Why Can't There be a Double Standard in Golf?The official keepers of the Rules of Golf are The United States Golf Association (USGA) for the United States and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Europe. Periodically they come out with ways to make the game more frustrating.
The latest is a potential rule change for the grooves on the face of an iron clubhead. The Royal and Ancient takes issue with U-grooves, which according to an article in the Scotsman, "the combination of U-grooves and thin covered balls have enabled elite players to spin approach shots from the rough - thereby minimizing the importance of driving accuracy in the modern game."
Their objection seems to be in part a desire to protect the purity of the game. According to David Rickman, the Royal and Ancient's director of rules and equipment standards, "while there may have been different speeds for different parts of the game, ultimately it all comes together. The Royal and Ancient has existed for more than 250 years and, during that time, we've played under one set of rules for everyone."
Let’s all dress up like Tevye the Milkman in Fiddler on the Roof and sing about Tradition.
What's wrong with a double standard in golf?
I will never play well enough to compete at an elite level. More likely, I will never play well enough to break 75. Thus, I will never be considered an "elite" player. Is it going to make any difference to me or the millions of hack golfers like me to be concerned about my "non-conforming" U-groove iron face?
Establishing two levels of equipment is known as the bifurcation of the game. This is a nasty word that gives rank amateurs like most of us as much opportunity to enjoy the game as we can.
In reality, what do we enjoy more: the ability to shoot 2-3 strokes better because our equipment is "non-conforming" according to the USGA and the Royal and Ancient or being true to the game and shooting another dismal 94?
I'll take shooting a few strokes better on my favorite course, thereby beating my playing partners and winning the pot, over the psychic scars that I'll get dealing with my moral "non-conforming" club selection quandary any day.