CLUB GROOVE SEARCH
Guidelines on use
The new 2010 specifications do not apply to clubs which were in production prior to 2010.
Pre-2010 models, which conform to the pre-2010 Rules, will continue to conform to the Rules of Golf until at least 2024 for the vast majority of golfers.
Committees in charge of elite level, professional golf may introduce the Groove and Punch Mark Condition of Competition from 1 January 2010, requiring that the player’s clubs conform to the new groove and punch mark specifications.
For full information on the new specifications and guidance on the recommended use of the Groove and Punch Mark Condition, please see the section entitled Groove Rules Explained, below.
Players should check with the Committee in charge of any competition they are entering to ascertain whether the Groove and Punch mark Condition has been adopted.
For the avoidance of any doubt, clubs that were in production prior to 1 January 2010 can continue to be produced and sold by manufacturers until 31 December 2010 and can be sold by retailers until their inventory is depleted. This is regardless of whether these models meet the new 2010 specifications. However, all new models of clubs planned for production on or after 1 January 2010 must conform to the new specifications.
The informational club database is not a fully comprehensive list of clubs and there are models of clubs which are not included, because either they have not been submitted for evaluation or they have not yet been evaluated against the 2010 specifications. The database should only be used a reference tool.
HOW TO INTERPRET RESULTS
- The search result provides the club’s 2009 conformance status (YES or NO), as well as an indication of whether the grooves meet the new 2010 specifications and, as such, may be used in competitions where the Groove and Punch Mark Condition is in effect (YES, NO or ATR).
- ATR stands for “Additional Testing Required”. An individual club or set of clubs with a 2010 status of ATR indicates that either the test results throughout the set produced inconsistent results or the manufacturer has specifically requested that the club or set is given ATR status due to product design and/or manufacturing variability. Additional testing is recommended on any club with an ATR status in order for it to be used in competitions where the Groove and Punch Mark Condition is in use as it is possible that some individual clubs will meet the specifications but others will not.
- Any club with a NO status is presumed not to meet the new 2010 groove specifications. Unless a player has had his individual set of clubs or club tested and they were found to meet the 2010 specifications, it is recommended that clubs with this status should not be carried when the Groove and Punch Mark Condition is in effect.
- Any club with a YES status is presumed to meet the 2010 groove specifications and can be used in competitions where the Groove and Punch Mark Condition is in effect. However, if a player has had his individual set of clubs or club tested and they were found not to meet the 2010 requirements, they must not be carried – regardless of the information shown in the database.
- Please note that, because the edge radius requirement does not apply to irons with lofts of less than 25°, some searches may yield a mixed result indicating that some lower lofted clubs in the set meet the 2010 requirements while other, higher lofted clubs, do not. This a different situation to those sets with an ATR status.
- Models which clearly meet the 2010 specifications throughout the set will be displayed as a set rather than individually.
- It is the player's responsibility to carry clubs that conform to the Rules of Golf, and all relevant Conditions of Competition. Players and manufacturers, therefore, should take care to ensure that any clubs put into play meet the requirements of the competition.
- It is important to remember that clubs in production prior to 1 January 2010 were designed to comply with a different set of groove specifications. Clubs in production prior to 1 January 2010, which conform to the pre-2010 groove rules, will continue to conform to the Rules of Golf until at least 2024, unless the Groove and Punch Mark Condition is in use. If the Groove and Punch Mark Condition is in use, clubs must comply with the specifications effective from 1 January 2010.
GROOVE RULES EXPLAINED
Effective 1 January 2010, there were revisions to golf's equipment Rules, which are designed to enhance the benefits of accuracy by making playing from the rough a more challenging prospect in future. The new Rules, which relate to club face grooves, were the culmination of an extensive collaborative research project between The R&A and the United States Golf Association. This research showed that modern groove configurations can allow players to generate as much spin from the rough as is available from the fairway, resulting in a reduction in the value of accuracy.
The revised Rules will significantly increase the spin differential between shots from the fairway and shots from the rough, by limiting groove volume and groove edge sharpness. All of the existing limitations on grooves will remain in place.
The rule limiting groove volume will be applied to all clubs (excluding drivers and putters). The limit on groove edge sharpness will be applied to clubs with loft greater than or equal to 25 degrees (generally a standard 5-iron and above).
The Rules will apply to all new models of clubs manufactured after 1 January 2010. Existing models manufactured prior to this date*, which meet the current regulations, will continue to be regarded as conforming under the Rules of Golf until at least 2024.
