March 5, 2004
Earlier this year I took two columns to discuss the newly adopted changes to the official Rules of Golf, enacted by the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient.
It just so happens that another set of golf rules exists, but these are not nearly so official.
I received my copy of these “other” Rules of Golf in a series of e-mails from Bill Maxwell and Mike Conlon, two golfing buddies I meet each year for a spring golf vacation, usually in either Pinehurst or Myrtle Beach.
Bill, Mike, and about a dozen other friends are more than eager to use the Internet to swap tall tales, jokes, and smart remarks about each other and golf, especially in the months leading up to our time together.
I don’t know where they found these Rules, but the family-friendly ones are well worth sharing. In no particular order, here they are:
Rule #1—A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed on the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into rough, with no penalty. Players should not be penalized for uncontrollable mechanical phenomena.
Rule #2—A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck, and luck has no place in a scientific game. The player must estimate the distance the ball would have traveled had it not hit the tree, and play the ball from there.
Rule #3—There is no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, making it a stolen ball. The player is not to compound the felony by being charged with a penalty stroke.
Rule #4—If a putt passes over a hole without dropping in, it is deemed to have dropped. The law of gravity supersedes the law of golf.
Rule #5—Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they can be blown in may be blown in. This rule does not apply to balls sitting more than 3 inches from the hole. After all, no one wants to make a travesty of the game.
Rule #6—There is no penalty for so-called “out of bounds.” If penny-pinching golf club owners bought sufficient land, this would not occur. The golfer deserves an apology, not a penalty.
Rule #7—There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, because golf balls should float. The fact that they do not is a technical problem that the manufacturers have yet to overcome. Golfers should not be penalized for manufacturers’ shortcomings.
Rule #8—Advertisements proclaim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new clubs, balls, shoes, etc. Since this creates a financially impossible burden on the average golfer, a stroke per hole may be subtracted for those golfers using old equipment.
Rule #9—Delays in play can adversely affect a player’s game. Therefore, any player forced to wait for the group in front to finish a shot before he can play may deduct one stroke deducted from his score for that hole.
Rule #10—No players should be held up by another golfer taking too many putts. Therefore, any player who has not holed out after two putts shall pick up his ball and post a score as if the second putted went in.
Rule #11—Golf carts are a distraction. Therefore, every player in a group in which any player uses a cart shall deduct five strokes from his score.
Rule #12—Golfers who claim they don’t cheat, also lie.
Rule #13—You can hit a 2-acre fairway 10% of the time, and a 2-inch branch 90% of the time.
Rule #14—A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponent’s luck.
Rule #15—Nonchalant putts count just as much as chalant putts.
Readers are welcome to send in more golf rules to fschranck- at holebyhole.com.