Golf Is a Gentleman's Game
By mustang6560 on 8/18/10
Ever since Dustin Johnson's now infamous "bunker" shot on the 18th hole at Whistling Straits, I've been thinking about the rules of golf that govern this great game.

It got me thinking, do you call violations on yourself? Much less, if you were playing a course similar to Whistling Straits, would you penalize yourself if you found out you violated a local rule by grounding your club in a "bunker"?

Rick Reilly wrote a column and took some jabs at the rules of golf and those in charge of writing them.
Golf is the best game with the stupidest rules ever invented.

It is considered heroic to call violations of these rules on yourself, even when the rules themselves are as dumb as a box of hair.
There are many silly rules in golf that Reilly cites in his column like if the wind moves your ball and your club was near it or addressing it, it's counted as a shot. The question I have for you is, would you call that on yourself?

Granted, you are not playing with golf immortality and millions of dollars on the line so the situation is not quite the same as Dustin. However the level of integrity remains the same no matter the skill level. Do you take stroke and distance when your tee shot goes OB? Do you move your ball when it's behind a tree? Do you "give" yourself that close putt you missed to save par?

If you had asked my those questions a year ago I would have answered NO, YES and YES. But now I am playing more golf and can see a greater level of improvement in my game. And I'd rather not beat my score and penalize myself than set a personal record and know there is an asterisk by it. Even if I am the only person that knew about the violation, I would rather know I played the game the way it was supposed to play.

Despite the "stupidest rules ever invented", I think most Sunday golfers are like me and count every stroke. Even if that is the difference between a 91 and an 89.


Full Story

photo source


[ comments ]
Bryan K says:
I think that as a player's game gets better, he adheres to the rules more.

For me, it's all about competition. If I'm out there competing with myself and just having fun, I might bend a few rules here and there. But then I record the round as a practice round so it doesn't affect my handicap. These rounds tend to be my worst rounds anyway, so no one can accuse me of sandbagging.

When it comes to competing with others, though, it's all about integrity. I don't want to win an event because I broke the rules. That would classify me as a cheater. I'd rather be a loser than a cheater.

There are a few rules I never break, though. White stakes are always stroke and distance. Putts need to be made. If I can't hit my shot from behind a tree, it's a stroke to move it out.
8/18/10
 
Bryan K says:
The ones I don't call on myself (if I'm playing by myself)? Accidentally grounding a club in a hazard, for instance. Stroke and distance on lost balls when I failed to hit a provisional is another example. Playing a lateral hazard when there is nowhere else my ball could have gone even if I don't actually see the ball going into the hazard is yet another example.
8/18/10
 
birdieXris says:
I play them all. Sometimes to the chagrin of the people i'm playing with. Ex. Last week i played out in york with a couple of guys and hit my second shot into the junk on the left. Knowing i wouldn't find it and the area wasn't marked, i got ready to hit a provisional. The guys didn't hear me yelling to them because they were already half way to their respective shots, and i had to wait while they drove 200 yards ahead of me and turned around so i could wave that i was hitting a provisional which i hit -- over their cart because they left it parked in the middle of the fairway while they "got out of the way" LOL. I love golf. It led to a double, but that's the game. Next time i'll put a better swing on it.
8/18/10
 
Bryan K says:
Was there no local rule designating the junk as a lateral hazard?

But, yes...I've had that happen as well.
8/18/10
 
birdieXris says:
I don't know i didn't really look at the rules sheet.




too soon?
8/18/10
 
lcgolfer64 says:
I think its dependant on the people you are playing with and the condidtions you're playing under on the course. I try to follow the 'letter of the law' as I keep a GHIN handicap.

But as an example, I was playing at a course recently and our group was given the stink-eye by the marshal for 'slow play' when he happened to be near where we were teeing off and two folks in our group had to hit provisional's off the tee. He came up and said "next time have them just hit from where it went out."

