November 20, 2015
The Official Rules of Golf sometimes give golfers relief from the shots they take.
The Unofficial Rules of Golf can provide even more assistance. In the late fall in the Cape Region, for example, the “Leaf Rule” can be very handy. That comes up when a ball bounces among fallen leaves and can’t be found during the Official 5-Minute Search.
The Official Rules call this a lost ball, meaning you go back to where you hit it and try again, with a penalty stroke to add to the agony. The Unofficial Leaf Rule lets you drop a new ball where you think it actually landed, without a penalty stroke, and play on.
Nonetheless, sometimes taking relief just isn’t enough.
During the first round of this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, Amelia Lewis, an LPGA golfer from Florida, had often struggled with drives that went off to the right.
Imagine her surprise when her tee shot on her sixteenth hole, the 205-yard par-3 8th, went left instead. It bounced to a stop just past the edge of the grandstand on the backside of the green.
This being tournament golf, Lewis was permitted to take relief from an unmovable obstruction.
A tall green wooden structure with dozens of seats and fans on it meets this definition.
Lewis took her drop to clear her route to the hole, and then faced her real problem. She had to flop a shot onto a broad green that sloped sharply away from her. The hole was nine yards from the right side, and only 7 yards from the back edge.
Her attempt landed well short of the hole, but rolled past it. The ball finally stopped in the right side fringe. Lewis’ next chip shot came up 10 feet short, and she couldn’t convert her bogey putt, earning her first double bogey of the day.
There’s only so much the Rules of Golf can do for you, officially or otherwise.
Rookery Pro-Am a success for First Tee of Delaware
Golf pros from across the state joined with their amateur partners for another edition of The Rookery Pro-Am Nov. 4. This year’s event switched from the Rookery North Course to the Rookery South, but the tournament beneficiary hasn’t changed.
The sponsors and players contributed a total of $4,000 to support the First Tee of Delaware program.
In the team competition, Rick McCall’s Wild Quail Golf & Country Club group, including McCall, Calvin Hudson, Scott Robertson, and Don Bailey, won first place on a match of cards at 28 under par, net.
A Rookery South team of pro Chris Osberg, Joe Shockley, Scott Shockley, and Mark Johnson took second. Third place, one stroke back, went to Heritage Shores golf pro Brooks Massey and his team, Shane Smart, Dave Clem, and Chris Lowe.
In the individual professional category, Heritage Shores’ Will Scarborough won first place with a 5-under par 66. Chris Gray took second, one stroke back. Chris Krueger, Kings Creek Country Club’s teaching pro, tied with Osberg and Dustin Riggs of Rehoboth Beach Country Club for third place, at 3-under par.
Butch Holtzclaw, Director of Golf for The Rookery, was the perfect host for his fellow golf professionals. He did not allow any of his friends to finish the tournament below him.
New Rules of Golf changes soften some of the hard edges
The 2016 edition of the Rules of Golf go into effect the first of the year, and incorporate a few welcome changes from the 2012 edition that controlled the game for the last four years.
One change deals with the situation where a ball moves on the putting surface after the player has addressed it, but before taking a stroke.
In the past, there was an automatic penalty assessed, except when it was “known or virtually certain” that the played did not cause the movement, such as in high wind conditions.
The new rule centers the inquiry on whether the player “causes the ball to move” in some fashion. If so, a one-stroke penalty is charged. If not, the ball is played from where it now lies, unless some other rule calls for a different response.
For example, if a ball at rest on the green begins to move without player involvement, and rolls into the cup, that’s it.
Another change deals with scoring in stroke play, when a player’s scorecard is inaccurate because the player incurred a penalty stroke and didn’t realize it at the time. Before this change, the failure to add that penalty stroke on the card meant complete disqualification from the tournament.
The new rule softens the blow, but only for the “didn’t know I had a penalty stroke on that hole” situation. The penalty stroke that should have been there is put back in, along with an additional two-stroke penalty (for not knowing the Rules well enough, frankly speaking)–but at least the player is not disqualified.
We’ll discuss the other rules changes in an upcoming column.