The Grooves Issue

20 years ago, they should have simply banned them from professional use, and left the amateurs alone to play them…
just as metal baseball bats are used in college but not the pros…

He basically again threatened the PGA Tour… with a letter reminding them to not make a local rule…

What arrogance…

Then says, I am willing to discuss a workable solution…

I mean who does this guy think he is? Apparently thinks the whole world of golf must bow to his demands…

This is absurd ego driven madness…

Then irrational statement at the end respecting the long history of golf…


certainly these things were banned at some point… but I doubt they sued the USGA or R and A…
Nothing new… except for Ping claiming to be the equipment rules authority of the game…


As much as I respect your views on the tradition behind the game and your views on equipment, I do disagree with what you are saying about Ping in this case. Ping did what any company would have done in the same position. They tried to make sure their customers did not become victim of a decision by the PGA and/or USGA. Of course the “good of the game” was in no way going to be harmed by a ban on the original ping eye2 irons, I think we all agree on that.

The reason he reminds the PGA about their agreement most likely is done to make sure that the USGA doesn’t start thinking “if the PGA can now ban those Eye2’s we will too”.

Ping is a company that has as their main motive to make golf accessible to as many people as possible (as that’ll make them the most profit). They do that by making golfclubs that enable everyone to hit a ball into the air without any effort. For 99% of the golfing population that is almost all they are looking for (that and an extra 10 yards of the tee).

The USGA and the PGA are the ones that made a mistake by agreeing to grandfather the Eye2’s. Like you say, it would have been better if they would have done that for amateurs alone.

The above isn’t even remotely correct. PING’s lawyers pushed the USGA into not changing their rules and then used the courts to place the PGA Tour in a position to not allow them to change their rules unless the USGA does first (which they can’t). See…it’s a big freakin’ catch-22 that was allowed in our courts. Why a judge would allow this is beyond me! The PGA tour is the ruling authority for professional golf for the US. Their decisions should not hinge on USGA rules. PING is without a soul. Solheim’s decision is based on greed and power…nothing more…nothing less.

Captain Chaos

This is a pissing contest pure and simple just like it always was to find out who’s actually in charge. You’ve got the manufacturer, The PGA Tour Commissioner, The PGA Tour Players Advisory Board and the USGA. Everybody’s jockeying to be Top Dog and I’m interested to find out who wins this one. I’ll take the Tour -2 1/2 and the under May 15.

Thanks for clearing that up Capt. Chaos. I stand corrected. The fact that the settlement applies to both USGA and PGA is Ping’s fault.

Sorry if my tone was a little strong 84425. I really dislike injustice…as in laws/ruling/politics/ that flies in the face of common sense or doing what is obviously the correct thing to do. Unfortunately, our system seems more about a chess match between lawyers using any barely tenable argument to forward their positions rather than Solomon weighing in with some authority. Sign of the times I guess.

Don’t worry about it Captain, no offence taken.
With the first post that is… the second post however i - as a lawyer - do have a problem with :wink: :laughing:

I have posted elsewhere as to my thoughts on Ping…

But, with whatever rules have made etc etc ad nauseum…

are the Hogan redlines (1988 model) which I believe were square grooves legal under todays rules?


The PGA Tour, the USGA and the R and A should be able to change whatever rules they want whenever they want. It’s their organizations… not Ping’s or anyone else.

If you don’t like the rules… don’t play…

No one was saying back in the early 90’s that hackers can’t go play Ping irons on their weekend games at their home club.
Or any municipal golf course where the masses that made these companies rich play millions of rounds a year.

The USGA hosts a dozen or so events a year… what is the percentage of the golfing population that actually play in a USGA event? Not much… about .0001 of the population. The PGA Tour? about .000000000001

That’s like saying the maker of aluminum softball bats used by weekend company gamers must be made legal in major league baseball… it’s crazy.

The fact is… the USGA is nothing more than an organization that hosts events and has the majority consensus on what they think the rules should be. In the early days of golf in Scotland, each society or club had their own set of rules. Their own book, and the rules would change across a gravel road down to the next course around the bend.

The USGA and R and A need some competition from a new rising organization.

