As you may know, the USGA adopted the condition of competition requiring that the clubs the player carries must conform to the new groove rules which became effective on January 1, 2010 for its Open Championships beginning in 2010. The USGA has also announced that it will adopt this condition at all of its Amateur Championships effective January 1, 2014 and has recommended adoption of the condition for competitions involving expert players. Since adopting the condition in January 2010, the USGA has received numerous inquiries regarding the conformance status of golf clubs, many of which have been resolved by accessing a database of clubs that have been evaluated by the USGA and The R&A to determine their conformance status relative to the current Rules of Golf (the Informational Club Database). However, in some cases, there has been uncertainty regarding conformance (i.e., some or all of the set is listed in the database as ATR (Additional Testing Required) or the set is not listed at all).
For those players who plan to enter a USGA Championship in 2014 or beyond and/or plan to enter a competition that has adopted the groove condition, and whose irons, wedges, fairway woods, or hybrids are either listed in the database as ATR or not listed, the USGA will provide a testing service at no charge. Please note that new models of clubs submitted to the governing bodies on or after January 1, 2010 are not included in the database. If you have a new model, please contact the USGA Research and Test Center at (908) 234-2300 to check on its conformance status prior to submitting your set to the USGA through Open Club Testing. An individual who chooses to submit their clubs to the USGA for testing will be responsible for the cost of shipping (to and from the USGA), as well as insurance, if desired.
Please make sure to follow the steps below to determine whether you should submit your clubs for testing and, if so, to ensure proper handling if submitted:
1) Access the Informational Club Database to determine the status of your clubs.
2) If your irons are listed and it is indicated that your set (see Club# column) meets the 2010 groove rules (signified by “YES” in the “Meets 2010 Groove Rules” column), do not submit your set to the USGA. You are permitted to play your set when the condition of competition is in effect.
If your irons are listed and it is indicated that the clubs within your set do not meet the 2010 groove rules (signified by “NO” in the “Meets 2010 Groove Rules” column), do not submit your set to the USGA. Clubs listed as “NO” in the database will not be tested and will be returned to the player.
The same applies for individual wedges, fairway woods and hybrids.
Note: Clubs submitted to the USGA that fit within either category noted above will be returned to the submitter without testing.
If your clubs are listed in the database as ATR or your clubs are not listed in the database, you may follow the steps below to submit your clubs to the USGA for evaluation. Again, if you have a new model that does not appear in the database, please contact the USGA to determine its conformance status prior to submitting your set to the USGA.
3) Fully complete the Submission Form. Make sure to specify the USGA championship and/or Association Name/Competition that you plan to enter. Also, don’t forget to e-mail the completed submission form to USGAopenclubtestinglab@usga.org.
4) Thoroughly clean your clubs, particularly the grooves. Failure to submit cleaned clubs may result in a delay in processing your request or may be returned without testing.
5) Ship the clubs to be tested, along with the submission form, proof of entry and a pre-paid return shipping form (which can be obtained at the same location where you ship), to:
USGA Research and Test Center:
77 Liberty Corner Road
Liberty Corner, NJ 07938
Attn: Open Testing Lab
Note 1: There will be dedicated personnel conducting testing and we will perform the testing as quickly as possible.
Note 2: An entrant may also personally deliver his or her clubs to the USGA for testing. Please contact the USGA to arrange a drop-off date and time.
If you have any questions, please contact the USGA Open Testing Lab at (908) 234-2300. Please leave a voice mail and a USGA Representative will contact you as soon as possible.