'Funny' part was, no one was waiting behind us and we actually had a hole lead from the last group. and no one had really been waiting all day.
So because of the marshal, they supposed to impose a 2 shot penalty on themselves for not re-hitting off the tee? (in that situation that would have had to be assessed.)
8/18/10
 
Kurt the Knife says:
I play as close to the book as I can remember the rules as they pertain to each event. Except stroke and distance if I can't find my ball. Too many folks waiting behind me. If there is ANY doubt, a provisional takes flight. My wife says I'm too hard on myself counting every ball into the lakes,OOB and behind stuff. I have become the master of the short,lateral toss back onto the fairway. If I don't establish a consistent standard, I'm not satisfied I'll ever really know if/when/how I'm improving.
8/18/10
 
Bryan K says:
Birdiexris: That's actually one thing I make sure of....I always read whatever rule sheet/score card they have available when golfing at a new course. I've saved myself quite a few strokes over the last couple of years for taking free drops out of areas where I would have otherwise penalized myself for hitting.

That said, most of the people I play with also think I'm too hard on myself for following as many rules as I do. One of the questions I honestly have to ask myself from time to time is "would that rule infraction have helped my score any?"
8/18/10
 
tennesseeboy says:
Call me crazy but one of the many things I love about golf is the challenge of following the rules. Dustin Johnson did not gain any advantage by grounding his club and the resulting penalty cost him dearly. That doesn't seem fair but that's the way things sometimes happen in golf and in life. Any time we make a stupid mistake, we wish we could find a way to make the mistake go away. In golf you usually can fix mistakes by cheating. I remember last year I accidentally hit my ball while making a practice stoke before a putt. I could easily have made this stupid mistake go away by moving the ball back where it belonged. I did not move the ball back although I can give you plenty of arguments why I should be allowed to do so. If you accidentally knock your ball off the tee before a tee shot you can replace it with no penalty, why can't you do the same thing on the green? The rules are the rules and a gentleman does his best to follow them in golf and in life.
8/18/10
 
bkuehn1952 says:
The rule I break most often in casual rounds is holing out everything. My standard is anything less than 18 inches is good unless there is something unusual about the putt (i.e. extremely downhill or sidehill). Anytime I actually hit the ball counts as a stroke and I do not want to delay others in marking and lining up an 18 incher. If the choice is standing funny and reaching across the hole to make a 18 inch tap-in or just scooping it away, I scoop. If I miss that 18 incher while standing funny and reaching, it is a stroke. Before I take a stroke I want to address the ball properly and make a normal stroke.
8/18/10
 
bkuehn1952 says:
@tennesseeboy: when you accidently hit a ball while taking a practice stroke, one should return the ball to the original position and take a 1 stroke penalty. Since it was not your intent to hit the ball, the action is not considered a stroke. However there is a penalty for accidently hitting or moving a ball that is in play with some exceptions (e.g. prior to putting a ball in play from a teeing ground).
8/18/10
 
mustang6560 says:
@birdieXris's second post- LOL :D
8/18/10
 
tennesseeboy says:
@bkuehn1952 - Thanks. I guess I still ended up cheating. Here is another situation I encountered Saturday. I hit my tee shot way left and knew it might be in the high grass. I took the guy I was sharing a cart with to his ball and then went to my ball. When I got there, another guy that was playing with us hands me my ball. I ask were he found it. He says "Over there in the high grass". I toss the ball to where he pointed in the grass and played from there. He said "Man you're a fundamentalist". I'm not sure what I was suppose to do in that situation.
8/18/10
 
Banker85 says:
The better i have gotten the more strict i am on my on game. sometimes you get caught up tin the group you are playing with too. A lot of times people i play with use mulligans quite frequently i dont like to but when they keep saying hit another hit another sometimes i will. I just want to know my best score and if i cheat i wont be able to brag about it later asi am an awful liar and hate cheaters.
8/18/10
 
Optimus Prime says:
I believe golf is one of the greatest test of integrity there is. There is something to be said about a person who will cheat on themselves. We've all done it. A person really learns how honest they really are. I know when I "bend" the rules a little, I feel a little less about myself. Integrity is also what makes the game so good. The rules can make you a better person.
8/18/10
 
Bryan K says:
ya...birdieXris's post was a good one:)

Tennesseeboy: The problem I run into is when people tap my ball back at me when I just miss a long putt. I've missed a six incher before. It's not good until it hits the bottom of the cup, but what am I supposed to do when they move it out of the way?
8/18/10
 
