With only a couple weeks until the new year, and a new groove rule, the acceptance has begun. The USGA now has a website database allowing players to check the legality of their clubs. The database can be found here. While the new rule offers a grace period for amateur golfers not competing in top level events, it will still affect a large number of golfers. Any person attempting to qualify for a sanctioned USGA event must use conforming clubs starting January 1. For the U.S. Open last summer there was a total of 9,086 entries into local and sectional qualifying. That is an extremely small amount compared to the number of golfers in the United States and abroad but that is just one event. People have been quick to dismiss the numbers claiming that professionals all get clubs for free. This is simply not case, particularly in the last couple years. Most companies offer little or no discount to mini tour players. This leaves thousands of golfers asking for new wedges and irons from Santa this year. At least those of us who do not get new wedges sent our way every week.
All efforts have obviously been exhausted by PGA Tour players, golf club manufacturers, and many amateurs. What remains to be seen is what kind of effect it will have on the world’s top golfers. The miraculous stop and drop shots out of the rough may be more rare, but don’t expect scores to go up much. There is a reason that these guys are so good, and it has little to do with the grooves on their wedges. With PGA players replacing their wedges every week or two it seems as though we may not see a huge impact. Some tour players using older clubs are already playing with conforming grooves and can still compete. It seems as though a much more public friendly option would have been to change the ball and not the club. With three weeks to go it is too late to wish for a different outcome. All that is left to do is check the list and buy some new clubs.