join

Smashing the Box – TaylorMade to Buck the USGA Through Non-Conformity

Post image for Smashing the Box – TaylorMade to Buck the USGA Through Non-Conformity

Written By: Tony Covey

It sounds almost inconceivable, but it seems that TaylorMade is creeping closer towards blowing the lid (and the walls) off the oppressive little 460cc box the USGA has stuffed the golf equipment companies into.

Reputable sources are telling us in no uncertain terms that TaylorMade is planning to launch a line of non-conforming golf clubs.

That’s right. Non-conforming clubs from the #1 Company in Golf…or at least from one of the brands under the TaylorMade-adidas umbrella.

If it proves true, I don’t think it’s overstating to say that TaylorMade would be poised to flip the entire equipment industry ass-end-up, while setting up what could be a very tense showdown with the USGA over its governance of the recreational game.

This is potentially nothing less than the biggest equipment story since…well…maybe ever.

quote-non-coforming-5

A Brief History of Suggestion

As you may recall, TaylorMade CEO, Mark King, In an interview with ScoreGolf’s Rick Young suggested that if the anchoring ban passed TaylorMade would give serious thought to continuing production of belly putters.

So far that hasn’t happened, but that’s hardly the end of it.

Adding fuel to the fire, Golf Digest recently published excerpts from an interview with Sean Toulon, TaylorMade’s Executive Vice President. In that that video (also from the PGA show) Toulon further suggests that TaylorMade might consider releasing non-conforming clubs.

“Our job is to make sure we get golfers excited to go out and play more golf…and we can do that with better performance, and if honestly the ruling bodies don’t like it then it goes wherever it goes. We’re going to put the hammer down, and we’ve got great ideas” – Sean Toulon, Executive Vice President, TaylorMade-adidas Golf

The timing of this week’s Golf Digest STX article is particularly curious. There’s enough happening in the equipment industry right now that there’s zero practical reason to publish an 8 month old interview that focuses on TaylorMade potentially dropping the hammer…unless well…you have pretty good info that TaylorMade is about to let go of a seriously big hammer.

If we’re hearing chatter, one would think Golf Digest is too.

Reality and Bullshit

Rumors of a non-conforming line underneath the TaylorMade umbrella have been swirling for months.  While one reliable source recently put the probability of a non-conforming line at 100%, I’d personally be shocked to see a single USGA illegal club with the TaylorMade logo on it. Adams is a better possibility. Was non-conformity the ultimate objective in acquiring the Adams brand? And while it’s a long shot, TaylorMade still owns the rights to the Noodle brand as well.

Is there a better name for a non-conforming club than Noodle?

Around here, we’re fond of saying “It’s bullshit until it’s not”, and so until a manufacturer of repute actually releases a non-conforming club, no matter how good our source, we can’t be completely certain that anybody in the golf industry has the stomach to actually take on the USGA, but nevertheless, it’s a fascinating proposition.

A Fine Line Between Insanity and Genius

Since we first heard the suggestion that one of the giants of the golf equipment industry might be giving serious consideration to creating an offering for the less rules conscious among us, we’ve batted around the potential implications.

Would the weekend hackers and other strictly recreational golfers respond positively to mainstream equipment truly designed with them in mind?

Would the purists, and traditionalists, and self-appointed protectors of the game respond with outrage and contempt for the first mainstream company to create what will surely be viewed by some as clubs for cheaters?

There’s a lot at risk here.

quote-non-coforming-3

If rumors become reality, there’s reason to believe the USGA might be forced to finally acknowledge the chasm between the competitive golfer and the exclusively recreational crowd. The first company in…doesn’t matter if it’s TaylorMade or someone else, will absolutely be risking the credibility of their brand.

It’s equal partS insanity and strategic genius. It’s the equipment industry’s ultimate risk reward scenario. A well-executed move into the non-conforming space has the potential to not only spawn a new category of equipment, but lead the industry into a new era of innovation – and innovation is the real key to all of this.

A poorly executed plan, or simply a poor plan, could put you out of business. Golfers have long memories. Whoever goes first has the one and only shot to fundamentally change the game.

We are the Minority

Before you form your opinion (assuming you haven’t done so already), I’d like you to take a moment to consider a few things.

If you’re reading this, you are not the average golfer. The average golfer, at least in terms of the raw numbers, doesn’t spend his time in golf forums reading rumors like this one.

If you play by the letter of the USGA’s rulebook, always keep score, and compete in tournaments, you are not the average golfer either.

The real average golfers, and in fact the majority of golfers are the weekend duffers; the recreational crowd. They play by their own rules. They keep score loosely, if at all. They don’t play in tournaments, or even for money. They believe the foot wedge is the unsung hero of the golf bag (they might be right), and I can assure you they don’t give a damn what the USGA thinks about any of it.

For them, golf is simply about having a good time (crazy, right?), and in that context, there’s absolutely no practical reason why those guys should be limited by the USGA’s authoritarian approach to the golf equipment industry.

They are the masses, and yet, because of the USGA’s rules on equipment, nobody with any real skin in the game is actually designing clubs with them in mind.

Think about this too. The USGA has effectively told the golf manufacturers that they must ignore a sizeable portion of the golfing population (and a sizeable population of their potential customer base) because it would cause an inconvenient problem with the same rulebook that the golfers in question ignore.

Would that fly at your office?

And so for a moment, put yourself in a golf company’s shoes. How do you respond to an organization seemingly incapable of drawing the obvious line between competitive and recreational play, and because of that inability inhibits your ability to truly innovate, reach more customers, and potentially make the game more enjoyable for more golfers?

The way I see it, you have two choices.

You can be a good dog, roll over, and take whatever your master gives you.

Or…if you’ve got the stones for it, you take the blue pill, and get serious about making the game more enjoyable for more golfers.

The USGA Has Over-Stepped

As trustee for the rules of golf, the USGA has grossly over-stepped in their management of the equipment space. It’s one thing to create rules defining competition-legal equipment, it’s quite another to issue a mandate effectively prohibiting golf companies from producing anything that doesn’t conform.

We’ve talked about Major League Baseball governing Little League or the NFL forcing its rules on Pop Warner (that ball is not regulation, kid), but the closest parallel I can find to golf is competitive cycling.

As with golf, the UCI (cycling’s governing body) has rules that cover every aspect of the spot, including equipment. There are bikes that are deemed competition-legal and bikes that are not. The difference between golf and cycling is that if I just want something to ride around the neighborhood, my choices aren’t limited to UCI legal bikes.

I’m free to buy a non-conforming bike from any number of reputable, top-tier companies, and nobody is going to accuse me of cheating anyone or anything.

How is that any different from a recreational golfer who plays non-conforming clubs?

And you know what…while cycling has its share of problems; recreational cyclists, and kids jumping mounds of dirt on Huffys aren’t among them.

Why should guys who aren’t competing against anyone be forced to make a choice between playing competition legal equipment, or non-conforming clubs from a relative nobody?

Why should the USGA dictate what equipment is available to the recreational golfer?

There is Zero Real Innovation in Golf

We hear complaints all the time about how the golf companies haven’t done anything truly innovative in years. It’s all the same and worse yet, it’s the same as it was last year, and the year before that.

While I would argue that things like adjustable weights and hosels, speed slots, and more consistent faces are actually innovative, and have incrementally improved the performance of today’s equipment, nobody (well, nobody other than their creators) is suggesting that any of these new technologies have revolutionized the equipment industry.

Everything is incrementally better, but the increments are getting smaller.

Non-Conformity is the Gateway to Innovation

More than anything else, a line of non-conforming clubs would give the golf companies something they haven’t had in a while; complete and total freedom to innovate. As it is in nearly any other industry, imagination, not regulation, becomes the limiting factor.

Since a non-conforming line wouldn’t be bound by any of the conventions of what a golf club is, what it looks like, what it’s made from; golf companies would be free to experiment with new materials, new geometry, and completely new ideas.

How is this bad for golf?

quote-non-coforming-2

 

quote-non-coforming-4

The recreational market, I believe, would be much more accepting of designs that don’t fit the traditional molds. The possibilities are limitless. I’m talking about an untethered breeding ground for actual innovation.

You want to bring the excitement back to the golf equipment world? This is where it starts.

And here’s the rub…for the conformists among us. Those of us who do play by the letter (mostly), and who compete in tournaments, but who still want some really cool shit in our golf bags, I’m all but certain that some of the really innovative ideas born from the freedom of non-conformity will work their way back into conforming lines.

Non-conforming equipment means better conforming equipment.

Non-Conforming Equipment is Good for Golf

You think I’m insane? I’m just getting started.

Mainstream non-conforming equipment could ultimately be good for the health of the game. While I’m not one to believe that slow play is killing golf, or long courses are killing golf, or the cost of equipment and tee times is killing golf (nothing is actually killing golf), I think there are some pretty simple steps we could take to improve the overall health of the game, and letting golfers play gear that makes the game more enjoyable is certainly one of them.

+ You want to mitigate the impact of longer courses? Let guys hit the ball farther.

+ You want to speed up play? Let guys hit the ball straighter and keep them out of the damn woods.

+ You want to attract new golfers? Make the game more fun, and part of that means giving non-competitive golfers the ability to play whatever it is that makes the game more enjoyable for them.

And what about the guy who can’t bend over, or who got hurt and lost 50 yards?

What’s the greater tragedy, having somebody who used to love the game walk off the course and never come back, or allowing them to play (recreationally, of course) with anchored putters and juiced up drivers?

Non-Conforming Equipment is Bad for Golf

I’ve heard the arguments against bucking the USGA. If we allow non-conforming clubs to penetrate the market, guys will start using them in tournaments. Guys who play by the rules will become frustrated and leave the game. The cheaters will take over, and the integrity of the game will be compromised.

Non-Conforming clubs from big golf companies will destroy golf.

I love a good slippery slope argument. Actually, I’ve never heard a good slippery slope argument, but you get my point.

The truly great thing about golf is that it’s a game of personal integrity. Mainstream availability of non-conforming clubs won’t change that because the guys who will buy them will be guys who have no intention of competing with anyone.

The existence of non-conforming clubs should be fundamentally disconnected from any supposition that it will lead to widespread cheating. Golf is a game of integrity. The capabilities of the equipment won’t change that.

The position that non-conforming clubs for recreational golfers are bad for the game comes from a place of fear…and fear is the enemy of progress and innovation.

Brand Integrity on the Line

Make no mistake about it. If this is real, if one of the big golf companies actually releases an entire lineup of non-conforming clubs, there will be credibility issues.

Would that company be perceived as a brand that aggressively seeks to make the game more enjoyable for the masses? Or would we perceive them as a brand that complicity supports cheaters and thieves on its way to destroying the game of golf.

Perception…and in this case that means marketing will be everything.

There will be backlash. That is a certainty. Hell, we felt the backlash after we published an article about spin reducing lube. Traditionalists hammered us for condoning, even supporting cheating. They proclaimed that no “real golfer” would ever use it, and they vowed never to return to MyGolfSpy again.

I thought that was kind of harsh.

Any big brand releasing non-conforming equipment would certainly face similar scrutiny and more of it. Competitors would have a field day…picnics, games, the works.

The thing is, the guys who get worked up about such things aren’t the guys who generally buy equipment from brands who would have the stones to be the first ones in with a non-conforming line (in my mind there’s only 2 or 3 that would). There’s very little harm in alienating a consumer that was never going to buy from you anyway.

I think it could work…maybe.

A company could succeed through non-conformity. It sounds insane given how some golfers cling to their notions of tradition, but I believe that’s a very small and declining minority. I’m also certain we wouldn’t even be talking about it unless somebody hadn’t already figured out that the demand exists.

Big brand non-conformity is almost certainly going to happen, and it’s probably going to happen soon.  This is not the first company we have been hearing might release a non-conforming line of clubs.  It’s just a matter of time.

But like I said, it’s all bullshit until it isn’t.

Should consumers have access to non-conforming clubs?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

{ 200 comments… read them below or add one }

AH September 19, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I am all for people being able to buy whatever they want to buy. Just because I want to measure my ability to play the game against others using equipment that is subject to rules doesn’t mean anyone else should have to abide by those rules.

If someone wants to tell me that they are better than me using equipment that is a greater help to them I still know the fact is that on equal footing I would most likely prevail.

More people playing is better for golf period. If that means laser mapping putters and 12 gauge drivers then so be it.

Reply

dr. bloor September 19, 2013 at 9:22 pm

This. Taylormade wouldn’t be “taking on” the USGA by marketing a line of nonconforming club, nor would they remotely be putting the brand at risk. They’d be selling clubs for guys who participate in golf as entertainment rather than sport. Which, judging by beer sales via undergrad coed cart girls, is a metric butt-ton of guys. Nothing more, nothing less.

