In the two-and-a-half years since pros had to start carrying clubs with new grooves, Lee Westwood feels professional tours responded to the forced equipment changes by negating their impact.
'I just find it interesting that the ruling bodies have decided that this groove change was a good idea, and then we've stopped having thick rough on the golf courses,' Westwood said Wednesday at the BMW PGA Championship.
In January 2010, the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient implemented new regulations on the design and performance of iron grooves. All major tours adopted the regulations as part of their condition of competition.
The stated intent behind the change was to limit the performance of irons out of the rough, including the amount of spin the club could enforce on the golf ball at impact.
The width and depth of grooves were regulated to replicate the performance of previously approved V-grooves compared to their U-shaped successors. Manufacturers responded in kind with new face-etching techniques to help players retain some of the spin lost from grooves.
Westwood believes the professional tours have trimmed the length of rough to further counteract the impact of the new grooves rule – to the detriment of an excellent ball-striker like the world No. 3.
'It's like saying, you can't use a driver anymore, and making the golf courses shorter,' he said. 'What's the point?'