Following recent discussions between the British Golf Industry Association and The R&A, the two bodies have agreed to issue a joint statement to help clarify the situation concerning driver head conformity following the publication of the ‘Conforming Driver Head List’ and ‘Non-Conforming Driver List’ on The R&A’s website.
The R&A has recently written to all golf clubs in Great Britain and Ireland to remind golfers that the limit on the ‘spring-like’ effect of driving clubs, which has applied to elite golf since 2003, will be a Rule of Golf and apply to all golfers from 1 January 2008.
This ‘new’ Rule will affect the conformance status of some clubs currently in the marketplace and golfers are being encouraged to check the conformance status of their own driver, and any driver they might buy in the future, in preparation for the Rule’s introduction.
To help provide correct information on driver conformance, The R&A has compiled and published a ‘Conforming Driver Head List’ and a ‘Non-conforming Driver List’ based on the 2008 Rules, which can be accessed via The R&A’s website (www.randa.org).
These Lists are an essential guide for golfers, retailers and manufacturers – whether for golfers to ascertain the conformance status of their current driver or to encourage retailers and manufacturers to be aware of the status of all products in the marketplace.
To ensure that these Lists are as complete and meaningful as possible, the BGIA agrees that every manufacturer should submit all post-1998 driving clubs to The R&A for evaluation, as well as all new products going forward.
Retailers, consumers and manufacturers alike are also advised that drivers which do not appear on either List cannot automatically be assumed to be conforming. For the avoidance of doubt, only those clubs listed as ‘conforming’ have been properly submitted and ruled to conform to the Rules by The R&A.
The decision to introduce a limit on the ‘spring-like’ effect of driving clubs was first announced in August 2002 and The R&A introduced a test in January 2003. Since 2003, the Rules have allowed Committees to introduce a Condition of Competition requiring driving clubs to comply with the 2008 Rule.
Initially, this Condition was only used in professional events, but in recent years it has been used in top amateur events. From 1st January 2006 until 31st December 2007, this Condition will be modified to allow Committees to require that driving clubs have a head which is detailed on the List of Conforming Driver Heads.
For most competitions and all recreational play, the use of this Condition is not recommended and, therefore, the majority of golfers need not be concerned about using a driver listed as ‘non-conforming’ until 1 January 2008.
For further information contact the BGIA on 02476 417141 or Claire Bates at R&A Rules Ltd on 01334 460000