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Would you use a NON-Conforming Golf Equipment if it gave you a competitive advantage?

Would you use NON-Conforming equipment if it gave you a competitive advantage?  

100 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you use a NON-Conforming Golf Ball if it out preformed a tour ball?

    • Yes
      16
    • No
      84
  2. 2. Would you use a NON-Conforming Golf Club if it gave you more distance and better accuracy?

    • Yes
      19
    • No
      81
  3. 3. Would you use a NON-Conforming Golf club that has grooves on it that have you more spin out of the rough?

    • Yes
      20
    • No
      80
  4. 4. Would you use a NON-Conforming putter that helps you make more putts?

    • Yes
      19
    • No
      81


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Posted (edited)

I don't play in tournaments and find that golf is a tough enough game as it is without having restraints on gear. 

This poll is to start the conversation for pushing the envelope and looking for something that is truly innovative. 

I believe that helping people enjoy the game more will be good for the sport. If something NON-Conforming was to be a hit with amateurs then would it eventually make it to the pro level as allowed? You never know. 

I am all for Hot drivers, hot balls, square grooves, and straight up putters so amateurs can have more fun. Elite players don't need the help so let them keep their restrictions. 

What is more interesting is if a non-conforming equipment player was playing in a skins game; would they force that person to use conforming equipment? 

How many strokes would non-conforming equipment really shave off in a round? My guess is maybe 2 solely based on equipment. The player still has to execute the shot. 

I totally agree about the game being about honor and calling strokes on yourself and it being about personal integrity!

But I would disagree that the rules were there from the beginning because the beginning of the game 400 years ago didn't have near as many rules as they do now about the equipment. Modern day advances in technology have changed the game as we know it from wooden sticks with metal heads and leather wrapped balls with feathers inside to a totally different experience.

The USGA rules were put in the fact because they compete and not for the furthering of the game as it was originally designed and implemented hundreds of years ago. The rules today are more about the game today as a competition and not as the romance story that we see in movies.

I would go even further to say that some of the clubs used 150 200 or even 400 years ago would not be conforming to today's standards due to groove rules and the way that they're measured, the size of the ball, and the weight of the ball. We have standards now that were implemented mostly within the last 50 to 80 years and some even more recent than that. I believe this is a place to start a conversation as what could it be instead of no way to change.

My point to bringing it up is to push the envelope on equipment design. Many have spoken that they wish to remain in the box decided on and created by others. This leaves little room for people who want to innovate outside of the box. I find it all fascinating. If there is no market for innovater driven equipment then we will all be stuck where we are. 

I stand by my take that the USGA and RA are cheating all golfers by putting limitations on golf equipment that are making all golf equipment homogenized. 

The origin spirit of golf was equipment made by the golfers themselves, a local craftsman, or on a very small scale. The goal of golf was, and is, to strike a ball with a club in order to get it in a hole in as few strokes as possible. 

I am all for ignoring the USGA and maintaining my integrity because it is me against the course.

If I was ever to compete, in skins or events, then I would submit to the rules of competition (not in my foreseeable future though).

Another non-conforming item I see available is the Polara self correcting golf ball that does not meet the symmetry rule of the USGA. 

https://www.polaragolf.com/collections/all

It boasts being able to reduce slices by up to 75% but you have to line up the arrow at your target on each shot.

Sounds like a fun enhancer for the rec golfer to me. 

After reading the rules of golf in 1900, I found no reference to equipment at all. The entirety of the rules focused on playing and scoring. 

There was no club limit, no groove limitation, no ball regulation, no club Cor limitation or any reference to lie angles or club shape/design.

http://www.ruleshistory.com/usga1900.html

I remain convinced the USGA is limiting equipment for no reason that ought to be recognized by anyone other than the elite PGA players, if that. 

Note: by "competitive advantage" I am using the term as being equal to "statistical improvement" to current equipment that might result in lower strokes. 

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This is an example. It is the Dr. Sandtrap by XFactor aka Jack Hamm. It is a sand/lob wedge that has holes in the face to let the sand through. Holes in the face are non-conforming. (Also known as the S.O.S. Airwedge)

Would you care if your playing partner was beating you because he used this club and got it out of bunkers with ease? 

Or

Would you be happy that person found a way to beat the course?

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I personally would never use it.  Likewise, I wouldn't want to use a corked baseball bat, tighter wound baseballs, deflated football (cough), incorrect weight/size boxing gloves or mma gloves, ect.  To me, it's about the integrity of the game.  I honestly feel like the players distance irons are borderline, for lack of a better word, cheater clubs.  I played a round with some when my clubs were being regripped.  I typically hit my irons average to above average distance (7 iron 165-170) but I used a 7 iron for a 192-195 yrd par 3 and reached!  As far as other people using it, that's their business. 

