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R&A introduce "hot" driver rules from 2005

The R&A has announced that the Condition of Competition limiting the ‘spring-like’ effect of driving clubs will be introduced at all of its Championships and international matches from 2005, including all of its Amateur Championships. A complete list of R&A events is attached.

The R&A first adopted a test for ‘spring-like’ effect in January 2003 and introduced the Driving Club Condition of Competition for the first time at an R&A event at the 2003 Open Championship. In 2004, the Condition continues to be applied only at The Open.

For most competitions and all recreational play, there will continue to be no limit on ‘spring-like’ effect until 1st January 2008. However, the decision to extend the application of the Condition to top Amateur events from 2005 sends a clear reminder to players of all abilities that the new Rule limiting ‘spring-like’ effect will be introduced in 2008.

Commenting on the announcement David Rickman, Director of Rules and Equipment Standards of The R&A said:

"The decision to introduce this Condition at all R&A events is a recognition of the fact that we are moving ever closer to the introduction of this Rule for everybody in 2008. As that date approaches, it makes sense to gradually start applying the Condition to other players as well as those competing at the very highest level."

"In addition to this, the recent development and introduction of the Pendulum Test means that the application of the Condition is easier – given that the new test is portable, non-destructive and relatively quick to perform."

This Condition, which will be clearly stated in the Entry form and the Conditions of Competition, will limit the characteristic time of driving clubs to 239 microseconds, plus a test tolerance of 18 microseconds. The wording of the Condition is set out below.

The R&A’s interpretation of a "driving club" is that it is a club with a loft of 15 degrees or less. However, The R&A will continue to monitor design innovations of all clubs in respect of ‘spring-like’ effect and, where appropriate, any club, regardless of loft, may be subjected to further testing prior to a conformance ruling.

A list clubs which have been tested and found to be contrary to the Driving Club Condition of Competition is published on The R&A’s website (

R&A Championships:

The Open, The Amateur Championship, The Seniors Open Amateur Championship, The British Mid-Amateur Championship, The Boys Amateur Championship, The Junior Open Championships

International Amateur team matches run by The R&A:

The Boys Home Internationals, The Jacques Leglise Trophy, The St Andrews Trophy, The Walker Cup and The World Amateur Team Championships

Driving Club Condition of Competition:

Driving Clubs:

Driving clubs must not have a characteristic time greater than 257 microseconds when measured on pendulum testing apparatus approved by R&A Rules Limited - see also Appendix II, 5a of the Rules of Golf.

Penalty for Breach of Condition – Disqualification.

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