The Grooves Rule and How it Affects the Game of Golf

In golf, advantages are not reliant solely on skill. Equipment plays a large role in determining the winners and losers, and gaining can be easy, though potentially expensive. The Grooves Rule, though, aims to curb that issue in the amateur leagues. The Grooves Rule applies to the type of grooves cut into a club, and highlights the differences specifically between U-Groove and V-Groove clubs. What the rule means is that clubs manufactured and being used in tournament play must conform to new industry standards established in 2010.

Before the Rule was implemented in 2010, U-Groove clubs were rampant in tournament play by high-caliber competitors. U-Groove clubs have a specific edge over the more common V-Groove sibling – the clubs put a significant amount of spin on the ball. Where this proved particularly beneficial was in getting a ball out of the rough, adding a decent amount of ease to something meant to act as penalty. The Grooves Rule reverts back to V-Groove clubs, and is not limited to wedges. The grooves are smaller, duller, and spaced closer together, decreasing the spin produced drastically. All clubs produced following 2010 must be made in accordance with this regulation.

In 2014, amateur tournaments began adopting the Grooves rule. This includes all games conducted by the USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. The rule will not see broad effect and implementation to the entire sport until after 2020, when the results of the rule will be evaluated. Until then, casual play will be a self-policing matter.

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