Undersling and the Rules of Golf.

I was thumbing through the USGA Rule Book last night, for no particular reason, got to the section on clubs (Appendix II), and saw a drawing of an iron…

My eyes were drawn to it because the clubhead was underslung. At first I thought that was pretty cool, then I quickly figured out that this was not just any random sketch of an iron: This was actually an illustration to explain a rule that limits undersling!

This is the picture:

I am thinking of getting an iron-set from ebay that I can bend flat, as I have gotten very curious what this might do for me (I am not quite ready to subject any of my playing sets to this). I have seen some examples of irons posted here that have undergone some serious flattening, and that have some significant ‘undersling’. So I have a question for their owners: In practical reality, can flattening make a club ‘illegal’, or is there enough margin to work with to keep them ‘legal’, as per the above rule?

I highly doubt anyone would ever say anything, but if they did, I’d grind the heel off before I’d go to more upright lies :sunglasses: .

Would love to have someone at the USGA call that out on an ABSer.
Would be an interesting case in a US courtroom. I offer to testify as an expert witness. We have a few attorney’s here that would enjoy taking on the defense I would imagine.

Did they ban those VAS irons Cory Pavin won the US Open with in 95?


Are giant Frying Pan drivers legal? Really? Souped up golf balls that pros now hit 400 yards? Milled faces on irons? Ping Irons?
Who is making these rules? Who do they have to report to? Who’s watching the USGA’s activities?

Another USGA absurdity:

Steel spikes are legal in the USGA rulebook, but you can’t wear them in the US Open qualifiers. So I can’t wear legal shoes in their qualifier?

I’ve tried measuring this and its quite tricky to do with golf clubs not exactly being square things, but .625" is actually quite a lot bigger than it sounds on a small headed golf club. None of the irons were anywhere near that much. With a flattened persimmons, you can easily shave down the heel and I don’t bend titanium drivers any where near as flat as 48 degrees, more like 53, so I think we will be fine.

jrich, NRG: Thank you for the practical replies.

lagpressure: I assume that you would fight the existence of the rule itself in court (rather than, for example, defend a set of irons)?

I can’t quite see why they put this rule in place in the first place. Why did they bother? What were they trying to avoid? And talking about absurdity: Why did they not ‘protect’ putters? All sorts of crazy **** is allowed when it comes to putters.

The purpose of a governing body is to protect the traditions and integrity of a game. They love to get out their micrometers and measure such things as the undersling or molecular composition of the walled edges of a U groove… but then they let the golf ball go 15% and allow toaster sized golf clubs to make the game easier? Is a long putter anywhere near the look of a traditional golf club? They must be the most hypocritical sports organization of all time. Some kid recently asked, “Why do they call them metal woods?” He had no idea that the tradition of the game was to carry a set of woods and irons. This is what happens when an organization runs wild with no competition. Monopolies do not fair well in the responsibility category.
I wrote David Rickman a few years ago who was the head of the equipment dept at the R and A. He was at the forefront of the battle against Ping in the late 80’s over the first box grooves. Ping won, and now Rickman is totally in favor of all this crazy stuff going on. It was like talking to one of the converted Zombies in “Night of the Living Dead” or flip the script in “Omega Man”

Golf needs a Charleton Heston.


It seems only right that the R&A and USGA should have parameters on what the allow, I can’t believe any right minded person would have a problem with that. It’s just a pity that the horse has well and truly fucking bolted.