Rules of Golf
Is the DIVNICK Adjustable "legal"?
This page is written by the inventor, Steve Divnick
The USGA does not “approve” clubs. It only “disapproves” if a company sends them in for evaluation. The Rules of Golf make it clear that our Adjustable Whole-In-One Club would NOT be conforming for two reasons.
1) You are only allowed 14 clubs in your bag. It can be argued that the Divnick Adjustable is over twice that many.
2) You cannot have multiple moving parts on a club that are easy to change during play. You can have a telescopic shaft such as is used for the long putters, adjustable weights, or adjustable lie angle, but you have to extend the shafts or set the adjustments BEFORE walking onto the course, and you cannot change them until AFTER you leave the course. NOTHING can move during play (except the bending from flex).
One of the reason they don’t allow moving parts is that they don’t want you to have any mechanical advantage such as a spring-loaded launching mechanism. Of course, we don’t have any moving parts DURING the swing, so some people wonder why we don't pursue the USGA to change their rule for us. But we don’t think that would be worth the cost that would be required (probably a litigation process) since our club is probably not something that a pro would choose to use because of its relative disadvantages at the extreme lengths and weights.
Having said all that, I use my Adjustable all the time, even while playing at tournaments. I just ask the tournament director if it is OK. The kind of tournaments I play in are usually fund-raisers, so they want all the players they can get. Therefore, it is at the discretion of the tournament director. However, if they say you can’t use it because it does not conform to USGA Rules, you could probably press them using the Rules argument below (although we don’t encourage confrontation).
If you want to use it in a local club tournament that is governed by the Rules of Golf, it is unlikely they will make any equipment exceptions. Again, because of the disadvantages, it is not likely that serious tournament players would use the Adjustable for those kinds of tournaments.
But what about using it for regular casual play? On very rare occasions, we have heard from various customers around the world who have been told they cannot use the Adjustable for regular play by a local course manager or starter. The reasons usually include one or more of the following:
1) They don’t have a full set of clubs.
2) They don’t have a golf bag.
3) The starter thinks it will cause slow play.
4) The club doesn’t conform to the USGA Rules.
To these points, our Whole-In-One Adjustable golf club IS a full set, it has its own bag which is clearly designed to hold a golf club, and those of us who use it never slow down play. In fact, we are always waiting for others. If anyone ever gives you a hard time about using the club for casual play, we encourage you to respectfully agree with the principle behind their objection...that you honor the need for people not to share clubs or slow down the game, and confidently let them know that you will actually play faster. That's usually all it takes.
One time, while I was paying for my round at a resort course, the man behind the counter identified himself as the Pro, and told me I couldn't play with one club "because it didn't meet the rules and would slow down play." I agreed with the importance of not slowing down play, and invited him to come play the round with me. I extended the following challenge: "If you have to wait on me for any shot the entire round, I'll buy you dinner. But if I have to wait for you on every shot, then you buy 12 clubs and carry them in your shop." Then I added, "Seriously, please come out to the range and just hit 3 balls. I know you can't imagine that it is solid and that you can play real golf with it, but you will be amazed. That is exactly what he did. He let me play AND he has referred several customers over the years.
In fact, I have PURPOSELY walked into many on-course pro shops and invited the pro to hit the club with similar results. I never cease to love the look on their faces when they hit the first shot.
I have many seniors who love our club because it has allowed them to continue to play golf as they age, to walk the course for beneficial exercise, and to avoid carrying or dragging a cart. You would think all golf courses would LOVE this benefit as it brings out more golfers and increases their revenue.
Many years ago, one of my senior customers called and told me his local public course wouldn’t let him use his new Whole-In-One Adjustable club because it didn’t "meet the rules". He had pleaded with them, to no avail, so he called me to see what i could do.
I called his course manager and respectfully asked him to let this man play golf on his course. I appealed to the course’s goal of selling rounds and promised that he wouldn't share clubs or slow down play. The manager didn’t budge, stubbornly citing the Rules..."I don't make the rules, I just enforce them."
So I raised the stakes by saying, “I don’t want to become a problem for you, but I cannot allow my customer to be discriminated against. If you block him from playing because he is breaking the Rules of Golf, then I will insist that you block every golfer who breaks any Rule. As I'm sure you know, the average golfer breaks at least one Rule on every hole, so you are going to lose a lot of money if you stop all the amateurs from playing at your course.” He still didn't budge.
I persisted and said i would accept his ruling. I told him I would go public with press releases to his local media, and I would file a suit if he didn't let me customer play on his course. I told him I was sure his city employer wouldn't want to have that kind of cost or publicity over such a minor issue...an issue that included my customer trying to pay them money. He reluctantly gave in, and my customer has enjoyed golf on that course using our Adjustable club ever since, and now several of his buddies use them too!
I don’t recommend that you use that argument unless absolutely necessary...and that is the only time it has ever come to that. Golf courses are all wanting to increase players in this tough economic climate, and it is unlikely they will ever resist. But if it happens, you can usually reason with people and tell them you just want to give them money to use their facilities and that you won't slow play, and they will usually accept that.
Of course, it is very rare that anyone will EVER run into any resistance at all. I only mention these examples in case it every happens to you.
If you ever run into this problem and can't resolve it yourself, let me know, and I will go to bat for you.
Steve Divnick, President