Frank Thomas is a former technical director of the United States Golf Association. He has written several books about golf equipment, the most recent being 'Just Hit It: Our Equipment and Our Game.'
If you have a question about golf equipment, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the FBR Open, I heard an announcer say that one of the reasons a player was struggling was he was using a prototype driver that was not sanctioned. Is that possible?
I can assure you that the player was not struggling because the club was "unsanctioned" as the announcer called it.
All clubs, including drivers, are submitted to the United States Golf Association for testing. If the club conforms with the Rules of Golf, it is placed on the list of conforming clubs. This list is used by the PGA Tour and other committees in charge of competitions that are restricted to highly skilled players, including top amateur events.
The list of conforming clubs is growing rapidly as more companies create more clubs, and there is no expiration date for clubs added to the list. In fact, two major manufacturers have approximately 900 separate models each on the list.
In this case at the FBR Open, I'm sure the club had been submitted for testing and was on the list, but it was probably not yet available to the public because it was still considered a prototype by its manufacturer.
For more from Frank Thomas, go to franklygolf.com.