by Jeff Skinner
Ok, be honest. Who knows what the real story is with all this “banned groove” stuff? I know I’m not. But I figure I know enough to get by and I know where to go to find out. You’ve got to go right to the source: The USGA. They set the rules so that’s the place to go to see if your sticks are legal or if you’re playing with some outlaw clubs.
The USGA website is a great place to read up on the game and the “Equipment” page gives you all you can handle on equipment standards, testing, research and the dreaded “Conforming Club and Ball List.” I wouldn’t recommend surfing this site at work. You’re bound to get hooked and spend all day on it. So surf at your own risk.
For the heck of it I checked all the clubs in my bag against the “Banned List” and the results were just as I thought. My Cleveland CG14 wedges were on the banned list. No biggie, I don’t plan on playing in any real legit competition anyway. I love my wedges and as a recreational player I can use them with no problem. But I was shocked to see that the new Cleveland CG15’s were approved and do meet the new groove rules.
Have you seen the faces on those wedges? Cleveland calls them “laser-milled” and there are grooves on the face of the club in addition to the “Zip Grooves” that are the same grooves that the CG14 has (but are banned). To the untrained eye, mine, they sure look illegal, but no, The USGA has approved them. It goes to show you, when in doubt, go to the list, the USGA Conforming Club & Ball List.