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Groove change for 2010

warbirdlover

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It's coming based on article in Yahoo golf sports. For tour players in 2010. "Recreational" players don't have to worry about new irons until 2024. :)

Golf rules roll back shape of grooves in irons
By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
Aug 5, 4:23 pm EDT

Buzz Up PrintBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP)—The Royal & Ancient and U.S. Golf Association announced a rules change Tuesday that will reduce the size and shape of grooves in most clubs in 2010, the first time equipment has been scaled back in nearly 80 years.

The change was directed toward elite players and emphasizes the importance of hitting the ball in the fairway.

Research over the last several years indicated that sharper, deeper grooves in irons produced so much spin that players could hit into the rough and still control iron shots to the green.

USGA president Jim Vernon said that while driving accuracy in the 1980s was as critical to success on the PGA Tour as putting, over the last five years, the importance of accuracy was of hardly any consequence.

“We undertook a world-class research effort to discover why that might have happened,” he said. “Our attention focused on grooves.”

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The R&A and USGA did not ban U-grooves, also know as square grooves. Ping won a court case in the 1980s over the right to use such grooves in its Ping-Eye 2 irons. Rather, the size of the grooves must be slightly smaller and have rounded edges instead of sharp edges on wedges through 5-irons.

Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk were among those who responded favorably to the change.

“They can’t keep making golf courses longer, because not every course has a $20 million budget,” Furyk said. “And they can’t keep us from hitting the ball far, because there’s enough engineers and R&D and technology that keeps us getting longer. If you can limit the amount of spin on the ball and make the guy play from the fairway, it’s probably a good avenue.”

Mickelson favored the change because he said it would bring skill back to shots out of the rough.

“I have no problem with that because I feel like it’s a challenging thing for a player to judge shots out of the first cut of rough or out of the rough,” Mickelson said. “Is the ball going to spin? How is it going to come out?”

Mickelson said tournaments have tried to emphasize driving accuracy by growing the rough so thick that all players, no matter how skilled or how strong, have to play the same shot by chopping it back to the fairway.

Masters champion Trevor Immelman suspects the new grooves might indirectly limit distance.

Players are using harder golf balls that launch higher off the tee, and the grooves give them enough spin around the greens. But if the smaller grooves produce less spin, he believes players might need a softer cover on the ball that won’t travel as far.

“As we change the grooves, we’re going to have to start maybe looking at the way our golf ball is performing,” he said.

John Solheim, chairman and CEO of Ping, said he was disappointed with the rules change and will study it more closely.

“However, I already know it moves the rule book backward,” he said. “How does this help the average golfer enjoy the game more?”

Vernon said he did not anticipate any lawsuits.

“We think we’re in good legal position in case a manufacturer does feel necessary to file a lawsuit,” he said.

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.

The grooves policy is effective in 2010. The USGA and R&A said it would be enforced only at major championships and tour events around the world, such as the PGA Tour, European PGA Tour and LPGA Tour. It would be enforced at events like the U.S. Amateur in 2014.

As for the recreational player, irons made before 2010 will conform to the Rules of Golf until at least 2024. Consumer research shows that only 2 percent of all irons are older than 15 years.
 

eclark53520

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Untill i read the last sentence i was thinking "So...millions of sets of clubs are now "non conforming?"

And i figured this was just a way to get golfers to buy new golf clubs to be conforming but i guess not...i doubt this will work though. Companies will just put millions into making the smaller grooves perform like the larger ones...anything is possible.
 

ualtim

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Sweet, my i10's should be worth a bundle when I get ready to sell them because the will have the "pre 2010 Grooves". :laugh:
 

ezra76

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Feb 5, 2006
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So I'll need new irons when I'm.... 48... cripes, I'll probably have an 11 wood by then.
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RickinMA

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I don't understand the need for the USGA to "attack" 13 of the 14 clubs in the bag. They limit driver COR, driver size and length, driver shape (when they feel like it), and now new groove restrictions will impact all the other clubs - why not just rollback the ball to play more like balatas? wouldn't that be easier than changing all the clubs? Don't all the ball mfgrs make clubs too? they shouldn't cry about a ball rollback
 

TheTrueReview

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It's coming based on article in Yahoo golf sports. For tour players in 2010. ...

