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PGA Tour implementing new driver-testing program ahead of 2019-20 season

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The PGA Tour is set to implement a new club-testing program, in conjunction with the USGA, that will identify player drivers that are non-conforming or on the verge of becoming non-conforming.

In a memo sent to players Wednesday, the Tour specified that it will now test drivers pulled directly from players' bags, as opposed to clubheads taken from on-site equipment trailers.

Per the Tour, the new policy is a response to originally conforming drivers that can, over time, creep their way beyond the Characteristic Time (CT) limit, which measures the spring-like effect of a clubface.

Testing will take place at various, unannounced events during practice days prior to start of play. It is meant to include all regular members and equipment manufacturers over the course of the season. Once a player is selected, he will surrender his driver to a Tour official, who will then take it for testing. Players will not be told their actual CT numbers, but will instead be given their results in stoplight fashion:

  • Green – The club is conforming and may be used in subsequent rounds.
  • Yellow – The club is conforming and may be used in subsequent rounds, but the result is within the USGA published tolerance. This means that during any subsequent testing there is a higher likelihood that the club, when tested, will exceed the limit plus tolerance. Continued usage of the club could further increase the likelihood that the club will exceed the limit plus tolerance.
  • Red – The club is deemed to have been damaged into a non-conforming state and as such may not be used in subsequent rounds.

Clubs in the green and yellow categories will be returned to players, while clubs deemed non-conforming (or red) will be returned to the manufacturer.

"Complying with this program will be considered a condition of entry for the tournament," the memo states.

The Tour is also willing to perform tests on "a voluntary, first-come, first-served basis."

Informational sessions for players and manufacturer representatives will be hosted at next week's season-opening A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier and in early 2020 ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open.