Rules confusion over brand-new club leads to odd LPGA DQ

maja stark swings driver

The cause of Maja Stark's DQ at the Ascendant LPGA? Her ... driver?

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What happens when you assume?

*Pauses for dad joke.*

And you wind up disqualified from an LPGA event.

On Friday at the Ascendant LPGA, Maja Stark found herself on the receiving end of an unfortunate DQ in Texas — an effort caused not by a rules infraction or a wrong scorecard, but by her … driver?

Yes, as Stark explained in an Instagram post on Monday afternoon, her disqualification came after it was learned she had played the new Ping G430 driver in competition. Stark said she’d used the new driver after getting handed the prototype by a Ping employee and liked the results. She’d made the unusual decision to add it to her bag almost immediately, and had used it in an opening round 74. The driver, Stark explained, was rule-conforming, but it had not yet wound up on the USGA’s conforming list, making it ineligible for use in tournament play.

“There was some miscommunication, which resulted in neither me nor my caddie (who was with me when I tried it out) being aware that we couldn’t use it in competition yet,” She wrote on Instagram. “It’s my responsibility to know that my clubs are alright to use according to the rules, but I didn’t even think of looking it up or asking because I just assumed that the clubs I get will be okay.”

The G430 is the latest and greatest innovation on Ping’s G400 line of drivers, which has quickly become an industry favorite. According to GOLF gear guru Ryan Barath, the G430 features a new carbon crown meant to lower the center of gravity and reduce spin, among other innovations. The new club also features the return of Ping’s famous turbulators and its rear-located CG-shifter.

The club has yet to be officially announced by Ping, but as gearheads know, the G430 arrived on the USGA’s conforming list on Monday. The conforming list is traditionally the first step in the gear announcement process, with a more formal announcement on the new technologies in the club expected in the imminent future.

Ping G430 driver 2023
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By: Ryan Barath

There is good news for Stark, too, even as she grapples with one of her life’s more confusing DQs: she will be eligible to use the new G430 penalty-free beginning with her next LPGA Tour start, should she so choose.

In the meantime, though, the final line of her post suggests she’s kept a pretty reasonable perspective on the whole ordeal:

“S— happens!”

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at