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Its been said many times that looks can be deceiving. Yesterday’s stock market roller coaster ride is the latest entry to suggest that phrase is still very much in play. While market gyrations aren’t the norm (are they?), its another example that perception and reality can be confused for one and other.
At the start of the year the PGA Tour adopted a condition of competition rule with respect to grooves. To date, it would appear that the switch from square to V shaped grooves has been much ado about nothing. Nevertheless, not everyone is buying into that theory. “You didn’t see much of a difference from the groove effect at the Masters since it has little rough,” said Jesse Ortiz, Chief Designer, The Bobby Jones Golf Company. “I think you will see the new grooves come into play at the Players this week and especially at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach next month.”
To casual and avid golfers that watch network telecasts of the PGA and European Tours, the professionals appear to have adapted their games to the new rules without much of an adjustment. By default it has given the appearance that the new rule instituted by the USGA and R&A hasn’t impacted scoring or players’ bomb and gouge strategies. At least not yet. Now its doesn’t require a PHD in advanced mathematics to recognize the difference in skill set between the very best players in the world and the overwhelming majority of us who represent the real world. Where this becomes a bit of a collision point, however, is the fact that after December 31, 2010 equipment companies will be prohibited to build wedges with the current groove configuration.
Cleveland Golf, which many consumers know by its wedges, has dedicated a site to this exact topic. features a countdown clock among other resources, indicating when the current groove configurations will be banished to the history books. Consumers will be able to use the square grooves for much longer than just this year, unlike pros. However, once supplies run out then the product is obsolete. Through use grooves wear down and eventually will be replaced by the V groove versions by consumers unless they acquire additional supplies before the end of the year. It will be at that time when most likely the real world begins to have the “aha” moment. Similar to questioning why you didn’t buy that stock when the market fell and since rebounded, golfers will be challenging themselves why they didn’t stock up on wedges when they had the chance. “The next couple of months we will start to see the difference,” Ortiz predicted. “By the end of the year it will be evident to the average player that they need to change their square grooves.”
Two points worth making on the matter. First, not every part of the country has the luxury of playing until the calendar year. Therefore in some locations the end of the summer may well be the equivalent of the end of the year. While play is dependent upon weather patterns, many retailers, especially green grass locations are typically in a close out mode with inventory when the playing season is winding down. Supplies may or may not be readily available, even though the calendar indicates there is still time to buy. While the US Open is about a month away, it may also mean some facilities are operating under the premise of 90 days, give or take, before the playing season is over.
The economy has forced many businesses to be careful with how they allocate their resources. Retailers are under pressure with how to distribute their buying power on the best of days. Whether ample supplies of square groove wedges are available indefinitely and specifically by the manufacturer a consumer is loyal towards isn’t a foregone conclusion anymore. “The train is pulling out of the station right now and we are able to walk beside it,” Ortiz said. However, it won’t be long before it pulls away and casual to avid players see what the difference is for their respective game.