Worst/Dumbest Golf Rule
By Kickntrue on 8/12/09
What is the worst or dumbest rule in all of golf? What rule would you most like to see changed either because it's no longer applicable or just doesn't make sense in the first place?

(This could win an award for the most open ended post of all time on oobgolf. I'll even post mine in the comments instead of in-post.)


[ comments ]
Kickntrue says:
I'm not going to get all fancy and quote by rule/section/etc- but it just blows me away that on a windy day- you can mark your ball on the green- put your ball down, and move the mark- and if the ball blows away- it's a penalty. I mean... I can't even fathom how someone would come up with this to put in the rules in the first place. I can't think of any situation where this makes sense to penalize the player.
8/12/09
 
falcon50driver says:
I think it's a damn shame that they make you count every single stroke, even the ones that only go 20 yards or so. THEN, you lose a $4 pro-v-1 in a pond and they add insult to injury with a penalty stroke. No wonder I have such a hard time breaking 80.
8/12/09
 
Upstart says:
1. Not being able to fix a pitch/ball mark on the fringe if you are going to putt over it.

2. Loose Impediments

3. Rule 18-2b says that a ball moving after he has addressed it (other than as a result of a stroke) is deemed to have been moved by the player. He must replace the ball and incur a penalty of one stroke. Unless, of course, the ball moves after he's begun his backward stroke.

4. No Range Finders
Rule 14-3b disallows the use of range finders to determine distance. Specifically, it disallows "any artificial device or unusual equipmentn++ for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play."

5. Hitting from a Divot
Tournaments have been won and lost because, on the 18th hole, someone stripes a drive down the middle of the fairway only to find themselves in a divot. Yet rule 13-1 says that the ball "must be played as it lies, except as otherwise provided in the Rules." The rules say nothing about a divot in the fairway.
8/12/09
 
pikapp23 says:
Not being allowed to fix 'spike marks' on the green. The bad thing about this rule is that if you play early you might not have any to worry about, but late in the day, especially when greens are soft, this can be a serious issue. I think you should be allowed to fix or 'tamp them down' just as you are allowed to with a ballmark

The one thing about the rules is that they are intended to be very black and white, not making differentiations that players can take advantage of. Most rules that we as golfers hate or dislike are those that affect us on honest issues, but if the rule were not present someone would find a way to take advantage of it (the divot rule is good example - when is a divot in fairway no longer a divot and who makes that decision?)
8/12/09
 
bducharm says:
Stroke AND distance is the worst rule - out of bounds should be treated like a lateral hazard. 2 club lengths from the nearest spot and 1 stroke penalty.

Merlin - you crack me up!!!
8/12/09
 
MJKern44 says:
I agree with bducharm...Nothing worse than playing a hole that has a severly sloped fairway. You torch the drive down the middle, only to find that it trinkled down through the fairway and into the woods. Then to make matures worse, your great drive turns into hitting 4 from the edge of the woods and scrambling to save a double bogey!!!!! ARGHHHHHHH
8/12/09
 
KVSmith59 says:
ditto on kickntrue's....that's gotta be the dumbest rule ever.
8/12/09
 
kidputter says:
Addressing a ball on the tee and having it fall off due to wind. Having to replace the ball and take a penalty stroke. That cost me an ACE in a tournament 2 years ago and a custom golf car.
8/12/09
 
mmontisano says:
along with Upstart, i have to say range finders during tournament play. especially with slow play being such a hot topic right now because of Paddy at Firestone. having a range finder for the pros would speed up play exponentially.
8/12/09
 
falcon50driver says:
kidputter, That's gotta be the worst par ever.
8/12/09
 
Zotisk says:
Stroke and distance on a lost ball. It's essentially setting up different rules for pros and amateurs, because pros have forecaddies that find 99% of those balls.

