New Grooves Rules Apply to Local Qualifying
19 Feb 2011
by United States Golf Association


Far Hills, N.J. (Feb. 18) – The condition of competition regarding groove rules applied in 2010 for sectional qualifying (final stage) for the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open will now extend to local qualifying (first stage) for the 2011 U.S. Open.

The groove rules condition of competition, which was added to the Rules of Golf on Jan. 1, 2010, was used at sectional (final stage) qualifying events for the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open in 2010, as well as each championship proper.

The USGA will adopt the condition of competition at its amateur championships and at the team competitions it conducts for amateur players no later than 2014, as originally planned.

“The implementation of this condition of competition at the local qualifying stage of the U.S. Open is significant,” said Thomas J. O’Toole, Jr., chairman of the USGA Championship Committee. “Now, players must adhere to the condition for all competition phases of the U.S. Open and that is why it is important that they are aware of the need to use conforming clubs.”

“After a successful implementation of this condition in 2010, it is logical to implement it for all players competing in our three national Open championships in 2011,” said Mike Davis, USGA senior director of Rules and Competitions. “It is our understanding that there are ample conforming clubs in the marketplace such that adopting this condition for first-stage U.S. Open qualifying ensures a level playing field for all competitors.”

Announced by the USGA and The R&A in August 2008, the revisions to the Rules of Golf, which place additional restrictions on golf club grooves, went into effect Jan. 1, 2010. The restrictions 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). In addition to the condition of competition, the rules apply to clubs submitted to the USGA for conformance evaluation on or after Jan. 1, 2010.

The PGA Tour (including the Champions and Nationwide Tours), European PGA Tour and other members of the International Federation of PGA Tours, as well as the LPGA, adopted this condition of competition at their tournaments beginning Jan. 1, 2010. The PGA of America and Augusta National Golf Club also adopted this condition of competition at the PGA Championship and Masters Tournament, respectively, in 2010.

Additional information about the regulations on grooves, including technical specifications, may be found in the Equipment section of www.usga.org. Questions regarding the groove regulations should be addressed to Dick Rugge, USGA senior technical director (drugge@usga.org). Questions regarding the condition of competition should be addressed to Mike Davis, USGA senior director of Rules and Competitions (mdavis@usga.org) or Jeff Hall, managing director of Rules and Competitions (jhall@usga.org).

A question-and-answer document containing additional information about the condition of competition may be found in the Championships section of www.usga.org at http://www.usga.org/news/2011/February/Q-A--Implementation-Of-New-Groove-Rules/.

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