By Keely Levins
Are you considering playing in a USGA amateur championship in 2014?
If so, it's important to know that the groove rule the association famously modified six years ago, and put into effect for its three U.S. Opens starting in 2010, becomes a Condition of Competition in all USGA championships--including qualifiers--beginning this year. (Other state and national amateur events might follow suit, but those decisions will be determined by their respective tournament committees.)
The question then is whether not only the wedges but the irons in your bag (which are also subject to the groove rule) are conforming. To help golfers, the USGA has a database of the clubs in question on its website, which makes it easy to type in your clubs to see if they conform. Click here to visit the USGA's database.
If you can't find your club in the database, the USGA is offering a club-testing service in which you can mail your clubs to them to get tested. The submission form is on the USGA website: Fill it out, send your clubs in, and the USGA will tell you if your clubs are legal and can be used in USGA championships.
According to the USGA, 88 percent of the golfers who played in the U.S. Amateur last year at The Country Club used clubs that complied with the rule.