I had a chance to re-read E. Michael Johnson's fine overview of the USGA's groove smokescreen and discovered that I had stopped reading the online version prematurely. There was more!
And after having read most of the USGA's Second Report On Spin Generation, I was left with questions about the science behind the conclusions. Now, maybe I missed it, so please help me if I did.
First, from Johnson's piece:
"They made a brilliant lab study, but the player testing fell a bit flat," said Dr. Benoit Vincent, chief technical officer for TaylorMade. "I think there was a bit of a rush to conclusion about what actually happens out on the course. In some areas they have made an emotional conclusion based on a global macro-assessment of the data."
Translation: Vincent has some issues with the test protocol and the proposal itself. For starters, he would prefer a larger sample for the player test and a firmer definition of what constitutes "light rough."
I was wondering if I was the only one who couldn't find a definition for rough or light rough. Since this groove stuff is all about the rough and grass moisture levels within the rough grass blades, the rought height would seem like key information in understanding the player testing and how that relates to championship golf.
It's also important considering Frank Thomas's comments on the lack of influence U-grooves have on hay over 4 inches.
Oh and while quiblling, about that field testing. From what I have read in the report, six developmental tour players and 9 PGA Tour players (unnamed) conducted this elaborate field study.
Does that sound like a skimpy sample size to you?