USGA Researches More Change
Apparently rolling back grooves may not be enough for the U.S. Golf
According to a USGA Notice to Manufacturers from senior technical director
Dick Rugge, dated December 10, golf's ruling bodies will be conducting
research on the role of high-lofted wedges. The Notice adopts a similar
approach seen previously with the official memoranda regarding spin
generation and club adjustability, both of which after some time and some
back-and-forth became part of the rules. Spin generation most notably
resulted in the grooves studies, a rule proposal and the adoption of a
rollback in total groove volume and groove edge radius.
In part, the Notice reads, "We would like to make you aware that the USGA
and the R&A are currently conducting research on high-lofted wedges. This
research is being conducted to determine if high-lofted wedges (for example,
60 degrees of loft and higher) can reduce the challenge of the game for
shots near the green.
It is important to note that this is strictly a research area of interest at
the present time. No proposal is being made today. If our research results
in a rule change proposal, it will be communicated through the USGA's Notice
and Comment process."
"This isn't a precursor to a rule, and there is no specific timetable for
our research," Rugge told Golf Digest. "This isn't a case where we say we're conducting
research and then the next two shoes drop and right away there's a rule. I
point to the ongoing ball research project as an example."
The USGA announced a research project in March 2005 to study balls that flew
15 and 25 yards shorter. To date, that research has not led to a rules
How prevalent are higher-lofted wedges? At a recent full field PGA Tour
event the highest lofted wedge for more than 78 percent of the players was
60 or more degrees. Only three players didn't have a wedge with a loft above
"I want to emphasize that this announcement shouldn't be looked at as an
automatic precursor to a rule change," Rugge said. "We're interested in
manufacturers' opinions about this idea. We want an open discussion about
Several manufacturers contacted had no comment.
--Mike Stachura & E. Michael Johnson