We want your feedback regarding a press release issued by the USGA

At Hireko we make every attempt to make all our models conform to the Rules of Golf. Most people don’t know that submission of product to the USGA (or the R&A Rules Limited) is totally on a voluntary basis.  After all this is a gentleman’s game and it up to the manufacturers to follow the rules, just like it is for golfers to follow the rules on the course.

It used to be practice we would only submit product that we thought that might be questionable to a particular rule. But with advent of the rule to test for spring effect and subsequently the need for a Conforming Driver Head list, all that has changed. There is a possibility that in the near future that published lists for fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putters may soon exist too. Therefore to be on these lists will require manufacturers to pay the USGA to have their clubs tested.

Stricter rules are now in place for 2010 regarding grooves, along with changes on what can be sent (full sets versus a single or representative sample of an iron set) or assembled in some cases when it used to be just the clubhead.  Designing a new golf club now has been longer as a result of all the due diligence in preparing to meet all the testing protocol guidelines.

In a press release just issued by the USGA, the organization will begin charging manufacturers to test their equipment to determine if it conforms to the Rules of Golf.  This valuable policy of testing equipment has always been a free service in the past (other than golf balls).

Just going through and adding up how much it would cost for all our new for 2009 clubhead models to be tested; I stopped at $7000. While this might not sound like a huge amount of money, some one must pay it in one way or another.  For a large manufacturer with a limited product line, this added cost can easily be absorbed.  But for smaller companies with much more extensive products lines, it may require companies to rethink their policies.

Do you think Hireko should continue to send all our products in for testing into the USGA and pay them for the service?  If you say yes, then realize that we must pass part of that cost onto you (or your customers).

Or do you think, heck with that, golf equipment is expensive as it is?  Most golfers don’t have an established handicap so why should they care, plus we like the fact you have such an extensive product line and don’t want to see it shrink.

Let us know your thoughts…

View USGA Press Release regarding new fees.

50 Comments on How Important Is It To Have Hireko Clubs Tested By The USGA?

  1. Lee Robson says:

    Jeff,

    I think you should simply self-certify that you have applied all the known design limits and standards published by the USGA to your products. This works in a number of technical disciplines where standards are published and manufacturers certify that they are being met.

    The USGA has lost a lot of credibility with the new groove rule. I have done everything I can to follow the rules with my equipment, but would not hesitate to buy irons or wedges in the future with old-rule grooves. Once that bridge is crossed, what’s next?

    With that said, I don’t know how valid the rules are going to be considered in the future. Sadly, it won’t take much more for me to just not care any longer and play with whatever works.

    Cheers, Lee

  2. Kan says:

    I don’t play in tournaments so I don’t care if your clubs are tested by USGA. A statement from Hireko on whether your clubs conform to USGA rules to the best of your knowledge is good enough for me.

  3. Brian says:

    Great topic and a very complicated issue for you guys especially. To reduce the cost, the options are to trim down the product line, create competition models in each line, or create a competition line.

    I know you’re trying to build a little something for everyone, so I’d say maybe the 2nd option — competition models in each line. Take the XK for example. Do the draw models need to be USGA conforming? Take the beginner clubs out and that might reduce the number of clubs to be tested.

    Wonder if you’d get in trouble for saying “designed to be USGA conforming” for the non-competition models.

  4. Steve says:

    I think anyone on any tour or competion should use USGA conforming clubs. Sometimes I have doubt that they are. Every bag I look at a all I see is prototype. It’s the player’s responsibility to insure that their equipment conform. For people who play just for fun and love of the game it should be different. Golf is not an easy game so anything that makes the game more enjoyable should be allowed.

  5. Matthew Heim says:

    Jeff;
    I would echo the previous comments and say that for most people, the USGA certification is not required. If you could post a note that states “Conforms to the USGA design rules but is not certified” on the clubheads that are targeted for recreational golfers, I think that would be adequate. The only dicey parameter would be COR, so that might be tested within Hireko for publication purposes. The comment about a tested line for those needing USGA certification (and wre willing to a pay higher component price) is a very good idea. Keep up the good work.

