The new Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled Condition of Competition Wedges conform to the upcoming 2010 USGA/R&A Groove Rules and can be used in tournaments and match play that require the new grooves. The previous Vokey models were widely used on Tour, with nearly 50% professional players choosing Titleist (the nearest competitor was under 20%!). Titleist is making the extra effort to produce condition of competition (CC or C-C) clubs and regular clubs for casual players, but expects adoption of the new grooves since players will want to stay at the forefront of golf technology and rules, and prepare themselves for the impending industry-wide transition in the near future. Some golf companies and golfers have already made committments to the new groove rule condition of comepetition — have you?
What are the new USGA/R&A Groove Rules?
According to the R&A, St. Andrews:
“From 1 January 2010, there will be revisions to golf’s equipment Rules, which are designed to enhance the benefits of accuracy by making playing from the rough a more challenging prospect in future. The new Rules, which relate to club face grooves…will significantly increase the spin differential between shots from the fairway and shots from the rough, by limiting groove volume and groove edge sharpness. …The limit on groove edge sharpness will be applied to clubs with loft greater than or equal to 25 degrees (generally a standard 5-iron and above). The Rules will apply to all new models of clubs manufactured after 1 January 2010.”
Research conducted by the USGA and R&A found that current club face grooves provide too much spin, thereby reducing the importance of shot accuracy and overall skill from the rough and near-green shots. The groove rules produce the following changes to golf clubs:
- Rounded edges on grooves instead of sharp angles
- Lower groove volumes
- Symmetrical, straight-line edges (no curves or mixed shapes, such as a straight side with an angled side)
What do these changes mean for your performance? The following impacts are expected:
- Greater emphasis on shot accuracy and shot planning, especially for fairway and greenside shots, but also drives
- More skill required to produce excessive spin, especially from the rough
- New clubs (2010 and beyond) will likely incorporate the new grooves or will be available as a custom configuration
While there has been a lot of resistance to the groove rule changes, some see it as a chance to improve their game and make golf more challenging without modifying ball and driver technology or lengthening courses. Professional golfer Jim Fuyk states, “I’m all for it. They can’t keep making golf courses longer because not every course has a $20 million budget to keep it going. They can’t keep us from hitting the ball far because there are enough engineers and R&D (research and development) and technology that (help us keep) getting longer. If you can limit the amount of spin on the ball and make the guy play from the fairway and hit a more crisp and a better golf shot it’s probably a good avenue. I think it’s a positive move.”
What is Condition of Competition?
Conditions of competition are basically the rules adopted for tournaments and golf courses that determine which golf clubs and other equipment are required to play. The PGA Tour, LPGA and other major tournaments and prominent golf courses are adopting the new groove rules as conditions of competition. So if you’re serious about golf, or plan on playing premier golf courses or tournaments, then you should purchase C-C clubs. Clubs conforming to C-C measures will be marked for easy identification.
Vokey Spin Milled C-C Wedges lead the way
Vokey wedges are the #1 wedge on the PGA Tour and #1 in market share in the United States — they are the American wedge: designed to exacting specifications, adopting cutting edge technology, yet retains classic styling and toughness. The wedges are the brainchild of Master Craftsman Bob Vokey, and are available in a wide variety of lofts and bounces. The standard finish is chrome, with a True Temper Dyanmic Gold steel shaft, plus a textured face for increased grip. But the most important feature of the C-C wedge is its conformity with the groove rules, allowing the club to be used before and after the official transition dates, and in tournaments and at golf clubs that require the new grooves as a condition of competition.
Put simply, the Vokey wedges are leading the way for golfers who want to embrace the forthcoming rule changes and get a head start on those who decide to wait. After all, the rule change is designed to challenge golfers so they improve their game and build respect for difficult shots.