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Non-conforming equipment from OEMs

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Reading the very fine article recently published on the blog about PRGR this section stood out to me:

 

Every OEM has the capacity to make non-conforming equipment, but few broach this category, mostly to avoid any association with terms like illegal and non-conforming. But the Japanese market is decidedly different, and the same rules don't always apply. Japanese consumers demand (and are happy to pay big bucks) for equipment which feeds a need to push against conformity; USGA and R&A rules be damned.

 

...and it really got me thinking.  Why don't US manufacturers intentionally make non conforming clubs?

 

If recreational golfers aren't playing in tournaments or in an event where the equipment is required to "conform" to the USGA or R&A, then what's the issue with nonconforming equipment?  

 

Let me be clear though - I'm not advocating for breaking the rules of play - I'm just wondering why manufacturers can't (or won't), for example, create a club that has a spring effect higher than the .083 currently allowed.  Why not push the boundaries a bit ?

 

If I'm playing with my buddies on the weekends and I swing at 90 mph and the club design can help me gain some extra yardage, what's the harm?

 

Is it Ethics?  Standards?  Perception?  Lack of demand?

 

Curious to hear your thoughts either way - pro or con...

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There have been OEMs with non-confirming equipment in the past. There are some smaller component companies that offer non conforming drivers right now. There are also companies that will shave the face of your driver to get past the CT limit.

 

But consumers vote with their wallets and the sales haven't been big enough for a major OEM to take that leap and do a big release.

 

Bottom line is that stuff just doesn't move the needle enough in sales

 

 

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There have been OEMs with non-confirming equipment in the past. There are some smaller component companies that offer non conforming drivers right now. There are also companies that will shave the face of your driver to get past the CT limit.

 

But consumers vote with their wallets and the sales haven't been big enough for a major OEM to take that leap and do a big release.

 

Bottom line is that stuff just doesn't move the needle enough in sales

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

 

....interesting. seems like the manufacturers will do anything/everything besides making equipment nonconforming; like that is the 'third rail' or something.  I think the first release of the Triton was nonconforming and you could send something back and get the 'conforming' section.  I thought that happened with a Nike driver a while ago also.  Wonder how many people bothered to get the 'conforming' versions ??

 

I agree that it is definitely driven by money and profits.  Although, it seems like a company like PXG with loads of $ would be willing to try it out.  

 

Wonder why it is more popular/trendy in Japan vs the US?  

 

Neat to know that you can increase the COR via aftermarket changes.

I think there was an article on the blog about that.  I'll have to revisit that one.

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The risk for the big OEM's is too great. To be branded a 'cheater' club is death to the wide golf audience. To the niche that want that stuff it may help put that's a super small niche. It's why the Long Drive companies have put out some stuff that never got submitted for testing, most notably in my mind the Geek Golf Little Bastard 130. 

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If I recall correctly Callaway sold a non conforming retail driver quite a few years back?

Yeah they did. A version of the ERC Fusion that even had Arnold Palmer pushing it. Was a total flop in the US Market. I think until the industry pushes for bifurcation of the rules with specific "for tournament play" equipment and "recreational" equipment we won't see a real push for clubs that go beyond the current boundaries

 

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Stroker, I was thinking the same thing the last few times I read about JDM equipment and the non-conforming equipment that many jump all over across the pond. An older guy that could use a few more yards, and doesn't keep up a hdcp or enter tournaments, what the heck, why not?

 

But I thought about it more and more, and realized some of the stuff others have mentioned already

 

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Stroker, I was thinking the same thing the last few times I read about JDM equipment and the non-conforming equipment that many jump all over across the pond. An older guy that could use a few more yards, and doesn't keep up a hdcp or enter tournaments, what the heck, why not?

 

But I thought about it more and more, and realized some of the stuff others have mentioned already

 

Sent from my E6853 using MyGolfSpy mobile app

 

Yeah... it's really too bad.  I mean if Callaway can have a lineup that includes 10 (!) different sets of irons why not one that has a "non-conforming" sticker on it for the guy that just plays casually...

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This presents some interesting questions, and a mixed response. 
 
First, I am fundamentally against "non-conforming" equipment for use by adults in standard play as overseen by the standard governing bodies in sport.  I think that everyone playing a sport should play by the same rules, with the same equipment- even in youth sport there is a requirement that the players all have conforming equipment - For example, in softball there are 5 major governing bodies that certify equipment such as bats, balls, safety equipment, gloves, etc- Every organization has a set of rules which promote consistent, fair, and safe play.