  6. Bob Bitter says:

    As a clubmaker who sells to mostly weekend golfers, I could care less if Heriko’s clubs conform to the USGA rules. Our customers are concerned about getting a good club for a low price. Pick out one set of Drivers, one set of irons and one set of wedges and have them tested just so we can say we have some conforming clubs. Thats it.

  7. I agre with Lee Robson. You may work as under an ISO 9000 QA system: your procedures certify that the products manufactured aby Hireko comply to USGA regulations. Increasing costs just to be close to the Big Ones is senseless, specially in this times of crisis. Hireko products have been and still are excellent without needing USGA´s seal. Also, I think that if Tiger approachs Hireko to use the Acer XK driver you should do something about USGA´s certification…

  8. Gary says:

    Jeff: You and I discussed this last week and I agree with the previous statements. Nine out of 10 people could care less that their clubs either comply or don’t comply. So do you cater to that 10th person? I think that the majority rules in this case. It really becomes a common sense thing as well as an economic decision. As has happened in the past, the whole thing will probably end up in some sort of litigation where the only ones who win are the attorneys! Just my opinion.

  9. Hunter Lohman says:

    As one poster above mentioned, I would like to see a few “competition” models. I participate in tournaments which do abide by USGA rules, not that they check clubs, but if they did at least mine would conform. Of course, the problem with that is there are a lot of golfers who want the best equipment even if it won’t make a difference. They will automatically go for those competition clubs because they know those are approved by USGA. That may result in lesser sales for the other, more forgiving, clubs.

    Tough decision on your part. I would think that your clubs would still be cheaper than spending a lot of money at a retail on OEM clubs. USGA is not really doing anything for the “middle-man” with this decision.

  10. Mike says:

    Good comments above.

    I’d vote ‘NO’.

    The price of equipment is going off the charts for the average person, and sales are reflecting that. The majority of the marketplace I believe, and certainly most I deal with, are highly price conscious these days… almost to a point of performance being a secondary consideration.

  11. Roy Dye says:

    Clubmaker… Hireko Golf… Yes, you need the USGA seal of approval. After all, all other club makers started small and later won world approval, and USGA, for their efforts. Who is to say that champion golfers of the future will or will not demand Hireko Golf Clubs for the tour circuit!!! This is not a question for the golfer – it is a Hireko decision. I estimated the cost at around .75 cents to $1.50 per club for Hireko. Sooner or later all users of Hireko clubs will know someone on the circuit using Hireko USGA certified clubs!

    Roy.

  12. Paul Kelly says:

    I do not see anything wrong with the USGA charging for club testing as it may reduce the amount of just test them anyway attitude of some manufactures.
    I do however believe that Hireko should have no problem standing behind there produces and if in doubt should either have the product tested or identified as Non conforming.
    keep swinging .
    Thanks:Paul

  13. Chris Peters says:

    I agree with the thoughts here – pick a top line line – certify it, and just show how what you’re doing conforms to the rules for your non-certified clubs, and work from there…

    But on a side note, I can’t tell you how crappy I think it is that bodies like the USGA and the big manufacturers keep moving the economic bar higher and higher.

    If I go out tomorrow with my dad, fiancee and uncle, (and in the center of Ohio, that’s not gonna happen, but nonetheless) and my dad shoots 10 strokes lower than he’s ever shot in his life, and my fiancee shoots in the 80’s and my uncle beats em both – I couldn’t give less of a hoot if they did it with a 16 clubs in their bag, 2 extra putters, and a driver that exceeds the moi or cor rules by 2% – or the driver head has a non-traditional indentation or whatever. They’re having more fun because of their equipment, hireko or even hireko’s competitors – are providing that, while making honest to god attempts to play fair.