I dont think they will allow pros to use it.  I see that as them using a performance enhancing drug. I wouldn't be surprised if guys not finishing in the money would use those equipment to gain an edge especially if they feel their career is in jeopardy. 

If people are in a competition, I think they should have to use conforming equipment.

Could be a lot of strokes shaved or a little.  I think it depends on if they shoot in the 100's, 90's, 80's.

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I wouldn’t, but it depends on what a particular person wants out of the game. If it helps my buddies that can’t break 100, than I’m all for it: but I won’t be betting while we play. As far as players distance irons, aren’t they just de-lofted? I realize that a 7 iron now was a 5 iron 30 years ago, but isn’t it just as hard to hit?

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14 minutes ago, Micah T said:

I wouldn’t, but it depends on what a particular person wants out of the game. If it helps my buddies that can’t break 100, than I’m all for it: but I won’t be betting while we play. As far as players distance irons, aren’t they just de-lofted? I realize that a 7 iron now was a 5 iron 30 years ago, but isn’t it just as hard to hit?

I'm not sure what you mean by "just as hard to hit".  I could be wrong but I think I used the ping g400 and what I can say from my one experience is that your swing doesn't change but the distance does.  The way I see it is hitting a 7 iron is hitting a 7 iron.  To Timote's point, i dont think players distance clubs and non conforming equipment improve your ability, but it makes it more forgiving.  Still have to put a good swing on it.

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21 minutes ago, Micah T said:

I wouldn’t, but it depends on what a particular person wants out of the game. If it helps my buddies that can’t break 100, than I’m all for it: but I won’t be betting while we play. As far as players distance irons, aren’t they just de-lofted? I realize that a 7 iron now was a 5 iron 30 years ago, but isn’t it just as hard to hit?

I would say there is more tech than just less loft. 

  1. Larger face=larger sweet spot
  2. Thinner face=rebounding effect=higher ball speed
  3. Larger sole=change in turf interaction

Basically everything that a 3 wood does has been incorporated into irons now. 

Clubs of old were thick hunks of metal that had thin soles and long shafts to get the club head speed up. 

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Nope. Golf was/is supposed to be “a game of honor,” unlike some other sports - that’s part of golfs appeal IMO. You observe all the rules, and even call penalties on yourself that others don’t see. Most of the people I play with, even in league where they’re not regular playing partners, follow all rules including golf etiquette. I’ve seen everything from very minor infractions to outright cheating but I don’t care if others cheat, doesn’t make me want to. If I played for big money I’d probably feel differently, just another reason I don’t care for big wagers on the golf course.

As for non-conforming equipment, I’d be cheating everyone else I play with, so no way.

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13 minutes ago, Middler said:

Nope. Golf was/is supposed to be “a game of honor,” unlike some other sports - that’s part of golfs appeal IMO. You observe all the rules, and even call penalties on yourself that others don’t see. Most of the people I play with, even in league where they’re not regular playing partners, follow all rules including golf etiquette. I’ve seen everything from very minor infractions to outright cheating but I don’t care if others cheat, doesn’t make me want to. If I played for big money I’d probably feel differently, just another reason I don’t care for big wagers on the golf course.
 

As for non-conforming equipment, I’d be cheating everyone else I play with, so no way.

I totally agree about the game being about honor and calling strokes on yourself and it being about personal integrity!

But I would disagree that the rules were there from the beginning because the beginning of the game 400 years ago didn't have near as many rules as they do now about the equipment. Modern day advances in technology have changed the game as we know it from wooden sticks with metal heads and leather wrapped balls with feathers inside to a totally different experience.

The USGA rules were put in the fact because they compete and not for the furthering of the game as it was originally designed and implemented hundreds of years ago. The rules today are more about the game today as a competition and not as the romance story that we see in movies.

I would go even further to say that some of the clubs used 150 200 or even 400 years ago would not be conforming to today's standards due to groove rules and the way that they're measured, the size of the ball, and the weight of the ball. We have standards now that were implemented mostly within the last 50 to 80 years and some even more recent than that. I believe this is a place to start a conversation as what could it be instead of no way to change.

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I would not use any nonconforming equipment. 

I see value to nonconforming equipment for people just learning the sport.  When I first learned, my father would have me hit all shots off a tee.  I would tee up my second (and third) shots in the fairway.   It allowed me to enjoy some success while learning the game and developing some skills.  Once I got a bit better, I stopped using the tee, but was told to improve my lie.  After I got a bit better, it was on to playing the ball as it came to rest.  