 

The same for Golf- the USGA and R&A have worked long and hard (and if the new rules changes are indeed implemented, it will make for a much easier set of rules to understand) to make the game fun, but also fair.   By and large (PGA and professional events aside) the rules of golf are self imposed rules.  Players penalize themselves (or not), and take appropriate relief as the circumstances dictate. 

 

If you want to bang a shaved face driver on the range, more power to you - just as if you want to practice with a training aid or swing aid, or swing between two tees, or lay down an aiming stick - go for it.  Just not on the course while playing.  Rules are rules to promote consistent, fair and safe play.  When you introduce a non-conforming piece of equipment (ball, club, training aid, etc) it changes the dynamics of the game, and takes it outside the bounds of "normal play." 

 

What if some courses made the hole 6 inches wide?  What if some high school basketball teams decided they were going to lower (or raise) the basket, or make the hoop smaller (think carnival hoop where the ball barely fits) - it would change the game fundamentally, and would be (in my humble opinion) be detrimental to both the spirit of the game and competition.

 

Now- I am all for providing youth the opportunity to play forward (such as the USGA Family tees program) and allowing some variances for physically challenged individuals- to help build and maintain interest in the game for youth and the physically challenged communities- but by and large,  I believe that fundamentally, the challenge of player versus course requires a standard to be upheld- and equipment standards are part of that standard- otherwise how do you recognize a course record - recorded by an individual playing non conforming clubs, non-conforming ball, from family tees and giving him or herself 10 foot "gimme's"

 

Look, I am never going to set any course records-  My fun comes from achieving a personal best or doing well against a very challenging course- that is about where the competition goes for me- but it is fun to be able to compare against your buddies or against the visiting club team without having to worry about every club, every ball and every opportunity for a "discrete foot wedge" from your opponent - or team-mate for that matter.

 

My two cents...

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fair enough...but keep in mind who the USGA and R&A regulations were created to conform to.

 

They weren't created to conform to guys/gals that have average swing speeds.

They weren't created to conform to folks that play casually at their local muni.

They weren't created to conform to....

 

They were created to conform to **everyone** touring pros and high handicap amateurs alike.

 

Perhaps the governing bodies would consider a different set of tolerances for amateurs vs professionals?

 

reiterating - this is equipment only.  I have no problem with the rules as they are constituted and everyone should follow them no matter what.

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There is a lot of Asian Tour equipment that is perfectly legal there for play but does not conform to USGA and R&A rules. If you get into a lot of JDM stuff you can find it on Flea Bay etc. 

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I have to ask for who & for proof that the regs are for 1 group only

 

may not be understanding your question properly but these are straight from the USGA rule book.  Appendix II covers the design of clubs..

 

Capture2.JPGCapture.JPG

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You answered it in the 1st highlighted attachment.

You implied the equipment /rules weren't for average players just pros but the above statement says both were considered when making the rules

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You answered it in the 1st highlighted attachment.

You implied the equipment /rules weren't for average players just pros but the above statement says both were considered when making the rules

 

I see... sorry... my response was a bit confusing.

 

I meant to say that the equipment regulations are in place to conform to **everyone** - from tour pros to 35 handicappers.

 

Again - I don't mind the rules - I think it's simple and we should all follow the same rules for the game no matter if it is golf or checkers or monopoly or basketball.  

 

I think when it comes to the equipment - since tour pros are much different than non tour pros - there should be exceptions to some of the limitations in place to potentially allow for better performance for those wishing to use that type of equipment...

 

right now, there isn't even a choice and it seems a little short sighted.  

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So, should we have 7 foot high basketball hoops for amateur players (and those vertically challenged, like me) and 10 foot high ones for the pros - or how about 12 foot high hoops for the pros, 10 for college.  Lets make college football fields 75 yards, but pro 150 yards- and the football smaller for pros, larger (easier to catch) for amateur and college teams....

 

Where do you draw the line- the game ceases to be a game of skill and more a gaming of the rules if you decide you can play from wherever, with whatever... Make the hole a foot in diameter for amateurs - will certainly improve my putting - oh, and chipping, too...

 

Sure, these are silly, extreme examples of what might happen without standards - rules of conformity- and, as I said, no harm done if you want to take a non-conforming driver and non-conforming iron set and non-conforming balls and shoot lights out - on your own, competing against your own score or an arbitrary number that you strive to attain- but the nature of golf is that you are often with other players, and while only truly competing against the course, invariably you are compared to the players you are walking with... and to give one a technological advantage which the  others cannot leverage- well, is not fair- and despite Indiana Jones' proclamation about bringing a gun to a knife-fight- there should be some reasonable process to achieve parity while still allowing for fun!