    It bothers me – a LOT – because I know deep down that this is a selling point, and the silly questions like “Well why doesn’t the Mantara have it?” or “why isn’t the dynacraft certified?” act as some ridiculous way of de-selling or devaluing the club.

    You guys – all the component manufacturers are too good, too much better than the “real thing” sometimes – and it seems from afar like they’re trying to fight you with a ICBM.

  14. Too-A-Tee Custom Golf says:

    As a PCS class A, I inform my customers about USGA rules. But to be absolutely on line, we don’t make clubs for tourmanet golf under most cirumstances, so while there could be cause for alarm, there really is not, in what we sell. I have made clubs for PGA pros, from Hireko components and have had no negative feedback. I think the biggest problem will be grooves, but not until 2020 for recrerational golfers. Paul M.

  15. David Jamieson says:

    As a clubmaker I have not heard one of my customers in the past 20 years ask if the clubs I build adhere to the USGA standards. My concern is to keep the cost down as much as possible. Performance is the selling point and it gives me great pleasure to see one of my component drivers outperform the OEM’s. I see local stores selling inferior golf equipment and not one of those clubs were ever tested. I trust Hireko when designing the components and thats good enough for me.

  16. Hal Knox says:

    As a customer for 20 years,I personally would trust Hireko to design and test their clubs for compliance and not submit for testing providing you can do that? I play golf with half of my customers and the only time they question my clubs is when I out drive someone. Bottom line is that they laugh and don’t really care. I believe that if I am able to say that Hireko tests for compliance by the USGA most people are satisfied with that. Some of this comes from trust in the integrity of the clubmaker also.Hal K.

  17. Slicedoctor says:

    It seems to me that the club builder/player is the one that ends of paying the cost. … Kind of like the taxpayer is the one that ends up paying for the bailout … … Sorry, but I guess that is another topic ..

    I would say forget it … they will just keep changing the rules and we the customers/taxpayers will end up just paying the bill …

    Myself, and most of my customers, benefit most in quality solid construction and not from the so call illegal stuff.

    Just keep making well constuction heads, irons, shafts, etc …and we will keep buying/using.

    WAM

  18. John Payne says:

    I think Jorge Alvarez has it exactly right.
    “I agree with Lee Robson. You may work as under an ISO 9000 QA system: your procedures certify that the products manufactured by Hireko comply to USGA regulations. Increasing costs just to be close to the Big Ones is senseless, specially in this times of crisis. Hireko products have been and still are excellent without needing USGA´s seal. Also, I think that if Tiger approaches Hireko to use the Acer XK driver you should do something about USGA´s certification…”

    My addition would be that should you want to make a separate (more expensive) tour line then those items should bear the cost, not the rest of us who are happy with self-certification.

  19. George Kresnosky says:

    I’d like to better understand the difference between statements that say “conform” or “certified.”
    For example, can you say that “Hireko components are designed and manufactured to conform to all applicable USGA equipment rules . . .”
    Or if you submit components to the USGA for testing, I would assume you would be able to state that “Hireko clubs/components have been tested and certified by the USGA as conforming to all applicable USGA equipment rules . . .”
    From my perspective, the first statement would be good enough for anyone I would be building clubs for.
    From Hireko’s perspective, I would find out what Golfsmith, Golfworks, etc. are doing about this. If they are going to submit their products for testing, then Hireko may need to do this as well.

  20. Pastor Chris says:

    My customers (and myself included) are all beginning to mid level golfers, (20+ handicappers) out for fun, camraderie and fresh air. We may play in charity tournements, but probably never anything “serious,” like the Hooters Tour. We do have standards, and want to play by the rules, so clubs that follow the rules are important, but budgets are equally or more important. Self Certification would be more than adequate for my customers and me. A bonafide certified “Competition” line would give us an option if we should progress to more serious tourneys, but most of the golfers I know that hit that level (<~10 handicap) have moved on to “big name” clubs, a moot point here. Price over ‘prestige’ is my vote. BTW-Great job on the new line. My easiest sell is when I hand my Hireko club to a prospective customer and let them hit it. They sell themselves.

