124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Golf grooves and class war

March 22, 2009

In their most recent Bomb & Gouge column, Bomb (Golf World Equipment Editor Mike Johnson, and Gouge, Golf Digest Equipment Editor Mike Stachura) discussed the merits of the proposed new USGA restrictions on grooves. They compared it to the NCAA's proposed lacrosse-stick rules change and a recent attempt to fight those rules. Bomb (Johnson) took the USGA line and argued that rest of us ought to just "get on board." Gouge was a bit more sensitive to the consumer who would have to purchase new clubs (to the tune, across the industry, of about $19 billion). That won the heart of one Michigan reader.

__Dear Editor, Can we change the blog "Bomb & Gouge" to just "Gouge"? He is the only one that makes any sense. I can't fathom why the groove or lacrosse stick rulings should be upheld. It's also similar to hockey (as in goalie pads) and their dimension changes, come to think of it. Point being, it doesn't matter if it's a weekend hacker, or a college that needs to buy these things for its team...they're expensive. Too expensive, in my humble opinion. It's no wonder people think there are signs of a "class war" in golf. Bomb is under the belief that every golfer will just stop by their local pro shop and drop $1,000 or more on new irons and wedges...just to be "conforming". Who gives a d@mn, really? When 99% of us aren't going to be playing in a USGA-sanctioned event anytime soon? We're constantly reminded of our ineptness by the likes of people like Bomb and this magazine--why worry about something that would basically set us back even more in our "abilities" (aside from not being able to afford to play everyday)? What possible purpose would there be to become "conforming", when it's just a foursome of buddies with a round at the 19th hole on the line? What are they going to do if we don't conform... call the golf police on us?

Something to think about: Where would that $19 billion come from, when only 1% of the world's golfers are truly worried about conforming, and a good number of those golfers are being paid to play the conforming clubs?

Good Luck With That,>

Justin Blair>

Three Rivers, MI __

Justin, good to hear from you again, and in such fine fettle. If your point is that all of us without a courtesy car in the driveway are watching are pennies more closely than our grooves, couldn't agree with you more. I think the bodies-that-be should be sensitive to to changing rules now, especially when such changes require us to re-stock our bags. It does not surprise me, either, that a golfer from Michigan would be among the first to point this out. My relatives back there agree with you that the thought of spending $1,000 on new clubs is, well, back burner, to say the least.

--Bob Carney