Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Some Golfers Might Have to Learn to Hit Those Precious Fairways


Distance has taken the finesse out of golf. The big hitters just bomb driver on every single hole, don't care if it goes in the rough because they can create three digit swing speed with a lob wedge and hack it out with a ton of spin.

This might be the case anymore.

The USGA just passed that starting in 2010, restrictions will be set to control the grooves (groovyness?) on golf clubs five-iron and higher. Wow, that was confusing, let real writers explain.

The rules control the cross sectional area of grooves on all clubs, with the exception of drivers and putters, and limit groove edge sharpness on clubs with lofts equal to or greater than 25 degrees (generally a standard 5-iron and above).

The research undertaken and published by the USGA and The R&A demonstrates that for shots from the rough with urethane-covered balls (the type of ball most used by highly skilled players), modern, sharp-edged U-grooves result in higher ball spin rates and steeper ball landing angles than the V-groove designs used predominantly in the past.

The combination of a higher spin rate and steeper landing angle results in better control when hitting to the green. Shots from the rough become more similar to shots from the fairway, creating less challenge for shots from the rough.


Yeah, so that will be a big change. If you don't think the groove debate is a big deal, swallow this -- notorious rough-ignorer Vijay Singh puts new wedges in his bag every single week.

Of all the things the USGA could do to deter the equipment from taking over the game, this is the best and most logical choice. If you don't think you can hit the fairway with the driver, start pulling out a long iron.

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