“The R&A and USGA continue to believe that the retention of one set of rules for all players of the game, irrespective of ability, is one of golf’s greatest strengths.” (Joint Statement of Principles adopted by the USGA and R&A in 2002)
I have some frank feelings – which is not unusual — regarding bifurcation, about which I will opine in a more extensive article sometime in the future.
The major points in my opinion are:
• Even though golfers at large do not apply the rules all the time — in many cases because they don’t know the rules or choose to modify them – this misapplication will not fracture the integrity of the game.
• The cause of the misapplication may be ours, in not promoting the importance of the rules — which lend order to our game — more effectively.
• Bifurcation is impractical in its application as to when we apply each set of rules. We (golfers of all abilities) in some instances play on the same course at the same time.
• We progress in many cases from beginner, to mediocre, to good, and in some cases on to elite golfers but still play with each other, at club, local, state, and onto national events, so when do we make the switch back and forth between sets of rules as we continue to participate with others at all levels?
• A single set of rules is not only practical but is the one thing that makes golf unique.
• There will be less talk about “Bifurcation” if:
a) The guardians of the game honestly and proportionally consider all golfers, especially when it comes to modifying, introducing and promulgating the rules of golf
b) Course architects do the same thing when designing golf courses.
Golf is more than 500 years old and when it was decided to formally consolidate and document the rules in 1744 the game was made whole and became one for all to enjoy.
Please let us know how you feel about formal bifurcation of the Rules of Golf by replying below.