Play by The Rules

If the object is to get more golfers to play by the rules and make the game more enjoyable, we need to make sure that the rules are clear, simple, make sense, and are easy to follow, and thus, allow us to call ourselves on infractions. It is this which makes the game so unique.

Golfers intuitively understand the challenge that golf presents, is that which allows them to satisfy a subconscious urge to evaluate themselves and they  therefore consciously choose to play by the rules — if they know them.

It is clearly understood that the degree of adherence to the rules is a measure of the respect for the governing bodies, whose authority to govern is given through the consent of the governed. Every effort is made to be comprehensive in formulating the code. Unfortunately, in many cases this good faith effort results in complexity of the code and less rather than more adherence.

I believe that we need to consider placing more emphasis on clearly defining the intent of the rules wherever possible – which has worked without too many ill effects in the past — which in the long run would not be too far removed from the outcome of a scrutinized, time-consuming review of a comprehensive rule and have very little effect on the outcome of the match.

For universal adherence to the rules which lend order to, and enhance the enjoyment of the game, these need to be; a) Simple, b) Make intuitive sense, and c) The intent of each rule clearly conveyed, wherever possible.

This I believe will encourage more golfers to apply the rules more consistently – because they know them better — and thus meet the objective of the governors and the concomitant respect from the governed.

Please leave your comment by replying below.


13 thoughts on “Play by The Rules

  1. The USGA started losing consent to govern me when they decided that in my old age, I no longer needed help from my iron grooves. They exacerbated the problem when they took away anchored putting from us old guys. I now play by “RONNIE RULES”. They are designed for fun and are in no way masochist, as are the “Scottish Rules”. Most people I play with enjoy my rules and think they should be THE rules of golf. Golf should be for fun, not punishment!

  2. OUR RULES HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY “LAWYERS” AND Congressional aides, both grups do not know how to exprss themselves in plain language!

  3. Hi Frank:
    Keep up the good work.
    Totally agree with you on how the Rules should be written.
    For that, and many more reasons, the governing bodies should abolish the no anchoring rule, since it is irrelevant to the results of play, only makes it much more difficult for many Seniors and others to comply. In the real world of private and public course play, the no-anchoring rule I believe is irrelevant.

  4. I have the USGA Rules of Golf app and I have also found these to be very confusing. The search app is not very good because of their exact match feature and it’s not organized well. So not only are the words confusing to apply to your situation but the rule is hard to find as well. You would think that you could make the app good enough that you would have visual interpretations of the rules, too. Now that would make sense!

  5. Frank
    Having played this wonderful game to the highest levels, I can only say that a good working knowledge of the rules is a great advantage to have and ultimately will save you strokes during the round. The rules, up until now, have had to be a little complex as they are written to cover all circumstances on totally different golf courses. For example, in our country we have some of the very best courses you will find anywhere but out in the countryside we have courses where the greens staff and fairway mowers are sheep with the greens being fenced off. The rules have to be written in reasonable legalistic terms to cover all these circumstances, especially as this is the only sport that is self-refereed. I am a little undecided on some of the proposed rule changes but I can see the sense in trying to simplify them, as long as we don’t go too far. My advice to golfers is, learn the “definitions” of the rules and this will help you immensely.

  6. Frank. Problem is for people who play for fun and some kind of group creating there own rules, and I think this type of groups are popping up everywhere where they know golf is played. So I am saying that whom do you address the universal rules of golf? Yes I agree with your concept for golf rules 100%. This game is difficult
    to handle for people who play and thus all sort of method of solving it to their advantage will happen.

  7. Bifurcation is the answer. Let the pros play by all those archaic rules, and the rest of us enjoy the game. The USGA and R&A say they want to grow the game – bulls*#t!! When they banned the anchored putter they made the game harder for thousands of players. And if it was such an advantage, EVERY tour player would’ve switched. And now they want us to fix spike marks yet we’ll still have to play out of divots. And I agree with the previous poster that the OB and Lost Ball rule is stupid. And it slows down play. The rules are what happens when you let a bunch of country club lawyers write ’em.

  8. Two rules in particular that are counter productive are the groove rules and anchored putting. I’ve been a single digit player for 70 years but am handicapped by not having enough swing speed to back up my wedges and yet the new groove rules haven’t affected scoring by the elite as intended. I use a long putter and can have my upper hand touch my shirt but not my chest. Now the USGA has proposed allowing a drop from one inch thus creating another rule that can’t be enforced.
    The two major factors resulting in less play are time and cost and those should be the major focus of the USGA. Scoring records are being obliterated and the USGA needs to forget about the sanctity of par and move on to the real problems affecting the 99.9 percent.

  9. This definition works well, especially because it eliminates the participation of a third-party recorded audience. The sponsors of a large event might use rules officials for a consistent interpretation, but the burden falls entirely on the players. Simplification is always better.

  10. Golf without rules is like tennis without a net. We need the rules so that we and our pals can play the same game. That said, the rules should make sense to the well-meaning golfer. When I was younger I usually could figure out, pretty easily, the purpose of a rule. It is no longer clear to me why some of the rules are the way they are. If the fair-play purpose of the rule was evident, it wouldn’t need much explanation. The new rules on bracing and long putters come to mind.

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