The new golf club groove rule has baffled amateurs and professionals since it’s announcement at the end of last year. The new groove rule made headlines a in the beginning of the 2010 season when other tour professionals accused a select few, including Phil Michelson of cheating by using Ping Eye 2 wedges that were popular twenty years ago. Even though the Ping Eye 2 grooves are not legal by the new rule standards, the club is exempt because of a previous lawsuit dating back to 1993. That lawsuit is another story.
So what is the new groove rule, and most importantly, how will it affect your golf game? The good news is you probably will not be affected until at least 2024. The USGA and R&A, the two governing bodies of golf, deemed clubs were making it too easy to spin the golf ball and taking away the premium of keeping the ball in the fairway. It was too easy to hit the ball out of the rough. The new rule limits the depth, width and sharpness of the groove, resulting in less backspin of the golf ball.
Beginning in 2010, expert professional players competing at the highest level of competition, such as the PGA, LPGA, Nationwide and European Tours, will be affected by the new rule. They are already playing conforming equipment. Elite Amateurs who compete for the various amateur national championships conducted by the USGA and R&A will be affected beginning in 2014. The majority of golfers will not be affected until at least 2024. Golf manufacturers will continue to market the non conforming clubs throughout 2010 and you will be able to purchase the non conforming clubs through the end of 2011, or while supplies are still available. In other words, recreational golfers will not be affected for many years.
However, if you are looking to purchase a new set, make sure you pick them up while supplies last. Now that 2010 is almost over, companies will no longer manufacture any non conforming equipment. If you were looking for the Vokey, Cleveland, Ping or any other iron or wedge, make sure you pick up the clubs while they are still available.