Rules Guy: I made my own USGA-conforming putter grip. Can I use it in competition?

Rules Guy: I made my own USGA-conforming putter grip. Can I use it in competition?
Golfer putting

What do the Rules say about DIY putter grips?

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The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

I have made three prototype grips and use one on my putter. I read the definition of a conforming grip, contacted the USGA, and it conforms. Is it legal to play in competition?
—Jim Thompson, via email

Readers of a certain age will remember the old ad: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”

Lexi Thompson putter

Rules Guy: Is it legal to write putting tips on my putterhead?


Rules Guy

Well, the same goes for the USGA. In conjunction with the R&A, it sets golf’s rules, equipment and otherwise. So, if you have formal documentation (and not, say, a hazy recollection of a nice phone conversation with the receptionist) from the organization that your Super Duper Wowie Zowie grip conforms, then it does and is legal to use in competition and more generally.

Failing that, you would need that documentation before putting it into play. 

For another conforming-club conundrum, read on …

I have an old Odyssey 2-Ball putter. One of its plastic discs fell out, so I pulled out the other one, then cut golf balls in half and glued them in as replacements. Has my modification made the putter illegal? —Michael Karlins, Chesapeake, VA

Kudos, Michael, to your DIY skills — but your “hack” is indeed impermissible.

The clubhead must be “plain in shape” under the Equipment Rules Part 2/4a, and by adding the halved balls you’ve rendered the putter nonconforming. Make a stroke with it, and you’re disqualified.

Read on for more club-modification guidance from our guru …

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Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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