Far Hills, N.J. – In September of 2009, the United States Golf Association announced its intention to adopt new groove rules as a condition of competition for the 2010 U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, starting with the sectional qualifying events for each of the three championships. The following condition of competition is in effect:
“The player’s clubs must conform to the groove and punch mark specifications in the Rules of Golf that are effective from January 1, 2010.”
During the 36-hole U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier at Tumble Creek Club in Roslyn, Wash., on May 26, Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Wash., used two wedges that were suspected of not conforming with this condition of competition. The clubs were sent to the USGA Research and Test Center in Far Hills, N.J., for testing.
Both of Lee’s clubs are listed on the USGA groove conformance database as not meeting the 2010 groove specifications (http://www.usga.org/InfoClubsDB/intro.html ). After being tested, it was determined that the two wedges in fact did not conform to this condition of competition. The penalty for making a stroke with a club in breach of this condition of competition is disqualification.
“It is an unfortunate situation but ultimately it is the player’s responsibility to know whether their clubs conform,” said Jeff Hall, USGA managing director of Rules and Competitions. “I spoke with Erynne’s father and he was very understanding about the ruling regarding Erynne’s clubs.”
The USGA had previously informed all entrants into the 2010 USGA Open championships that they could ask the USGA to measure their clubs at the Research and Test Center in Far Hills to determine conformance to the new groove rules prior to qualifying events (http://www.usga.org/equipment/testing/InviteFor2010ClubTesting/ ). To date, this service has been provided to three Women’s Open entrants, four Senior Open entrants and six U.S. Open entrants who sent their clubs to the USGA. In each case, the USGA completed the evaluation and shipped the clubs back to the competitor within one day of receipt.