 

I think you present a good question, and if you want to play with a driver that, regardless of your swing, will result in a 300 yard bomb straight down the middle of the fairway, well, more power to you-  but I am reminded of the story of the old weekend golfer who struggled his whole life to break 80.  When he passes to the next life and opens his eyes he sees "Augusta"   to his left, Pebble Beach to his right, St. Andrews just down the lane and almost every other legendary golf course available to him.  He walks to Augusta, the starter welcomes him and sends him to the first tee- where he proceeds to crack a drive dead down the middle of the fairway -

 

Wow, he thinks, this is awesome- I cant believe I am in Augusta, and I just striped one down the fairway... when he arrives at his ball, he pulls a 5 iron, hits it pure and arrives about 20 feet from a tough pin placement- two-putts for his par.  Still unbelieving, he steps up to the second tee, hits his driver out to almost 300 yards again- his second is just short of the green, chips on and two--putts for his par-

This must be Heaven- I must be dreaming- the round continues- perfect scores- pars the entire course...  a personal best

 

The following day he finds himself at Pebble, and plays the same way, par every hole, every drive down the center, every green in regulation, every putt a 2-putt- a par round and he is in stunned disbelief...

 

The next day he plays the Old Course- same story...Every drive in the fairway, every green in regulation, every hole a 2-putt...The following day the same story at Cypress Point...

 

He arrives at  a course on the fifth day- it matters not which course.  He tees it up and stripes it down the middle, puts his approach on the green and two putts for his par- and begins to wonder, maybe this isn't Heaven after all.........

 

Just a thought... 

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So, should we have 7 foot high basketball hoops for amateur players (and those vertically challenged, like me) and 10 foot high ones for the pros - or how about 12 foot high hoops for the pros, 10 for college.  Lets make college football fields 75 yards, but pro 150 yards- and the football smaller for pros, larger (easier to catch) for amateur and college teams....

 

Where do you draw the line- the game ceases to be a game of skill and more a gaming of the rules if you decide you can play from wherever, with whatever... Make the hole a foot in diameter for amateurs - will certainly improve my putting - oh, and chipping, too...

 

Sure, these are silly, extreme examples of what might happen without standards - rules of conformity- and, as I said, no harm done if you want to take a non-conforming driver and non-conforming iron set and non-conforming balls and shoot lights out - on your own, competing against your own score or an arbitrary number that you strive to attain- but the nature of golf is that you are often with other players, and while only truly competing against the course, invariably you are compared to the players you are walking with... and to give one a technological advantage which the  others cannot leverage- well, is not fair- and despite Indiana Jones' proclamation about bringing a gun to a knife-fight- there should be some reasonable process to achieve parity while still allowing for fun!

 

For some reason you seem to be taking this and applying it other sports... this is apples and oranges.

basketball courts are all the same size

football fields are all the same size

tennis course are all the same size

baseball fields are the same size (after little league)

 

every golf course is a different size/shape/layout...every. single. one.

and in this case we have changed more than 1 variable and the equipment being used does matter.

 

frankly it seems like you're taking this to the extreme - which I am not suggesting at all....

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Perhaps the joy of the game is in the challenge, and not the achievement- I don't know but I find excitement and enthusiasm in the challenge of recovery from a missed shot, the long punch out from under a tree, or carving a draw around an obstacle to save par... and playing "juiced" equipment, in my simple mind, is akin to steroids or HGH if you are a weigh-lifter-  Yes you want all the advantage you can get "within the rules" but I would not want to violate them just to get 10 more yards out of my drive.  I'd (and please understand, this is my personal opinion, worth exactly what everyone paid for it, and similar to belly buttons -everyone has one, and everyone thinks theirs is better!!!)  rather play within the rules that work for everyday golfers and pros- their swing is always going to be better than mine, their clubs are going to be longer than mine and their results are almost always going to be better, too. 

 

That said, I would love to see them sit for a day in my chair, in my profession (doesn't matter what I do, but for each of you I am sure it is the same- be it a painter, a construction worker, plumber, pilot, military officer, police, firefighter, surgeon, etc) let a professional athlete try to do what you do and I  bet they wont be as good...

 

OK, rant done- now I have to get back to my real job or else I will have plenty of time to work on my golf...

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