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Enough About Grooves!
By Snyper on 4/5/10
Matt Snyder is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

One of my biggest pet peeves about watching professional golf is the endless number of excuses that commentators come up with for the bad shots that the pros hit. This season, the default excuse that seems to be used about five times for every hour of coverage is the new groove regulations. We haven’t even made it to the first major and I’m already sick of hearing about it! Last week, I had to watch a segment showing the amazing difference between the old grooves and the new grooves using water displacement when the club head hit the ball. It was totally ridiculous and a waste of time that could have been spent showing golf! It is amazing how big of a deal the media is trying to make about a change that makes about as much of a difference as regulating the size of the golf bags the pros are allowed to use.

If they want their wedges to spin more then the manufacturers will spend a million dollars to find a way to make it happen.
The bottom line is that this rule changes just about nothing! The pros have all the resources in the world at their fingertips and what they want, they get. If they want their wedges to spin more then the manufacturers will spend a million dollars to find a way to make it happen. The secret nobody wants to talk about is that most pros hit the ball so well they actually want to spin the ball less than they already do.

If you didn’t hear the media talking about the new grooves all the time, do you think you would notice a difference when you’re watching the pros play? I’ll answer that for you, heck no! Don’t worry, it’s not because you have an untrained eye or that you don’t know enough about the game to recognize a difference. It’s because there is no difference to be seen! If you think I’m crazy, check the stats! PGATour.com makes it very easy to search through the skill statistics and compare them from year to year. The scoring average for this season is a full stroke lower than last season. The pros are actually hitting the ball closer to the pin this year than last. And, perhaps the most telling of all stats, the scrambling percentages are better in 2010 than they were in 2009! Oh, and the number one player in the world isn’t even contributing to those statistics yet!

Hey, USGA! If you want to make the game harder for the pros, there’s a formula that works every time. All you have to do is make the conditions of the course more difficult! I’m not talking about simply adding a little length to the rough. I’m talking about actually firming up the greens every once in a while. And, maybe if the fairways weren’t mowed as short as most of the greens that amateur golfers play on, maybe then we would see a higher premium on good shots!

Hey, USGA! If you want to make the game harder for the pros, there’s a formula that works every time. All you have to do is make the conditions of the course more difficult!
Do we need some regulations on equipment? Yes, of course we do. But, this isn’t the kind of regulation we need. The bottom line is that the pros demand to play in the best conditions and in optimal scoring environments. They moan and complain every time the greens are firm or the rough gets high. And, the PGA Tour wants these guys making lots of birdies and shooting in the 60’s all of the time. They know exactly how to make the game more difficult and how to force the pros to hit better shots, but they don’t want that. Just like everyone wants to see more offense in other sports, we want to see guys making at least five or six birdies in a round. And that’s OK! All I’m asking is that the media stop trying to sell a “grooves scandal,” which is clearly more about brand name companies selling more product than it is about making the game more difficult.

Golf fans are being lied to and deceived when they have to listen to the talking heads explain how every bad shot is a result of the new grooves. Sure, there will be some shots on tour that do not produce as much spin as they used to. But, as long as the rough is average, the fairways are cut incredibly short, and the greens are soft, the new grooves aren’t going to change the game at the professional level at all. As much as I love to watch golf, all this garbage about grooves has got me ready for Tiger to come back, so that these guys will have something else to talk about. Of course, when that happens, I won’t get to watch golf anymore because the camera will never leave Tiger. But that’s a whole other story... which I’m already working on!

photo source

[ comments ]
monteash says:
I have to agree that the groove thing is more media based and biased than player performance based. This weekend, I saw the latest TV ad from Cleveland golf in which the company CEO calmly implores viewers to rush out and buy as many legal wedges as possible before they change design of the grooves. Makes me think that the media bias is, to an extent, being encouraged by manufacturers who may stand to benefit from a one-time increase in sales volume in an emotional response by the playing public who are convinced by media coverage that groove design will significantly change the game of golf. My opinion of Matt, not that it matters, is that he has seen through the media haze on this particular issue.
lcgolfer64 says:
Spot on Matt, and I'm not playing the Pro Tour anytime soon, so I could really care less. I worry more about keeping my groves clean and 'sharp' more than a couple of millimeters difference that I can't see, or a hyped-up water displacement test.
lcgolfer64 says:
- Correction: tenths of a Millimeter...
birdieXris says:
wrhall02 says:
Agree with Matt's closing...Tiger's comeback means no more golf on TV, the cameras will only follow Tiger's every move. Give me coverage of Stricker's trouble shots (under a tree, over a hazard etc), Cink chipping, or Furyk favoring the long side of the green to avoid short siding. I learn something aplicable to my game watching these guys. I don't learn a thing from Tiger's game...except how to fist pump after sinking a putt.
I enjoyed the Tourneys sans Tiger. The closing holes on Sunday actually meant something.
Trevor Spring says:
did u just write an artical about grooves

and i read it

falcon50driver says:
wrhall02 your comment is very insightful. Well stated.
[ post comment ]
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