And kidputter - that's not a penalty. If you are on the tee and accidentally bump the ball (even during a practice swing), that's no penalty. The reason is that the ball isn't "in play" yet, so it's intent that counts. This rule 11-3. Here's a nice little video answer from Golf Digest:

www.golfdigest.com/magazine/video/2007/09/rogwag

So, if you had your rulebook handy that day (I always have one in my bag) - you would have had that ace and the custom golf car...
8/12/09
 
umdoh says:
Well as for the "tamping down" and the repair cleat marks. I understand those rules. I have played with (stopped playing with partly because of) people who would use that rule to their advantage if it weren't there. Imagine a Jack A lining up a 5ft putt to win. He says "oh cleat marks. goes up and pats down the cleat mark with the edge of his putter half way to the hole. Thus creating a "groove" for the ball to roll on. As for the repairing a mark on the fringe I don't have a problem with that either. The point is on that shot you have many options for that shot. Just takes the putter out of it. I have played on courses that actually didn't have a fringe. it was green then fairway / rough.
8/12/09
 
umdoh says:
As for the divot in the fairway.. i agree there. that is dumb. as is the wind blown ball. thats why i never touch down my putter behind the ball until i am ready to start my back swing with it. But the one that irritates me is plugged balls. I have a crazy high ball flight and i plug a lot of balls in the fairway. ESP in the mornings. That gets irritating.
8/12/09
 
umdoh says:
Zotisk: is that for any shots or JUST on the T shot? I have a guy that constantly takes his practice swings or sets up so close to the ball for actually addressing it. He has hit it on a practice swing or setup more than one occasion.
8/12/09
 
Zotisk says:
kidputter:

11-3. Ball Falling off Tee

If a ball, when not in play, falls off a tee or is knocked off a tee by the player in addressing it, it may be re-teed, without penalty. However, if a stroke is made at the ball in these circumstances, whether the ball is moving or not, the stroke counts, but there is no penalty.
8/12/09
 
Kickntrue says:
@umdoh- just on the tee. after that- the ball is "in-play" so the same grace doesn't apply. Honestly- I think that is the ONLY grace you'll find in the whole rule book.
8/12/09
 
Zotisk says:
umdoh, Kickntrue is correct.

I learned this rule well when my uncle tried to cheat me out of a stroke... I was beating him (ended the round badly so this stroke didn't end up mattering) when I went to address the ball and bumped the ball off the tee. The ball traveled 3-4 inches and ended up in front of the tees. He claimed that the ball was now in play and that it was a penalty. I didn't know any better at the time, but I found out later that a ball cannot become "in-play" until you make a stroke. So, if you accidentally bump the ball during address or during a practice swing (tee box only) - it's not in play even if it travels 40 yards. You weren't making a stroke at the ball so you're safe.

Once "in-play", everything counts as a stroke!
8/12/09
 
luv2teeitup says:
kidputter is wrong. If wind knocks the ball off of the tee, it can be replaced with no penalty. Having not been struck by the club yet, it is not deemed to have been put in play. There is no penalty for a ball move that has not been put into play yet.
8/12/09
 
Zotisk says:
Even more on this one...

If you make a stroke on the tee box and "whiff", the ball is now "in-play". So if you bump it now, that's a stroke.
8/12/09
 
Zotisk says:
luv2teeitup:

As my previous post notes, on the tee box, intent to hit the ball is a stroke (whether you actually hit it or not). Accidentally hitting the ball is not a stroke, but attempting to hit the ball is.
8/12/09
 
cprilleux says:
Not grounding the club in a hazard. What is the purpose of that?
8/12/09
 
ksu_FAN says:
I agree that in modern golf stroke and distance is probably the most severe rule for most mid to high handicappers that might not always hit it straight. I would like to see it played as a lateral drop as well; granted this means that the ball should be dropped where the ball crosses the obstruction and is lost, not where a person "thinks" the ball landed. I also agree on playing balls in divots, especially in the fairway.
8/12/09
 
kidputter says:
I'm ticked off now. I had only been playing for about 8 months when this happened. EVERY person in my group told me it was a stroke and penalty. I asked a few others at the time and they all said the same. I WANT MY DAMNED GOLF CAR!
8/12/09
 
ezra_hendrickx says:
Umdoh said:
"But the one that irritates me is plugged balls. I have a crazy high ball flight and i plug a lot of balls in the fairway. ESP in the mornings. That gets irritating.15 hours ago"

If a ball is in its own pitch mark, you can drop it 'for free'. Hope you enjoy your morning rounds more now.
8/13/09
 
joowen says:
I still remember Craig Stadler penalized for the time he had to hit out from under a bush and he put a towel down to keep his knees clean.Has to be one of the dumbest rules of all times.
8/13/09
 
Bryan K says:
There are two rules that peeve me, and both have been mentioned briefly.

