Now that we’re just a few weeks away from the first stage of the new groove rule becoming law, I thought I should take some time to break it down for my Rock Heads and make sure we’re all clear on what’s changing, what isn’t, and how the new rule might affect YOUR golf bag.
Golf’s governing bodies, the United States Golf Association and the R&A at St. Andrews, have drawn up new limits for the width and depth of the grooves your irons and wedges can have. The sharpness of a club’s edges has also be restricted. The most obvious result will be that players will not have as much control with their clubs.
Why? According the USGA, today’s golfers have never had it so easy. New materials for both golf clubs and golf balls mean longer, straighter shots. And while golf courses have been busy adding new bunkers and more yards, it just hasn’t been enough. “Research shows that the rough has become less of a challenge for the highly skilled professional and that driving accuracy is now less of a key factor for success,” says the USGA. So in an effort to give the golf course a fightin’ chance, golfers will have to work just a little bit harder to drop their Titleist onto the green.
When? To answer that question, you’ve also got to ask Who? Because I’m afraid to say it’s the PGA Tour pros who have to deal with this first. January 1, 2010 is when this new groove rule takes effect for the top levels of competitive golf. The next tier, those aspiring high-to-mid-level amateurs get included next in 2014, finally followed by us hackers way down the road in 2024 – assuming they haven’t made us revert back to using mashies by then!
Take special note that most manufacturers are already crankin’ out the new-model clubs, and can really only make current-spec clubs until the end of 2010. So my suggestion is to stock up on your favorite wedges while you still can!
If you have any questions, just drop me a line in the comments or catch this Caveman over on Twitter and I’ll do what I can to get you an answer ASAP!
PS: A few of my friends at one of my favorite golf forums, GolfRewind, posted a link to an excellent video that Cleveland Golf put together that covers most of this information. See the video for yourself, then cruise on over to Cleveland Golf’s Twitter feed and tell ’em Scratch sent ya!
BONUS: Still strugglin’ to put some spin on your golf ball?