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 3:39 am

Dr. Bloor are you an internet shill hired by the U.S.G.A.? you are using disinformation tactics to try to get the discussion off topic by using coed cart girls and belittling golfers that don’t support the rules.

Reply

Golfer Burnz September 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Why even bother using clubs at all? Just train a hawk to drop the ball 500 yards down the fairway. Then have your hunting dog run it from there and drop the ball into the hole. You’d be guaranteed a 2 on every hole.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Wouldn’t the hunting dog try to go after the hawk?

Reply

DaveA September 21, 2013 at 8:17 am

I don’t think the ‘if it’s not legal, it isn’t golf’ think is realistic. Many of the USGA rules are completely arbitrary. What if they had made the biggest legal driver volume 455cc instead of 460? Would your driver suddenly be transformed into a game-destroying nuclear bomb of a club, rendering all golf courses obsolete and turning anyone who swings it into Bubba Watson? Of course not.

So…when TMAG comes out with this new line, and it includes a 472cc driver, are you expecting to see hackers everywhere suddenly bombing 435 yard drives right down the pipe or some such? Come on…

In my opinion, as long as the fundamentals of what it means to be a golf club are retained (a blob on the end of a stick with a flat-ish face that you whack against the ball by swinging it) I don’t see the harm in it.

Reply

Rex September 19, 2013 at 1:18 pm

One need look no further for signs of incompetence in the USGA than the Tee it Forward initiative. “Hey there sports fans! Golf is going to be much funner for competitive and social golfers alike if you social golfers (overwhelmingly proud, strapping, alpha males) emasculate yourselves and play from tee’s positioned for women and children…. hell, why don’t we all wear Depends so we don’t have to stop to take a piss as well? This concept was not just dead on arrival…it was mummified 4 thousand years ago… and yet the USGA (and PGA) have vested millions in scarce advertising $$$ to hear themselves speak. Stunning hubris, denial, and incompetence are all in effect.

The exact benefits (fewer, more accurate shots) are core to the bifurcation concept. Without the castration component…. and Depends are optional.

This is NOT rocket science. You go TM. The others will follow.

Reply

Soupy September 19, 2013 at 6:08 pm

The point isn’t to emasculate, it’s to give more folks an equitable shot at par. You shouldn’t play the tips or the next tee in. No doubt about it, I don’t have to qualify it. You’re not long enough and if you’re hitting long irons or woods into every green you’re missing more than you would with mid/short irons. At best, your a masochist, but more likely you have a willful ignorance about your talent level. Tee it forward, you’ll score better.

ps. this was troll-eqsue, I’m sorry…i’m really reacting to the thought that “Tee It Forward” is emasculating or misdirected. More people should head the advice!

Reply

Rex September 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm

No worries, we are all entitled to an opinion.
The theory makes sense….the practice is eminently, impossibly unworkable. Look at the target audience (typical 4-some of upper-middle class, males, age 40+). Look at the message (please play from the woman’s tees). Look at the environment (beer, good times, beer, and testosterone). Look at the result: absurdly predictable failure.
There is a reason why the USGA and the R&A will be passed over in the next 10 years…likely by a consortium of tours (led by the PGA), golf courses with declining participation and manufacturers suffering from commoditization…. It is summed up in one word: Intransigence.

Reply

DaveA September 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I regularly play with people who ‘tee it forward’ as a direct result of this program. Not everyone who should, does it of course, but more do it all the time. I play with one friend in particular, playing rounds from every tee having discovered as a direct result of the Tee It Forward program, that it’s fun to mix it up sometimes. He is a legit 315 avg. off the tee, and he has a ball driving multiple greens in a round. Granted this isn’t the point of the program, but it is evidence that there has been some success in changing the “Lady’s tee” perception.

I am a novice, and it never occurred to me to hit from anywhere other than the whites until this program hit. I now play about half of my rounds from the next tee forward, and it has greatly increased my fun level.

Your perception of why it won’t work is precisely why it is necessary to spend all of those advertising dollars.

Reply

Tim September 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

One of your best pieces hands down.

I am truly dumbfounded by anyone voting no….

Reply

PJ September 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm

And I feel the same way about anyone who would vote ‘yes’.
Screw it, why have any rules at all? Why not make basketball hoops only 6′ high, or home run fences only 150′ away. Make a 100 yard dash only 25 yards long so more people could feel like they’re running faster by having shorter times!!

Hell, why not let everyone do whatever they want – use a slingshot instead of a club, a pool cue to putt with…heck, why even putt??? You want to make people feel better about having no real skill? Part of today’s society, reward the under-achieving people of the world. Tell them even though they don’t practice or have any talent, here’s your prize. Good job for doing nothing to improve yourself.
Why not make hitting the green par? why even bother put a hole on the green??

I can’t think of a single friend who would play with illegal or non-conforming clubs. But, to be fair, they would probably call themselves golfers. Those with the non-conforming clubs are just people who happen to play golf.

Reply

DaveA September 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Your last paragraph hit the nail right on the head…you’ve perfectly summed up why this is such a great idea. People who happen to play golf are still people, and their money keeps your course in shape and funds events just as well as yours does. Not only that, but they deserve to have a good time too don’t they?

How’s the view from that very high horse? Yeesh.

Reply

ms1195 September 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I think it will be really interesting to see what kind of clubs can be created without constraints of the USGA. Watching some of the incredible engineering from the top companies really be set loose would be interesting in itself, but seeing any true leaps in performance would be pretty awesome too. I think many guys who typically follow the rules would still be interested in non-conforming clubs for friendly rounds, because it all goes back to having fun.

Very thought provoking topic, and I although I am not a fan of Taylormade I really hope they go forward with this, and others follow suit.

Reply

Blu September 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I understand why our country is in the mess that it is. Screw a bunch of rules. Why have any rules in society? Lets all lie – cheat and seal. That is what should be on our money.. Not In God We Trust.

Hacks can buy all the gimmicks they want… one thing will remain the same.. They will still be lousy hacks and spent a fortune at still being lousy. Invest in some lessons and quit cheat at golf and i life mostly!

Reply

Dave September 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Lie, cheat, steal? Dude, lighten up. If there’s a market (and there is based on the fact that you’re outvoted 3 to 1) TM and others will look to serve it. It makes sense, and doesn’t affect the purists as the majority of clubs will still be conforming. I think the cycling example is a good one, baseball is another good one. The model exists in other sports and it’s accepted as it eventually will be in golf. If you’re going to compete then you know what equipment to play, if not then break out that wallet and buy some technology!

Reply

Seth September 20, 2013 at 3:12 am

Dave, thanks for this response. I didn’t get it until I read this. It’s basically the aluminum bat. This makes perfect sense. I could use a wood bat in an amateur competition, but why would I? I can’t use a wood bat in a pro competition. But then, alas, I am no pro, so I always swung aluminum. I would have voted no until I read this.

Reply

Rex September 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Behold the far too common judge/mental ass…..

Reply

ms1195 September 19, 2013 at 5:19 pm

So you’re upset because people lie or don’t take lessons? And this has what to do with non-conforming clubs? The game, including tournaments, are dependent on the honor system anyway. A guy with conforming clubs can kick his ball out from under a tree same as anyone else.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Let’s have the military invade the golf course, that’ll teach them, right?

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 3:42 am

Do you know how to use spell check? most internet trolls don’t.

Reply

Lproffer September 20, 2013 at 7:24 am

Why would you care what the Hacks buy?

Reply

Dave September 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Too many golfers out there think non-conforming drivers are going to give you and extra 50 yds off the tee and take 10 strokes off your game. I’m sure if testing was done it would show they are not going to make much difference at all for the average golfer. I’ve been using a Japan companies non-conforming driver the past two years. I’ve gained maybe 15 yds off the tee but my scoring has pretty much stayed the same. (4hdcp) I’m all for them as they contribute to the “fun” factor.

Reply

Dave September 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Too bad you can’t buy a short game!

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I don’t believe that high tech clubs will make that big a difference with scoring. A mediocre player isn’t going to shoot a 75 with these clubs no matter what. Now erasers on the other hand…

Reply

Dean Dodge September 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Where is the truth? It is all about how much money ($$$) can someone make.

Here it is – the game is now manufacturer driven and look what has happened – a plethora of responsible complaints for years now. Look at the history, the game grew when it was golf (game) driven, now it has become manufacture driven and people are wondering what happened? As the cash registers ring, manufactures blame everyone else, but never look in the mirror. So what if the millionaires are not getting richer?

There is a very clear history lesson here

Reply

dr. bloor September 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm

“There is a very clear history lesson here.”

Oh, oh, I know! Bring back the gutta percha!

Reply

Phil September 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm

TM will do whatever it takes to make money. Oh well.

Reply

Dave September 20, 2013 at 7:34 am

That is why most companies go into business… Other companies have attempted to do the same, let’s wait and see if this time is different.

Reply

Rick September 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

It’s time to start thinking outside the box. Golf is played by a declining number of people – a dying sport in need of more recreational players. The “greatest generation” and their sons and daughters not only want, but in some cases need the long putter, and the ability to hit the ball further and straighter to keep up with their local course changes. What the hell – it’s a game! Let’s make it as fun as possible for the recreational golfer.
As far as the USGA and PGA – it would be a moot discussion if they would just enforce a “tournament ball” for their events. AND we could save the classic (read: short) designs that are getting butchered via lengthening. Rock on, TM!

Reply

kevin September 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I wouldn’t care about the non-conforming equiping for recreational rounds – heck use whatever you want. The problem is that when its easily acceptable it will be used in tournaments where others are trying to play by the rules.

This is going to be a nightmare.

Reply

mygolfspy September 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Response is a quote from the article with our thoughts:

“Mainstream availability of non-conforming clubs won’t change that mostly because the guys who will buy them will be guys who have no intention of competing with anyone.”

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm

If non-conforming equipment is used in tournament play, the player will be disqualified, so it won’t affect the integrity of professional golf. By the way, Callaway had the non-conforming ERC many years ago so it’s not as revolutionary as the author might think. Personally, as an aging golfer, I have been considering going to non-conforming clubs since I had surgery for degenerative discs in my neck. I haven’t lost too much distance since then but my recovery time after a round is now days instead of hours. I hurt like hell! If a club can give me more performance without the need to swing like a guerilla to achieve it, then I’m all for it. I have no problem teeing it up with different clubs geared toward different rules. One club for tournaments and one club for everyday rounds. If I enjoy the game more and play more isn’t that what it’s all about? Today I’m restricted to playing shorter course due to diminishing length (not that I ever was a power hitter) and one day I won’t be able to handle those so I will be forced to stop playing the game that is a passion for me. Locally we have lots of senior golf leagues and sometimes it is a laborious process to either play in them or to follow them as 80+ year olds only hit the ball 100 to 120 yards but these guys love the game and is the highlight of their week when they come out. Are we to tell them to stay home because they do not have any strength or allow them to pick up some distance and speed things up and increase their enjoyment of the game? Locally many seniors come out with their grandkids introducing them to the wonderful game of golf. Should we tell them to bugger off? Please get off your high horses and let golfers decide what is best for the game, not an out of touch regulatory body. I would ponder that most golfers would end up owning two sets of clubs… conforming and non-conforming.

Reply

Duncan Castles September 21, 2013 at 4:24 am

Yes, absolutely the right way to improve the game of golf: Have “most golfers…owning two sets of club… conforming and non-conforming”.
What was that argument about the cost of golf being a major issue in the States and the UK again??

Reply

MikeB September 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Mr. Castles, I believe that most golfers would carry maybe 2 or 3 NC clubs at the most with the driver being the most popular. So in this scenario it wouldn’t be that expensive.

Oldplayer September 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Some golfers who compete at the tournament level may wish to gain an advantage if it existed using non-conforming equipment. So who would control and police this?
I am not against club technology to be advanced by experimenting in the currently non-conforming area, but if the above scenario happened it could all get messy and I would propose not a good thing for the game at amateur level.
In Australia we have a high percentage of the golfing population playing club golf using governed handicaps and by the R&A rules. They play regularly/weekly in their local club comps. Are we going to have bag checks before every round?

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Yes.

Reply

Luis September 25, 2013 at 11:27 am

I agree with it would be a nightmare in tournaments. Golf is sinonim of honesty. Always. If you cheet using non-conforming equipment with the minimum bet with your friends, then you could use it on any tournament. It is not fair. So, sorry, I agree with USGA.

Reply

Dean Dodge September 19, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Dave – 4 hdcp – you cannot have a handicap with non conforming clubs. The problems have started already.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

get over yourself!

