The USGA and The R&A have provided a clarification that introduces a Local Rule, allowing players to replace a broken or significantly damaged club, except in cases of abuse.
Under the Local Rule, a club is “broken or significantly damaged” if it meets the following conditions:
- the shaft breaks into pieces, splinters or is bent (but not when the shaft is only dented)
- the club face impact area is visibly deformed (but not when the club face is only scratched)
- the clubhead is visibly and significantly deformed
- the clubhead is detached or loose from the shaft, or
- the grip is loose
However, a player is not allowed to replace his or her club solely because there is a crack in the club face or clubhead.
Committees can begin using this Local Rule immediately.
The complete language of this new Local Rule and other clarifications can be found here: www.usga.org/rulesclarifications.
Clarifications will normally be updated on a quarterly basis in January, April, July and October. The next quarterly update will be in July 2019.