  21. Bruce Gerhold says:

    Too often golf events end in the clubhouse with whining about handicap. The next step after this is the challenge of a particular club. If some player failed to cheat enough in handicap, then they will seek other ways to win.
    I would like to see you certify your better clubs (drivers and wedges) and advertise them as such. Thus, a person can look for that feature and purchase the particular club needed.

  22. Art Silverberg says:

    I think George K is right, that you should know what your competition is up to, and going forward there is bound to be some bickering on conforming to USGA standards. It seems you’ll have to get almost all drivers tested with the exception of beginner models. Fairways and hybrids that are marketed as high COR will need to be done. It’s probably foolish to rush in and get all clubs done now unless you have a white knight out there somewhere that will foot the bill. Clubs aimed at better amateurs, scratch golfers and pros clearly need to be done. I would think you would want to get certain iron sets and performance wedges tested, and any new design that really pushes the design limits. Just my 2 cents worth & I hope this helps.

  23. Matt L. says:

    I agree that it is unnecessary to test every model – keep the prices low! I also agree with the idea of having a “competition” line for those who are competing where they need USGA certification.

    I see no reason why your customers shouldn’t trust your own claim to meet USGA requirements. After all, it wouldn’t be good business to stretch the truth.

  24. John S. says:

    Heck yeah it should be tested, going forward that is.

    I don’t want anybody in my group having a hotter stick while I’m still playing by the USGA rules, be it Hireko or BigName gear. And I think it unconscionable to use non-conforming stuff to beat guys using BigName gear. Everyone needs to run the same size restrictor-plate.

    Now to fix the real problem, the USGA: adding cost is creating a barrier to entry that unlevels the playing field in favor of the Bigs to the detriment of the little guys. So a re-allocation should occur of the overhead expense of testing based on the product of estimated production times estimated retail sale price. You make more, you pay more, because you benefit more.

    Still sucks for you guys, though.

    Did you get the legacy stuff and current lines done when it was free? If you saw this coming you should have.

  25. Ed Mack says:

    After reading everyone’s opinion I find it hard to submit anything different or earthshaking. However, I know that I “feel good” knowing that I play with equipment that “meets” the USGA guidelines. I play very few tournaments (outside of our local club) and I have never been challenged about the clubs I am playing and I’m sure (in fact I know) that there are players using clubs that in some way do not meet the specs. I would not submit your entire line to the USGA for testing. And I agree that you might want to build a “tournament set” for your customers who need that certification. For the rest of the line I would suggest that you state that the clubs are built to conform. Your’s are great clubs at a price I can afford to pay to “upgrade” on a regular basis and enjoy doing so!!

  26. JK says:

    Simple answer is to make one of your lines a “tour” line (Dynacraft being the logical choice). Certify all the clubs in that particular line. The Dynacrafts are forged and the most expensive of Hireko’s lines so they make a natural choice for a USGA-certified line of clubs. I want to play USGA-approved clubs and the Dynacrafts are a great deal even with a slight markup in price. I’d stack them up against any of the OEMs.

  27. Tim J says:

    Personlly I like knowing that if I sell a club to someone and they want to play a round in a tournament that they can do so. I have sold many clubs to those just starting out. It is nice to know that no matter what they do with golf in the future they can play what they have purchased. As for the PGA changing the rules, I say as with our govn, we can only blame ourselves if we dont step and do something about it then they are going to do it they way they think it should be done.
    PLEASE KEEP THE CLUBS CONFORMING.

  28. M R Clag says:

    I am an old man with arthritis. I found the Bionic golf gloves to help the shock pain in my hands, but the USGA banned them because they gave an ‘alledged’ advantage. (Like certain ‘legal’ grips would not?) So I dropped my annual membership in the USGA.

    I like the idea of ‘self-certification,’ and holding your prices down.

