4-1/1 in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf. Additionally, while this Condition of Competition may be adopted more widely in 2014 (e.g., at the highest level of amateur golf), it is recommended only for competitions involving expert players.

  • In anticipation of the January 1, 2014 timetable for implementing the Condition of Competition for expert amateur players, the USGA has extended the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, and U.S. Senior Open Championship Player Club Testing program to all players competing in USGA amateur championships and qualifying events, as well as amateurs competing in events where the condition of competition has been adopted. For program details, players should visit www.usga.org/equipment/testing/InviteForOpenClubTesting/.

  • To determine if a club or set of clubs conforms to the new specifications, players should first search the Informational Club Database (Grooves) which is available on the Equipment page at www.usga.org.

  • Additional questions may be directed to the USGA Rules of Golf Department at 908-234-2300 or via email at rules@usga.org.

Thank you.

For the good of the game®

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All rights reserved. USGA, 77 Liberty Corner Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931-2570

Derek Duesler