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Tested: New Grooves vs. Old Grooves

New Grooves vs. Old Grooves

Due to the USGA's rollback on groove dimension (in clubs with 25 degrees loft or more), tour pros are required to play wedge grooves that are narrower, shallower and have more rounded edges than in previous years. Is there a marked performance difference between "2010 condition of competition" (2010 C-C) wedge grooves and pre-2010 grooves? Hot Stix Golf, our exclusive research partner, tested both grooves and found dramatic results.

The Test
Five skilled amateurs with scratch handicaps were given brand new wedges with 56° of loft with "2010 condition of competition" grooves (referred to as "2010 C-C") and "pre-2010" grooves. (Recreational players can use pre-2010 grooves until 2024, but manufacturers must stop producing the clubs by the end of this year.)

The test was conducted in San Francisco on a 58° day. Hitting only Titleist ProV1 golf balls, testers hit full shots to a practice green from the fairway and from two-inch rough.

Testers struck five shots in each of the four scenarios:
1) "2010 C-C" wedge from the fairway
2) "Pre-2010" wedge from the fairway
3) "2010 C-C" wedge from two-inch rough
4) "Pre-2010" wedge from two-inch rough

Measurements on all shots were taken using a Trackman launch monitor. Backspin, launch angle, shot apex, descent angle and roll distance were all recorded.

The Results
1. Wedges equipped with the pre-2010 grooves generate, on average, 9 percent more spin from the fairway than the newly mandated 2010 wedge grooves.

2. Wedges with pre-2010 grooves generate, on average, 48 percent more spin from the rough than 2010 wedge grooves.

3. Wedges with pre-2010 grooves generate 26 percent more spin from fairway lies than from the rough.

4. Wedges with the new 2010 grooves generate 70 percent more spin from fairway lies than they do from the rough.

5. Shots from the fairway with pre-2010 grooves roll 3.3 feet less than those with the 2010 grooves.

6. Shots from the rough with pre-2010 grooves roll 8.3 feet less than those hit with 2010 grooves.

7. Shots with pre-2010 grooves roll 8.0 feet farther from the rough than from the fairway.

8. Shots with 2010 grooves roll 13 feet farther from the rough than from the fairway.

Hot Stix Conclusion:
1. The advent of "2010 condition of competition" (2010 C-C) wedges means increased reward for hitting fairways off the tee. a. Shots from the rough with lower spinning 2010 wedges fly higher, roll more and are harder to control.
b. Wind and other factors have greater influence on shotmaking when 2010 grooves are used.
c. Shots that spin less and roll more after landing suggest a greater difficulty in determining actual distance.

2. Golfers who play often (not under "condition of competition" rules) and need spin would do well to buy backup wedges before manufacturers stop making them at the end of this year.

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