More Talk About Grooves And The USGA Proposal
USGAHere's a question sent in by Jack, using the Ask Terry button.

Q: What impact do you anticipate for the competitive amateur who wants to play the same equipment the Pro's do should the USGA's proposed new groove rule take effect ?

Are we going to see that great a decline in short game control ?

Are you going to change your grooves ?

A: Jack, let me answer your last question first. If the USGA changes the rules on grooves, EIDOLON will change ours to comply, as we respect the USGA and the R&A as the "guardians of the game". But the way the rule change is proposed at this time, it makes it a little confusing.

First of all, the date that new grooves would have to be incorporated into new wedges would be 1/1/08. And the rules proposes that all prior conforming wedges be grandfathered for 10 years. The really interesting thing about this rule proposal is that the USGA is actually recommending that the "Director of Competition" for all events not for "expert players" waive the rule for his/her tournament.

In other words, it would seem that the USGA would likely apply the rule to their championships and probably the PGA Tour and the NCAA/NAIA would also.

But it's really up to the Director of Competition for each event, from the club Member-Guest to the various Championships.

But from the way I read the proposal, the PGA Tour could elect to waive the rule, if they wanted, which would completely negate the whole thing.

As for playing the same equipment the Pro's play, you don't do that anyway, unless you avail yourself to to the highest level of clubfitting to precisely get fit with the right loft, lie, shaft, clubhead design, ball type, etc., the way the Pro's do at the test centers of the major companies.

The clubs you purchase in the store are not even close to that kind of precision and you choose your golf ball based on anything but scientific testing on a sophisticated launch monitor that reads launch angle, spin rate, carry distance, roll, etc.

As for the decline in short game control, there's no question that the revised groove dimensions will reduce spin, particularly from the rough, which is the whole point of the rule change anyway.

If I might summarize my thoughts on this, I think it's high time we quit pretending that the Pro's play the same equipment we do, and that they should play by different rules that we do.

I favor a rolled back golf ball for them, though it will probably never happen (and I think college and high-school baseball should go back to wooden bats too !).

Mainly I think the PGA Tour should quit watering the greens to make iron play like throwing darts.

In my opinion, a well-built and maintained green should not allow much of a pitch mark and the golfer should have to calculate the roll out of the ball after impact and plan his shot creatively as a result.

I hope that answers your questions and if it doesn't, please ask again, OK ?
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[ comments ]
Mike Jones says:
From what I saw on the USGA website, wedges for the average golfer can still be manufacturer up till 2010, just the highly skilled players in competitions who need conforming grooves before that.

"The USGA proposes that these new groove rules become effective for all new clubs covered by this rule change that are manufactured after Jan. 1, 2010. A related Condition of Competition would be added to the USGA Rules of Golf to become effective Jan. 1, 2009. This Condition would allow a Committee to require the use of clubs that conform to the new groove rules for competitive events conducted after Jan. 1, 2009. Similar to other equipment-related Conditions of Competition, the USGA would recommend that the Condition apply only to competitions involving highly skilled players."
wedgeguy says:
That's the difficult thing on this issue, Mike. We don't know what any individual tournament director might do with his/her event? "Allow a committee" isn't very secure for us in the manufacturing end of the business. Think about this. If current clubs are grandfathered for ten years, as they are recommending, the wedges we make after 1/1/10 will be far inferior in spin to those we make currently. So, in March of 2010, you are up against a guy in a match who's playing an older grandfathered wedge, and you have the newest thing. He'll run rings around you in stopping the ball. I think there is a lot of work still to be done on this issue before the Rule is finalized.
nctrnl says:
This rule is ridiculous. They need to define expert player. Does that mean scratch golfer, or someone with a single digit handicap? Then that would included events I am playing in. I could see tourney directors saying "Championship Flight" must abide by the new rules and the other flights do not. Quite frankly, I have had the same clubs for the past 13 years and should not be forced to change. The only thing that I have changed are my shafts to Project X. I'm assuming if I try to qualify for a PGA or USGA event (US Amateur), I will be forced to buy new clubs. The allowed this monster to be created and should have nipped it a long time ago if they were going to change the rule. I don't believe the golfing public has a problem with the scores PGA Tour pros are shooting so why should they?
wedgeguy says:
My point exactly, and the USGA has been very quiet on this issue for over a year now. We're in the wait-and-see mode now, and just wondering where their heads are at now.

I'll post you as soon as I hear something from the USGA on this.
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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