If the Majority Ruled in Golf…

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…there’d be no rules.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme….but not that far off the mark either. Most people I golf with don’t follow the rules. Like STOP signs in Montreal, golf rules are often considered “just a suggestion”. Pardonnez-moi mes amis au Québec. 🙂

Why is that? Why do golfers “cheat”? Is it because they consider themselves just weekend hackers and so rules don’t apply to them? Or are they just ignorant of the rules? Or is cheating at golf like telling white lies – everybody does it.

I’m no different than all the rest. I do try and follow the rules so my score card accurately reflects my play, but I also believe some rules are made to be broken on public courses (or at least modified to keep the game fun). Because, for me, the most important rule on the golf course is “pace of play”.

I hate slow play. I hate it so much that I won’t play with people who can’t keep up with the group in front of them – even good friends. I would rather they cheat on their score cards than doddle.

They aren’t bad people off the course, but on, they are completely blind to the fact that they are ruining the game for everyone behind them. For them ignorance is bliss; for me it’s a nightmare!

So to stop those of us who like to keep moving from hitting balls into slow groups to speed them up (Oh yes, I’ve seen that happen more than once ;)), I think these 3 exceptions to the rules should apply to non-competitive golf:

  1. Gimmes inside the leather are a good thing. But if a golfer putts after they are given a gimme and miss, the gimme is revoked and they have to count the extra strokes incurred.
  2. When taking a drop, a best guess estimate is fine. No need to mark the nearest point of relief with your tee, take out your longest club, measure the distance to a tee, drop the ball, put the club and tees away… Most players know how long two club lengths are. Just drop the ball within ~6 feet and hit it!
  3. For lost balls, drop the ball where you last saw it enter the trouble or OB area and take a two stroke penalty (to try and stay close the “stroke + distance” rule). You should not have to go back to where you originally hit the ball and start over. 

Now, that being said, I am not in favor of what the Alternative Golf Association is doing with Flogton. 6″ holes and non-conforming equipment don’t interest me any more than mini-putt interests me.

But pace of play is what can make or break a golf game.  If everyone kept up with the group in front, we’d have more golfers on the course, lower scores because our rhythm would be maintained, more money being made by struggling golf courses, and a lot more fun.

Golfgal

Article first published as If the Majority Ruled in Golf… on Technorati.

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5 comments

  1. Well said…

    I’m a fast player. Definitely faster than most. I feel that paralysis by analysis is a killer for most amateur’s games.

    Aside from all you’ve mentioned, just being aware is key to faster play. Line your putt up while someone else is putting. Many “pokes” don’t begin to look at their putt until it’s their turn. Oh, and last I noticed, it’s not the US Open. Scanning your putt from 9 angles ain’t working. Take as many clubs as you need to your ball. Return trips to the cart are ridiculous.

    On Friday I played behind a foursome of women who felt compelled to gather at each other’s ball to witness each and every shot up close in some sort of support network. I was shocked their carts didn’t run out of gas.

    I could go on, but although a fast player, I’m a tedious typist.

  2. Thanks Bobbio! We’re singing from the same songsheet 😉

    Cheers
    Gayle

  3. Gayle, while I follow the rules pretty closely when I play, I’m not crazy strict about it. I am however very interested in seeing how the Flogton group formalizes their suggestions as to how we get more people playing. they have a long way to go and are just now making broad suggestions but I think they are onto something in that there are two types of players out there, the ones that seriously keep score and track of their game… and everyone else that don’t play often enough to care much more than having a good time, being outdoors and spending time with friends.

  4. While I follow the rules pretty closely when I play, I’m not crazy strict about it. I am however very interested in seeing how the Flogton group formalizes their suggestions as to how we get more people playing. they have a long way to go and are just now making broad suggestions but I think they are onto something in that there are two types of players out there, the ones that seriously keep score and track of their game… and everyone else that don’t play often enough to care much more than having a good time, being outdoors and spending time with friends.

  5. Thanks Brian for your comments! I am happy to see people out doing something – anything that gets them off the couch. 🙂 Flogton reminds me of other variations on golf like Frisbee golf and mini-putt.

    But you are right – everyone should get out and have fun – the more games we can create to get kids away from XBox 360s the better!!!

    Cheers
    Gayle

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