Frequently Asked Questions: Equipment

If this section does not answer your particular question, please email your equipment Testing questions here.

How do I submit my design to see if it conforms?
Do chippers conform?
Can I orient the shaft in the club any way I want to?
Do the Ping Eye2 irons conform?
Do laser range finders conform?
Can I attach a piece of tape to my clubface?
Do the suction cups on the end of the putter grip to retrieve the ball from the hole conform?
Can I have two grips on my putter?
Can I place a coat hanger under my grip?
Can I have two shafts, or handles on my putter?
Can the neck be attached to the toe and heel of the head?
How is the 5" maximum length limit for the neck determined?
Do training aids conform?
Can I use a bowler's glove or wrist brace to play during a stipulation round due to my arthritic condition?
Do X-out balls conform?
Do square grooves conform?
Can my long putter have an adjustable shaft for travel purposes?
How rough can the clubface be?
Can I apply a substance to the clubface to either reduce spin or increase spin?
What's the longest ball?
When can you use a Distance-Measuring Device and what devices are permitted?



How do I submit my design to see if it conforms?       top

Click on the following link for information regarding submission: Getting Equipment Tested



Do chippers conform?       top

Yes, chippers are iron clubs not putters, and therefore must conform with the requirements for woods and irons. For example, chippers may not have a putter grip, two striking faces or appendages for aiming purposes. See Part 2, Sections 1 through 5 of the Equipment Rules.



Can I orient the shaft in the club any way I want to?       top

A player can place a shaft in any orientation to the clubhead provided the desired orientation is not for the purpose of influencing the club's performance (e.g., to attempt to correct for a hook or slice). Additionally, manufacturers of clubs may orientate or align shafts which have spines for uniformity in assembling sets or in an effort to make the shafts perform as if they were perfectly symmetrical (i.e., aligning in a neutral position). However, a shaft which has been manufactured and/or orientated for the purpose of influencing the performance of a club would be contrary to the intent of Part 2, Section 2b of the Equipment Rules.



Do the Ping Eye2 irons conform?       top

Yes, they have been grandfathered under USGA Rules. When playing in Europe or Asia and other regions not under the jurisdiction of the USGA, please contact The R&A.

However, please check if Model Local Rule G-2 is in effect for your event to ensure compliance (e.g., Ping Eye2 irons with square grooves that were manufactured prior to April 1990 are not permitted for play at all phases of the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships).
 
 

Is use of a distance-measuring device allowed under the Rules of Golf?       top

Yes, provided that the device is used to measure distance only. A device may have additonal functionality (e.g., the capability to measure wind, elevation, etc.), provided those functions are not used during a round. Click here to view our DMD infographic.



Can I attach a piece of tape to my clubface?       top

No, external attachments to the clubface are not permitted under Part 2, Section 1a of the Equipment Rules.



Do the suction cups on the end of the putter grip to retrieve the ball from the hole conform?       top

Yes, it is permitted as an exception to Part 2, Section 1a of the Equipment Rules.



Can I have two grips on my putter?       top

Yes, provided they are both circular in cross-section and properly spaced apart (at least 1.5"). See Part 2, Section 3(v) of the Equipment Rules. These grips do not need to have the same diameter, but the diameter must be no more than 1.75" measured in any direction. See Part 2, Section 3(iii) of the Equipment Rules. A grip with a reminder rib is not considered to be circular in cross-section.



Can I place a coat hanger under my grip?       top

No, this is not considered to be a slightly raised rib. See Part 2, Section 3(i) of the Equipment Rules.



Can I have two shafts, or handles on my putter?       top

No, Part 2, Section 1a of the Equipment Rules states that the club shall be composed of a shaft and a head.



Can the neck be attached to the toe and heel of the head?       top

No, Part 2, Section 2c of the Equipment Rules states that the shaft shall be attached to the clubhead at the heel through a single plain neck and/or socket. A putter shaft or neck or socket may be fixed at any point in the head.



How is the 5" maximum length limit for the neck determined?       top

This measurement is made along the axis of the shaft, or the neck or socket, to the bottom of the sole of the club. See Part 2, Section 2c of the Equipment Rules. See also the illustrations under Figure 14 and Figure 17 in the Equipment Rules.



Can I use a training aid during a round?       top

The USGA typically does not evaluate training aids unless they are capable of being used during a round. If so, it is likely that use of a training aid would not be allowed under Rule 4.3 during a round. A player who is uncertain whether he or she may use a piece of equipment in a particular way should ask the Committe for a ruling prior to use.



Can I use a bowler's glove or wrist brace to play during a stipulation round due to my arthritic condition?       top

Braces of this type are generally not permitted under Rule 4.3. However, items designed to be used for a specific medical condition are considered on an individual basis. Requests of this nature should be submitted to the Committee.



Do X-out balls conform?       top

All golf balls that are sent to the USGA or The R&A for conformance evaluation that are tested and found to conform to the Equipment Rules are published on a monthly basis on the List of Conforming Golf Balls, which can be found at Conforming Golf Ball List. X-out balls are normally not submitted for evaluation and are not considered representative of balls with similar markings that may be on the List. As a player, you should check to see if the List of Conforming Golf Balls is in effect as a Local Rule at your club or event. If it is not, a golf ball may be used under the Rules of Golf provided it is not obviously non-conforming or advertised as such (see Interpretations 4.2a(1)/1 and 4.2a(1)/2 in the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf).



Do square grooves conform?       top

Grooves may be shaped in a variety of ways, including square, "V" shaped or "U" shaped, provided their sides do not converge, they have a symmetrical cross-section and they meet all other specifications under Part 2, Section 5c of the Equipment Rules. Also, see Figures 48, 49, and 50 of the Equipment Rules.



Can my long putter have an adjustable shaft for travel purposes?       top

Yes, provided the adjustment mechanism is not readily adjustable. See Part 2, Section 1b of the Equipment Rules. A locking mechanism is required to ensure the shaft is not readily adjustable. An Allen screw placed through the joint of a pool-cue type shaft would suffice. It is recommended that adjustable features for clubs be submitted to the USGA's Equipment Standards department for evaluation.



How rough can the clubface be?       top

A decorative sandblasting is permissible however, it may not exceed 180 micro inches (Ra) in roughness. Very fine milling is also permitted, but must not exceeded a peak to trough depth of no greater than 0.001".



Can I apply a substance to the clubface to either reduce spin or increase spin?       top

No, Rule 4.1a(3) states that a player must not make a stroke with a club whose performance characteristics he or she deliberately changed during a round, such as by applying any substance to the clubhead (other than in cleaning it) to affect how it performs in making a stroke. “Performance characteristics” means any part of the club that affects how it performs in making a stroke, such as its grip, shaft, clubhead or lie or loft (including lie or loft of an adjustable club).



What's the longest ball?       top

You won't find the answer from the USGA; that information is confidential.