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The rules of golf are in-depth and attempt to explain some of the crazy situations that may occur on the links.  They are varied and sometimes a little off the wall.  They can be applied after the fact or during a match that could mean the difference of winning or losing.  The rules are applied evenly (we hope) or perceived not too fair . The rules will undoubtedly make you scratch your head.  Regardless, the rules of golf are important and should not be taken lightly.  Or should they?

In a previous article called Gopher It! I explain how rule 25-1, Immovable Obstructions and Abnormal Ground Conditions, from the 2012 Royal Canadian Golf Association rule book impacted a tournament I participated in several years back.  Needless to say, we discussed this rule for quite some time.

Sergio Garcia took the meaning of “play the ball where it lies” to a whole new level.  The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Golf and Country Club, Garcia climbed a tree to play the ball out into the fairway.  It can be seen at PGATOUR.COM.

The penalty for slow play against the Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old, grade 8 player from China, who made the cut at the 2013 The Masters caught everyone’s attention.  A statement, in The Guardian, by rules officials stated that his age did not matter.  I would have to agree with that statement.  He obviously has the game to play at the Masters, so he must play by all the rules.  Whether the rules are applied equally is the real topic of conversation of most analysts.

Of course the Tiger Woods rules challenge at this year’s Masters.  In this case, the rules officials were under tremendous pressure to make an appropriate call because a television viewer called in and challenged Tiger Woods drop.  Woods was not disqualified for signing an incorrect score card as many had suggested, but was assessed a two-stroke penalty.

The RCGAUSGAR&A are all governing bodies that routinely examine the rules of golf and make what they deem as appropriate changes.  They focus mainly on the elite players, but do attempt to keep the average duffer in the mix.

The Putting Rule

So, what about those unwritten rules used by local players?  No, I am not talking about etiquette, but the fun rules!  Rules like:

  • The 30 Second Rule – If you can pick up your ball and place it back in the spot you just hit from within 30 seconds, the shot does not count.
  • First Tee Do Over Rule – You arrive at the first tee before 7 am and duff your drive – you get a do over because you are not warmed up yet.
  • The Putting Rule – On the first green, if it has not been cut yet, you are allowed two putts from the same spot to get a feel for the speed.  If the ball drops on either stroke count one!
  • Foot Wedge Rule – it is used regularly and without shame!  It is the – I am here to have fun and do not care about the score – shot!

These unwritten rules are for the fun of the game.  Golf is challenging and the rules were developed over centuries of play, however golf is meant to be fun! Using your own rules sometimes is just the break we duffers need to have a memorable round. If we were making money at golf, maybe the rules would be more important!  Since we don’t….remember – Sport is Everything.

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