Ditch the driver before you’re booted

2008-05-14 00:00

Towards the end of last year a long list of non-conforming drivers was published by the Royal and Ancient and the U.S. Golf Association.

We were told that the offending drivers exceeded the permitted amount of coefficient of restitution. Apparently there was too much spring or trampoline effect on the club face of certain clubs and golf balls were being driven too far as a result. Every golfer who used a non-conforming driver was told to dispense with it and acquire a legal one. January 1, 2008 was the date that this new rule came into effect.

We are now into the fifth month of the year and all of you with official handicaps will have changed your “illegal” drivers by now, if indeed yours was deemed illegal. If you are not sure as to whether your driver is legal, check the website www.randa.org. Believe it or not, there are 455 illegal models from 134 companies. This number does not include different lofts either. Each model has three, four or five lofts, so the total number is in the thousands. Therefore millions have been sold.

I don’t know about you, but on reflection, to introduce a ban on so many drivers was a pretty mean thing to do to club golfers around the world. Most of us don’t disagree with the decision to outlaw certain brands and types of drivers for professionals or even the top amateurs involved in representative golf. But surely the average weekend golfer should have been excluded from those it affected.

The question was asked recently, are the golf committees around the world strictly adhering to the non-conforming driver rule? What action would you take if, during a round of golf in a club competition, you happened to notice that either your partner or opponent is using an illegal driver? Well you can check out the new Rules of Golf Appendix 1, Part C, 1a, page 141. In essence, you are disqualified.

There’s another reason for mentioning this particular subject — it’s because most golfers have complied with the rules and purchased a new conforming driver, but some of us cannot hit the new one anywhere near as well as the old one and it is upsetting because it all seems so unnecessary.

This farcical episode has been a real money spinner for golf club manufacturers. Do you remember there was a similar situation some years ago with irons that had square grooves? Apparently golf balls were spinning and stopping too quickly on the greens. The irons weren’t banned. The golf club manufacturers were instructed not to produce any more in future. Surely that action would have been a better option? But of course, it is money that is a likely reason behind these decisions.

Results for last week:

Maritzburg Golf Club held a 4BBBall Stableford sponsored by the KZN Deaf and Blind Society. The winners on 47 points on a count out were Petros Jonker and Clive Rowley and in second place were Richard and Linda Nel.

Victoria Country Club held a 4 Ball Betterball Stableford sponsored by Firkin. Dave Sutton and Hendrik Van Schalkwyk were the winners on 47 points with Morgan Holmes and Ken Will in second place with 46 points.

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