Getting Clubs Re-grooved - COPIED

By Frank ThomasNovember 5, 2009, 1:10 am


With the new groove rules, I understand that after next year I won't be able to purchase a new wedge with the current groove specifications.  My question is this: Will I be able to have existing clubs reconditioned to the old specs in existence at the time the club was new?

Thanks and keep up the interesting dialog on the game.

– Mark


Thanks for your good wishes and encouraging comments.

I know there is a little confusion, because so many golfers have asked me about reconditioning their existing clubs after the new groove rule is implemented as a condition of competition on January 1, 2010. Let me try to clear this up for you and other concerned golfers not wanting to be in conflict with the rules.
First, you will be able to BUY wedges, and other clubs, with the old grooves until retailers run out of their stock. This may last until the Jan. 1, 2024 deadline if they are smart. Buying these 'old grooved clubs' does not end next year when the new rule goes into effect. The USGA has indicated that the new rule will affect all clubs after Jan. 1, 2024 – unless it decides to extend the 2024 deadline (in 2020).

The mandate from the USGA is that manufacturers stop producing and shipping clubs with the old groove configuration after December 31, 2010. Therefore, you won’t be able to buy a new model club shipped from the manufacturer after that date with the old grooves – but retailers will be permitted to sell these clubs for as long as they wish or at least until 2024.

Now to the crux of your question: If your wedges and other clubs with the old groove specs – irrespective of when you buy them (old stock) – wear down and you want them re-grooved, you can have these re-grooved with the original (old) specifications.

I don’t believe that major manufacturers will be prepared to re-groove these clubs – even though there is no restriction on them in doing so – because it will be very expensive. However, there will certainly be some club makers who will be able to get your old clubs re-grooved with the original grooves, or at least close to the original specs.

If you have clubs with new grooves, then re-grooving these would fall under Rule 4-1b: Wear and Alteration, which states, “Any club that conforms with the Rules when new is deemed to conform after wear through normal use. Any part of a club that has been purposely altered is regarded as new and must, in its altered state, conform with the Rules.”

Mark, your question was a simple one but the answer is a little more complex because of the way the USGA has chosen to implement the rule and the bifurcation in the rules it has created for the next 14 years.

If the correlation of accuracy and  top 10 money winners on the PGA Tour doesn’t show a significant improvement – the lack of a correlation of accuracy with money won is the justification for the rule change – by the end of next year then I don’t know where the USGA will be able to hide.

Attached below is a graph of accuracy (fairways hit) on the PGA Tour since 1968, and you might want to take note of the flattening out in the last four years.

PGA Tour Driving Accuracy

Frankly, we will keep an eye on, and periodically report, how the money leaders and their average ranking in accuracy changes during the year. “The Frankly Accuracy Watch.”

Mark, the short answer to your question – without any background or explanation – is YES you will be able to have your clubs reconditioned to the specifications when the club was new.

 Click here for more on the groove rule change.

– Frank 

Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf. Thomas is chief technical advisor to He served as technical director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN system and introduced the Stimpmeter. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email


Frank Thomas

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.