Should the NFL go up to Canada and sue the Canadian Football league for playing by a different set of rules because the game was invented in the States?

Ping has zero business defining what the rules of golf should be, unless of course, the want to start their own tour… The Ping Tour, and make it mandatory that all players play their gear. If they put up some nice prize money, they could have their way. But imposing it upon the entire world is beyond arrogant.


If I bring this thing out to the golf course tomorrow, is someone going to have me arrested because I broke a law that was passed in a US courtroom? Of course not…

I don’t think they would let me use it in the US Open… because when I send in my entry, I agree to play by their rules. If I don’t like it… I don’t have to play.

If Ping made a million sets of Eye 2’s, how many of those sets were now going to be banned by players who actually play in USGA or PGA Tour events? maybe a thousand? So the USGA pays Ping the costs to work a few new molds, and re fit 1000 players. It’s a $500,000 lawsuit. Not 50 million or whatever it was. Ping could have just said, anyone sending in an entry for a USGA event or PGA Tour that has a receipt for a Ping set purchase, could be refunded for a new set within the next 3 or 5 years… I mean what is this Forever stuff?

Not sure what is more absurd… Ping suing in the first place or the US Court system even hearing the case, yet alone awarding a judgment.

The court system is the culprit here. Ping were arrogant, I agree, and should have been squashed like the fly they were.

Though remember, the overwhelming majority of tournaments in the world are run under common Rules agreed on by the USGA and the R&A. It is what allows me to travel to a course 5000 miles away and tee off just like I was playing at home. Even non-tournament practice rounds used for handicapping still have to be played under these Rules. It affected a lot more than those just playing PGA or USGA events.

But it should be irrelevant how many people it affects. If you wish your product to be for golfers, then you must respect who has created your customer base in the first place–those keeping the game golf-like.


That is all fine… no reason why the clubs can’t be legal worldwide for amateur golf everywhere for handicapping and smaller comps… but for the bigger events like the major USGA events, and PGA Tour events, they are illegal.

Look at autoracing… you can’t take your indy car out to the Nascar event. Different local rules for different events.

They used to do just fine with the two balls years ago… the small ball was banned over here, but you could go play it in Europe and few other places. That’s the kind of thing that made the world more interesting. Nothing good about globally homogenizing everything. Should we all be speaking the same language soon? I know the French won’t like that.

The big problem isn’t the grooves, it’s what that whole thing allowed, the opening up of the door for much more damaging stuff like 450CC 10 ounce 48 inch frying pans that pros are hitting 350 yards obsoleting the worlds best classic historic championship courses. ( at least them having to be played properly)

Well as am amateur I immensely enjoy the fact that I play the same game as the pros, with 99% of the same rules.

I just see no reasons for amateurs to be allowed to use super equipment–it’s simply no advantage when everyone has it. Amateurs weren’t unhappy playing golf before Big Bertha started singing. Golf is no less hard than it used to be.

Should the US Amateur or Walker Cup be played with different equipment than the PGA Tour and be allowed to disrespect all courses they play at? They hit it just as far.

All the different racing codes, but I ask you who’s the best racing driver in the world? We know clearly who’s the best golfer and who’s the best tennis player. We love the majors because they have the best players in the world present. And we don’t hear constant rumors of bankruptcy in golf and tennis. I wouldn’t like segregation in golf and on the contrary, I’m loving the cosponsoring of events.

I think one question that need to be addressed is … what is par based upon?
The concept of “par” has been a measure of the game since it early inception.

Typically it was based upon yardage or a measure of distance.

With the new gear, pros are often hitting mid irons into par 5’s for a second shot… is that really a 5 par, no, it is really a 4 par.
The tour is basically playing par 68’s every week.

I have an old Shell’s match were Casper and Sanders are playing Brookline. On the first hole which is a 4 par, they both hit good drives and then hit 3 and 4 woods into the green for their second shots. By today’s standards that would be a long 5 par,
barely reachable. On the back nine, there is 4 par that is playing really long, so long that neither of them can even reach the green with two woods. In the persimmon age, I played many par 4’s that with a slight breeze into you, would play too long to reach in two.

