Feel Golf Gives USGA The Finger

Upstart wedge manufacturer Feel Golf says it will ignore the USGA’s year end ban on sales of wedges with the “aggressive groves.”

Lee Miller, Feel Golf CEO said We’re a business. We’re going to offer what our customers want. That means we’ll be selling wedges with both the old and new grooves as long as there is a demand. They are just too popular to discontinue—they really offer a unique short-game advantage.”

The pro tours switched to the new USGA/R&A conforming grooves this year. Significant amateur tournaments all will require them starting in 2014, while local championships may hold out until 2024.

The impetus for the new groove rules was that too many pro players had adopted a bomb-and-gouge strategy: hitting the ball as far as possible without regard for the fairway, and then relying on “aggressive” grooves in the wedges to get the ball to the green with adequate spin. But if that style of play was a problem, it was one that only affected players at the highest levels—i.e., the pros. The rest of us can’t use that strategy because we don’t have the “bomb.” For 99 and 44/100ths of the players out there, all the aggressive grooves did was make it a little easier around the greens.

If there’s a problem with equipment or playing styles on the pro tours, it should be up to the pro tours to police them. I see absolutely nothing wrong with having two sets of equipment standards: one for the Tours, and one for the rest of us. As far as I’m concerned, the USGA has lost its way. Rather than worrying about whether the pros are going “too low,” they should be worried about the millions who have given up the game of golf because it’s too difficult. The future of golf and of the USGA doesn’t lie with the PGA or Euro Tours. It lies with the millions of amateurs—mostly hackers—who pay for the lessons (big name pros don’t pay for their lessons), buy the equipment (I daresay most pros don’t buy equipment) and pay the greens fees (which pros don’ t do either). The USGA budget—television revenues aside—comes from membership fees paid by hackers.

Let the PGA Tour regulate the PGA Tour. The USGA should stick to its own mission statement: “Based on a shared love and respect for golf, we preserve its past, foster its future, and champion its best interests for everyone who enjoys the game.” Everyone The focus should be on Everyone, not a small segment who might happen to be able to hit 300 yard drives and then spin the ball to the hole out of six inch rough.

The USGA needs to concentrate on rules for everyone and develop equipment standards for Everyone. And if the result is that the PGA Tour has a different standard than the USGA, so be it.

There’s not going to be any support, however, for two standards from the manufacturers. Their entire marketing strategy is based on pushing the equipment that the pros play.

Feel Golf’s press release follows:

MONTEREY, CA, Sep 13, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX)—Responding to consumer backlash against the new USGA standards for grooved golf clubs, Feel Golf Company (FEEL 0.01, +0.00, +21.74%)  will extend the availability of its non-conforming wedges.

“We’ll offer wedges with the more aggressive grooves through the end of 2012. Amateurs can continue to use them in sanctioned events until 2014, and in recreational play until at least 2024,” says Lee Miller, CEO of Feel Golf. “They are just too popular to discontinue—they really offer a unique short-game advantage.”

The non-conforming wedges are available at many retail web sites, pro shops and online at http://www.feelgolf.net and are available in Feel Golf’s well-known Designer, Gun Metal and Satin finishes.

Meanwhile, Feel Golf engineers have been busy designing an entirely new line to conform with the new groove standards. Replacing the traditional grooves are an exciting new development that Feel engineers call “Micro Milled Face Lines.” These lines cover the entire wedge face and enable an unprecedented level of spin control and finesse. These totally re-designed wedges include a Matte Chrome Satin and a Black QPQ finish.

The USGA and R&A ruling bodies adopted a new groove standard for the professional tours effective January 2010. The standards apply to certain amateur events starting in 2014.

About Feel Golf Company For more than 20 years, Feel Golf (FEEL 0.01, +0.00, +21.74%) has been known for its award-winning wedges, premium golf clubs and innovative reverse taper golf grips. Tour players worldwide have played Feel Golf’s wedges and Full Release Grips because of their unique performance qualities and consistent feel. Visit http://www.feelgolf.net or call 877-934-7387.

2 thoughts on “Feel Golf Gives USGA The Finger”

  1. If this economy continues at this pace into next year, I wonder if we will see a major manufacturer buck the whole grooves thing, at least for a single line.  What really will keep Cleveland from producing the CG16 next year with Laser Zip Grooves?  They can produce a fully conforming prototype line for the pros and a fully conforming line for amateurs – but for the bulk of the club buyers?  If Cleveland or someone else produces a line as non-conforming – don’t you think they will get a boom from that?

    Of course for this year, Cleveland is playing it correct, the whole “Year of the Groove” marketing campaign I think is genius.  It got me to buy a Niblick, and by the end of the year, I will be buying a couple 60s and a 54 and 56.  A pair will go into storage, just in case no major line produces an aggressive groove.

  2. When I got the Niblick, I also got a set of 56 and 60 wedges from one of the Golfsmith brands with “box grooves”.  The grooves on this actually feel similar but sharper than the grooves on the Niblick.  However, the Niblick (at 49 deg) spins the ball much better than the other wedges.  I don’t know if that is a factor of the Niblick design or of the groove.  But today, it was really on display.  Short chips with the 60 rolled out much further than ones with the Niblick.  The greens were icy fast, and I was spinning back with every shot with the Niblick.


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