USGA RA Rule on Spring-Like Effect


FAR HILLS, N.J. - The United States Golf Association and Royal & Ancient have independently determined a rule that sets a uniform, worldwide standard for spring-like effect in driving clubs.
This rule represents a modified version of a joint COR proposal announced on May 9. Approved after the July 15 conclusion of the customary notice-and-comment period, this rule establishes a spring-like effect limit by measuring the coefficient of restitution (COR) of a driving club.
This rule contains three major provisions:
-- The COR limit remains at 0.830 for all play in the United States and its territories. Scores may be posted for handicap purposes only when achieved with clubs that satisfy the 0.830 COR limit.
-- From Jan. 1, 2003 until Dec. 31, 2007 a Condition of Competition, targeted at competitions for highly skilled players, will be introduced in the R&As jurisdiction enabling a Committee in charge of a competition to apply a COR limit of 0.830. The R&A will introduce this Condition of Competition at its Open Championship in 2003 and beyond. It is anticipated this Condition of Competition will also be implemented worldwide for events on the major Professional Tours.
-- The R&A will implement a COR limit of 0.830 on Jan. 1, 2008 for all levels of play in the remainder of the world.
All worldwide competitions involving highly skilled players will have the opportunity to utilize the same COR limit of 0.830 as of Jan. 1, 2003, said Walter Driver, chairman of the USGAs Implements and Ball Committee. All play throughout the world will have a uniform limit five years later.
During discussions prior to May 9 between the USGA and R&A, we understood that our original joint proposal using a temporary, five-year rule that permitted a 0.860 limit for some levels of play starting Jan. 1 was complicated for golfers, sellers of golf equipment, club professionals, and a large number of manufacturers, said Driver. But this element was considered a reasonable interim step internationally. Thus, it was no surprise when we later received comments critical of this back-and-forth aspect. Indeed, the majority of comments urged the USGA not to change our current 0.830 COR limit.
'At the same time, the R&A received adverse comments about the rapid implementation of a COR rule in its jurisdiction, where no rule currently exists.This caused the R&A to wish to follow an alternate path. Since the R&A was not going to adopt the temporary, five-year 0.860 COR limit as contained in the original proposal, there was no reason for the USGA to do so. We applaud the R&A for their flexibility and understanding of the situation in the United States.
Initially, the test method used will be the same COR test currently used by the USGA. Efforts are underway by both organizations to design a new, simpler test method as soon as possible.