 

For players who just want to go out and wack the ball around, I have no problem with them not strictly following the rules.  If that is how they have fun, then go for it.  But I draw the line when a golfer starts keeping a handicap or playing (or betting) with others who do follow the rules.  It should be an even competition at that point.     

 

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I'm a believer we should have 2 sets of rules. Those for pros and those who aren't.
Then I think the rules would be better suited for all.
As for playing non conforming equipment.
Why use it and keep score? If you use it then there is no need to keep an illegal score if you're only playing for fun.
If you do keep a score with this equipment. Then you are cheating yourself and others you may play against.
On another note do you really think non conforming equipment is better than legit equipment? Likely it isn't. Cost really can't be a reason since you can buy quality that's used and still in great shape.
So to me. No I wouldn't use it.



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No.  Playing by the same rules as the pros is the only way that we can compare ourselves to them.  IMO, if you arent playing by the rules of golf and are using nonconforming clubs, then you arent really playing golf.

To me, that would be like if I college football they gave them 6 downs instead of the 4 that the pros get.  No thanks.


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2 hours ago, Chizzle said:

I'm not sure what you mean by "just as hard to hit".  I could be wrong but I think I used the ping g400 and what I can say from my one experience is that your swing doesn't change but the distance does.  The way I see it is hitting a 7 iron is hitting a 7 iron.  To Timote's point, i dont think players distance clubs and non conforming equipment improve your ability, but it makes it more forgiving.  Still have to put a good swing on it.

What I mean is,  if a modern 7 iron is really last generations 5 iron, is today’s 7 iron any easier to hit than last generations 5 iron? Good swings are good swings, are you saying besides the loft they’re just easier to hit?


 

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2 hours ago, Chizzle said:

I'm not sure what you mean by "just as hard to hit"

Timo te answered my question: I haven’t played that long and I want sure if modern irons were any easier to hit...


 

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2 hours ago, TimoTe said:

I totally agree about the game being about honor and calling strokes on yourself and it being about personal integrity!

But I would disagree that the rules were there from the beginning because the beginning of the game 400 years ago didn't have near as many rules as they do now about the equipment. Modern day advances in technology have changed the game as we know it from wooden sticks with metal heads and leather wrapped balls with feathers inside to a totally different experience.

The USGA rules were put in the fact because they compete and not for the furthering of the game as it was originally designed and implemented hundreds of years ago. The rules today are more about the game today as a competition and not as the romance story that we see in movies.

I would go even further to say that some of the clubs used 150 200 or even 400 years ago would not be conforming to today's standards due to groove rules and the way that they're measured, the size of the ball, and the weight of the ball. We have standards now that were implemented mostly within the last 50 to 80 years and some even more recent than that. I believe this is a place to start a conversation as what could it be instead of no way to change.

WTH? YOU specified non-conforming equipment, so 400 years ago or changes over time to USGA rules have nothing to do with it. There is still plenty of golf equipment that is non-conforming, and that would violate USGA rules, honor and personal integrity - simple.

Again I really don't care what anyone else does, some times I find myself playing with guys who cheat - mostly innocent, some not. You follow all the rules applicable for the times you're playing in, or not. It's pretty black & white.

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Rule 4 covers the equipment that players may use during a round. Based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the player’s judgment, skills and abilities, the player:

  • Must use conforming clubs and balls,

 

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2 hours ago, TimoTe said:

I totally agree about the game being about honor and calling strokes on yourself and it being about personal integrity!

But I would disagree that the rules were there from the beginning because the beginning of the game 400 years ago didn't have near as many rules as they do now about the equipment. Modern day advances in technology have changed the game as we know it from wooden sticks with metal heads and leather wrapped balls with feathers inside to a totally different experience.

The USGA rules were put in the fact because they compete and not for the furthering of the game as it was originally designed and implemented hundreds of years ago. The rules today are more about the game today as a competition and not as the romance story that we see in movies.

I would go even further to say that some of the clubs used 150 200 or even 400 years ago would not be conforming to today's standards due to groove rules and the way that they're measured, the size of the ball, and the weight of the ball. We have standards now that were implemented mostly within the last 50 to 80 years and some even more recent than that. I believe this is a place to start a conversation as what could it be instead of no way to change

As far as rules from 200 years ago to 50 years or last year, that is the evolution of the game.  That evolution is not only equipment but humans too.  I just recently saw a clip on YouTube about Tiger and how he changed golf.  The part that caught me was more about the physical. Not many tour players before tiger had a fitness regiment.  Case in point-John Daly.  Although he may be a slight outlier,  there werent guys on tour then that look like they do now.  Phil is another point where he is better now but he had to evolve with the game.  This change equaled to more distance and better endurance. The governing bodies of all sports look at this and evaluate equipment and create rules or restrictions.

