Why Are Ping Eye 2 Irons Illegal?

Any golfer that brings out a set of Ping Eye 2 irons risks receiving some playful jibes. That can include a comment like, “That’s a nice set of illegal golf clubs you have there” which can be expected to be heard.

Yet the controversial clubs are not illegal, not yet anyway, so you should look to buy a new set.

Why Are Ping Eye 2 Irons Illegal

Why you can still play with your Ping Eye 2 golf clubs may seem a little strange, which we will explore here.

You could actually play with a set of Ping Eye 2 clubs until around 2024 when certain regulations may be revised.

That is as long as your playing is confined to your local golf club or on a USGA tour event while golf’s governing body remains in charge in the United States.

In this guide, we will try to investigate why the Ping Eye 2 irons are considered illegal, the other Ping golf clubs under scrutiny, and how long you should be able to use a set of Ping Eye 2 irons for.

Why The Ping Eye 2 Irons Considered Illegal?

The lasting concern over the Ping Eye 2 Irons relates to their square grooves.

You would need to use a magnifying glass to identify the shape of the grooves though a cross-section should have a minimal taper that looks to be shaped like a U or a box.

An easier way of identifying these controversial golf clubs is to work out the model and manufacturer name as all of Ping’s clubs that have been manufactured up to 2010 should have square grooves.

Finally, the patent should confirm the legality of the golf clubs. 

While Ping Eye 2 Irons are not currently considered illegal, the Chairman and CEO of Ping, John Solheim, has waived the right that kept the irons from being banned on the PGA Tour.

That relates to the golf clubs that were specifically manufactured before April 1st 1990.

This sanctioning is largely due to the wider and deeper grooves that are no longer permitted under the rules set out by the USGA but the clubs are still allowed in PGA, and LPGA tour events as well as the US Open.

This exception was due to a settlement allowing the clubs to be ‘grandfathered’ which was reached in 1993.  

Several golfers have made comments about the use of Ping Eye 2 golf clubs. Indeed, the controversial golf clubs have been used by a number of high-profile golfers.

That includes Phil Mickelson, Tim Herron, and Hunter Mahan for using pre-1990 Ping Eye 2 wedges.

Even the PGA Tour had to release a statement condoning the use of those irons and called any public comments and criticisms ‘inappropriate at best’. 

The Other Ping Clubs Under Scrutiny

As well as the Ping Eye 2 irons, there are other Ping-manufactured clubs that come with those square grooves.

You would be able to see the Ping logo on the back of the iron as well as the make of the club, the serial number, and the manufacturer Karsten’s name.

Those Ping clubs include Eye 2+, Zing, G5, Rhapsody, S59, S57, i10, V2 Rapture, and the G10. 

How Long You Can Use A Set Of Ping Eye 2 Irons 

A set of regulations by the United States Golf Association (USGA) actually permitted the use of Ping Eye 2 Irons until ‘at least 2024’. That’s for clubs that conformed to the previous set of rules that came into effect on 1st January 2010.

Why Are Ping Eye 2 Irons Illegal (1)

Even if you play in a sanctioned USGA golf event then you can continue to use your set of Ping Eye 2 Irons.

It is not cheating to use a set of Ping Eye 2 irons though it may be seen as gaining something of an unfair advantage if you bring them out with a set of golf buddies.

While using a set of Ping Eye 2 irons may seem controversial, it is not illegal and their use does not constitute cheating.

As long as the USGA is the governing body for golf in the United States, those irons and wedges are allowed due to a settlement reached in 1993 of a suit that the golf club manufacturer filed against the governing body.

This specifically related to any Ping golf club that was manufactured before April 1st 1990. 

Final Thoughts

Due to the square grooves looking to be outlawed, there seems to be a rejuvenated market for Ping Eye 2 irons.

Many tour pros have been searching online for a set of the golf clubs and interest has increased on online auction sites like eBay. Any golfer looking to steal a march on their golf buddies may do well to secure a pair while they still can.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Were Ping Eye 2 Golf Clubs Initially Released?

The initial range of Ping Eye 2 golf clubs was released in 1982 and became wildly popular. They remain some of the best cast back irons you can find, especially for their perimeter weighting.

The deep square grooves also go some way to propelling the golf ball.

You may be interested to learn that the original set of Ping Eye irons was brought to the market in 1978 and they had an eye shape in their cavity to improve the feel and went some way to improve the appearance of golf clubs in general from their introduction. 

Have Ping Eye 2 Golf Clubs Gone Up Or Down In Value?

Since the groove regulation was produced by the USGA in 2010, there have been question marks on whether Ping Eye 2 irons should be banned.

The regulations were mistaken to require ’V-shaped’ grooves with ‘U-shaped’ grooves being banned. As Ping Eye 2 irons are not illegal, and not even non-conforming, their value has rose.

While the golf clubs may seem divisive on the PGA Tour, many golfers have snapped up a set of clubs to improve their game.  

Garratt Shmidt
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