By lengthening the courses, they are trying to put the long irons back into the bag, but it’s not working, because besides the courses are still not long enough, you have hybrids now. So when you keep taking the skill out of the game, you keep eroding it’s traditional qualities, particularly the risk and reward elements. Other sports are doing a much better job at protecting a sense of tradition and nobility.

The original Ping grooves issue was not about the U configuration, it was a dispute about the procedure for measuring the distance between the grooves. U grooves, as everybody knows, evacuate the moisture of liquified grass from between ball and club face faster than V grooves, thus improved control of shots from deeper grass. Ping was receiving complaints that the 90* edges of the grooves were chafing golf ball covers so they radiused these edges and that is when their problems with the USGA began. The rules stated that the distance between the grooves had to exceed the actual width of the grooves. On 90* groove edges there is no measurement disagreement, but the USGA disagreed with Ping’s position that the measurements should be made from points representing the parallel groove walls (where the inside the groove radius becomes tangent with one of the parallel groove walls) as opposed to their [USGA} position that measurements between radiused-edge U grooves should be made from where the raduis becomes tangent with the club face. Ping had a lot more money available for the fight and basically beat the USGA down by attrition.

My contention with Ping, that caused me to begin a dialogue with the Federeal Trade Commission, was in Ping’s advertising claim that, “First we custom build Ping Golf Clubs, then we custom fit you.” Okay, so MacDonalds can say first we custom cook your Big Mac and then we custom serve you. It was deceptive advertising. Custom is the first 6 letters of customer, so how can you custom build for a customer you do not know yet? And how is selling from a mass-produced inventory even remotely conceivable as being custom? The FTC explained the process and funds required to file a formal action and I just went on about my business. Anybody that could kick the USGA around was too formidable for me.

The reason Ping was near and dear to the hearts of golf pros is that, in an era when a pro would go to Price Club and see major brand clubs for less than his rep was charging him wholesale, Ping vowed never to sell to off-course stores, especially the big box discounters. In fact, Ping did sell to select off-course shops, but primarily, they sold to green grass pro shops only. So, pros threw out the rest of the manufacturers and stocked soft goods and Ping. It was a brilliant marketing move, as was the color dot lie system they invoked.

What a lot of golfers never knew was that Ping allocated their color dot (lie angle) distribution to pro shops, with black (standard lie) being the most popular by far. It was hard to keep the black dots in stock and munis were running through their allocations, so they began ordering the blue and orange and white lie angles and using a black Magic Marker to counterfit them. There is a pun in their somewhere, but the shop managers knew that golfers always blame themselves, never the club, so there you go.

The difference between baseball bats and golf clubs is that individual golfers buy clubs just like the pros they emulate, whereas individual baseball players at the recreational level who make the buying decision rarely know who is using what bat. When was the last time you saw an endorsement for a baseball bat, or even a consumer magazine for recreational baseball players?

Thanks Yesdavy for that interesting post…

OK…here’s a notice I found in my e-mail


So…a US PGA event is played in a place where the rules are dictated by the R&A instead so a golf club that is now legal in one place is not legal in another…holy moly what is going on with these guys

The R & A started all this governing and rules many moons ago…why haven’t they just been entitled to govern the world rules of golf… who’s pocket are the USGA in? they allow one thing…don’t allow another… fight one problem… and totally forget another issue…they had to permit a large 1.68 ball be invented and outrun the 1.62 that was golfing standard for years

It all makes no sense. Golf is golf…there should be one set of rules for everyone

I am little confused on this issue. Is there a way to tell if a set has u or v grooves. I am eyeing a set of McGregor Tourney PMB’s and have no clue what type of grooves they have. I have not been able to find that info. Does anybody know? :confused:

Despite what the golfing press continually report erroneously, It’s not an issue of U grooves or V bob, it’s an issue of groove cross sectional area and edge sharpness. Knowing if your clubs are U or V won’t necessarily tell you anything, as legal U grooves are possible.

Unfortunately if your club isn’t listed on the club registrar and manufacturer can’t help (or no longer exist) or there is no simple way of knowing.