View large image
|So what if PGA Tour players hit the green 49 percent of the time from 100-200 yards! (Courtesy PGA of America)|
Much opining goes on about the way the game of golf is changing because of technology. But is it really the game of golf or is it just the games of the pros on the PGA Tour? Whether we're talking golf balls, drivers, shafts or the grooves in irons and wedges, the issues mostly affect the best in the game. The USGA has done years of research on the effect U grooves on the faces of irons and wedges have on the spin of the ball. That research has primarily been focused on PGA Tour players, with a study on amateurs (probably also men) thrown in for good measure.
The USGA submitted a lengthy report to the major golf club manufacturers showing the research findings and indicating that a proposal for a rule change is likely not far behind. Those manufacturers are probably licking their chops. Maybe they even financed the studies for the USGA, which is a "non-profit" organization.
Who really cares if PGA Tour players hit the green 49 percent of the time from 100-200 yards out from light rough? (1) Scoring is fun to watch. Sure, it might be more interesting if they had to strategize more and actually worry about hitting fairways, but maybe the problem isn't in the clubs, it's the light rough. Why put all this time and effort into a study of the grooves when a simpler answer would be for the PGA to mandate rough lengths for certain grasses at tournament locations? I'll tell you why. Golf club manufacturers want to make more money. And guess what? It's not the Tour pros that pay for golf clubs, it's the rest of us ordinary everyday amateurs.
To summarize this potential rule change (don't kid yourself, there's a plan and timeline to make it happen), U grooves in irons and wedges will be outlawed in favor of a modified V groove because U grooves allow the best players in the world to spin and control the ball better from a particular type of lie on a golf course. Again - so what?
We are the only ones who are going to suffer the consequences when this idiotic rule goes into effect. The pros won't care because all their competitors will be facing the same circumstances - and they get their clubs for free. Golf course architects won't care because they're too busy lengthening courses to accommodate the equipment that really has an impact. Groundskeepers won't care because they're used to adjusting the grass length and fairway width when pros come to town. Tournament hosts and sponsors won't care because they (presumably) will be putting on a better show when the pros change their strategies. Meanwhile, everyday golf addicts are left holding the bag… the bag full of non-conforming clubs we now have to replace at our own expense. I can almost hear the manufacturers giggling.
My golf clubs have U grooves. I spent my hard-earned, middle-class, full-retail-price dollars on those Taylor Made irons and now they might be ruled non-conforming?
Do your irons have U grooves? They probably do, but it's not hard to tell if you just look at them. Do you belong to a golf club or play in events that require valid USGA or regional representative handicaps? I do. And I won't be able to do those things with my perfectly good set of irons and wedges if the USGA and club manufacturers have their way. Why do we need a USGA rule that will affect us all if the real target is the performance of the elite on Tour? If they don't want to have two sets of rules, couldn't they set their sights elsewhere and do something that has less impact on the average golfer?
Let them change the golf ball like so many people have proposed. Golf balls are consumables. Even with my secret weapon U groove irons, I can shank, power fade or duck hook any ball into Never Never Land from any lie 20 or 200 yards away. No matter what rules they change about golf balls, we're going to continue to lose them and buy new ones as long as we play golf. I can't afford to get attached to a Pro-V1, but I am attached to my irons.
The USGA is trying to claim the rule change wouldn't affect us because we only hit the green 13.1 percent of the time from shots 100-200 yards out from light rough. So are they turning a blind eye to the impact it would have on our bank accounts? Maybe it's just too dark to see much of anything from the depths of the club manufacturers' pockets.
February 26, 2007
A woman relatively new to golf and known for her wit and dedication to her rapidly improving game, Kristen "Golf Chick" Williams has won fans for her blog and WorldGolf.com golf course reviews. She pens her golf articles from her home in Southern California.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
The sun came out over Wales Monday, and Senior Writer Brandon Tucker ditched the final round of Ryder Cup play for 18 holes at nearby Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club. As the Americans rallied and ultimately fell short, Tucker offers his unique perspective on the European victory and the celebration that ensued.
... full article »