Reply

Dave September 20, 2013 at 7:40 am

Sure you can, anyone can use the USGA formula to determine their handicap. It just unofficial and can’t be used in tournament play. Supposing it was, and while competing you’re forced to use “inferior” conforming technology, wouldn’t that essentially be reverse-sandbagging? So he plays to a 4 using hot metal woods, and in a tournament has to hit approach shots from 15 yards further out, who does it hurt? I say bring it on, I’ll give him 2 a side any day…

Reply

Gerry September 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

If TM is going to do this, it should bring the line out under an entirely new name. Everyone would know what it is and could chose to buy or not based on principle or desire as they wish. Integrity is always a personal decision and cannot be forced by some organization or manufacturer.

Reply

Tony Covey September 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Love that last sentence Gerry. Don’t understand the premise that all of a sudden guys who have been playing the game with integrity will be compelled to start cheating because of mainstream availability of non-conforming clubs. When you’re playing competitive golf you either have integrity or you don’t. It has nothing to do with equipment.

And if you’re not playing competitively, than not much of anything should be of concern.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

What happens when you play non-conforming clubs in tournament play? Charles Howell III found out. Every sport has cheats but they get found out. NASCAR, anyone? If you want to be a masochist and play the game with conforming clubs, then bravo for you! If I need to play non-conforming clubs to keep on playing then bravo for me. Don’t you dare force me to do what you do!

Reply

Adam Huckeby September 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm

well its something to talk about …taylormade is good at that

Reply

Wayne September 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Have all non-conforming items embedded with a chip. When and if someone enters a tournament,all clubs and balls are scanned. I’m sure the industries can come up with an inexpensive chip or the equivalent. Although I’m sure that in time, the “chip” would have to be put on or in the conforming equipment instead to cut down their cost!

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm

The NSA would then use the chip to spy on golfers and the military would call it a weapon of mass destruction and invade the golf courses!!

Reply

Tim September 25, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Home-Land Security will handle the check in process via body scanners.

Reply

John Barry September 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Trying to think of 1 reason why the average, weekend warrior, shouldn’t be able to play a non-conforming club, and I can not come up with one. The game of golf needs to grow, and be fun, if this is a way to do it, great!

Everything non-conforming, needs to be labeled so, and noted not for tournament use. I understand the clubs/balls, etc would be for fun only. TM, hat’s off if you do it, it’s a business, and this is a revenue stream that no one has really tapped into. I can see some great ads coming out soon from them.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm

They could put a “for recreational use only” emblem on the sole of the club so there wouldn’t be any confusion. The solution is simple so why make it so difficult people?

Reply

John Barry September 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

That is a great idea!

Reply

JimmyO September 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Companies have been selling non-conforming clubs for years with very limited success.
Callaway: GBB II+, ERC +…
Cobra: SS Unlimited Series
Taylor Made: R360, R540 XD…

These didn’t take off because they were still “illegal”. Until there is bifurcation of USGA and R&A rules, I have a feeling history will repeat itself. Just my opinion but I think if anyone has the ability to get separate rules passed, it’s Taylor Made. IF this happens, it will create a whole new market for golf manufacturers which will be great for them, great for consumers and great for the game. Just my 2 cents.

Reply

Conrad Glewicz September 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Hello, the USGA and the NCAA need to go into the scraphead of outdated, self-serving, organizations which exist mainly for their own profit. How many rounds of golf played today are by the book, most people play for fun, not competition, and huge sums of money. Anything that can improve the pace of play, make the game fun for 99% of the people who are the ones who really drive the golf industry is for the best of the game, let the pros scale back the balls, etc. but help the amateur as much as possible, You hear Nicklaus etc. talk about all the problems in the golf world, yet, he builds course that are financially out of most peoples reach, and are way too hard for the average golfer, but, as long as profits rule, the average golfer will suffer, and pay through the nose…

Reply

Mike74 September 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I like the comparison with cycling! It’s an interesting thought, and maybe the best argument in the article.

But, and this might be different here in Europe, what about handicap and club competitions.

At least in Sweden, and I think many other places in Europe, all golfer a belong to a club, even the recreational players. We do not have many pay and play courses were you can play without a valid handicap, which you can’t get without playing conforming equipment.

Even if you work around that, what happens when a lot of members, used to the non-conforming clubs start demanding that these should be OK in club competitions? In Sweden at least many recreational players (or hacks if you prefer) play in “two generations”, “husband and wife”, “the old boys” and similar club competitions. These competitions would be almost unplayable for any good player if you allow both handicap and non-conformity. This means more classes, and even more separation between different golfers. Not only pros and the rest, but “real” golfers and non-conformists.

I don’t think that is a good way forward.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm

All you have to do is set the rules of competition beforehand and everyone will play by the same rules it’s not rocket science. Some competitions could be arranged for conforming equipment and others for non-conforming ones. Just set up two handicap systems for both types of clubs, simple isn’t it?

Reply

golf4frek September 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Like others have said, it’s strictly a choice! The company see’s a niche and fills it. If the company did their due diligence then the product will sell if not it will fade away and be forgotten. The consumer is the one that decides this argument, not the USGA.

Reply

Socorr4 September 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm

“I don’t like where my ball landed on the green,” said Mark Green, TaylorMade Golf’s CEO, as he casually moved it in to the hole with his foot. “Ah, another birdie!! In a few weeks I’ll be able to beat the late Kim Jong Il’s record score of 38 under par for 18 holes and become the best golfer of all time. But wait what could I possibly do to boost my already blimp-sized ego after that?”

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

So that’s how YOU play the game? No matter what you do, you can’t stop people from doing what they want to do.

Reply

Dave September 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

If you’re TM, why not float the idea out there to see what public opinion is like? They’re out of improvements, limits imposed by the USGA have been reached. Based on reactions here looks like it’s full speed ahead… As mentioned in the article the folks reading/voting here aren’t even the core market for non-conforming and it’s still a strong majority in favor.

Reply

Boots September 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Wasn’t the release of the non-conforming ERC by Callaway what began their loosening grip on the driver market in the early 2000′s? This will be interesting to watch as it unfolds…

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm

No, the lack of marketing and true innovation did. The ERC, from what I saw and heard was really hard to control.

Reply

Tom-333 September 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I think its a bad idea. How can you possibly compare your ability with anyone else when you have no common ground with regards to equipment. I’m not talking about pro’s either . I’m talking about playing with your mates, or your work colleagues. Whats the point in hitting that dead eye 110yd wedge that skips past the flag then zips back to 2ft. It makes you feel like your not so far from the pro’s after all. If your wedge has a face like a car tyre tread then you’ll simply contribute the outcome of the shot to the “amazing” properties of the club.
TAYLORMADE ARE DESPERATE FOR US TO BUY MORE CLUBS. They want these new clubs to be socialky accepted by casual golfers with large amounts of free cash. They can then set about the next five years drip feeding(currently non-conforming) technology into the market with even more ludicrous claims about performance enhancements
If there are no cor restraints or groove restraints then they can essentially claim what ever they want as there will be no bench mark by which to judge them
. IF THEY HAVE IT THEIR WAY THEY’LL CREATE AN ARMS RACE. I have played other equipment dominated sports where exactly this happened. Insufficient ruling on equipment meant that individuals could have a genuine edge by buying the latest technology. In which case its no longer the individuals ability that created the score .
I’m not so fussed by by-fircation ie amateurs and pros playing seperate equipment. But the ameteur game still needs its own equipment rules.

Reply

Socorr4 September 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Completely agreed, Tom. What is the difference between using non-conforming clubs and taking PED’s to improve performance?

Green’s name hardly seems a coincidence. He wants to roll in the stuff integrity and rules are merely obstacles to his greed.

Reply

johnloft September 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I get what you guys are saying, but what about the simple fact that this may get people to play a dying sport? I say go for it. Sure TM will most likely benefit. If it wasn’t TMAG, I don’t think so many people would be so butthurt.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm

You probably one of those guys who think robot testing is the only way to do it too, huh?

Reply

Dave September 20, 2013 at 7:52 am

RELAX, you and your buddies can still choose to all play either conforming or non-conforming gear and have a level playing field. It’s not like you’re all playing the exact same sets currently, so how level is the playing field now? If 2 of you were custom fit, 2 bought off the rack, then some have an advantage already. I’m excited to see what they have up their sleeve, it would truly open the door to some groundbreaking possibilities. Based on some of what I’ve heard from insiders, you may not believe what they’re capable of manufacturing. This will be worth it, just you wait and see…

Reply

GOLFERCRAIG September 20, 2013 at 10:49 am

So, to be clear, when you and your buddies lose a ball you go back to the tee box? You putt out EVERY putt? You,and EVERYONE you play with know the difference between yellow and red stakes? You don’t play “the leaf rule” or “the root rule” or “winter rules.” If that’s the case, you are in the ABSOLUTE minority. Otherwise, you’re already cheating your handicap score. You play in the scratch division of every tournament? I’m actually sick of people telling me they won their club championship only to find out they won the D filght (handicaps 12-17.) You didn’t win anything. The hypocrisy on this subject is staggering. Go to a muni. Watch the players roll a ball in the rough so they can hit a fwy wood, or roll it up in the bermuda rough around the green. Watch them pick up 3-footers. Or drop “up here and hit 3.” That’s who is playing the game. Not the stick-up-their ass USGA.

Reply

hckymeyer September 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I think quite a few of these comments are missing the big picture here. What’s the number one rule in sales? Don’t sell out of your own pocket!

If you are reading this article and commenting on it you are most likely NOT the target market for non-conforming clubs. If you carry a handicap you are most likely NOT the target market for non-conforming clubs. I read a statistic that only about 20% of golfers actually carry a handicap. That leaves an awfully large percentage of the golfing market as candidates for non-conforming (i.e. easier to hit) clubs.

Best of luck to TMaG or any other OEM that decides to go this route. Not sure if it will take off or not, but I think there is potential.

Reply

Keith parker September 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Without NASA, F1 Grand Prix teams and other ground breaking organisations, we, the human race would not move forward at the pace we do. Most of us would not be able to drive an F1 race car, but we all experience those advancements in car technology brought about by the Free thinking talents employed by those teams.
Here is a chance for the Weekend golfer to help the advancement of golf technology for the whole golfing community including the Professionals.
It’s about time someone allowed the majority to show the gifted few, what can be achieved while having some FUN.

Reply

Ray Richardson September 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm

When I make what the pro makes on the weekend then I will worry about what the suits think.Until then let me play what I want and they can play with a coke bottle if that is their desire. I get to play very seldom so I would not know a conforming club from one that is nonconforming.Who really cares -its just a GAME

Reply

Crow September 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I am a little torn on this issue. First, i would never use this equipment. I don’t play many tournaments, but I want to be able to use my clubs if I play one. Second, I can see the point of how to check equipment during a tournament to see if it is legal. I play to about a 7 handicap (I figure it myself, based on the USGA rules and not a legal handicap) but I also have about 17 clubs in my bag for every round I play that is not a tournament. Also, we have no driving range on my course, so my friends and I take 2 off the first tee. I think that you should use whatever equipment you want to use. The business man in me is asking, “why should a random organization tell a company what type of equipment they are allowed to make?” I think that most people that don’t like the idea of non-conforming equipment are probably the reason that the game is not growing. All I ever hear about golf is that it is too hard and the people they play are stuck up, or just plan jerks. I have to say that to some extent, both of those can be true. I know that most people that play are great people, but the outspoken people on rules and other things make it intimidating to go to the course. I think that we need to allow anyone to play whatever they like on the course as long as it does not harm the course or the other players. Also, the steroid argument is crazy, because if you want to use steroids and you are not involved in a competition, juice up, what does it matter to me. Also, my friends and I always play the shortest mens tees at a club we have not played before, who cares if someone thinks you are less of a man, it is about having fun!

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I was stuck once behind a group that had the rule book out almost every hole. It took me five and a half hours to play the round as these a-holes wouldn’t let me through. Is that what we want golf to become?

Reply

MarkD September 19, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Go play at a muni in the NYC Metro area and you can play 5-6 hours without anyone reading a rules book.

Reply

dcorun September 19, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I feel that the Super Game Improvement clubs on the market are good enough and are being made even more forgiving all the time. Why not create clubs with a cor of lets say 1500 and let them hit drives 500 yds into the woods or a ball that goes 500 yds. Then let them slice it in the woods all day. That would speed up the game? I played golf on weekends until I retired and got pretty good without a lot of practice and I still play because I love the game but, I don’t play in Tournaments and I play public courses. Granted the USGA and R&A do get full of themselves but, this game has a TRADITION and I feel it should have rules and limits. I’ve played with golfers who hit it all over the place including myself and don’t have a HC but, they still like the game and buy all the new clubs that come out. We moved from wood to metal and from gutta percha balls to surlyn and so on but, if we go to far, I’m afraid it will open a Pandora’s Box that we might want to close someday and not be able too.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 6:08 pm

So you’re against using robots to hit your ball? Such inane comments being posted by people trying to impose their will on everyone else. Ever hear of freedom of expression? Read my long post and see if you wouldn’t change your mind if you had the same condition as I have.