...

Phil Mickelson and ... were among those who responded favorably to the change.

...

Mickelson favored the change because he said it would bring skill back to shots out of the rough.

“I have no problem with that because I feel like it’s a challenging thing for a player to judge shots out of the first cut of rough or out of the rough,” Mickelson said. “Is the ball going to spin? How is it going to come out?”

Mickelson said tournaments have tried to emphasize driving accuracy by growing the rough so thick that all players, no matter how skilled or how strong, have to play the same shot by chopping it back to the fairway.

....

Don't get me wrong, I like Phil but I found his comment surprising given that he's often wayward off the tee. If ever there was a player (IMO) who wouldn't like shots becoming less predictable from the rough, you'd think it would be Phil.
awww.pushupstairs.com_images_emoticon_blehnet_confused.gif
 

ezra76

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Feb 5, 2006
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I found it interesting what Immelman said. That's what I've been saying. I think they'd have been better off with a "tour ball" than the groove change. This is really going to screw the equipment companies. I don't know about you but I'm sure as hell not buying a new set of irons with V grooves when I can play square grooves. If they don't continue to make them, then everyone will be snatching up old iron sets. Not that they don't already but the tour player will at least have to play a totally different iron head than retail now.
 

indacup

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I don't really know if this is gonna be that big of an issue....

First off, as pointed out, the ruling won't affect us non pros for another 15 years.

Remember, this ruling isn't so much about reducing RAW spin...on a dry club and surface.

It is designed to penalize the current PGA mentality of hitting the ball as far as possible and scrambling from the rough to save par. By implementing these new restrictions, it is limiting the amount of moisture the grooves will displace when being hit out of the rough.

The amount of spin attributed to grooves is no more than 10%....dialing it back a bit may decrease the contributing factor maybe 1-2% for most of us...and most of these pros could put back spin with a spatula. SO in dry conditions, it's really a negligable issue for them....and definitely a NON issue for us "mortals".
 

Bakemono36

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Aug 24, 2008
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Don't get me wrong, I like Phil but I found his comment surprising given that he's often wayward off the tee. If ever there was a player (IMO) who wouldn't like shots becoming less predictable from the rough, you'd think it would be Phil.
awww.pushupstairs.com_images_emoticon_blehnet_confused.gif
Phil is one of the best wedge players there is though, so he would probably like the new groove rule because it reduces the spin and gives him more of an advantage.
I personally think the rule is BS. If they are going to mess with the groove technology, they might as well go back to persimmon drivers, blade-style irons and balatta golfballs.
 

mddubya

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Nov 6, 2007
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I know it's a long ways off, but wouldn't one of those groove sharpeners negate what they are trying to do anyway?
 

Fourputt

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Haven't we already had this discussion? The test data was released in 2007, and the only players who are significantly impacted are the top level players. The typical amateur can't spin a ball from typical rough even with square grooves, so this won't affect him, and the new grooves still spin as much as ever from a fairway lie. This comes from more than a decade of pretty intense testing.

I bought my new Titleist AP2's with no concern about the fact that they already conform to the 2010 standard. My X Tour wedges don't but I'm not worried about that either. I already depend more on trajectory than spin when I'm pitching from rough... as do most of you I'm sure.
 

ManchesterGolfer

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Jan 4, 2006
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This rule change is a load of BullSh*t that won't make a scrap of difference. My view is that the current performance levels of the Pro V1 and equivilent should be as good as a ball can get. They set a time limit for balls to level out the distance, they should set a max RPM number for the balls. The Grooves should stay as they are but again what we have now is the Max. All this rule is gonna do is set the OEM's R&A departments a challenge to produce more spin using standard 'v' grooves. They will experiment with materials, I wouldn't be suprised to see a return of Cobalt wedges. They will work closely with shaft company's and the face's milling will become more corse until the new v grooved wedges produce more spin than the current wedges we have now.

