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July 26, 2009

A crafty and legal plan to handle new groove rules

Posted at 8:34 PM by David Dusek | Categories: Grooves, Wedges

In the August issue of Golf Magazine, Rob Sauerhaft, Managing Editor (Equipment), gave a simple explanation of the upcoming groove rule changes:

"The cross-sectional area must have a smaller width and depth, and groove-edge sharpness must be rounder than current U-grooves."

Notice that Rob did not say that grooves must be V-shaped. Many manufacturers will likely continue to make U-shaped grooves in clubs with more than 25 degrees of loft, but the "new" U-grooves will simply be smaller with edges that are less sharp.

Rob went on to explain that starting in 2011, companies will only be able to make clubs with the new grooves. Companies can continue to sell wedges with current grooves through the end of 2010 as long as the wedge was introduced to the market by the end of 2009. For this reason, several brands are expected to hurry and get new wedges — with the larger, sharper groves — to the marketplace by the end of this model year so they can continue to sell them in 2010.

Rob offered several options for casual players: "Stick with your current wedges; stock up on wedges that feature existing U-grooves; or switch to wedges with new-for-2010 grooves that produce less 'bite' on shots from the rough."

I can use all the help I can get around the greens, so I plan to test lots of different wedges in the coming months. I'm going to ask friends what they like, go through a wedge fitting on a launch monitor ... everything! Then, while the selection should still be good, I'll buy two new gap, sand and lob wedges and stash all six clubs in a closet.

Money is tight for everyone (trust me, my wife and I just celebrated the arrival of our second child, I know), but I figure with relatively new wedges in my bag now, and two sets of back-ups, I'll be set with big-grooved, sharp wedges until 2012 or 2013.

Are you planning to buy a few wedges before the rule changes go into effect? Let me know in the comments area below.

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