Reply

dcorun September 20, 2013 at 12:54 am

I’m not saying that if they do it, people shouldn’t play what they want, I would never try to impose my will on someone else. My thinking is each person should make up their own mind what clubs they want to play. I’m just posting my feelings about the subject.

Reply

MarkD September 20, 2013 at 12:15 am

If you are a traditionalist, I assume you play with a wooden shafted driver that is smaller in size than the original big bertha and not a 460 attached to some fancy graphite shaft that costs hundreds of dollars to enable you to hit a moon shot. Do you really think that non-conforming clubs will destroy the integrity of the game? That people don’t cheat with their scores? I witnessed a guy drop a ball through his pants and proclaim to his friends that he found his ball! I’ve seen a guy rake the sand trap prior to his swing! And at a muni was he really wrong where there were hundreds of footprints versus a manicured trap that the pros play on? You cannot compare muni play versus country club play and think that a handicap at a country club where someone plays the same course week in and week out to someone who plays a muni where the greens may not even be the same in speed from one hole to the next. So if someone gets an extra few yards a a muni with a non-conforming club or uses a belly putter because of a back injury how does it impact you? Most hackers have no handicap. And the ones that do give me the line that they cannot record an 8 because it will distort it but at the same time would have no problem recording a hole in one!

Reply

Tom September 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I play a decent amount of golf. Every weekend and a little bit more during the golf season, which is not as long as I’d like up here in Northern Ontario. I’m not very good. I can generally keep the ball in play but I struggle with distance and my ball striking goes from pretty good to disappearing for a week or two at a time. The game can be pretty frustrating and I’ve come close to quitting all together more than once. But then I hit that one shot that just feels like butter off the club head, sailing on the exact line to almost the exact distance I had planned. It is that one shot that keeps me going along with the knowledge that if I did it once, I can do it again. It is evidence of the possible. And I’ll never forget my lone hole in one. So it would seem that these type of clubs, and the no spin lubes and balls, are made for soneone like me in mind. And yes, I have researched such products. But the thing is if I were to use them, for me, it would take away the feeling of that one sweet swing. It would mitigate the joy of my hole in one. And even for an awful duffer like me, I would be annoyed playing in a group where soneone was using these products. In fact I think the technology has already gone too far and ruined some sports, particularly tennis and golf. My old Byorn Borg tennis racket now looks like a squash racket and tennis has become a game of power instead of a game of chess. I quit watching baseball because steroids changed the game into a station to station bore fest. Where are the stolen bases, doule steals, sacrafices and hit and runs? I’ve oftened wondered how todays golfers would fare in a throwback tournament where the are forced to use persimmon clubs. I’d pay to see that and I bet you would too. Sorry this is so long winded but I’m getting older and am slowly losing my love of sports. I guess I’m saying I’m ready to quit golf rather than resort to non conforming equpment.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Why don’t we all [play with compact blades with a sweet spot the size of a pinhead? You would still get the feeling of hitting a good shot with these clubs, you just might hit fewer really bad ones. Remember that you are the one holding the club, it won’t turn you into Tiger Woods or any other pro golfer just because you’re playing with more technology.

Reply

Craig September 20, 2013 at 12:06 am

Hey Mike,
You talk about blades having a sweetspot the size of a pin prick, well guess what?
Every club in the bag has the same size sweet spot and it IS the size of a pin prick

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 3:55 am

change the subject why don’t we. Stick to the point and quit trying to distract from the real issue… freedom of choice!

Reply

Dave September 20, 2013 at 8:06 am

Tom, are you really saying that if you had a few more shots like the one you described each round that you wouldn’t enjoy it more? You could always just keep playing the clubs you have now, or purchase from the conforming options that they will no doubt continue to produce. Also, it’s not like making an ace will become easy, the factors involved are still extremely improbable given all the variables. The fact that the game can be pretty frustrating and you’ve come close to quitting is exactly why this should become an option. More enjoyment, player retention, maybe even slightly faster pace of play! I hope you continue to play and share the game with everyone you know…

Reply

Tom September 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

I guess I’m saying that playing with non conforming clubs would mitigate that feeling. It would take away from the sense of accomplishment.

Reply

David September 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I have no problems with amateurs playing with non-conforming clubs.

With one exception, you can never brag about your score or how far you hit the ball. Ever.

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Check.

Reply

Duncan Castles September 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm

‘The existence of non-conforming clubs should be fundamentally disconnected from any supposition that it will lead to widespread cheating. Golf is a game of integrity. The capabilities of the equipment won’t change that.’

How many golfers intentionally manipulate their handicaps skyward to grant themselves an advantage in competition? Would the integrity of those individuals have any problem with further manipulating their scores by employing non-confirming clubs? I think the answer is obvious.

Sean Toulon, Executive Vice President, TaylorMade-adidas Golf: “Our job is to make sure we get golfers excited to go out and play more golf…and we can do that with better performance, and if honestly the ruling bodies don’t like it then it goes wherever it goes. We’re going to put the hammer down, and we’ve got great ideas.”

You know what the easiest, most economical way for golfers to achieve ‘better performance’ from their equipment would be? Proper custom fitting for all 13 key club fitting elements as explained here: http://wishongolf.com/about-twgt/what-is-real-custom-clubfitting/

Taylor Made would rather have you buy a new, incorrectly fitted driver, every second year. Or more often still. Or maybe now a driver that doesn’t even conform to the rules of golf. Their own attempts at exploiting the custom fitting argument for commercial gain involve adjustable drivers that as club designer Tom Wishon points out do not actually offer the loft adjustments they claim. Read his report, it’s frightening: http://wishongolf.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/adjustable-hosel-drivers.pdf

I’ve taken the proper custom fitting route, spending roughly as much on three sessions of professional one-on-one fitting of a set of clubs built exactly to my requirements as I would have on a full set of top-of-the-line Taylor Mades. The new clubs were easier to hit, longer and more accurate, and took four strokes off my handicap in the month I received them. A year later, adding a couple of lessons from an excellent PGA pro and a lot of practise, my handicap is down from 19 to 9 and I’m enjoying golf in a way I never imagined before. Addicted.

I can’t hit the ball 300 yards, it doesn’t fly down the middle every time. I don’t stop every approach shot on the green, and I don’t hole every putt. But neither do the best players on the planet, and I now know that my equipment is as close to optimal for my swing as is realistic for an amateur golfer. In fact if the testimony of guys like Rich Hunt – who works with PGA professionals – is to believed, I’m actually playing a driver better optimised for my swing than at least one guy on the US Tour.

That means I can concentrate on improving my swing and my strategy. And spend my money on great golf courses rather than new golf clubs. While it’s fun reading about new golf equipment, and amusing to let myself be vicariously seduced by the marketing story that sells it, I’d much rather play with a confidence that I already have great equipment and the rest is the challenge of applying it – and my abilities – to the game.

Golf isn’t easy, but all of us can still hit the perfect shot often enough for its challenge to be compelling. We manage that with conforming equipment. Why let Taylor Made, or any other avaricious golf OEM, mess with the sport because they think it will fatten their bottom line?

Reply

johnloft September 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Because it will bring more golfers to a dying sport? All this “traditional”/”integrity” crap is nonsense. It’s a GAME. Lighten up and have some fun.

Reply

golfzilla September 20, 2013 at 1:33 am

Make up your mind. GAMEs have rules. Do you want to play a GAME or do you just want to grabass with miscellaneous sticks and balls and pretend to play a GAME? Either way is OK by me, but don’t confuse the two. Oh, and believe it or not, you are not the sole arbiter of “fun”, get over it.

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 3:57 am

another shill!

Reply

Duncan Castles September 21, 2013 at 4:57 am

Mike, what is it with you and the word “shill”? Is its definition, “anyone who disagrees with MikeB’s opinion”?

Duncan Castles September 20, 2013 at 1:39 am

Like Tony wrote, nothing is killing golf. This ‘dying sport’ argument seems to stem from an insular, parochial view of the game. Yes, US and UK golf has struggled to a certain extent during the recession, but globally the game continues to grow. Have a read of Roger Blitz’s recent Financial Times article http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3725e4d4-acef-11e2-b27f-00144feabdc0.html or this HSBC report http://thefuturescompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/The_Future_of_Golf.pdf
What’s good for a sector of the golf equipment market – continually pushing off-the-rack, ill or completely unfitted technology on golfers – isn’t necessarily good for the game of golf. Or us golfers.
And I prefer having my fun playing the game; not shopping for deceptively marketed drivers!

Reply

J Cooper September 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm

This just reconfirms my hate for TM.

Pathetic.

Reply

johnloft September 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Let me guess, you hate Apple products too? Figures.

Reply

Rickles September 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm

For the most part I have no problem with the average golfer playing non-conforming clubs. However, there is one potential problem I can think of that no one here mentioned. While it is true that there are very few golfers who are competitive as in playing in tournaments regularly, I do think that most golfers bet with one another on the course. That makes a large amount of many average golfers rounds competitive. I think there will be huge arguments in most regular games and groups when people start showing up with these new non-conforming clubs. Unfortunately the same will probably be true when the ban starts on the anchored putters. I already hear guys calling guys with long and belly putters cheaters and not wanting to play them for money and the ban hasn’t even started yet. The best thing would just be for the USGA to just make the rules of play and forget about equipment.

Reply

Golfer Burnz September 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Good point Rickles, It see what you are saying. Another bone of contention might be when the guy he hind you his into your group with a non-conforming driver and a hot ball.

Reply

hckymeyer September 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Use whatever clubs you want, but keep a true handicap based on using those clubs. That should still level out the playing field in the friendly betting games. If you were a 15 using regular clubs, but now get to a 10 playing non-conforming clubs, that’s just fine. They get less strokes and have more fun.

I don’t really see the issue here as long as they aren’t sandbagging, which is really an entirely separate issue and discussion :)

Reply

BIG STU September 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Well I don’t see any problem with it. if it helps someone enjoy and stay in the game so be it. Most recreational golfers don’t give a hoot in hell about the USGA or the R&A or the PGA they just play and have fun. Most certainly don’t care about a legimate USGA handicap. Some courses do their own handicapping for their golf leagues etc anyhow. Personally I still play some competition and use conforming equipment but that is ME. I could care less personally what someone else uses. The trends around here for the recreational golfers is to hell with the USGA we will play what we want to. Actually I say the USGA will see their member clubs declining especially with private clubs. Personally In protest I have not renewed my USGA membership in 5 years since the groove thing

Reply

MikeB September 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

My brother is 5 feet 8 inches tall. He weighs about 145 pounds soaking wet. We used to golf together many years ago before I moved away and he could hit his wooden 3 wood as far as anybody else’s driver! No metal woods back then! One day the club broke in half and lo and behold, he had about a pound of lead in the head (okay I’m exaggerating). The secret was out! We still razz him about it today and it has become almost a tradition to do so during family reunions. What I’m trying to say here is that even though he “cheated” we had fun and still get enjoyment recounting the story. It’s not the equipment that makes golf fun, it’s the camaraderie and gamesmanship that does. He was also great at getting into peoples’ head. LOL

Reply

Not fooled September 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm

COR is maxed and TM has run out of colors, wacky sole adjustments and novel ways to put a weight on a clubhead. By skirting the rules, they’ll be able to raise COR gradually from.83 to the limit and will do so gradually over a number of years. This way they can boast “X more yards!!” for yeras to come which is code for “X more years of huge profits”.

Reply

Nevin September 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I don’t really care if they market non-conforming clubs. If someone wants to play them that is fine with me, as long as we don’t have a bet on the game. I won’t play them or try them but don’t care if they are marketed. In the end, I suspect they will not be big sellers.

Reply

Crow September 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm

I completely agree, we have a group at my home course that plays a 6 man group, and will not let a 1 man play thru. Those type of people are what is bad about the game. Speed it up and just play. I usually play 2 balls by myself so I can get in 18 in 2 hours (9 hole course). I can’t stand the slow play. I would be fine if people used a golf ball gun if it speeded up play.

Reply

JPSands September 19, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Yet another great write-up. Thanks for putting you butt to sleep in your chair while you typed this story out. Bring on the outragous !

Reply

Frank September 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm

TM could start with just making some golf balls for driving made of Flubber then we could all drive it 400 yds then we could switch to the TM Velcro ball for shots to the green…….sounds like a fun game

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 4:03 am

look, if someone slices a ball 30 yards offline with conforming clubs, they will slice it 50 yards with non-conforming ones. You don’t have to get all macho about it. If you’re a better golfer than they are, you’ll remain a better golfer.

