A new regulation governing the production of certain types of golf clubs is leading to a spike in sales of certain wedges, according to Golfsmith. The clubs will soon become scarce because of a recent “groove rule” change from the United States Golf Association (USGA).  Golfsmith has seen an increase in year-to-date wedge sales of more than 20% over the same period a year ago.

“Golfsmith customers are stocking up on wedges, more than they ever have,” said Marty Hanaka, president and CEO of Golfsmith, which sells tens of thousands of new wedges every year.  “The availability of the larger grooved golf clubs affected by the change is a big unknown so our customers are buying their favorite designs while the inventory is there because after year's end those types of clubs won't be made anymore.”

The USGA “groove rule” change means that the new grooves on clubs made beginning Jan. 1, 2011 will have approximately 70% of the depth and size of grooves made today.  Grooves on clubs function a lot like tread on car tires.  The grooves help channel grass, sand and other debris away from the clubface allowing for better control and better shot performance.  The new style, smaller grooved wedges will mean less spin on each shot.  Golfsmith has a dedicated web site explaining all of the changes at www.golfsmith.com/grooves.

The new grooves have actually been in effect on the PGA Tour all year and have been a hot topic of discussion as many players have struggled to control their wedge shots especially out of the high rough in tournaments throughout the season. Amateur golfers have until 2014 to make the switch to the new grooves for USGA amateur tournaments.  As of 2024, all golfers must switch to the new grooves for tracking their handicaps.

“Golfers are scooping up wedges as fast as they can,” said Ron Partridge, Vice President of Club Merchandising at Golfsmith.  “Golfsmith's wedge sales are up 22 percent for the first eight months of the year.  The supply of these current high spin wedges will dry up over the next several months.  While the wedges won't be produced after 2010, amateurs can still use them for the next 14 years.”

Golf clubs with the new, Tour compliant grooves are already available in Golfsmith stores.  Golfsmith will continue to sell current grooved wedges until supplies are exhausted.