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Why JoAnne Carner’s 30-year-old wedge was deemed non-conforming at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

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Per Beth Ann Nichols’ of Golfweek, seven of the 20 clubs USGA officials tested on site at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open were deemed to be nonconforming.

“It’s not often that the USGA places someone from its conforming department at registration, but with so many players in the field who are competing in a USGA event for the first time in a long time, it seemed like a good idea,” she wrote.

Indeed. And while we don’t have any information on six of the violations, Nichols related the story of (the legendary) JoAnne Carner, who was told the 55-degree Wilson R-90 wedge she’s had in the bag for nearly 30 years didn’t conform.

This seemed odd. Certainly a three-decade old club wouldn’t feature any of the aggressive, early 2000s grooves that led to the enactment of the groove rule. It’s unclear what year Carner’s wedge was from, but R-90 production (of the style hers is presumed to be) ended in 1992.

When reached for comment Julia Pine, Manager, Championship Communications, told us: “We introduced a new groove condition of competition in 2010 for Open championships. We offer assistance and testing prior to and on site at our championships, and when tested her club was deemed not to comply.”

Asked for more information, Pine indicated the organization didn’t have additional details  on the specific problem with Carner’s grooves.

A quick groove rule refresher.

Rules of Golf, Appendix II: 5c(i)

  • Grooves must be straight and parallel.
  • Grooves must have a symmetrical cross-section and have sides which do not converge (see Fig. XI).
  • *For clubs that have a loft angle greater than or equal to 25 degrees, grooves must have a plain cross-section.
  • The width, spacing and cross-section of the grooves must be consistent throughout the impact area (some exceptions may be made for woods).
  • The width (W) of each groove must not exceed 0.035 inches (0.9 mm), using the 30 degree method of measurement on file with the USGA.
  • The distance between edges of adjacent grooves (S) must not be less than three times the width of the grooves, and not less than 0.075 inches (1.905 mm).
  • The depth of each groove must not exceed 0.020 inches (0.508 mm).
  • *For clubs other than driving clubs, the cross-sectional area (A) of a groove divided by the groove pitch (W+S) must not exceed 0.0030 square inches per inch (0.0762 mm2/mm) (see Fig. XII).
  • Grooves must not have sharp edges or raised lips.
  • For clubs that have a loft angle greater than or equal to 25 degrees, groove edges must be substantially in the form of a round having an effective radius which is not less than 0.010 inches (0.254 mm) when measured as shown in Fig. XIII, and not greater than 0.020 inches (0.508 mm). Deviations in effective radius within 0.001 inches (0.0254 mm) are permissible.

What do you think the issue could be? Grooves worn too deep after 30 years of use? A sweet-spot sized indentation? Surely the R-90 isn’t a non-conforming club, right?

GolfWRX members: What do you think?

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Bob Parson Jr.

    Jul 22, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Another reason why I’m not a member of the USGA. Nothing more than a golf mafia.

  2. Brian

    Jul 14, 2018 at 8:09 am

    As I stated in my email to Ben, the USGA and the R&A are in cahoots with the manufacturers, brown envelopes probably going in loads of back pockets.

    They, (the manufacturers) are running out of marketing ideas as there is very little that can be done to improve the performance of a golf club legally, so to get around it they come up with rules banning old proven equipment that has been “on the wing” for decades, to force the punters to dig deep, and at around £120 a pop they are quid’s in!

  3. Brad

    Jul 14, 2018 at 7:18 am

    The USGA can take most of their “non-conforming” rules they come up with and stick them where the sun doesn’t shine. Such as they one they recently threw at Bryson DeChambeau for the second time in as many years. They do a fantastic job at taking as much fun out of golf as they can. I’m sure that JoAnne’s 30 year old wedge was going to give her a huge advantage over the rest of the field. Oh wait, I thought all of this “new” technology in golf was what was making it easier, not 30 year old clubs? Can’t have it both ways USGA. Perhaps the golf ball from 1992 would be ruled non-conforming as well because they wouldn’t be able to hit it as far (apparently), but it would spin more?

    It’s time for a new world of golf that doesn’t include the USGA…

  4. Dan Retief

    Jul 14, 2018 at 6:29 am

    I have an original Wilson R20 Sand Iron, apparently one of the first ones developed by Gene Sarazen. It has dots/pock marks stamped into the face instead of grooves. Wonder if I could put it back in the bag

  5. Clint

    Jul 13, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Still waiting for the answer the headline led everyone to believe the article had.

    • Jim McPherson

      Jul 13, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      Misleading for sure…

      Getting very tired of this kind of BS from gwrx when they know they don’t have a real story…

    • Wiger Toods

      Jul 15, 2018 at 2:39 am

      Agreed. There’s too much actual, interesting content for them to be putting up this Trumpy clickbait.

  6. Liberty Apples

    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    No need for the possessive in first reference to “Nichols’”.

  7. Parker

    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Wr is on his burner account. (He secretely works for the USGA)

  8. Andrew Levy

    Jul 12, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    The USGA is trying to ruin golf for everyone slowly. It is their mission. Has everyone not been watching? Mike Davis and the other blue blazer white guys want america back to the way it was 1910 golf in shirts and ties. Wooden shafts, terrible balls golf course that are so short that you can skip a stone across it.

  9. DJ

    Jul 12, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    They should list why they fail not just say they do.