Reply

TwoSolitudes September 19, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Everyone is thinking that we will end up with Rodney Dangerfield superclubs, but I think the impact will be seen more on tour. Now instead of making new rules on anchor bans and grooves to control the pros while rolling over the rest of us, they will have to think instead about other less intrusive ideas.

Maybe this would force them to think about making the rough a little longer for tournaments for example, instead of banning certain types of grove….

Maybe this would make them think about Armature standards and Tour Standards- like in many other sports. You could still compete as a amateur and get an armature handicap with square groves and a belly putter. But the pro’s would have to make a pro handicap with the USGA rules on course conditions and equipment.

I still think there would need to be some standards for play, even as an armature- but they could be much looser than those for the tour.

Non-Conforming would mean I could still use my CG14′s and Niblicks with Zip Groves. Or my Rapture V2 irons. And would that really destroy the integrity of the game?

Reply

David September 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm

I’m all for it and also further for the USGA waiving equipment limitations completely for all players with a stroke index of, say, 18 or above. I’m particularly thinking of making it easier, and less demoralizing, for new, junior, senior, or occasional golfers to get around a course and enjoy their round. Who wouldn’t cheer when they see their six-rounds a year brother-in-law hit a 250 yd drive down the middle of the fairway?

The rest of us can play conforming clubs, we’re already enjoying the game.

Reply

Doug Hanson September 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I’m against it.
What this is doing is making like school now, where there are no winners, nor losers, everyone gets a ribbon, because we are all winners! It’s so fun! Nobody gets hurt feelings. It’s is why we have handicaps, so people that need them, get strokes to even it all up!

The other side of the equation is that a hack will still be a hack, no matter what club they swing. There is a point where no matter how non-conforming a club is, someone who couldn’t hit hit a drive straight, is still not going to.

Is scoring better the final,goal? Then take lessons. If using cheater clubs to score better makes you feel good, then that’s whack.

Lets just give children the answer sheet to the math test they have today, they’ll feel better about themselves!
Lets have every bowling ally use bumpers, and tie all the pins together, so they get a strike everytime! Yay! No losers here baby!

How about at every baseball game, the pitcher tosses the ball underhand, and we move the fences in 150 feet? Another homer! Wow! You are really special bobby!

And while we’re at it, lets legalize all drugs, and lower the drinking age to 12. wheeee!

And lets give everyone working at McDonals $40 an hour, I mean they have to get up and go to work too, they should be paid the same as a brain surgeon…
Make it fair for everyone to be a big winner….

When does it end? Why have any rules about anything? Cuz it’s just not fun…

Reply

TwoSolitudes September 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Brain surgeons only get 40 bucks an hour?

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 4:08 am

Mr. Hanson, are you done with your pissin’ and moanin’?

Reply

dcorun September 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm

MikeB
You replied to my post earlier and stated that people should be allowed to express themselves but, from what I’ve read so far if anyone writes an opinion you don’t like it gets a wise a## response. You should listen to your own advice.

Reply

Yohnan September 20, 2013 at 1:04 am

Great article Could not agree more.
If you want to or not. Its your call Because its your game.
I am not saying cheating is OK.
I am just saying that if i want to pound a drive 20 yards past anything i have ever hit. Ok i just know that i wont be competing or posting a score with the illegal clubs.
And really the only thing that matters to me is whether or not i know where the ball is going before i hit it.
And of course the beer is cold.
This if true will be about selling more clubs to have more fun period.
Cheers

Reply

Mc3putt September 20, 2013 at 1:09 am

Guys, you have to hit the TM’s new FNDR Driver before you judge, it uses smart bomb technology to find the fairway no matter where you hit the ball. Like Callaway’s Hex Chrome ball? TM’s new Google Chrome ball texts you it’s GPS location when it goes OB, you will never lose a ball again.

Reply

David September 20, 2013 at 2:12 am

If Taylormade goes ahead, and make the non-conforming clubs!, they will loose me as a customer! have a full set of Taylormade clubs Except for the 60deg and 56deg wedges, and I have supported them for many years, and through all the different models!, they MUST stick to clubs that conform to the regulations, as all the other manufactures do!! Taylormade IS NOT above the regulation and rules of the game..when I compete against other players I ‘d like to have the confidence! of knowing we are starting on a “LEVEL” playing field, and my own skill will determine the outcome of the game!!…..TAYLORMADE IS NOT BIGGER THAN THE GAME!!!!

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 4:10 am

Who died and made you the golf police? You are no bigger than the game either chuck.

Reply

Vic September 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Whew got that right! That guy’s wound way too tight for me.

Reply

DaveMac September 20, 2013 at 7:50 am

I agree with the spirit of this comment. If this is a genuine fact (I hope it is just a hoax) that Taylormade is to release a line of non-conforming clubs, it can be for one reason only, it is an attempt by a powerful company to undermine the current laws makers governing the game for its own long term benefits.

I understand and respect the position of the non handicap pay as you play golfer but the justification for the mainstream production of non-conforming equipment simply does not stack up, there is currently sufficient (conforming) SGI equipment available to help golfers play the game. There is also some non conforming equipment from component equipment manufacturers.

It is a certainty that ‘non-conforming’ Taylormade equipment will show up in the bags of players playing in amateur (club) competitions most likely through ignorance. Local committees have enough on their plates managing this level of competition without having to police equipment as well.

If Taylormade is reading these forums my request is simply, Please don’t, but if you must, release it under a completely different brand name.

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 4:25 am

For all the insecure he-men out there, why not introduce full contact golf and allow body checking? You guys are taking things way too seriously.

One thing that should be taken seriously, however, is what is happening with our sky. Golfers should be aware of the Geo Engineering that is going on over our heads. What we are seeing up there aren’t contrails! Notice some days the sky starts off nice and deep blue and as the day progresses more and more trails appear in the sky and persist and widen and eventually converge to give you a milky looking sky? They are spraying Nano particles of aluminum, barium, and strontium into the air in an attempt to control the environment. The only problem is these are toxic and are heavy metals. Don’t take my word for it. Look it up and do some research. You may find that the topic of conformity pales in comparison. We, as golfers should be concerned with the quality of the air we breath. Testing of water samples taken after heavy spraying have shown extremely high concentrations of these substances. Please be concerned and educate yourselves on what is going on. We all love the game of golf as shown by the debate going on here so lets make sure that it will still be playable in the future, thanks.

Reply

Sluggo September 20, 2013 at 9:46 am

MikeB-
Are you sure you’re not the troll in here mate? Rather than post your personal take, you took it to be your duty to comment against all the nay voters in here?

Do you work for TM mate?

It’s all about money, and TM want to fundamentally obliterate the “rules” that have lived with the game for uhhh…ever? Only to make a bigger profit margin.
Call it what you want, but understand what it’s really about. It’s not to make it more enjoyable, it’s all about corporate profit margins.

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm

first off, I’m not your “mate” and I do not work for Taylor Made. If you read some of my posts in other forums you’d know that I trash them a lot. Of course it’s about money… why else do companies exist? They’re not charitable organizations! That’s also why technology increases are made in incremental steps. They know what the end result will be but do it over 3 years to keep sales momentum going. Where there is no demand, there is no product availability. If you don’t feel that some products aren’t for you, don’t buy them. If someone else does then it’s their choice. The market will level the playing field over time. That is marketing 101. Vote with your wallet.

Reply

Holier than thou September 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm

But that’s not the point mate, it’s against the rules mate. So you’re on record as being one who thinks golf rules are worthless, and that anything goes should be the new credo?

Lets do the same with stop signs then. Eff the rules, lets just run stop signs cuz I don’t agree with the rules…

Reply

Tony Covey September 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I think you might be missing the point. We’re talking about clubs for recreational golfers. Guys who don’t follow the rules, because they don’t care about the rules, because they aren’t invested in the game like we are. It’s fun…nothing more.

The numbers say there are roughly 15 million golfers. Well less than half (about 6 million) fall into the avid category. The rest are recreational golfers, not the competitive types. For them there are no rules, and my thinking is, that should be just fine. To them USGA is just a random assortment of letters.

The comparison I would make…at my local Y, competitive basketball is played daily. Their rules are, plus or minus, the same as the NBAs, or NCAAs, etc.

When competitive play isn’t happening, I can walk on that same court. I can play horse, or just shoot baskets. I can travel or double-dribble. I can use a ball that’s different from the NCAA or the pros, and in some cases, in the interest of fun, or doing things I couldn’t otherwise do, I can lower the rim.

Am I cheating? No. Is my integrity somehow compromised? No. I’m just a guy trying to have as much fun as I possibly can in whatever time my wife (or the rest of my life) has allotted me.

It’s not cheating or breaking the rules if you never set out to follow them, and you’re not doing anything to suggest otherwise. It’s recreational play, purely for fun. That’s what we’re talking about here.

Even under the most favorable of calculations (for instance we all assume all avid golfers agree with the USGA) the USGA represents the MINORITY of individual who step foot on the golf course each year. Why should they dictate equipment rules to a majority population that doesn’t subscribe to its rulebook?

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm

What boiler room are you working from mate? I have never said to ban the rules, all I’m saying is recreational golfers should have a choice. You force everyone to defend their positions yet you never make a valid point of your own, mate. Internet shills like you are the bane of the web.

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

show me where I’m on record, mate? lets go where no logical conversation can go and follow this guy. it’s easier to accuse than to defend your indefensible stance isn’t it mate?

steveGB September 20, 2013 at 5:21 am

Given the general state of golf and declining golf club membership, irrespective of what folks feel about this topic, if it gets more people playing recreational golf, putting money into golf clubs and supporting the golf industry in the widest senses, then you have to at least give it a chance – let’s not forget the physical benefits of golf and just good old fresh air and social interaction.
On the other hand – the integrity of golf is its backbone and that has to be maintained in competition golf – equipment, rules and pace of play need to be the cornerstones of that integrity ( tiger take note!)
Taylor Made on the other hand – as a close observer of the tour game – changes its toys almost every week and you can hear the tour pros complaining about what’s this weeks new toy or piece of clothing, so in reality TM is no longer a golf company – its all about being a marketing company and therefore its not a surprise to see headline grabbing rumours being spread to keep the name in the headlines..
Good luck on the unconforming, but dont expect the every day golfer to put up with new toys each week, the moneys not there and the brand risks becoming irrelevant as players soon realises that their shiny new toy they are proud of only has a short shelflife before it becomes yesterdays toy and there is an even shinier one out there…

Reply

DaveF September 20, 2013 at 5:42 am

It is great to see Taylor Made following Polara Golf. Since 2010 they have been selling nonconforming balls that correct hooks and slices. In 2013 they introduced the Polara Advantage Drivers that exceed USGA limits. Polara Golf products work because of physics, not Marketing.

Reply

DaveF September 20, 2013 at 5:46 am

Polara Golf is also rumored to be working on wedges that enable the average golfer to stop the ball on the green. They had 100 members of the press demo them at a special press event at the last PGA Show in Orlando.

Polara balls speed up play for everyone because they keep the ball in the fairway. They will be a MUST with illegal drivers because the hackers will just be hitting the balls farther into the woods with NC drivers.
http://www.polaragolf.com has lots more info.

Reply

Bill September 20, 2013 at 10:46 am

I’m on the fence about this. What is a game without rules? Rules define the game. If there are no rules, there is no game. Sure we all fudge them from time to time (usually as an agreement among friends), but playing with nonconforming clubs is like fudging the rules for every shot for the entire round. I also think that, as others have mentioned, this reverts the game back to a pay for performance type of situation. This situation flies in the face of the argument that this would help to grow the game. Making the game more expensive to play would have the opposite effect. As of now, you can buy a two year old driver and still get nearly the same performance out of it as you would with a new driver. Your ability as a golfer should be defined by skill, not the club you are playing. On the flip side, I am definitely for a free market, and I also think that this would lead to innovation. It also may allow those golfers with physical problems to compete on a more level playing field.
My final question though is everyone going to buy two sets of clubs? I think even average golfers dream of competing and keeping a verifiable handicap, they just don’t have the time or money to invest. What makes us think that they will invest in a set of clubs that they know that they won’t be able to do this with? I do compete occasionally and I certainly can’t fathom buying or being able to afford two sets.

Reply

golfercraig September 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm

” What is a game without rules? Rules define the game. If there are no rules, there is no game. Sure we all fudge them from time to time (usually as an agreement among friends), but playing with nonconforming clubs is like fudging the rules for every shot for the entire round.”

So, which is it. Rules define the game, or you can break them with an agreement between friends? Fudge from time to time? So, you admit you’re a cheater, but you’d like there to be a limit on the amount of times per round you can cheat. So, what’s acceptable? How many times per round are we allowed to cheat?