IMO what should be done is as I've said above, setting the grooves max limit and the balls max spin RPM's too what we have now. Then they should grow the rough at Tour venues to a min of 6 inches and rake the bunkers with every other tooth missing from the rakes. This way if you get out of position you'll have to scramble and Par will be a good score... hitting fairways will give you the chance to go for a Birdie, so hitting the farway will become more important. I would also like to see Bunkers become hazards again, make them deeper, make them harder to set up to the ball in so ocasinally a player has to play out of a fairway bunker sideways and can't always go for the pin in a green side bunker....It's not rocket science but it seems to hard for the old farts who run this wonderful game to get a grip with. They are just all in the mind set "it wasn't this easy with the equiptment I had back in my day".

I kind of like watching the Bomb and Gauge players, I hope this move doesn't back fire and we end up seeing boreing golf with no risk and reward bombs!
 

Fourputt

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I wouldn't worry. There will always be aggressive players, and careful, smart players. Changing the equipment specs won't make a significant difference in that.
 

TheTrueReview

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I found it interesting what Immelman said. That's what I've been saying. I think they'd have been better off with a "tour ball" than the groove change. ....

I think there's a lot of merit in this argument. I remember seeing an interview of Colin Montgomerie and he rightly pointed out that golf is one of the few ball sports where you actually supply your own ball. He advocated a standard ball. I think Trevor and Colin aren't alone with their views.

I don't know about you but I'm sure as hell not buying a new set of irons with V grooves when I can play square grooves. If they don't continue to make them, then everyone will be snatching up old iron sets. Not that they don't already but the tour player will at least have to play a totally different iron head than retail now.

A lot of social players like to play the clubs of their idols. A guy at my home club comes to mind who idolises Tiger & has Nike everything. I don't think it will sit sell with some of those non-professionals that the clubs of their idols that they play (or want to play) will have inferior groove technology to a lot of the used sets floating around.


Phil is one of the best wedge players there is though, so he would probably like the new groove rule because it reduces the spin and gives him more of an advantage.
I personally think the rule is BS. ....

I agree that Phil is one of the best wedge players (probably the best) but remember this rule change will make it less predictable from the rough including the prospect of the occasional 'flyer'. Phil will not be immune to this. I don't think Phil would be too happy with that.

... wouldn't one of those groove sharpeners negate what they are trying to do anyway?

I don't know if that would be legal. A groove sharpener may make the new rounded groove edges sharp, thus causing the club to be non-conforming.

This rule change is a load of BullSh*t .. ... The Grooves should stay as they are but again what we have now is the Max. ...

I agree.

I kind of like watching the Bomb and Gouge players, I hope this move doesn't back fire and we end up seeing boring golf with no risk and reward bombs!

I think the statement being peddled by administrators that the rule change will reward players who keep it on the fairway, is based on a incorrect premise. They seem to imply that players either don't try or don't care about keeping the ball on the fairway, which is nonsense. A pro will always be aiming for the fairway. The pros miss fairways these days for the same reason they've always missed fairways; miscalculations, mishits, bad bounces, wind, loss of form, and the list goes on.

I think the overlooked point is that the pros are fearless about how they go about their game. They're fearless off the tee but also fearless off the fairway; eg. when they're shooting for that tiny elevated green that's surrounded by bunkers and/or water with the pin tucked to the side.

If the administrators are worried about the ability of players to recover after missing the fairway, perhaps they should do something about the wide open resort style courses a lot of the tournaments are played on. A couple of courses near me come to mind where if you miss the fairway the ball is in bushland. I know they can't create instant bushland but there are things that can be done to courses to make it more difficult to recover if the fairway is missed. But of course, modifying courses would take money, so the cheap & easy way is to modify the clubs.


All this rule is gonna do is set the OEM's R&A departments a challenge to produce more spin using standard 'v' grooves.
Yes, it'll be interesting to see what happens. My hope is that the players raise a hue and cry during the 2010 season & the administrators change the rules back to the way they were. The club manufacturers might have something to say about that though because of the cost of changing their production back to pre-2010 standards.
 

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