News & ToursNovember 1, 2009

Grooves dilemma

SONOMA, Calif. -- How much of a transition will it be for tour players to make the switch to the new conforming grooves regulation in 2010? If what Nick Price has gone through this week at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship is indicative, it might be a shock for players who have been playing U-grooves in all their irons.

Price, long regarded as a premier ball-striker, is not one of those players - he has always played V-grooves, except in his two most-lofted wedges. But he is trying out a model this week he plans to use in 2010. Those, obviously, will have the new conforming grooves. This set has U-grooves, and it has been eye-opening for Price as far as how the ball behaves out of the rough.

"A 7-iron out of the rough, where before I'd hit a flyer that would go 180 yards, it goes 130 yards with these," Price said. "I've never used U-grooves before, and thought it couldn't make that much difference. But man, I drive it in the rough and I can't get it anywhere near the green. I don't know how guys play with these grooves if you don't get a little bit of help out of the rough."

Going through the reverse process from what Price is experiencing this week could prove interesting indeed for golfers not used to getting that little bit of help out of the rough.

-- *Bill Fields

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