What the New Condition of Competition Regarding Grooves Means to You
The new Condition of Competition pertaining to Wedges and Irons above 25 degrees (generally a standard 5-iron and above) instituted by the USGA and the R&A for 2010 has caused its fair share of concern and questions among the golfing public. As the leader in irons, Callaway would like to help set the record straight, and clarify any confusion that you might have.
The new Condition of Competition concerning grooves applies to play on the professional Tours and a small selection of other elite tournaments beginning in 2010. For the vast majority of the golf played around the globe, the grooves found in existing Callaway irons and wedges are authorized by the ruling bodies until at least 2024.
Why the New Rules?
Research by the USGA and R&A showed that modern groove configurations may allow some players to generate as much spin from the rough as they do from the fairway, potentially reducing the value of accuracy off the tee. The revised Rules are intended to restore the penalty of hitting into the rough.
The new Condition of Competition was introduced only on the top professional Tours and at the Major Championships starting January 1, 2010, and then at top amateur and other professional events starting January 1, 2014.
A Condition of Competition is a special requirement within the Rules that is applied only in elite competitions by the USGA and R&A. Another example of this is the "one-ball condition," which requires Tour Professionals to play their entire round with the same model golf ball, a measure that is not typically adhered to during a regular round of golf.
Are Callaway Irons and Wedges Affected?
It’s important to note that the overwhelming majority of the golfing public is not affected by the new groove rule until 2024. All of Callaway’s existing iron and wedge models will continue to conform to the Rules of Golf until at least 2024. This includes every iron and wedge ever created by Callaway, including the new X Series JAWS Chrome Wedges and X Series JAWS Vintage Wedges, Diablo Edge Irons and Diablo Forged Irons.
In 2010, Callaway will offer offer irons and wedges with grooves that conform to the new Condition of Competition for players who compete in events where the new Condition will be in effect. In addition to the Diablo Edge and Diablo Forged Irons that have grooves that satisfy the condition of competition, new grooves that conform to the new Condition of Competition will be available after April 1, 2010 in select Tour Authentic versions of recent iron models, including the X-22 Tour Irons, X-Forged Irons (2009), Tour Authentic X-Prototype Irons, X Series JAWS Chrome Wedges and X Series JAWS Vintage Wedges, and X-Forged Chrome and X-Forged Vintage Wedges.
How has Callaway tackled the new Groove Rules?
As the leader in golf equipment innovation, Callaway has met the challenges set forth by golf’s two ruling bodies head-on. While many golf club manufacturers will simply be offering a standard V groove, Callaway has broken the mold again, delivering new grooves that will provide all the shot-making control and spin that you can possibly attain under the new Condition of Competition.
For those of you who must play—or choose to play—clubs with grooves that conform to the new Condition of Competition, our new groove design is another in a long line of breakthrough innovations from Callaway. Our designers prototyped more than 50 groove configurations, all conforming to the initial measurement protocol of the Condition of Competition. One was so good in its initial design that the USGA refined its new groove parameters a second time late in the process.
Who is affected by the new Groove Condition and when?
Below is a summary from the R&A of the phased introduction of new grooves and how it affects each category of golfer.
Jan. 1, 2010
New specifications introduced on club face markings
All new models of clubs launched after January 1, 2010. Existing models of clubs will continue to conform to the rules of golf.
Condition of Competition will be available to Committees requiring players to use clubs with markings which conform to the new specifications.
Strongly recommended that this condition should be introduced only on major professional tours.
All other golfers, playing in competitions where this condition has not been introduced, can and should be permitted to continue to use old model clubs which do not satisfy the new specifications.
Jan. 1, 2014
Condition of Competition will continue to be available to Committees
Strongly recommended that this condition should be extended only to lower level Professional events and elite level amateur events.
Club level golfers can and should be permitted to continue to use old model clubs which do not satisfy the new specifications.
Jan. 1, 2024
Earliest date that the Rules will be applied to clubs manufactured prior to 2010. This date will be reviewed in 2020 and may be extended.
All players, all abilities, all forms of play.
Increased greenside control with the new Tour i(s) Golf Ball
To further enhance your short-game capabilities going forward, Callaway has also introduced the new Tour i(s) Golf Ball, which has been met with overwhelming approval in prototype testing by our Staff Professionals around the world. The Tour i(s) offers more short-game spin than any Tour ball we’ve ever produced, without sacrificing distance off the tee. How good is it? When we asked Ernie Els to play a few holes with the prototype model, he didn’t want to give it back. (Watch video of Ernie's testing session with the new Tour i(s) Golf Ball at Firestone Country Club in 2009.) He put the ball in play in late 2009 at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in China, and finished second. Els even made a hole-in-one during the second round in Shanghai and said afterward: “That ball is unbelievable! This is the ball that I have been waiting for.” Look for the Tour i(s) in Ernie’s bag, and many others, in 2010.