As we know the USGA has adopted a new groove rule that went into effect this month for the PGA Tour. These new “v” grooves are not as sharp and have 40% less volume than box grooves. While this change does not affect the vast majority of amateur golfers we can all learn by how PGA Tour players are adapting to the change.
Amateur players should watch how the pros approach shots from the rough especially close to the green. Because these new grooves don’t have the same kind of bite, tour players have adapted by playing the shots differently.
How this helps amateurs
Amateur golfer typically do not have the swing speed or technique to generate the kind of spin the pros do. The example the pros have set the past few years typically does not translate well to amateurs. Although those shots (high spinning, stop on a dime shots) are beautiful to look at, most amateurs just aren’t going to pull them off very often. But now we have an opportunity to watch shot making return to the game.
The new grooves are forcing the professionals to hit higher softer shots and rely less on spin. What I saw at the Sony Open in Hawaii was a lot of shots landing short of the green and rolling on the green. You also saw pros punished a bit more when they short sided themselves. So what you are also seeing is that the pros are being encouraged to have their misses leave plenty of green to work with. This is something amateur players should really pay attention to.
How the pros are adjusting:
- Hitting higher softer shots to stop the ball.
- Playing for fliers and the lower spin out of the rough by bouncing balls onto the green.
- Making sure their misses leave plenty of green to work with
Do these things and you should see your scores drop as you eliminate big numbers.