The USGA and The R&A have provided a clarification that introduces a Local Rule, allowing players to replace a broken or significantly damaged club, except in cases of abuse.
Under the Local Rule, a club is “broken or significantly damaged” if it meets the following conditions:
- the shaft breaks into pieces, splinters or is bent (but not when the shaft is only dented)
- the club face impact area is visibly deformed (but not when the club face is only scratched)
- the clubhead is visibly and significantly deformed
- the clubhead is detached or loose from the shaft or
- the grip is loose
However, a player is not allowed to replace his or her club solely because there is a crack in the club face or clubhead.
Committees can begin using this Local Rule immediately.
The complete language of this new Local Rule and other clarifications can be found here.
Clarifications will normally be updated on a quarterly basis in January, April, July and October. The next quarterly update will be in July 2019.