|Do you play by the Rules?|
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
Most of the Rules of Golf, as I read them, function very well for high-level competition—very skilled players, caddies, rules committee personnel who are readily available, prize money and ranking at stake, and more.
However, there should be a separate set of Rules for us 18 handicappers who play infrequently. These suggestions are practical and help speed up play. We do many of them already.
1. No stroke and distance for lost ball. Do you really want to slow up everyone’s Saturday morning? Drop/place nearby and keep playing.
2. Two club lengths (even better 10 yards) for all other drops. And don’t drop—place the ball.
3. Repair all damage to the green before and after you putt. Heaven knows no one else repairs the greens.
4. Lift and clean whenever necessary. We hit plenty of bad shots using clean golf balls, much less dirty ones.
5. Replace the ball when you feel like it. We all putt with a new ball and play with a different one.
6. If you can move it—move it. Obstructions and Loose Impediments anywhere they occur.
7. Play when ready. No waiting for the farthest from the green/hole to play.
8. Advice. Take it anywhere and from anyone you can get it!
9. Use rangefinders and GPS all the time. Many courses have no (or hidden) distance markers.
10. Anything else that makes sense.
EXAMPLE: A player drives deeply into a stand of trees and the ball may be lost. If he hits a provisional, it will likely end up close to the same spot. Instead, after the first drive, go to where the ball entered the trees, look quickly, if not found, or if it is unplayable, drop or place one near where the original ball entered and keep playing, one stroke penalty. Think about the delay of returning to the tee where two foursomes are waiting, and hitting another drive (probably into the trees again).
Club pros do a great job of helping us amateurs play better and understand the Rules. But until I have a single-digit handicap and am playing in regional tournaments, make golf more fun, play faster and get more people interested in the game.