I also think non conforming equipment for the pros take away the dream.  Say Rory uses a non conforming driber and outdrives everyone, people would just think "well it's because of the equipment" and not his ability.  Because the playing field is level, that is something that stands out from all the great skills he has in this sport. 

But like alfriday101said, I dont care what people use if they're just whacking and hacking at the driving range or wherever but anytime someone takes this sport serious (ie score, lessons, handicap, skins) that just ain't it.

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I play with conforming equipment. I've played with conforming equipment which is now non conforming. ( square grooves, Cleveland's zip groves)  They were fine until they were considered non conforming. Then I had to spend money on replacing them. Did it make that much of a difference in my game, no. I actually play better now, but that has nothing to do with illegal grooves or balls. It was hard work, range time and getting more consistency.  

The rules can and always will change. For the average Joe, I dont care what you use. Play in a competition or play for money then you must use conforming equipment. 

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5 hours ago, TimoTe said:

This is an example. It is the Dr. Sandtrap by XFactor aka Jack Hamm. It is a sand/lob wedge that has holes in the face to let the sand through. Holes in the face are non-conforming. (Also known as the S.O.S. Airwedge)

Would you care if your playing partner was beating you because he used this club and got it out of bunkers with ease? 

Or

Would you be happy that person found a way to beat the course?

Screenshot_20200525-090606.png

I wouldn't be happy if a member of our league was playing with non-conforming equipment and especially if they're winning money from others that are using conforming equipment - isn't that another form of cheating? . 

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14 minutes ago, tony@CIC said:

I wouldn't be happy if a member of our league was playing with non-conforming equipment and especially if they're winning money from others that are using conforming equipment - isn't that another form of cheating? . 

It would be allowed if there was no restriction on equipment for everyone playing. Cheating would only be if it was against the rules and someone used it anyway. It would be possible to setup a league or skins that relaxes USGA limitations on equipment for their game. 

Going the other way, I have heard of leagues that use only wood shafted clubs made before a certain year - like a nostalgia league. 

My point to bringing it up is to push the envelope on equipment design. Many have spoken that they wish to remain in the box decided on and created by others. This leaves little room for people who want to innovate outside of the box. I find it all fascinating. If there is no market for innovater driven equipment then we will all be stuck where we are. 

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15 hours ago, TimoTe said:

It would be allowed if there was no restriction on equipment for everyone playing. Cheating would only be if it was against the rules and someone used it anyway. It would be possible to setup a league or skins that relaxes USGA limitations on equipment for their game. 

Going the other way, I have heard of leagues that use only wood shafted clubs made before a certain year - like a nostalgia league. 

My point to bringing it up is to push the envelope on equipment design. Many have spoken that they wish to remain in the box decided on and created by others. This leaves little room for people who want to innovate outside of the box. I find it all fascinating. If there is no market for innovater driven equipment then we will all be stuck where we are. 

I’m done with this thread so FWIW

  • Your poll says “WOULD YOU USE NON-CONFORMING EQUIPMENT IF IT GAVE YOU A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE?  That’s cheating plain and simple.
  • Now you’re saying “It would be allowed if there was no restriction on equipment for everyone playing. Cheating would only be if it was against the rules and someone used it anyway.”

It’s not a “competitive advantage” if “everyone” has non-conforming equipment...

It’s been way more common to hear discussions suggesting the USGA has allowed the industry to “push the envelope” too much in the past few decades (chart below). Few are arguing otherwise, except some who support bifurcation.

There’s no lack of innovation whatsoever. Ball and clubmakers know how to give us way more distance, only the USGA stops them from going crazy with innovation. You can already buy non-conforming balls and clubs, all OEMs know how. And the big name OEMs are in business to make a profit, they would make non-conforming equipment if there was a significant market. There’s not. So far it appears no one except you (15 to 1) would like to see non-conforming equipment allowed.

They may exist, but I’ve never heard of a league that formally allows non-conforming equipment.

 

 

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I personally wouldn't use non-conforming equipment. I play in too many competitions so I wouldn't benefit at all from it. I feel like most of it is gimmicky anyway and doesn't provide much of an advantage. The only one would be the older grooves that could spin like crazy out of rough, that would definitely be an advantage.

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