Why Are Some Wedges Banned?
Golf loves rules! What you should wear, how to drop a ball, what constitutes a stroke! Some of the most stringent rules revolve around equipment and in particular the clubs you use to hit the ball. Indeed not that long ago there was a lawsuit between one of the major manufacturers (Ping) and the USGA.
Why Are Some Golf Clubs Illegal?
Golf is an often fiendishly difficult game in which you use a selection of clubs to hit a ball into a hole. Players must abide by the rules of golf set by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A). Some manufacturers have produced golf clubs that are deemed illegal because they do not conform to the standards laid down by the governing bodies.
Clubs that have been banned cannot be used in tournaments or other play under the Rules of Golf. It’s important for golfers to ensure that they are using conforming clubs before playing in a competition or a handicap round.
The USGA works hard to ensure that everyone is on a level playing field so that golfers can experience fair competition within tournament play. To ensure that all players have access to only those clubs approved by the USGA/R&A, it is important for golfers to pay attention to what clubs are legal and which ones are not.
Using an illegal golf club can reduce the element of skill required to play the game which defeats the purpose of playing in the first place.
What Wedges Are Illegal In Golf?
There have been a number of different wedges produced down the years that breached the equipment rules. Here are 3 examples that you can still get your hands on.
Indi Golf make a range of wedges that don’t conform to the rules regarding the design of grooves and so you wouldn’t be allowed to use them in official rounds of golf. Although you could still use them to take some money off your friends in social golf!
Smithworks Extreme Case Milled XSpin wedges are non-conforming wedges that will give you additional spin due to the x shaped grooves between the main grooves.
Mazel wedge. This wedge features holes in the face which make it in breach of the rules.
What Was The 2010 Groove Rule?
In essence it meant that square grooves had to pushed further apart than V grooves which would reduce the usefulness of those grooves in the rough. There also has to be a slight radius (0.010″) to the grooves.
Initially this was introduced as a local rule before being rolled out in all elite events.
What Makes a Wedge Illegal?
The USGA has set the guidelines which defines what makes a wedge illegal. Wedges which have grooves that are too sharp or too deep, too close together or exceed the maximum width of 0.035 inches, are deemed unacceptable and declared illegal.
It is also prohibited to have any type of material on the club face that would increase spin or direct the ball in a certain direction. If a wedge does not meet these specifications it will be banned from use by players in competitions and tournaments regulated by the R&A and USGA. It is important for golfers to make sure their wedges meet these regulations as any violation could lead to disqualification from a tournament.
When Were Square Grooves Banned?
Technically square grooves have never been banned. Certain implementations have fallen foul of the equipment rules though. In 1981 the rules were changed to allow for square grooves as these were easier to manufacture in cast club heads.
Ping were one of the few that jumped on board and they made great strides with their clubs that featured the new grooves.
In 1985 Karsten Solheim slightly redesigned the grooves on his irons because they were shredding the covers from the balata balls of the day. His clubs continued to sell well. In 1990 someone sent a set of Ping Eye 2’s to be tested by the USGA who decided that they fell foul of the rules because they were to close together.
Solheim was measuring from the vertical wall of one groove to the next. The USGA were measuring from the rounded edge on the face. Eventually after some legal wranglings the Ping Clubs were grandfathered into the rule book.
Is Groove Sharpening Illegal?
Groove sharpening is a process done to golf clubs in which the grooves are made more angular and sharp. It’s perfectly legal according to the rules of the game. The purpose of this is to enhance the spin potential of a golf ball when hit with a club. Sharp grooves allow for better contact between the club and ball, giving more control over spin and therefore distance.
This makes groove sharpening very useful for players who want greater accuracy on their shots. However, it should be noted that too much sharpening can cause damage to clubs over time due to excessive wear and tear from use. Overall, groove sharpening is perfectly legal as long as it does not lead to the grooves breaking any of the equipment rules set by golf governing bodies.
How Do You Pick A Wedge?
When picking a wedge, it is important to consider the loft of the club. A pitching wedge usually has a loft of 48° and is used for shots where you need more distance than with other wedges. A gap wedge usually has a loft of 52° and is used for those shots that are between your pitching wedge and sand wedge.
The sand wedge has a loft of 56°, so this is great for getting out of bunkers or thick rough. Finally, the lob wedge has a loft of 60° and should be used when you need to get some height on your shot and stop quickly. By choosing the right wedges with the right lofts, you can ensure that you have all the tools needed to hit various shots around the course.
You should also consider bounce and grind as well.
Is A 64 Degree Wedge Illegal?
A 64 degree wedge is an especially high-lofted club and is not considered illegal by the USGA (United States Golf Association). However, it can be more difficult to control your distance with than other wedges, so it may not be the best choice for most amateur golfers. Some players prefer the extra loft of a 64 degree wedge when they are playing in tight areas or need just a bit more spin on their shots. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what works best for your game.
Can I Get My Wedges Re-grooved?
Yes, you can get your wedge re-grooved in order to restore its performance but the more important question is should you bother re-grooving. By regrooving the wedge, you can change the way it interacts with the ball and get some spin back. The process involves reshaping and recutting the grooves on the clubface of the wedge. This helps improve backspin, which is important for certain shots like lobs and chips around the green. There is a risk however that you might make the grooves beyond the allowed limits of the rules of golf.
Why Are Some Wedges Banned: Summary
Technically equipment isn’t banned. Manufacturers will know if their design is likely to conform and if it does they will almost certainly send it for testing and inclusion on the conforming list. Most players are going to want to use their clubs to maintain a handicap or play competitive golf so you are going to limit your customer base if your club doesn’t conform!