USGA says U-grooves OUT
Ending months of gearhead speculations, the USGA announced yesterday that the notorious U-shaped or square grooves found on most wedges and irons today are to be deemed non-conforming.
It seems that compared to V-grooves, the U-grooves impart significantly more spin to surlyn covered balls hit out of the rough. The result, according to a USGA press release is:
“The combination of a higher spin rate and steeper landing angle [of the ball on the green] results in better control and less difficulty for shots hit from the rough to putting greens. As this degree of difficulty for shots hit from the rough has decreased, the importance of driving accuracy on the PGA Tour has lessened.”
The press release goes on to document that the historical trend on the PGA Tour was for driving accuracy to correlate as highly with winning as was putting. Today, however, that’s just not the case. One reason, the governing body of U.S. golf surmises, is the reduction of penalty for driving into the rough because control while hitting out of said rough is so much improved by U-grooves.
I don’t know about you, but I’m just not convinced that the shape of my grooves helps my game all that much, especially considering I hit a good number of shots off the toe of my irons, where there are no grooves at all.
But apparently, the game is getting too easy for the best in the world, so the rest of us must suffer.
If there is a silver lining, it is that the USGA is moving cautiously as it tries to figure out a way to deal with the U-grooved clubs already in use. On this point, the press release states the following:
“The USGA is considering how to treat clubs that currently conform to the Rules of Golf, but would not conform to the proposed new rules. This consideration would be made for the vast majority of golfers who would not likely be affected by the proposed Condition of Competition, as well as for golf clubs already in use and /or manufactured prior to the proposed rule implementation date. The USGA proposes to allow their use for a lengthy period of time (at least 10 years).”
So it looks like we average golfers can shake our U-groove-thangs a while longer.
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