    I put together a set of your Genesis Dynacraft irons last weekend with no intention of demeaning the game nor defrauding the USGA. I just want to hit the ball and wander around the course. If the USGA says I am not playing ‘real’ golf, then so be it!

  29. Thought says:

    How about *really* leaving it up to each customer? On your order screen, add a checkbox, “Would you like to donate $1 (or more) to your order to help cover the cost of submitting this club for USGA approval?” When you’ve collected enough money, submit the club. If enough people care about a particular club being certified, it’ll take care of itself.

    As added incentive, once you get enough donations and submit a club for approval, you could add a Thank You page for each club, thanking the individual customers responsible (if they choose to be identified).

  30. Ryan says:

    Others have mentioned it and i agree. i would only certify what you deem to be “player” clubs. This should allow you to keep your overall costs down for the people who don’t care and charge a slight premium to those who may use your clubs in a situation that they need to be certified.

  31. Ryan says:

    Thinking on it, one of the things that made you stand out among other non name brand makers and clone builders is that you did have your heads tested and made sure you provided that information to customers.

  32. Joe Lawler says:

    Jeff, I think you should continue to test driver heads. There still are a few companies building true knock-offs. The ones I am familiar with do not test because they feel USGA will not test knock-offs. I do not buy knock-off drivers.

    Some customers don’t care, but every customer or prospective customer I tell that these driver heads comform to USGA standards are pleased to know that.

    Your foundry knows what has to be done to conform, but it would be good marketing to be able to show the USGA conforming list with Hireko driver heads in your current new models listed as conforming.

    Thanks to the Golf Channel many of today’s golfers are very knowledgeable about golf club and shaft technology. They appreciate this effort by your company to closely adhere to these rules. This will further enhance Hireko’s reputation for quality and service!

    It also helps my reputation for quality, good service and proper fit!

  33. Art Hupka says:

    I echo what several have stated over the last few months. When I was still playing competitive golf, it would be important for me to know that my clubs were USGA conforming because it would be important to know that no one in the field had an advantage because of club perks. However, the majority of your customers aren’t going to be in this category. Those who feel this important are those competing and they are most likely to be playing the models for the low handicap golfers. So if you wanted to spend any monies to have models that are USGA certified, pick the model most likely to be used by the better golfers (e.g. Acer XK pro irons, XP pro XP905 irons, only low lofted drivers like 9.5 ICT, etc).

    And as some others have suggested, a statement at the beginning of your catalog and web page indicating that although not all are tested , all club heads are designed to conform to USGA rules (those tested indicated by *).

    I play a driver made by Wishon. It is designed for golfers with a slow swing. For me it plays great. I was a bit disappointed when I learned was not USGA conforming. Even though I just mostly play with my buddies, I felt a little guilty and actually switched to another driver for our annual golf tournament. But every day play, I use it all the time!!

    Art

  34. Ron says:

    Perhaps pressure from the major manufacturers is the reason they are asking for paid testing. This will keep the new start ups from becoming a competitor. If you wish to have testing,then only test the clubs that you feel a PGA pro might use and let the rest go.

  35. Paul B. says:

    I think if the governing bodies (USGA and R&A) were really looking into the best interests of golfers around the world, they would either make all equipment tests free for manufacturers or conduct their own tests for their own account.

    I’m all for regulation. After all, regulation is what makes our great game what it is to an extent, but surely part of the monies collected by the governing bodies could be put to good use, ensuring their own standards are upheld.

    None of the above is probably ever going to happen and my customers in particular like playing Hireko as they know their clubs will conform. It’s an important part of the overall Hireko image and something I feel should be maintained.

  36. JUST SAY NO USGA says:

    Are you kidding me? I have no idea why anyone would ever submit their clubs to the USGA. Let the pros do it themselves, they make the money.