The first is the stroke AND penalty rule. When I'm golfing by myself and I'm shotting my drive into the sun, what choice do I have sometimes when I don't see the drive?

The second is when the forces of nature have an effect on my ball. If my ball is sitting at the edge of a sand trap for five minutes, and the wind blows it into the sand without any interference from me, why should I have to take a penalty?
8/13/09
 
SingleDigits says:
Not a stupid ruling, but here's a pretty funny one...

25-1b/25 Ball Enters Burrowing Animal Hole in Bunker and Is Found Underneath Putting Green

Q. A ball enters a burrowing animal hole in a greenside bunker and is found underneath the putting green. As the ball is not in the bunker or on the putting green, is relief taken in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i), i.e., through the green?

A. Yes. The player would drop the ball without penalty on a part of the course through the green within one club-length of the nearest point to its position in the burrowing animal hole that avoids interference from the condition and is not in a hazard or on the putting green.
8/13/09
 
Bryan K says:
Hey....I'm not going to argue. Any time I'm allowed to take free relief, I'm going to take it.

I also thought I'd point out that this rule does not specify anything about the actual cup. Is the cup considered part of the putting green?

Now...to find a burrowing animal hole.....
8/13/09
 
tennesseeboy says:
I would like to propose a new rule. A ball must have an embedded RFID chip to be USGA approved. I have not tried the radargolf (radargolf.com) system but I do know that RFID technology works and is inexpensive. I hate searching for lost balls. RFID is a great solution to the lost ball problem. The golf ball companies will NEVER do this on their own because it would cut their sales in half.
8/13/09
 
mattlagolf says:
the rule that one must tee the ball behind the marker, i shoot 18 and then reed the rule book and it said i encour a 1 stroke penalty for teeing infront of the marker, WHAT A DUM RULE.



























KIDDING
8/13/09
 
Optimus Prime says:
The rule preventing one from cleaning a mud ball when not on the green.
8/13/09
 
Matt F says:
The rule of a 1 stroke penalty if your ball hits your or your partners equipment (including cart and partner).

Matt
8/14/09
 
eggdog17 says:
well all lot of rules confound golfers, the one i cant grasp is signing score cards. granted, i see the benefit for lower level tourneys. it bugs me when pros mess up and get DQ'ed. we all know what they shot, yet registering a bad score or signing the wrong score card will ruin a player. i know its tradition, but come on we see almost every shot on television and i'm guessing that every shot is recorded for stats. so why not just use electronic scoring.

on range finders- i thought they were ok for tournament play. only the ones with slope adjustability are banned from tourny play.
8/15/09
 
ncramsey83 says:
I happen to think limiting players to only 14 clubs in their bag is a ridiculous rule. With all the specialized clubs offered today, why limit your options. I know caddies may disagree but I see no logical reason for limiting the amount of clubs we carry! (or in most cases-place in our cart bags)!!
8/16/09
 
BarryRhodes says:
I think that everyone should consider WHY a Rule is in the Rule book before saying that it shouldn't be there. For example Mattlagolf says, "the rule that one must tee the ball behind the marker, i shoot 18 and then reed the rule book and it said i encour a 1 stroke penalty for teeing infront of the marker". Firstly, it is a 2 stroke penalty (Rule 11-4b) and if he didn't play correct the mistake by playing from within the correct teeing ground it's disqualification. But why is the rule there? Well, if you place you ball in front of the markers when does it become necessary to impose a penalty? 1 foot? 1 yard? 50 yards? Also, suppose that on a par-3 everyone has taken divots out of the teeing ground and a player decides that he will play from 6 inches in front of the markers, where there is still fresh grass, is this fair on all the other competitors?
8/25/09
 
BarryRhodes says:
With regard to the stroke and distance penalty for lost balls. If your ball is lost how would you know where to drop the ball? You may have had a blind tee shot over a rise with out of bounds on the right, a small forest of trees and a water hazard. Your ball could arguably be anywhere within say a 100 yards radius, out of bounds, in the trees (or even up a tree) or in the water hazard. No, the only way that it can be certain that you complete play of the hole as required is to go back to where you last played your stroke from.
8/25/09
 
Kickntrue says:
@BarryRhodes- I agree with you man. On both counts. Doesn't mean I don't think there are dumb rules (I did write the post afterall) but I agree that those two specific examples are not part of them.
8/25/09
 
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