It is intended that the new Rules will be introduced as a Condition of Competition at top professional level from 1 January 2010 and at top amateur level and in other professional events from 1 January 2014. The R&A and the USGA will introduce such a Condition of Competition at their respective championships in accordance with this schedule. The world's top professional tours for both men and women, and the organisers of golf's major championships, have all shown their support for the new groove regulations and the majority have already implemented the Condition of Competition.
A summary of this phased introduction – and how it affects each category of golfer – is included below:
|1 Jan 2010
||New specifications introduced on club face markings.
||All new models of clubs launched after 1 January 2010. Existing models of clubs will continue to conform to the Rules of Golf. |
|1 Jan 2010
||Condition of Competition will be available to Committees requiring players to use clubs with markings which conform to the new specifications.
||Strongly recommended that this Condition should be introduced only on the major Professional Tours.|
All other golfers, playing in competitions where this condition has not been introduced, can and should be permitted to continue to use old model clubs which do not satisfy the new specifications.
|1 Jan 2014
||Condition of Competition will continue to be available to Committees.
||Strongly recommended that this Condition should be extended only to lower level Professional events and elite level amateur events.|
Club level golfers can and should be permitted to continue to use old model clubs, which do not satisfy the new specifications.
|1 Jan 2024
||Earliest date that the Rules will be applied to clubs manufactured prior to 2010. This date will be reviewed in 2020 and may be extended.
||All players, all abilities, all forms of play.|
(*Pre-2010 models can continue to be manufactured until the end of 2010.)
2010 GROOVE SPECIFICATIONS
CLUB FACE MARKINGS (Appendix II, 5)
c. Impact Area Markings
If a club has grooves and/or punch marks in the impact area they must meet the following specifications:
- Grooves must be straight and parallel.
- Grooves must have a plain*, symmetrical cross-section and have sides which do not converge (see Fig. XI).
- The width, spacing and cross-section of the grooves must be consistent throughout the impact area.
- The width (W) of each groove must not exceed 0.035 inches (0.9 mm), using the 30 degree method of measurement on file with The R&A.
- The distance between edges of adjacent grooves (S) must not be less than three times the width of the grooves, and not less than 0.075 inches (1.905 mm).
- The depth of each groove must not exceed 0.020 inches (0.508 mm).
- * For clubs other than driving clubs, the cross-sectional area (A) of a groove divided by the groove pitch (W+S) must not exceed 0.0030 square inches per inch (0.0762 mm2/mm) (see Fig. XII).
- Grooves must not have sharp edges or raised lips.
- * For clubs whose loft angle is greater than or equal to 25 degrees, groove edges must be substantially in the form of a round having an effective radius which is not less than 0.010 inches (0.254 mm) when measured as shown in Fig. XIII, and not greater than 0.020 inches (0.508 mm). Deviations in effective radius within 0.001 inches (0.0254 mm) are permissible.
(ii) Punch Marks
- The maximum dimension of any punch mark must not exceed 0.075 inches (1.905 mm).
- The distance between adjacent punch marks (or between punch marks and grooves) must not be less than 0.168 inches (4.27 mm), measured from centre to centre.
- The depth of any punch mark must not exceed 0.040 inches (1.02 mm).
- Punch marks must not have sharp edges or raised lips.
- * For clubs whose loft angle is greater than or equal to 25 degrees, punch mark edges must be substantially in the form of a round having an effective radius which is not less than 0.010 inches (0.254 mm) when measured as shown in Figure XIII, and not greater than 0.020 inches (0.508 mm). Deviations in effective radius within 0.001 inches (0.0254 mm) are permissible.
Note 1: The groove and punch mark specifications above marked with an asterisk (*) apply only to new models of clubs manufactured on or after 1 January 2010.
Note 2: Effective 1 January 2010, the Committee may require, in the conditions of competition, that the clubs the player uses must conform to the groove and punch mark specifications above marked with an asterisk (*). This condition is recommended only for competitions involving the highest level of expert player.
d. Decorative Markings
The centre of the impact area may be indicated by a design within the boundary of a square whose sides are 0.375 inches (9.53 mm) in length. Such a design must not unduly influence the movement of the ball. Decorative markings are permitted outside the impact area.
e. Non-metallic Club Face Markings
The above specifications do not apply to clubheads made of wood on which the impact area of the face is of a material of hardness less than the hardness of metal and whose loft angle is 24 degrees or less, but markings which could unduly influence the movement of the ball are prohibited.
f. Putter Face Markings
Any markings on the face of a putter must not have sharp edges or raised lips. The specifications with regard to roughness, material and markings in the impact area do not apply.