    What, there are something like 3000 male and 2400 female pros, and another 10,000 wannbes… and 10’s of millions of Joe Publics who do not fall under USGA rules. I want the best equipment I can get, I want extra spring effect, I want to swing nice and easy and fully under control and get a drive the goes straight down the middle 250-260 yards. I want non conforming clubs. This gentleman’s game, elitist attitude is sickening. Who cares!!!!!! Why do they care!!!, Really why does anyone care what I do? This is supposed to be a free country, and I choose not to have anything to do with the USGA, so why do they care about me? I play golf 3-5 times a week when the weather is good. What is my handicap? I do not know, because I do not keep score! Do you know that actually bothers the random people I get paired up with. I regroove my own wedges really super non conforming, just for the fun of it. I have to laugh… I am so against regulation outside of the USGA events, in fact I would love to see the pros allowed to play anything…. same with car racing. It makes it so boring and dull. KEEP REQULATIONS OUT OF MY GAME!!!!!

    Build a driver for the tour players, and then build the best driver you can. Golf club designers are like artists, with restrictions on the colors they can use. USE THEM ALL!!! There are so many people who do not care, you will actually make a lot more money selling non conforming clubs, it will pay for the testing of the ones you want to make conforming.

    For those that really care, Deep down inside, ask yourself why you care. If it really has noting to do with your own ego, or fear of being bettered by someone with non conforming clubs then maybe there is something I am missing. You should play for yourself, play your own game for the fun of it. If you get caught up with all the other BS, then you have some real problems and are the type of players I can not stand! I will get in my cart and drive back to the starter, and just say, I am sorry, but I can not play with that group, their attitude is not enjoyable… and 100% of the time, I get to tee off again, because they have played with the likes of you too!

  37. Joe g says:

    My opinion is Hireko’s clubs should be certified.

    Joe Public already has the option of paying less for clubs, so if cost is the only consideration, Heriko’s usually aren’t being considered anyway. Hireko must choose its market.

    I only know a few boys playing Hireko clubs, they are very satisfied, and their satisfaction is the reason I’m considering Heriko.

    I play 85 or more rounds a year, including three, 3 day tournaments. Every round is a competition of some sort. The non tournaments rounds are played with friends and acquaints, and normally something is wagered. Anyone known to play a non-conforming club is excluded from wagering.

    Golf is a game! All games have rules! All games are competitive! I could go on an on and on. Should a person not compete, why the heck are they on a golf course? Are these the boys that cause a 6-1/2 hour weekend round? They’re just swinging; don’t care about consistency or where the ball goes? If there’re not competing what’s it matter how long they hit the ball?

    So, those boys dreaming they’re Arnold, Jack, Tom, Greg, or Tiger, but need a cart to drive 250 yards, well, they’re just Day Dreaming. The rest of us play golf and enjoy fair competition.

    Sure, you could abolish the RULES, turn golf into a stipulating endeavor, in which even the pirate Jack Sparrow might be out hustled by the likes of Sam Snead.

  38. EJ says:

    I THINK MANUFACTURES ARE BETWEEN A ROCK AND HARD PLACE TO KEEP THE PRICE DOWN AND CONFORM TO USGA REGS. I DON’T THINK MOST PEOPLE UNDERSTAND IF YOU PLAY ONE ON ONE SKIN GAME OR PLAY IN LOCAL TOURNAMENTS ANY COMPETITION OF GOLF THAT IS GOVERNED BY USGA RULES [I KNOWN OF NO GOLF TOURNAMENTS THAT USE ANY RULES OTHER THAN USGA TO GOVERN A GOLF COMPETITION] REQUIRES IT TO BE PLAYED WITH USGA CONFORMING EQUIPMENT. IT DOES’T MATTER TO THE WINERS BUT THERE ARE ONLY A FEW IN A TOURNAMENT, THERE ARE A LOT MORE LOSERS AND IT SEEMS TO MATTER TO THEM A LOT.

