USGA officials said it was the first rollback in equipment since a brief experiment in the 1930s to reduce the weight of the golf ball. That was deemed ineffective, and the rule was scrapped.Which looks minor really compared to this.
As for the pros using V-grooves in 2010 but other major amateur golf not having to conform until 2014, Steve Elling writes that "It's mildly akin to the use of aluminum bats in the amateur or college baseball ranks, versus the wooden bats of the pros. It's the same game, sort of, but it sure sounds different.
Or more succinctly defined another way, as Elling offers...
Frank Thomas, a former technical director at the U.S. Golf Association, was nibbling on a snack on Tuesday at the 90th PGA Championship when the change was broached. He wiped the crumbs from his chin and offered one word.
"Bifurcation," he said.
For the uninitiated, that's a red-letter term that means split and separate, and most assuredly not equal.Not reported anywhere but nailing a vital point about course setup was Trevor Immelman:
I think they need to decide which way they want to go about running the game. I think you've either got to have the courses set up the way they are now, with extremely deep rough and 500 yard par-4s, which is the way they have it, which seems to be working fine. I mean, you know, nobody's blowing away these Major Championships shooting 15-, 20-under. So that seems to be a recipe that has worked over the last few years.
Or, you can change the grooves, but then they're going to have to scale the golf courses back, because you can't give guys no advantage with grooves. Because you got to understand one thing: As soon as we change the grooves, we're probably going to have to alter the ball we use, because if you're not getting as much spin, you're probably going to have to start using a softer golf ball.
In the last few years, we're using harder golf balls because the drivers allow us to launch the ball higher off the tee. So we need less spin, and we have had good grooves on our irons, so we have been able to launch the ball to create enough spin.
So we're going to have to go back and the manufacturers are going to have to go back to the drawing board. And I know Nike has been working on this since the USGA started sending the smoke up that they may be doing this. I had a look at a few prototypes where they have started working on some different groove variations.
And I like I was saying, as we change the grooves, we're going to have to start maybe looking at the way our golf ball is performing. And at that point the R&A and USGA may have to decide how they're going to set the golf courses up. Are we still going to have rough that is this deep (indicating). And like today out there, we have got guys the rough is pretty juicy here but you still got guys with these rakes out there making sure that it stands up this high. It's quite interesting.
But so I think that you're going to have to give and take. So that's where they're going to have to figure out how are they going to give and take. Because they can't just keep taking. Because at that point, you just are going to have players having just a lot of struggles out there with golf courses being too difficult. That's my opinion.And this from Phil Mickelson was also not picked up in reports, but is nonetheless profound:
And one of the biggest issues I have with course setup is having the same penalty for everybody regardless of skill level, and that leads to the thickness of rough. If you have a ten-inch rough -- and I'm sorry a lot of people say five and a half inches or whatever the length is; everybody wedges out 80 yards into the fairway. It's the same penalty for everybody and so skill level is factored in there.
And I'm hoping that the course setups won't be like that, but they will be like the PGA TOUR has done this year and had a little bit more playable shot-making abilities, recovery shots, more integral part of the game from the rough on mis-hit tee shots.
So I kind of like it. But what's interesting for me is that this exact study was done with triple the data back in 1988, was given to the USGA, and it was disregarded, and now 20 years later, it's considered valid.
Again, I don't care, because I like the new rule change, but it just is funny to me how that -- the way the process worked out.I assume this from Jim Furyk will be music to the USGA's ears...
I think that I might have a couple wedges in my bag that might be borderline or over the proposed limit, so I would have to pull that back.
And what that will do is it will make guys want to play a softer golf ball, and it probably doesn't go quite as far anymore, because they will want to have more control over that ball around the greens and with their wedges, where they score.
So I think all in all, it's probably going to be positive.