Home GolfDawgg Sez The Rules of Golf Revisited

The Rules of Golf Revisited

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There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the changing of the sport called Golf. Changes in equipment, changes in balls, changes in course design, and changes for the rules of golf.

Just last week at the Heritage tournament Webb Simpson had to call a penalty on himself because his ball, on the green, oscillated after supposedly “addressing” the ball. The movement was obviously caused by the wind but still cost him a one stroke penalty which also cost him the tournament. So many of the rules of golf seem to be unfair at times. The old axiom “No harm no foul” never seems to apply to golf. So what if the ball moved, even after he addressed it? Where is the advantage? Where’s the harm? Does anyone think that even if the ball was one inch closer a golfer would be more likely to make it? How many of you just kinda use your putter to quickly mark the ball on the green to give it a quick clean? I’ll bet you didn’t replace it exactly where it was did you? How ’bout we put the ball down as close as we can and move on …

I know … rules are rules. But, you gotta admit some of them just don’t make sense at times. Finally though, as some of these rules are strictly enforced on the tour, people are starting to re-think the logic of some of them. And let’s not even get started on the armchair referees at home with their Hi-def TVs that can see a single blade of grass disturbed by a practice swing in a hazard! They’re on the phone to the PGA crying “Foul! Foul!” The problem is – when does a rule make sense and when does it not?

The PGA is starting to use instant replay to exam some so-called rule violations. Well, not so instant, kinda after the fact. They have been known to go back and try to find the infraction that another player might have “mentioned” to  a rules official or called in from a TV viewer. Question: Is there a time limit for calling a penalty? At least they have changed the disqualification rule for unknowingly signing an incorrect scorecard because the player had no idea that he had violated any rules.

I play with pretty much the same group of people most of the time. And we generally agree on some simple, small modifications to some of the strictest rules, in the general spirit of having more fun, playing at a decent pace, and making the game of golf more enjoyable. But, in my men’s club tournaments, I try to adhere to all rules golf-wise. I say “try” because we have no rules officials or TV coverage and have you ever read the rule book cover to cover? Even then I think we generally (silently) agree to keep it logical and sane.

Are you a stickler for the rules? Do you adhere to them even in practice rounds? Or do you like to keep the game fun and realistic by “adjusting” some of the more illogical rules?

Update: The United States Golf Association (USGA) and Royal & Ancient (R&A) decision to eliminate viewer call-ins

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