And keep a handicap? Golfers, as a HUGE MAJORITY, do not keep a handicap. Most do not play it as a competitive endeavor. It’s fun. they don’t “dream of keeping a handicap.” They play for nothing, do not play by the rules, and don’t care. They use a chipping ball, have 17 clubs in the bag, never putt a 3 footer. You guys are so out of touch it’s not funny.

Reply

GOLFERCRAIG September 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

I would love to play a round with all the holier-than-thou types here. We’d see how much you’d have. For money. There will NEVER be a ball picked up. We will be sticklers to the rules. There is no way you guys go back to the tee when you lose ball. None. Straight up hypocrites. The absolute lack of knowledge of the golf biz, on a forum full of golf enthusiasts, is mind-boggling.

Reply

Holier than thou September 20, 2013 at 11:57 am

It’s not holier than thou sir, it’s simply a response to someone trying to fundamentally change the game.
And the end of the day, to allow non conforming clubs will result in one thing. Lower scores, right? What is the point of that? To make somebody “feel better”?
The rules are in place so EVERYONE is equal at the start. Some will be better than others. That’s how life works. This is just like the 49er fans crying that the seahawk fans are too loud, and it’s not fair. Waaaa
Instead of making non conforming clubs and super balls to hit, why don’t they write a book on how to be happy with what you shoot, even if its +30. Who cares?

It’s just another example of the pussification of America, where there are no losers…

Reply

golfercraig September 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm

To call that argument a logical fallacy would be doing it too much respect. Absolutely clueless as to the argument.

“It’s just another example of the pussification of America, where there are no losers…”

I disagree. Now there is clearly at least one of them posting in this thread.

Reply

Holier than thou September 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I guess your right sir. Ban all rules. Lets make basketball hoops 6 feet around and 5 feet tall so all the short fat kids can enjoy the game too.

Just who is clueless in this argument?

Reply

Vic September 20, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Your words sir define you in the “clueless” segment of this discussion not an “argument” as you call it. What’s up with “short fat kids?” What the hell is wrong with you? We’re discussing, at least some of us are, the addition of non-conforming (USGA-PGA) clubs marketed to recreational golfers. Not insensitive remarks about “short fat kids.” If that’s your contribution to this discussion hopefully after your next criticism, probably of anyone here like me who doesn’t see children in your light, you will find something else to do.

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Do you even play the game? Let’s use an example using your own logic. If you go to war do you want every soldier to be equipped with the same weapons so the better ones win? No, you arm your soldiers with the darned best equipment that money and technology can provide. So, if you want to continue using your equipment, go right ahead. What drives sales in industry and particularly the golf industry is the promise of something better. That’s why a lot of golfers change their equipment yearly (they surely have more money than I do, which isn’t hard). If and when available, golfers will try the new equipment and judge for themselves if the performance justifies the outlay. There are a lot of really expensive NC clubs available right now that don’t perform and even places that can shave a driver to increase COR to .900+ but do they deliver on the promise? I don’t know. Some add just a few yards, some break, maybe just a couple actually make a difference. As long as robots don’t play golf there is one variable that never changes, the person holding the stick. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that scores of golfers using NC clubs won’t budge more than 1 stroke if that much. These new clubs may make you hit one good shot per round that really makes your day and makes you come back again looking for more. This is particularly true of high handicappers or beginners. I feel that it will only enhance the game of golf. Look at these clubs as training wheels on a bike if you will. When you’re good enough to graduate to conforming clubs, you’ll be ready to test your metal against others who do. An overwhelming amount of golf is played by people who have no idea what a handicap system is. Let them play. Would you prefer that we adopt a system that requires a license to play like in some other jurisdictions? I hope not, the government takes enough money from us as it is. Golf courses have become longer in the Tiger Woods era but average players who hit the ball between 200 and 215 yards off the tee haven’t. It makes it difficult for these players (and I’m one of them) to have a chance at making par on many holes. To all golfers who claim to hit 300 yard drives, sober up and use a GPS unit and you’ll be shocked at your true distance! Why not help out the distance challenged to hit more greens and increase their enjoyment? Let’s put egos aside and just play.

Reply

Holier than thou September 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Yes, I do play. Since 1964.
You were wrong on one point. There are two variables that remain the same. Golf club limits as designated by the PGA, and the player.
You stated the distance challenged would like a chance at making par. That’s what different tee boxes are for. Play from the reds. Who cares?
Or, perhaps they create a new line on the score cards. With different scores to make par. On a normal 400 yard par 4, this hole would be now a par 5. Two shots to get close, chip on, two putts and there’s your par!
So, the new columns would be:

Men’s
Women’s
Seniors
Distance challenged

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm

You are completely missing the point as usual. I don’t think you were born yet in 1964. It’s easy to insult people from behind your keyboard isn’t it? Try growing up and learning tolerance and figuring out that not everyone has your opinion and you can’t make everyone conform to your thinking. That’s the NAZI way of doing things. What is it to you if not everyone wants what you want? That is what life is all about. Progress and change is what it’s all about. To invest into a thought and/or opinion so intimately that you need to belittle others that don’t agree is childish and immoral. This is what is wrong with the world today, too many people are trying to inflict their views on others. New World Order anyone? If you have any maturity whatsoever we’ll agree to disagree and leave it at that. If you continue to cause trouble on this forum, I’ll have you thrown out!

Chriovorg September 20, 2013 at 11:22 am

This bring me back to when I was a kid in tennis camp. The camp was cheap for town kids so my mother enrolled me. The problem was I didn’t have a raquetor any money. We found a hand me down Wilson metal raquet that looked like it was the size of a desert plate. I had a lot of fun until I got to the camp championship finals in my age group and the kid I am up against had a brand new Prince raquet that looked like it was the size of a beachball. I can remember calling him a cheater and being pissed of. Now everyone is playing those huge headed racquets. I guess it has just taken the stodgy rules first golf community 30 years to catch up to tennis. You still have to hit the ball and you still have to putt. My initial reaction to this article was the same as my reaction back then but just like before we are ll going to have to Adjust because if there is recreational money on the line the out On my way! Is inevitable. There will be a market for and people will buy non conforming clubs. The USGA better start thinking a out it now and not wait 30 years like it did with the long putter or it will lose its grip fast on the hold over golf as a recreational pastime.

Reply

The Dobb September 20, 2013 at 11:49 am

This is a joke. Companies have made clubs to make the game easier for crap golfers for years! Unfortunately high handicap golfers don’t use them. They think they should use “blades” because if they learn to hit them it will make them a better golfer. Do you actually think the “average” golfer will spend money on clubs like this? I don’t, unless they go on sale, and knowing TM that will be about 1 month after the release date.

Reply

Holier than thou September 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I heard taylormade is making a new putting aid too. It’s a 5 foot “v”‘ that you place at the hole, aimed at your ball. As long as you can hit your putt inside the 5 foot spread of the V, the rails will guide the ball into the cup! Just think, no more 3- putts!

Reply

Holier than thou September 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm

TM is teaming with the NBA to lower the rims to 5 feet, and to make them 6 feet wide now, so the recreational basketball players can shoot better, and so they will feel better about themselves…

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm

How old are you, 15?

Reply

Golfercraig September 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Holier Than Thou–you’re making our argument for us. No one gives a shit what you do in your driveway playing basketball. The rules for USGA play aren’t being changed. The PGA is the NBA in your godawful analogy. Nothing is changing there. But keep fu**ing that chicken. If you’re having trouble following along let the adults talk. I’m sure WRX needs a moronic post with a dancing banana in it. Run along.

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Golfercraig, although I do not disagree with your sentiment, let’s not descend to holierthanthou’s level. He’s probably off playing his video games or his mother told him to do his chores.

Reply

Holier than thou September 20, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Actually, it’s mostly you two who think they rules should get thrown out the window.
And if blowing off the rules of a 100+ year old game make you more of an adult, then good for ya.

Reply

Fleeter September 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

i haven’t seen one post where anyone says to throw the rules out the window. What I am seeing though, are several people making some very solid points, and a few who think hurling an online insult gets you one up. Unfortunately that’s not the case. The sunday or weekend duffer doesn’t even observe the rules as they are written. From the foot wedge to the mulligans and on and on this golfer is just out for a little fun with the boys and that’s that. All the power to him! No matter how far or how straight anyone hits the ball they still have to make the putts, get up and down and as we all know – that ain’t easy a lot of the time. My question is if a non-conforming line of clubs can speed up play and get more people out there enjoying the sport then WHY NOT?

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Sir (and I use the term loosely) I’m retired, what’s your excuse for not being in school?

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm

The results of the voting on this subject are that 75% of golfers wouldn’t have a problem with non-conforming clubs. CASE CLOSED

Reply

Holier than thou September 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

And sure, hurl insults at people who think rules of a game are worth keeping. Which is the childish response?

When do non-conforming clubs end with no rules?
You think I’m being childish, well I think you two are thinking that you’re above the rules.

And since you yelled the loudest, called me the most names, you are the winner.

You sir, are an ignorant pompous fool.
Have fun hitting your 400 yard drives! And remember, there are no losers!

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

who’s calling names? It seems that you are the one yelling.

Reply

Harry September 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

This, once again, is a problem caused by the notion that golf must grow or die. Far to many people have bought into this myth. It began, of course, with the people who make money selling golf equipment and services. I will say, as I have on this forum before, golf is not a sport for everyone-period. The very nature of game requires unprecedented devotion, patience, time, and money just to reach a point where it can be enjoyed even moderately. The concept that golf must forgo it’s institutions, rules, culture and heritage in order to survive is total nonsense. In fact, the opposite is true. Those who believe that using non-conforming equipment is some sort of human right are the same people who believe the use of steroids sports is not cheating. Individuals who support non-conforming equipment in golf don’t see golf as a sport, but rather a form of entertainment like video games or amusement park rides. Golf is a great sport because it is so difficult, and it requires a level of commitment most people are not willing to give. Support of non-conforming equipment is an attempt to evade that commitment.

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

non-conforming clubs won’t make it any easier. read some previous posts.

Reply

Bobtrumpet September 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

“non-conforming clubs won’t make it any easier”

Then what’s the point of having them? That’s what we’re talking about here – having clubs that make the game more fun. If it doesn’t make the game any easier, how does it make it more fun?

Reply

Fleeter September 20, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I was thinking that non-conforming gear would make it more ENJOYABLE for people that don’t play that much, and it might just encourage them to play more.

Reply

Fleeter September 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I was wondering if and when this was going to surface. Personally, I don’t care if they make non-conforming clubs available. If it speeds up play all the better. For me the bottom line is no matter what’s in your bag there’s no given here. Nobody’s going to walk onto the 1st tee and say mark down 18 pars for me because I have these new gadget clubs. That’s the beauty of the game in my opinion. It changes every time and there is no way a non-conforming club will change the game for the worse. It might get the weekend duffers and the like out on the golf course more often, which in turn will boost club revenues and equipment sales. It’s a total trickle down effect and a real win-win if you ask me. I know there is a lot of integrity in the game, I’ve played (yes played) for 42 years and i don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Would I purchase a non-conforming club? Absolutely not, but as a lot of you are, I’m not the average golfer. Would I recommend my 6 round/year brother-in-law buy them – Absolutely!

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I agree with you whole heartedly. I have never even tried non-conforming clubs and will probably hold on to the clubs I have for as long as my neck/back holds out. All I’m saying is that it would be nice to have the option.

Reply

Smarter than thou September 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm

MikeB

Or you’ll have me thrown out!
Like you have the ability to do that. You funny mate.
If you look back, you will see that you initiated the insults with asking if I was 15 ya jack wagon. You are the one trying to jam your opinion down the established rules.

Get over yourself mate…
This is an opinion thread, I gave mine, you have yours.

Still laughing that you think you’ll have me “thrown out”…

You so funny!

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Dear Mr. smarter than no one, how many aliases are you using, I count 4 so far. You are using typical boiler room tactics and it’s so transparent, it’s funny.

Reply

Harry September 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Obviously MikeB doesn’t agree with some posts, unfortunately he thinks I should. As far as making the game more enjoyable, the quickest way to do that is go PRACTICE. Personally, not only do I care less if more people get into to golf, I actually would prefer they not dabble in the sport at all.

Reply

MikeB September 20, 2013 at 11:01 pm

You can believe what you want. what burns me is these paid disinformation shills trolling the internet to sway opinion and do so by ridicule and not putting forward anything of value. These fools work in dirty boiler rooms and are handsomely paid by those who hire them (in this case probably the U.S.G.A.) to trash people they never met and don’t respect. They are instructed to pick up on certain points that they can focus on to deviate the conversation and sway the tone of the conversation. If people read all my posts instead of just a couple of lines, they would realise that I love the game as much as anyone. I respect others opinion and expect mine to be respected as well. I am sick and tired of fools doing things online to irritate and cause dissention by putting out false statement in an attempt to discredit the message. These guys are all over the net and manipulate opinion fot their own gain. There is and guide book they stick to and it includes 25 rules for disinformation. Go to GeoEngineeringWatch.org. to read these rules. They have been following and harassing me and others relentlessly. These guys hide behind anonymity and aliases as they truly have nothing of value to say and resort to mocking and character assassinations.

