Thanks to reader Sean for catching John Davis's excellent story on the U-groove rule change proposed by the USGA.
In a joint proposal with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, U-grooves wouldn't be banned, but clubs would have specifications so they performed like V-shaped grooves, which were the standard before U-grooves were approved.I wonder how many golfers actually know this?
"Does that mean I would have to buy new clubs?" Kevin Largent of Scottsdale said before a golf round last week. "I just got these."
The answer is yes, although not right away. If adopted, the rules would take effect for high-level competition in 2009 and for all new equipment in 2010. Recreational golfers would have a 10-year grace period in which they can use clubs that currently conform.
Tour pros have had mixed reaction to the proposal, but most club manufacturers are strongly opposed, saying it not only would cost them millions of dollars to meet the specifications but also would be costly for golfers.Oh come on.
"More than 100 million clubs that are being played around the world would be non-conforming. That's a lot of clubs," said John A. Solheim, president and CEO of Ping. "I'm totally opposed to this thing."And why is it again the ball can't be rolled back? That's easier to replace than a set of irons.
An open comment period runs through Aug. 1, during which anyone can send comments to the USGA about the proposal. In recent years, equipment proposals have been "tweaked," but the end result has been a new rule in each case.
If approved, it would mark the first rollback in equipment since the move to a lighter ball in 1931.
Benoit Vincent, chief technical officer for TaylorMade, thinks the proposal is "disconnected."This argument looks particularly silly after Oakmont:
"Their point is that golfers aren't concerned about driving accuracy," Vincent said. "How do they control that? By regulating the spin of the ball on shots out of the rough?
"The probability that this rule is going to solve the problem is very low."
Vincent thinks it unfair that clubmakers and regular golfers would pay a steep price simply because of shots being executed by highly skilled tour pros. He estimates that golfers would pay 10 percent more for the new clubs.
"In order to meet those specifications would cost millions of dollars," he said. "This rule is insignificant to the vast majority of golfers in the world except that they would have to change their equipment. It's one of the most irrelevant rules ever proposed in golf."
Rugge doubts that the proposed changes would have much change on the tour's money list. "Tiger Woods is still going to be the best," he said. "We would expect to see some changes, but these guys are so good, they would adapt their games perhaps to focus more on staying in the fairway."
Right, because they are aiming at the rough. Kind of hard not to when the fairways are 22 yards wide.