  39. Tom B says:

    I don’t believe non-conforming clubs are a big an issue in a USGA competition as USGA handicap is. I can “self certify” myself by saying I have honestly posted all my stipulated rounds, but that doesn’t make it so. Too many times I have seen the same individuals clean up in tournaments because their handicap puts them in a class B, C or D division when they consistently play one or two divisions better. I have never seen them challenge any clubs and rarely the handicap. The USGA tries to eliminate this with the requirement to post tournament scores but I don’t see much improvement.

    If you certify the clubs conform to USGA rules, that should be good enough. If that certification is challenged in USGA event and proves to be non-conforming, then the certification should be removed until the non-conforming issue is resolved. In any event, if a club, conforming or non-conforming, is available to all, then who gives a rats a**.

  40. J.A.T. says:

    Golf is a game of honor. The comments about playing for fun, being a weekend golfer, or fear of being bettered by someone with non conforming clubs shows the need for instant self gratification. No desire for practice, just instant gratification. Effort leads to gratification and self worth, not want. Also how many people with nonconforming golf clubs will be walking into the club house talking about the best game they just played? If a person wishes to play with nonconforming golf clubs they should not expect compliments nor should they self compliment, for it is the golf club not their ability.

    In closing HIREKO had an article about the AMA awards. The money spent there could have tested how many clubs? I would never cold shoulder anyone on a golf course, but I will not say “nice drive” to anyone with a 600cc driver. The rules are there to level the field, ability not who can buy a better game is what makes a good golfer.

  41. rob says:

    Jeff, I could care less if you submit or not. I recently read that Callaway submitted a new wedge that met every new guideline yet the USGA decided not to pass it. This story has been visited on both small and large OEM’s in one form or another for quite a while.
    I purchased a set of Acer XK’s this past season and can assure you that they will not gather dust because of the new groove rule.
    I prefer to trust you and your engineers to design heads both conforming and non conforming and giving us the option to buy what we want.

    Best in the New Year – rob

  42. Jrock says:

    I would say testing should be done on certain clubs/models(using your discretion); those that are designed with the “better” golfer in mind. I don’t think the average golfer is that concerned about the USGA’s opinion and/or approval process. However, I do think the better(low/single digit hdcp) golfer does care and, as I, aren’t going to be as concerned about the price, as long as they have confidence in the product they are purchasing. Yes, cost has to be taken into consideration; but I think if you want a “better” product, you’re probably willing to pay the price for it.

  43. BC says:

    I echo earlier comments and say create a specific line that is USGA approved. I’d imagine that such an exclusive Hireko line will be quite popular, especially among your repeat customers.

  44. jdcolv says:

    I would suggest that most of the comments are correct in their analysis that there will be no appreciable effect on actual play of not getting certification. However, I am not as certain that the effect on marketing of your products will be as charitable.

    Much of what the USGA has done is ridiculous, particularly with regard to grooves. (Petulant temper tantrums good rules do not make.) However, until a new, more reasonable, and responsive rule making body whose primary focus is the best interests of golfers can be establised, the USGA rules will be the standard. Failure to have clubs that are known to comply with the USGA standards or intentionally selling clubs that are known not to comply with the USGA standards will tarnish your sterlng reputation for quality.

    I do not know how many clubs and heads you sell in a year. However if the cost to have your products tested is $7,000 and you sell 70,000 or more heads and clubs per year, the per unit cost is $.10 or less. I think that, as purchasers, we can absorb that cost to help maintain your reputation (and ours)for quality products.

  45. Scott Starks says:

    I like the idea JK presented by taking one of the Hireko lines (ie. Dynacraft and have that line USGA certified).

    One factor that hasn’t been presented or I didn’t see it. As a clubmaker who re-sells product after fitting and building for some customers selling/buying a non-certified USGA product lessens it ‘s value and appeal to some. Just something to think about.

    Scott

  46. Richard says:

    Will all your irons conform to the new groove rules from the end of this year?