Reply

Chris September 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

As anticipated, this thread has brought out the best and worst of some of the readers. So thanks for the entertainment kids.
I personally do not care if companies start introducing non-conforming clubs to the public. If you swing a NC club poorly it may just be 20 yards farther into the woods. It is not automatically going to make you hit it in the fairway every time.
Another problem with NC drivers will be breakage. As the face thins out to increase the COR faster swingers will just start smashing them faster. I wonder what their warranty policy will be on these NC clubs?
I think NC clubs will be great for seniors that have lost so much distance that they are no longer having fun playing. They will benefit the most because they are typically straight as an arrow and the extra distance will help them enjoy it again.
It will be an interesting topic to watch as they start releasing them.

Reply

VimesWithaVee September 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Sure take away the stewardship of the game from enthusiasts with no vested economical interest and turn it over to a company whose main contribution to the golf world has been the reduction in product cycle times… #facepalm
Golf should be challenging – if distance is a problem then simply go get fit for the lightest, softest shaft you can hit and put away the Pro V1′s and replace them with a ball suited to your swingspeed. If anyone truly believes that this is anything other than a cynical TM attempt to control future rules/regulations whilst bankrupting Callaway (who basically live off selling last years gear to “recreational” golfers) then they should also put money on Sergio doing the grand slam next season…

Reply

Recreational 2handicaper September 20, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Feel golf still makes square groove clubs and irons so taylormade won’t b the first to buck the system

Reply

Golf 4 Fun September 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm

The USGA is responsible for determining who the amateur champion is each year in a bunch of categories. They overstep their bounds when they try to edict their rules on everyone outside their jurisdiction. It should not matter to anyone if a company makes a NC club or ball. It is against the rules to play them in USGA sanctioned tournaments or in establishing a USGA handicap. Otherwise, it is perfectly legal.

One of the few traditions of golf is the “evolution of technology”. Accept it. Enjoy your game and let other people have the game they choose.

Reply

PJ September 20, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Grow the game?? It’s never been more popular!! There’s too many people out on the courses now!
So, you’re playing in a tournament, which is full of golfers and casual golfers and of course, guys who play once every couple of years. A team playing with illegal equipment just won. This is a local charity tournament, run by all volunteers and a full field of 144 golfers.
Do you think the volunteers are going to check everyone’s bags for illegal clubs??
No…they are not.
Yes, illegal clubs are out there and available, but not in mass distribution like this is talking. Right now, if you want an illegal, non-conforming club, you have to go out of your way to find one….may not be the case for long.

Reply

Mark September 20, 2013 at 11:57 pm

You know, reading the majority of comments on this site made me realize this site may have more hackers than golfers. With that, the value of the comments are largely discounted.

Doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the game. Not taking a poke at that, just not golfers. Rather people who happen to play golf. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. Just need to find a new site that golfers frequent.

Reply

MarkD September 22, 2013 at 1:44 am

That is a terrible comment. How do you define a hacker? Do you play with wood shafts? Or is your driver made with graphite? The rules change all the time. 460 Drivers, wedges that spin and now don’t spin and long putters that were to be eliminated and remain based upon a compromise in its use. Quite frankly, I doubt TM will come out with NC clubs. Second, the so called hackers as you put it typically don’t buy expensive clubs. You find them at cheap sporting good stores and not golf stores. If they do spend, it is really a one time purchase. The better players are targeted by the OEMs because they will spend $400 for driver and $700-900 for a set of irons every 1-3 years that are made in China and at best assembled in the USA.

Reply

MikeB September 22, 2013 at 1:45 am

What is your definition of a golfer? I play two to three times a week with conforming clubs, play the ball where it lies and count every shot I take. Heck the other day I assessed myself a penalty for an accidental double hit from a bunker. I keep a personal handicap using the U.S.G.A. method but it isn’t an official one. I record my rounds and keep track of my F.I.R.s, G.I.R.s and putting strokes as well as my 1-putts and 3-putts. I go further by tracking my ups and downs and have done so for over 20 years. Mt current handicap is 13.44. My average score is 85.3. So, according to your definition of being a golfer and hacker, which one am I?

Reply

Mark September 23, 2013 at 1:19 am

MikeB, it’s pretty apparent if you are all the things you say, then you’re a golfer.
If you play a couple of times a year, can’t break 100, nor care if you do, or play non-conforming clubs, or treat rules as a guide, then you’re a hacker. In a nutshell, if you’re posting a GHIN, then you’re a golfer, as you play by the rules and post your scores within those rules.
Pretty simple – but, that’s MY opinion. Feel free to have your own.

Reply

MikeB September 21, 2013 at 4:10 am

Has anyone noticed that there are more first timers and others that play only a couple of times a year out in the fall? I wonder why? Anyway to get back on topic, I believe what is “killing” golf is slow play. How often do you see guys on the course trying to do that their favourite player does on TV. They’ll line up their putts for 5 minutes, wait to hit their second shots on a par 550 yard par 5 from 350+ yards away when they only hit a 190 yard drive in the first place? Then they hit that second shot about 50 yards because they topped the ball? Non-conforming equipment may actually help some of them make better contact. Since no matter what you do you either have or don’t have a short game, scores shouldn’t be impacted severely. There are 750cc drivers out there that look like shovels but they are so large that they actually weaker than regular clubs and don’t provide any advantage whatsoever. So the integrity of the game is up to the individual. Play by the rules of competition and you can compare yourselves to the people on the various tours (I still don’t know how they can hit a 5 iron over 200 yards). Play with non-conforming clubs and you enjoy yourself and realise that you cannot compare yourself to others that do and that’s okay also. There was a suggestion in an earlier post to ad a set of tee for the distance challenged. The only problem with that thought is if you join up with other golfers or your regular foursome usually plays the whites or blues, then you would feel isolated from the rest of the group.

Other reasons for slow play has nothing to do with equipment. You’ll see a group agonising over a simple 3 to 4 foot putt because they have a bet riding on the outcome. Then you have the completely clueless golfers that have no knowledge of etiquette or just don’t give a damn. That’s when a ranger should step in and advise these people as the proper way to behave on the course. Too many course today don’t have marshals or rangers. I used to be one and I kept play moving along.

Reply

Duncan Castles September 21, 2013 at 4:54 am

There doesn’t need to be issue with part of a fourball playing off tees further further forward than the rest of the group. I’ve had plenty of enjoyable rounds playing off the men’s tee against (or with) a woman playing off the ladies’ tee.
Earlier this year I had a great round at the Duke’s in St Andrews – an excellent golf course. The fourball was made up of two close-to-scratch golfers a 14 handicap and a 20 handicap. We split into teams of one low handicapper and one high, and played better ball matchplay.
The Duke’s has five sets of tee boxes and our low handicappers wanted to play off the blues at 7002 yards (the blacks, which “virtually no-one plays” are 7512). We asked the course marshall which boxes he recommended for the higher handicaps and the got the following very sensible reply. “It’s cold and windy today so you’re not get as much distance anyway. Best thing to do is choose the tee box closest in length to your home course. If that feels too short after a few holes, then step up a box.”
Result? A fun, competitive match that went to the final hole in which all four of us won holes.

Reply

MikeB September 22, 2013 at 1:47 am

okay, it’s an ego thing!

Reply

MarkD September 22, 2013 at 3:20 am

I could not agree more. While it was a beautiful day for golf, the round at my local muni took 6 hours to play. Very difficult to stay focused for 6 hours. Very difficult for my body to stay warmed up with the constant waiting. The course at one time had rangers. Rumor has it that people went to court and challenged being rushed and the court ordered that the people had the right to take as much time as they liked because they were in a public park! The same with the required use of motor carts. Challenged and won and so walkers are permitted.

Reply

Bart September 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

Hi guys,
I look at this from several different angles. First as a business owner the decision is easy. I would make NC clubs in a heart beat. Why? My target market is the general public, not professionals. The only reason I make clubs for professionals is for marketing purposes. For my company to be successful I need to sell clubs to the widest market as possible. I am not going to saddle them with clubs only professionals can hit. For the newbie I am going to make clubs that are easy to hit, go straight, and cost less. And I am certainly not going to let a professional governing body tell me I can’t make a club for joe public because it’s too good. My non conforming clubs will have a strong name so people won’t be embarrassed to buy them. My conforming clubs will be known as my “Professional” or “Elite” line. Better golfers will want to use the professional line because the badge of honor that comes with using the same clubs the pros use.

As a golfer, I have only been playing regularly for 2 1/2 years. So I vividly remember how frustrated and lost I was the first time I played. I wanted to stop playing by the 13th hole. I hated golf. Then a year later a friend of mine lost his wife of 30+ years. He loved to play golf but hadn’t for 2 years because he was caring for his wife. So I played with him to get his mind off his loss. I thought I was doing him a favor, but he he really was the one who helped me. He gave me a love for the game. I can tell you the PGA and the rule book was no where on the course that day. When I hit it in the woods, he had me move the ball out. When I went in a sand trap, he drew I line behind the ball and had me take practice swings. Golf that day wasn’t about the score, or the rules, it was about enjoying the fresh air, getting some exercise, and the friendship that forms when battling that little white ball.

I believe non conforming golf clubs would make it easier for the newbies, and get them over the hump so they. An enjoy the game we do. I believe it would also help folders like my father in law who can only hit it 100 yards now.

Reply

DaveA September 22, 2013 at 2:49 am

Two questions…

1. If you don’t think playing with NC clubs is right, then don’t play with them. Why do you care if others disagree?

2. If I go into my garage and find a 15 year old baseball bat (pre-COR regs on bats), get a bunch of old buddies together at the park, and have a pick-up game, are we somehow not playing baseball because of my old bat that is now illegal for competition? How is this any different from people using NC clubs outside of competition?

Reply

MarkD September 22, 2013 at 3:12 am

Dave,
The “traditionalists” will always believe they are right because the rules make it golf. It would be like saying a foul ball with two strikes makes for a strike out. For games in the park among friends, why does it matter? Traditionalists would argue that you may have played something that looks like baseball but it was not baseball because you did not adhere to the rules of the game. While I get that, I don’t know why that causes so much anger unless you are playing in tournaments or professionally. I really don’t care if someone posts a lower handicap with NC as the only one that matters is mine. I’ve played with too many people over the years that tell me they have low handicaps and don’t play close to it which suggests they understate it anyway without the use of NCs.

Reply

purkjason September 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Like many others I have never been a huge fan of Taylormade but if they actually started to manufacture non conforming equipment for us weekend warriors who are NEVER going to enter a tournament because we HAVE lives with a wife, children, a job, and many other responsibilities and who are blue collar I will honestly have a lot more respect for Taylormade as a company. We, as men have 2 choices to really have fun. #1 Actually Tee It Forward #2 Non Conforming Clubs that will actually make the game easier. I never thought I’d ever say this but when you grow up and enter the real world and can’t practice all the time and play when you want this game destroys you mentally and physically. Me as a youngster – handicap of 6, me as a 40 yr. old – handicap of 14. Get it ? We all have one life, let’s make it more fun !

Reply

Sluggo September 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I keep hearing that NC clubs will make the game easier for the rec/ non-capped player. But will they really? If a player hits the grass 3 inches before the ball, is anything going to help with that? If they already can slice it two fairways over, will they now go 3 fairways over?

Current GI clubs are already quite forgiving aren’t they? After all, the player still has to hit the little ball doesn’t he? I mean how big can they actually make a NC club anyways?

I understand wanting to make the game easier for the casual player, but maybe it’s really not an easy came, no matter what they do.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not sure a NC club will really help a casual player all that much. But a better player on the other hand, who already plays decently, as a 15-25 capper, will they play better? Hard to say. Will they want to play them?

And lastly, will this blur the one line that is the benchmark for all? It’s kind of like sea level. Everyone knows exactly high high they fly when starting from sea level. Maybe that’s a crappy analogy, but what I mean is that everyone really knows where they stand with an agreed upon set of standards for clubs. Different standards will create different results.
But if the only standard is fun, then does it matter? Not as much.

But I am afraid that TM will roll these babies out, promising a new level of fun and claims of lower scores and much more enjoyable days on the course, all the while reaping in big profits, and then all the people who buy them finds out they don’t help them hit the ball any better, sends them deeper into the lakes and woods, and their score still remains quite north of 100. So at the end of the day, the only winner is TM… Perhaps a good time to invest some coin into TM stocks?

