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