The PGA Tour's Policy Board voted today to accept new groove regulations for clubs with 25-degrees or more loft. In actuality, the members of the Board abstained. Commissioner Finchem, by default, made the decision to go ahead with the new rule. This "Condition of Competition" takes effect next January.
Reportedly, new groove parameters would create significantly less spin on shots hit from the rough.
Some equipment companies and Tour pros question the timing of the rule. Even so, Finchem opted to proceed now rather than delay it until 2011. The Tour will have an on-site testing device to measure for groove conformity.
Tiger Woods, for one, believes the Tour got it right. "I think it's great," said Woods, during his press conference Tuesday at the AT&T National. "We've had plenty of time to make our adjustments. We've known for over a couple years now what this decision was going to be, when it was going to come down, and we've had plenty of time to make our adjustments."
Woods points out that, "All the companies have been testing and getting ready for this, and the guys will make the changes. It'll be interesting seeing guys catching flyers and not being able to spin the ball back out of the rough... short-siding yourself is obviously going to pay a little more of a price." The grooves change might also cause pros to switch to a higher-spinning ball or add a 64-degree wedge.
No doubt that Tour pros have work to do in preparation for next season. How will the rule affect amateur and "casual" golfers? First, equipment companies can continue to sell current models with U-grooves through the end of 2010. Beyond that, the new regulation on conforming grooves will take effect for high-level amateurs in 2014 and for "casual" players in 2024.