    • Is

      Jul 12, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      They don’t conform to the current rules. Simples

  10. Chris Embardino

    Jul 12, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Jsut the USGA being the USGA is all it is.

  11. CR

    Jul 12, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    A golf buddy of mine has 2 of those wedges and he puts a ton of spin on the ball with them. Maybe they had unusually deep or sharp grooves for the times.

  12. stevez

    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    another USGA PR black eye, worn out R90, my-my played by a legend who likely is there for sentimental reasons not a high choice of winning.

  13. DB

    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    I agree, the groove rule was a complete waste of time and money. It accomplished nothing other than making everyone buy new wedges. Now they are busting 70 year-old women playing in USGA golf tournaments. Nice work. LOL

  14. jc

    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    what a load…after forcing people to buy all new wedges, they found out that it made no difference…because they have slightly less spin, they get CLOSER to the hole because they roll out more…..no more sucking back into the bunker like Norman used to do…
    a bunch of stuffed white shirts with ties.

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19th Hole

Kyle Thompson films man taking his dumped Staff bags, then finds them listed on Craigslist

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Earlier in the week, PGA Tour professional Kyle Thompson put three old Srixon golf bags (that he has since stressed “were in bad shape”) out with the garbage.

What the 39-year-old wasn’t expecting, however, was for someone to come by and snag the items from his trash. That’s precisely what happened however, and Thompson managed to capture the incident, which he then uploaded to his Instagram account (second slide):

The bag burglar displayed some smooth moves as he tiptoed his way across Thompson’s driveway before snagging the items and hopping back into his truck and driving off for a clean getaway.

Thompson then turned investigator, found the items listed on Craigslist, which the seller, who he christened “Cowboy,” had priced at $175.

If that wasn’t enough, the clubs were also spotted on eBay where the items were unashamedly listed as a “Kyle Thompson model,” and the seller, who was clearly struggling to move the bags, had dropped his asking price down to $100.

As for Thompson, he appeared to find the entire episode amusing, even praising his man “Cowboy” for his ingenuity.

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The 7 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today: 9/20/18

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If you’re on Instagram, you’re hopefully aware that we are ‘gramming it up as well (@golfwrx). And if you’re not following us, well, that hurts our feelings more than a three-putt bogey.

Even if you do follow WRX on Instagram, however, you may not be aware that an abundance of equipment enthusiasts are hashtagging their photos #GolfWRX. We feel it’s only right to feature the best of the WRX-tagged imagery here.

And if you’re not on Instagram, well there’s no way you could see these photos, so think of this series as a handy filter for the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Aiken Golf Club, looks like y’all are good to go. All bag room and cart barn photos are 100% WRX approved.

Some puttorial handiwork from Bradley Putters, here. Acrylic + wood = nastiness.

A post that will only resonate with golfers of a certain age…

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When golf balls were golf balls….

A post shared by NCW Fine Furniture Department (@ncwfinefurniture) on

Do lambs travel in a herd? (Technically correct, according to Google)

Lovely Lincoln ball makers, indeed. Nice work here from CNC Creations.

The expected singular ferrule work from Boyd Blade & Ferrule. Very nice.

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1958

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Lovely Red Bird & Avian wand.

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Heat-stained, Stamped & Fitted. ??

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If you’re on Instagram, remember to hashtag your photos #GolfWRX. And if you’re not on Instagram, well, don’t.

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19th Hole

ICYMI: The incredible story of a golf course artist freed from jail

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Since Max Adler of Golf Digest profiled convicted killer and golf artist Valentino Dixon in 2012, the Attica inmate has been on much of the golf audience’s collective radar.

It wasn’t just that Dixon, who never so much stepped onto a golf course in his life, dedicated himself to putting beautiful golf landscapes on paper, but rather, many, including Adler, believed he was wrongfully convicted. Jimmy Roberts, too, profiled Dixon, albeit in video form, and was of the same mind.

Adler and Roberts both played a small part in what happened this week, as the publicity generated by their work alerted wrongful conviction advocates to Dixon’s case: Dixon’s murder conviction was vacated.

It’s an incredible story of both justice served (albeit woefully late), and a surprising passion. If you’re unfamiliar with Dixon’s work, you can see some of it in this YouTube video by tinad426, presumably featuring the photos of his drawings taken by Golf Digest. (Many outlets refer to Dixon’s art as “paintings.” This is incorrect as his medium in colored pencil: he wasn’t allowed to use paint and paintbrushes)

“The guys [in prison] can’t understand,” Dixon said. “They always say I don’t need to be drawing this golf stuff. I know it makes no sense, but for some reason my spirit is attuned to this game.”

A quick recap of the case: Dixon had been serving a minimum 38-year-to-life sentence since August, 1991, for the shooting of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson, allegedly following an argument about a girl.

While Dixon admitted he was at the crime scene, he claimed was in a nearby liquor store at the time of the killing. Georgetown University’s Prisons and Justice Initiative found that a gunpowder test on Dixon’s clothes had come back negative and the prosecution failed to share the information with the defence.

Additionally, Lamarr Scott told local media he was in fact the shooter, and has maintained that he, not Dixon, was guilty in the years since.

He was never arrested for the crime. However, Scott, in jail for a separate crime, was given the opportunity to formally confess to the crime this week. He did so, and Dixon was exonerated hours later.

“Maybe he’ll even take up golf,” Golf Digest’s Max Adler quoted his subject of six years ago as saying.

Let’s hope he does.

 

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