First Shot at the USGA Over Grooves
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy
Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a story published today, Feel Golf, a small wedge company in California, has announced that they will continue to make wedges and irons with “old” grooves after January 1, 2011 as their customers want to play them. The release is pretty interesting, and can be read in its entirely here HERE. It is the first real shot at the USGA by a manufacturer over this issue, but we might see more in the next few months.
In case you have not been paying attention to this, manufacturers should no longer make and ship wedges or irons with the “old” groove geometry after December 31, 2010. These are the grooves that have been giving you great spin for the past few years, and are standard on nearly all top-end wedges. With the 2011 product lines, all wedges and irons will have to have grooves that conform to the new rules, which mandate a slightly smaller volume and rounded edges. Feel Golf has announced they will not abide by this rule, so all Feel wedges sold after January 1, 2011 will be considering “non-conforming” to the Rules of Golf.
As for the actual changes affected by the new rule, the smaller groove volume will not allow the clubface to channel away as much grass and moisture, like a tire that is worn can’t channel away as much rain or mud. The radiused edges of the grooves will not allow as much grip on the ball, as you might imagine. The end result is that the new clubs will not provide quite as much spin as the current clubs in production. Just how much spin loss any golfer will experience is a matter of debate, it seems. The tour players have been playing these all year, and they don’t seem to be suffering much, as scoring and up-and-down stats haven’t changed at all. EIDOLON’s testing with average players indicates that some experience a significant difference, while others notice hardly any at all.
In my opinion, this rule change was not required at all, as the only people who are making a mockery of the game, as the USGA fears, are the very top echelon players on the PGA Tour. We shouldn’t be re-writing rules just because they have this level of talent, when the game is hard enough for the rest of us already, and is having trouble maintaining healthy growth.
So, rather than just limit our dialog to this column, I thought I would put up a small survey to see what you – the rank and file recreational golfer – thinks about the rule and your plans to deal with it. Please take our Groove Survey and let’s see how many we can collect. I’ll report on the results and maybe we’ll even send to the USGA. Forward the link to your golf buddies who don’t read here and help spread the word. We don’t get many chances to be heard but let’s give it a try, OK?
Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing how you feel on this issue.
* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.
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Fact of the matter is, there needs to be a disconnect between the USGA rules for the average golfer and the PGA rules for tour professionals. Perhaps there is not much or no difference in teh up and down stats for pros. But, I'm not a pro. I tried the "New Rule" wedges and it creates more of a problem for someone like me because I can't necessarily adjust ot a new groove like a professional can. Golf is losing participation. Why made it more difficult for amateurs? It's not a good rule for the longevity of the game...
Most players like me wouldnt know the difference, and havent we all purchased clubs that give us confidence no matter what the grooves were? Make what you want and buy what you want. How about the scar ball that we play with that just gave us 2 pars in a row or a birdie? I know of noone that actually has a rule book or hasnt use their footwedge. Black Footjoys give a better loft in the information Ive gathered. I wont be sharing that information with the USGA.
We do not need the USGA to create new rules to reign in talented golfers, if anything, the PGA and USGA should create a "Condition of competition" rule that requires the new grooves to play in the tournaments; or what ever bad idea they come up with next; But really, don't mess with the rules, mess with the course.
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