  47. Jeff Summitt says:

    Richard:

    Any new model will be designed to conform to the Rules of Golf. Older models cannot be reworked to institute new grooves without changing the engravings. If we are going to go through that much trouble to designate an old model from a new one, we might have well resign the model from scratch.

  48. [...] courses to play.  Another important thing to remember is only one in five golfers even carries a USGA handicap. Posted by Jeff Summitt Commentary Subscribe to RSS [...]

  49. Jack says:

    I am a golf professional. I would say that the Hireko professional line of clubs should be submitted to the USGA for groove certification. I know that the USGA will do this for FREE for me at my request for any set I send them, but I must pay the shipping to and from the USGA. The “cost” is only nominal. If they charge Hireko something as a company for the testing, then Hireko could simply submit a set to me, or another customer, or submit a set to anyone working at Hireko, and then these willing individuals could pay the shipping to and from the USGA and get a certification from the USGA that the clubs do or do not conform to the current groove rules. So, I really don’t see the problem expense-wise in getting the grooves certified by the USGA on any given set of clubs. And you only have to submit the 5 through PW or SW (depending on how many clubs exist in a given set). The shipping isn’t that much. So telling customers that this will push up the cost on all Hireko clubs just makes no sense at all, as, again, it is only the “pro line” of clubs that would really need this. And what does it take to simply produce clubs with correct conforming grooves? And what does it take to simply continue to put the same markings on the clubs (front and back) over the period of time Hireko is manufacturing the clubs? The rules are simple and grooves have to be put on clubheads anyway. Just manufacture withing the specs set down by the USGA. How hard could that be? The “U” grooves with the edges given a small radius would be more engineering-intensive to get right than simply making “V” grooves to the correct size. SOLUTION: BUILD ALL PRO LINE CLUBS WITH “V” GROOVES TO THE CORRECT SIZE OR WITHIN THE LIMITS PRESCRIBED BY THE USGA. Another suggestion I have is to definitely make such “V” grooves slightly smaller in size than the biggest size permitted under the groove rule, to enable professional players the opportunity to sharpen the edges a few times in the life of their clubs. As professionals resharpen the edge of their “V” goooves (something you cannot do with “U” grooves, at least not within the rules) the “V” grows in size, and with a number of sharpenings the “V” grooves will exceed the limits (i.e. width) permitted under the USGA groove rule, and then it is time for the player to buy a new set of clubs. Indeed, I’d PREFER to have “V” grooves. IMHO a sharp edge on a “V” groove is better for spin than the radius edge on a “U” groove. I cannot buy any clubs that do not conform to USGA rules. Amateur players looking to play in USGA events and other pro events where the groove rule is in effect must have conforming clubs, and that is all there is to it. But better players are only going to be interested in the pro line of clubs anyway. So, again, I suggest Hireko just get the pro line of Hireko clubs checked out for FREE by the USGA (i.e. except for the cost of shipping). And, again, start manufacturing Hireko’s pro line of clubs (or what would be deemed pro line clubs) with “V” grooves. A cheap solution — almost a no-cost solution — and everybody is happy. No costs to push-on to those golfers that seem to not care about their equipment conforming to USGA rules. But, I would add, because “V” grooves are so cheap to manufacture, being the cheapest groove to engineer, why not make all Hireko clubs with such conforming “V” grooves??? Then those golfers that bought such conforming Hireko clubs will have an expanded market in which to sell their clubs, and that makes Hireko clubs more attractive to all golfers because they can be resold knowing that they have “V” grooves that conform to the USGA groove rule.

  50. Jeff Summitt says:

    Jack,

    The vast majority of our irons and wedges are cast rather than forged. You really can’t cast a true V-groove without engraving the grooves – again adding cost to the clubs.

    As far as customers supplying the USGA with product instead of directly to circumvent the submission fee, I don’t think that was their intention. I am sure if there were multiple requests of a certain brand submitted via that route, the USGA may end up changing that policy otherwise all manufacturers would do the same thing.

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