The Rules of Golf have taken a beating this year, further exposing to the masses that they’re more complicated than advanced calculus.
At a time when the game is in need of a growth spurt, many have suggested it’s time for the Rules to be simplified. Golf Digest has joined in the debate and listed some suggested some changes. Here’s our top ten suggestions made in the spirit of fairness and to speed up play. However you can’t play this way now or make these Local Rules without breaking the Rules of Golf and we’re not expecting the R&A or USGA to take any notice soon!
1. If a ball moves, even if you accidentally caused it to move on the green or when moving debris or you stood on it while searching, forget about it. How does it possibly help you?
2. You are allowed to tap down a spike mark on the green. Why not, it’s OK to repair a plugt mark so what’s the difference?
3. Remove rocks from the bunker that interfere with your stroke. Can you imagine explaining to your doctor how you managed to cause that serious eye injury because the Rules of Golf didn’t allow you to remove that one tiny stone? 4. One-Mark Procedure. You only get to mark your ball once on every green. Keep putting and hole out. The guys waiting on the fairway as you marking and placing three times on every green will be happy.
5. Agreement about ground conditions. “Can I take it out of this divot/footprint?” “or “That should be ground under repair”, just let common sense prevail. The sticklers call this “lift, clean and cheat,” but if even the pros call it winter rules, why shouldn’t you?
6. Accidental strokes don’t count. This usually happens on greens, put the ball back and be more careful.
7. There is no logic in out of bounds incurring a greater penalty than landing in the lake (hazard). Take a penalty; drop the ball where it left the course and play on. It speeds up play, eliminating provisional shots or the walk of shame back to the tee box when a player discovers his ball is out of bounds.
8. Hitting a ball off a root can cause permanent damage to a golf club and the person swinging it. It’s reasonable and safe to move the ball.
9. Drop On Other Side Of A Forced Carry. It’s fun to challenge yourself, but losing one ball is enough. If you find a hazard off the tee, drop on the other side, your wallet won’t complain.
10. The maximum during a stroke round is 5 over par on any hole. Once you’ve hit that number, just pick up and say “put me down for the max.” No one wants to see you hit 14 shots on one hole and even worse, watch you go through the process of counting them all.