The Royal and Ancient Golf Club (the “R&A”), which is the governing authority for the Rules of Golf outside the United States of America and its territories, has written to golf club manufacturers with details of proposed changes to the rules governing clubhead size for woods and club length. A copy of the Notice appears below.
These proposals follow a previous letter to manufacturers in January 2002 inviting written comments on the possibility of limits being placed on clubhead volume and club length.
Having now evaluated these comments and after consideration of all of the information currently available, the R&A is proposing that new limits for clubhead volume (470 cubic centimetres), clubhead dimensions (toe to heel 5 inches; sole to crown 2.8 inches) and club length (48 inches, except for putters) be introduced in the new edition of the Rules of Golf, effective from 1st January 2004. A one year period of grace will be granted for clubs which are already in use or being marketed, and which are in breach of these limits.
“The proposed limits are intended to apply reasonable restrictions for the future,” said David Rickman, Rules Secretary of the R&A. “The vast majority of existing clubs are not affected by these proposals, but any clubs which are affected will benefit from the proposed one year period of grace”.
Both the R&A and the USGA, which has issued a similar notice, have invited manufacturers to submit comments on these specific proposals by 14th July 2003. Any comments received will be carefully considered before a final decision is made.
For further information contact: –
Peter Dawson, Secretary, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, Tel: 01334 460000
David Rickman, Rules Secretary, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, Tel: 01334 460000
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews www.RandA.org
NOTICE TO MANUFACTURERS
I refer to my memorandum dated 30th January 2002 (copy enclosed) concerning large volume clubheads and long shafted clubs. Written comments were invited from manufacturers at that time regarding the possibility of limits being placed on clubhead volume and club length at some point in the future.
Many comments were received and these have been carefully reviewed. After consideration of all of the information currently available, the following proposals are now being put forward:
1. Clubhead Volume and Dimensions for Wood Clubs
(i) The introduction of a maximum clubhead volume limit of 28.06 cubic inches (460 cubic centimetres), plus a measurement tolerance of 0.61 cubic inches (10 cubic centimetres).
(ii) The introduction of a maximum toe to heel dimension of 5 inches (127mm).
(iii) The introduction of a maximum sole to crown dimension of 2.80 inches (71.12mm).
Clubhead volume will be measured using a weighted water displacement test, a method which is in common use by clubhead and golf club manufacturers. The hosel will not be included in the measurement of clubhead volume.
Clubheads with unusual shapes, designed to circumvent the intent of the volume limit, will be evaluated on an individual basis.
Clubhead dimensions will be measured with the head in a 60 degree lie angle and if the outermost point of the heel is not clearly defined, it will be deemed to be 0.875 inches (22.23 mm) above the horizontal plane on which the club is lying. Both limits include an allowance for measurement tolerance.
The R&A is of the view that the introduction of these proposed limits on clubhead volume and dimensions will safeguard the ‘traditional and customary form and make’ of the clubhead. Furthermore, it is our belief that the introduction of both limits will provide a more effective method of protection than the use of either a volume limit or dimensional limits alone. Based on the clubheads submitted to the R&A in recent months, no clubs measuring less than 28.67 cubic inches (470 cc) have length or height dimensions which exceed the proposed limits.
2. Club Length
The introduction of a maximum club length (not including putters) of 48 inches (1,219.2mm).
Club length will be measured with the club in a 60 degree lie angle and the measurement will be taken from the top of the grip along the axis of the shaft or a straight line extension of it to the ground.
The R&A is proposing that these new limits for clubhead volume, dimensions and club length be introduced in the new edition of the Rules of Golf, effective from 1st January 2004. However, in recognition of the fact that some clubs in breach of these limits are already in use or being marketed, a one year period of grace is being proposed for those clubs, permitting their use until 31st December 2004. Manufacturers are invited to submit written comments on these specific proposals as soon as possible and no later than 14th July 2003. All submissions should be sent to the R&A, marked for my attention.
If you have any questions with regard to any of the above that require immediate consideration, please let me know.