New Grooves or Old Grooves

Published on 29 October 2009 by in Blog, Equipment


I’ve had several students ask me whether they should wait until after January 1, 2010 on purchasing new clubs with the new grooves or buy clubs now that have the sharper edged grooves which induces a higher spin rate on your golf ball. It will depend on whether you play in Major/USGA events or on the PGA Tour. I’m sure you would love getting paid to exhibit your game of golf regardless of how good or bad it is, but have a more efficient means of making a living than taking your chances on qualifying for USGA events or the PGA Tour. But if you would like to try and qualify you will have to use the new grooves because the USGA has decided to regulate the size of the grooves on the club face. They’re reducing the maximum groove capacity by around 25% from what is currently allowed while also limiting the groove edges that are considerably duller than what is now allowed. The intention is to limit the effectiveness of shots from the rough.groovetypes1

Either way, it’s still remarkable how particular some golfers are concerning the level of club design. Grooves are the horizontal canals engraved into the clubface. During those valuable few microseconds at impact when the ball and the clubface actually meet, grooves amplify the friction, and impart more spin to the golf ball.

Well, before to long, club makers started to experiment with the depth, width and sharpness of those grooves in an effort to claim that their grooves spin the ball more than any of their competitors clubs could.

It’s been a proven scientific fact that the U-groove induces more spin than their V-groove predecessor does. The USGA has finally stepped in and on January 1, 2010 the USGA will implement the new limits on edge sharpness for all grooves manufactured after 1/1/10. These limits will decrease backspin and increase launch angle and ball roll out. If you want more backspin you can continue to play with the square or U-grooves until 2024 or could be forever. However if you purchase clubs manufactured after 1/1/10 it will have grooves with spin performance at or below V-groove levels. Those grooves will limit you to average spin performance.

Here are some performance implications:

  • Spin rate is reduced by 30 to 50%
  • Launch angle increases 7-20% or up to 5º higher
  • Roll out of the ball after impact on the green is increased from 9 to 15 feet


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