Reply

kate September 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm

You can already buy non-conforming equipment in Asia and most of the best golf clubs come out of Japan and Korea. We really do need innovation – surely there are other and better materials that could be used to make clubs feel and perform better for the average player. Most of the amateurs don’t want and cannot handle TOUR equipment. We want clubs that make the game easier and more fun.

Reply

John Muir September 23, 2013 at 11:04 am

Good article. Your vote tally matches my experience with my customers at Clubmaker Online, especially the older guys.

John

Reply

andrew September 24, 2013 at 12:59 am

this is the difference- we ALL play the same game. using the same tools. if anyone is to measure ability it is by those two facts. i should say i disagree with taking away the long putter after 20-30 years of use and no empirical proof of advantage, and that 460 seems a reasonable, if arbitrary number to cap displacement on. balls, also have made the average golfer better- if any of you can remember playing balata, you may remember teeing off with your putter.
my solution is twofold- build courses that play differently from different tees. the hard tees dont even have to be longer than the easy tees. make it affordable. to play. my local state run course is 16 dollars to play 9 holes. what 15 year old kid will pay 32 bucks for two trips around a par 31 executive course? for chrissakes- i cant even play at the other course sometimes when im hard up. clubs are expensive, we all know, but thanks to technology, we can buy very nice used clubs off one another for a song- and really , 4 year old clubs can be lust as good as new- look at 9064 vs. superLS ? case in point- i bought a very good condition g5 for 35 dollars at golfgalaxy- 10.5deg., aldilaNV shaft, and i pound it. really. its even better than the MacTecNVG that i loved previously.
put it this way: could a homeless man whup your gym-going benchpress making a$$? Who knows, right? we all play by the SAME rules, with the SAME equipment. lets leave it where it is and go HAVE FUN.

Reply

Chris September 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Argh! While there are several Royal /USGA rules that make absolutely no sense(eg. stroke and distance), rules governing equipment help define the game. Recreational vs competitive biking is not an apt analogy.I would suggest that tennis and bowling are more on point. When it appeared that tennis was evolving to the point that one could wield 5 foot long and 3 foot wide rackets, tennis stepped in and imposed equipment limits. Unless I
I am in Texas, I can no longer drive the ball 300yds. Give me a good mortar/hobby rocket/model airplane and I am confident I could transport my ball smartly down the longest of fairways but to what end? It would not be golf.

Reply

Richie B September 25, 2013 at 10:48 am

Voted Yes but do have a few issues with the non conforming stuff. I am a weekend golfer (work does not ley me play to much during the week or I would) & play in a couple of different groups we play a $5 match & a $5 skins, greenies, sandie action. We always keep score, but we don’t to the letter of the USGA follow there rules we paly everything as a lateral drop point where it crossed the hazard, roll the ball in the fairways only, rake the trap if it’s in bad shape & drop, after double par you pick up, everything else is USGA rules, we play mostly public courses in decent conditions but for sake of people behind us & pace of play these rules speed it up a little the rules are the same for all our players the 8 handi & our 20 handi. We paly 8 -10 outings a year some 4 man best ball some scrambles in them we play by all the rules of the USGA & here is where I would have a problem with non conforming stuff. Everyone starts out trying to win the outing & play against others that may not have conforming equiptment would seem a little unfair. I do think there should be some different rules for the professional as such (belly Putter) & the rest of us. But which ever group your in you need to be on equal ground. My self I would not use a non conforming clubs & would not want to play against anyone with them if score, money, or an award was involved but the 4some in front of me who is just for a fun time if it would speed them up good for them.

Reply

Dave September 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm

The handicap system is what creates the equal ground so that people can wager. That was the ONLY reason for creating the handicap system in the first place.
what is the difference if you lower your handicap 7 strokes by taking lessons that others cannot afford, or you play a nonconforming ball which lowers your handicap 7 strokes. And in both cases you turn in scores and your handicap was established using the equipment or the swing that you bought? Think about it logically beofre answering. The answer is, it doesn’t matter. As long as you don’t establish a handicap without the NC equipment and then use it in a match where you claim a handicap and then use NC equipment. It all get’s down to being honest. Suppose I establish my handicap with 1960 blades, an old persimmon driver, worn out wedges, balata balls, etc. … and then show up to the Amateur Open with all new better equipment, ProV1, etc. and shoot 5 strokes better? This is cheating. The other is not. I play the NC Polara ball. It cuts 10 strokes off my round. I am a USGA member and have a handicap (28), but when I play the Polara ball I use an 18 handicap. I give my playing partners the choice – 28 w/Prov1 & Nike driver or 18 with Polara Ultimate STraight and Polara Advanateg driver. They don’t care, so I take the 18 because – we play faster with me not searching for balls and we all have more fun. The USGA Rules are for amateur championship play, not for fun competition with your buddies for small wagers. All this requires is a change in mindset. Golfers have been conditioned by phrases like, “the Tradition of the Game”. What is so traditional about the Taylor Made SLDR, a $1,000 carbon fiber shaft, company logos all over your shirt, hat, pants and bag, and a 5 piece high tech ball? One of the few traditions of the game is the evolution of golf equipment technology. Another tradition is a foursome agreeing on the rules on the first tee.
I love that Taylor Made is going to introduce nonconforming drivers. it may even help make golf easier to learn and more fun for those of us who have not given up in frustration.
And if your response is going to be “If you can’t play by the rules, then don’t play”, be careful what you wish for – 75% of golfers admit they do not play by the rules and if they quit, golf goes extinct except for the super rich who will own their own courses.

Reply

Duncan Castles September 27, 2013 at 4:10 am

The difference is that lessons are about improving the golfer’s ability. Same as practise, experience and other elements intrinsic to the individual playing the game.
Non-conforming clubs are aids that have nothing to do with the golfer’s ability and contravene rules established to provide a high watermark for the effect of equipment. A limit has to be imposed on equipment at some point for obvious and well-rehearsed reasons. We can argue about where that limit should be imposed, but removing it altogether makes no sense.
Your points on handicapping have some validity. However it is not true that the ‘only reason’ the system was created was ‘so that people can wager’. Compete, yes. Wager, not necessarily.
More importantly the idea of carrying one handicap with conforming and one with non-conforming equipment just underlines how messy things could get if major manufacturers start selling both types. Are our golf associations now to manage and monitor two handicaps per golfer??

Reply

Jim October 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Nicely put Dave :)

Reply

David W September 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I’m kind of on the fence here. I see good points on both sides of the argument. However, I tend to lean towards keeping clubs conforming for a couple of reasons. One, honestly, how many people are going to start playing golf because they can play with non-conforming clubs? If they don’t play now, hitting it an extra 30 yards isn’t going to get them out there and if they don’t play now they won’t be able to spin the ball with the old grooves either. And two, you run into the problem of tournaments. Do you allow non-conforming clubs? If you do, are they in a separate flight (which reduces the prize pool and will keep people from playing)? Moving a basketball goal up or down, buying a smaller or larger basketball or football, purchasing a legal bat and a non-legal bat, etc are things that can conceivably be accomplished on a normal income. But buying two complete sets of clubs to use in casual rounds and in tournaments is out of most people’s price range.

I’m not completely against non-conforming clubs but I do see problems.

Reply

Jim October 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I’m all for it and it is about damn time one of the major equip companies FINALLY did this. I don’t consider myself a great golfer (7 handicap) but it isn’t much fun playing with any of my friends who aren’t regular golfers because the gap between me and someone who shoots a 105 is pretty big. So if playing with non-conforming clubs helps them have more fun and keeps them from getting so discouraged then who cares. Remember people Golf (and I do love it) is just a game.

Reply

David F October 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Jim – you are 100% spot on. The avg golfer shoots 106. That is the avg male. 1/2 the golfers slow everyone down looking for lost balls in the woods. all this “illegal” talk from various voices in golf has created a culture where people are afraid to just have fun, because they will be ridiculed by the golf church ladies (who often cheat just as much as anyone). I say to all high handicap golfers – “please buy long drivers, straight balls and over-grooved wedges” and enjoy your game. you will play faster, and for this I and everyone else on the course will be grateful.

Reply

Paul October 26, 2013 at 8:48 am

There are those that play golf, and there are those that play at golf.

If those that have no interest in improving their own ability want to waste their time and money on something that will basically make no real difference to their score, so be it; (having something the size of a bungalow on the end of your shaft won’t make you a better golfer).
Let them have their sad self-delussions, whilst those that really PLAY golf get on with working at our game to improve and become legitimately better golfers, leaving behind those with no real interest in the game.

Reply

Oldplayer October 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

If the game was restricted to those that “really play golf” only the pros would be playing. In a lot of ways it is a different game depending on your ability. My game is nothing like the pros and I’m a 3 cap.

Reply

DaveF April 27, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Dear Golf Church Lady – 1) fyi, there is equipment available today that will lower your score substantially, 2) why do you feel the need to be so critical and judgmental of people who are simply playing a game they love rather than “working on their game”? and 3) i find your comments to be inconsistent with the etiquette of golf.

Reply

Afoujo February 11, 2014 at 12:55 am

Thanks for a marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it,
you will be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back someday.

I want to encourage continue your great posts,
have a nice evening!

Reply

nick February 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm

i personally like the idea. My Dad (44) has a slipped disc in his back, had 2 knee surgeries, and has a sciatic nerve in his back. When he was my age (20) he had a swing speed of 120+ mph his avg drive was 290-310. Now his swing speed (still not too bad) is at 95 mph he hits his driver about 240 and he still loves playing golf with my and my brother. Me and my brother are somewhat competitive so we play from the tips. Everytime we go out he will never say let me hit from 1 up. I think its great for people like my dad to have a driver that can get a little more yards off the tee. Another person it would be great for is my cousin. He grew up with hip problems he is 23 years old and had a hip replacment when he was 13. HE LOVES PLAYING GOLF WITH US. Sure he shoots in the 110s but you know what if he could get in the fairway 260-270 out there and keep up with us im more than sure he would play alot more. I give taylormade my vote. I like the idea. Also another thing to add. My handicap is anywhere from a 5 to a 7. Im very happy with my game. If i was playing with just my father my brother and myself. SURE i would hit “dad’s” driver. But if i went to the U.S. Open qualifier. Im bringing my RBZ 2 Tour with me. Its made purely for the people that keep golf alive. Does anyone truly believe that Rory McLroy, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson etc. keep the game going? NO! they give us a little inspiration like ; I would love to have that swing or i want to have that many wins or I WANT TO LEARN TO HIT THE BALL THAT FAR. But the weekend golfers are the ones who keep the game going. (ALTHOUGH I HATE GETTING STUCK BEHIND THEM) its still the truth lol – Nick

Reply

Gary March 8, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I am late to this discussion but found it while trying to find out how these new drivers by Calloway, Taylor Made etc. that have all these adjustments that turn one club into six or more are legal or are they? I had to give up a league because the integrity of the “Iron Man League” quickly deteriorated as the membership went from “Blue Collar” ( carpenters, truck drivers, roofers, and electricians) to a majority of “White Collar” (business managers, lawyers, doctors etc.) members. These “golfers” blatantly violated the rules of golf making it impossible for any golfer with integrity to be competitive. Non-conforming clubs would be a no brainer for these cheaters because this was their way of life! This sucked the fun out of the game for me and eventually I gave it up.

Reply

EdwardH April 26, 2014 at 6:08 am

If you look at it from a “bottom line” perspective, offering non-conforming clubs would the doors off the golf equipment industry becasue companies would be specifically targeting the weekend warriors…..Genious!!!

Reply

DaveF April 27, 2014 at 5:08 pm

In your blog you keep saying, if and when a company introducing game changing technology – where have you been since 2010 when Polara Golf introduced the Ultimate Straight golf ball that cuts hooks & slices by 75% and then in 2012 when they introduced a ball with more distance than the ProV1 and it still reduces hooks & slices by 50%. They also have clubs that are nonconforming and give up to 40 yards more distance.
It is a fact that small companies usually lead large companies when it comes to innovation. In the interests of serving your readers, you really need to at least give Polara Golf a mention …

Reply

Derius June 29, 2014 at 11:46 am

Played with my non conforming Polara golf balls today – what a fun day of golf. Looking forward to playing golf again next Sunday and admiring the pros on the highlight reals later that same afternoon…

Reply

golfzilla September 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Watch the sauce and go back to Zero Hedge where you belong.

Reply

The voices September 21, 2013 at 12:02 am

I’m not sure where zero hedge is, but I bet it’s really far, far away…

Reply

MikeB September 21, 2013 at 3:39 am

Okay holier than thou.

Reply

Leave a Comment