What's the 2010 Condition of Competition Groove Rule?
From 1 January 2010, there will be 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, are 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 indicated their support for the new groove regulations and their intention to implement the Condition of Competition in 2010.
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.)