SteveMM says:
I just started playing last July. I wasn't able to play all winter (bad winter) so I really have about 5-6 months under my belt with this game. I'm starting to improve, and as I'm improving I'm following the rules more and more. I don't think anyone should hold a beginner's feet to the fire on even the basic rules.
8/18/10
 
Bryan K says:
Here is another one. When I line up my putts, I've just started using an arrow on my ball to get a better line. When I move my ball to line the shot up, I always put my marker down first (like you're supposed to). My partner told me the other day that I didn't have to when we were playing by ourselves. I tried it once, and I quickly came to the realization that doing so would be a very hard habit to break, and it could be quite costly in a tournament one day. Lesson hopefully learned.
8/18/10
 
Bryan K says:
So if I accidentally hit the ball with a practice stroke, I don't have the option of just calling it a stroke?
8/18/10
 
tennesseeboy says:
@ SteveMM - I ignore the rules all the time. It's called a practice round. Someone who is a beginner should be allowed a few liberties as should the guy who plays once a year and can't break 150 with taking a few Mulligans. I think where people get upset is when someone starts maintaining a handicap or claiming the broke 90 when they make no effort to follow the rules.
8/18/10
 
bkuehn1952 says:
@Bryan K: One can look up the exact definition of a stroke in the Rules of Golf. Essentially, a stroke is the forward movement of the club with the intention of striking the ball in play. Since hitting the ball in play by accident does not have the requisite intent, it is not a stroke. If you accidentally hit the ball, no one knows your intent so you could claim you intended to hit the ball. Same with a whiff - was it a practice swing or a complete miss?

In casual play I count my whiffs. Fortunately they are rare but there are times we all try awkward shots and end up flailing the air. If I hit or move a ball by accident in casual play, I tend to replace it and not take the penalty. Since I know the penalty for moving a ball in play, I rarely put myself in a position that it will occur.
8/18/10
 
birdieXris says:
@Bryan - you couldn't have set me up more perfectly for that response. Thanks!! :) but seriously, yea i did read them and there's nothing about it. its just all waist high rough. I just call it junk because it's just that. JUNK. bugs and ivy and nastiness. if you can find it, you can play it. ..... IF you find it. Springwood GC. gotta love it :) beautiful though.
8/18/10
 
birdieXris says:
@icgolfer - I had that happen in my group once. The course will remain unnamed because it's a great course and this jackhole isn't there anymore, but he gave us such a stink eye because of it and said the same thing your guy did - that we shouldn't be hitting two balls and such. I looked right at him and said "so you're changing the rules of golf? because going out of bounds is a stroke and distance penalty. if you know the president of the USGA and can call him and ask him if we can still post these scores for our handicaps, i'd appreciate it if you would. I'd like to go patronize your restaurant faster if at all possible. If not, please leave us to our game that we PAID FOR, since we're not holding anyone up". I got the razz by the clubhouse staff when we went in and gave them the same answer. what an old grump that guy was.
8/18/10
 
bkuehn1952 says:
@tennesseeboy: you did the correct thing. When an outside agency (animal, spectator, another golfer, etc...) moves your ball, you are supposed to drop your ball as near to the original location as possible - no penalty (exc. on the green replace the ball rather than drop it).

The problem is often the outside agency takes your ball when you are not looking. I once had to chase down another group and then inspect each of the balls on the green in order to retrieve my ball. One of them had played my ball to another green. Fortunately I mark my golf balls in a fairly unique manner so they did not dispute my taking back the ball, although they did give me the stink eye for interrupting their round.
8/18/10
 
windowsurfer says:
Gimmes are pretty common, but they can sure be troublemakers! Nothing worse than taking every gimme on a multi-game road trip with the boys, then coming home to play in a league game or a serious match and find yourself sweating over that slick sidehill 18 incher when no one says, "pick it up".
8/18/10
 
wrhall02 says:
This one hit a nerve...I apologize in advance for the following rant...
In this world of ours where violating "rules" has little consequences, I take refuge in golf where rules mean everything and are self enforced. To me, there is no better judge of character and integrity than to play golf with someone and observe their behavior. If they cheat in a meaningless game of golf, they are not to be trusted with anything important. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if you score 100, 90 or 80?
To be considered a legit game of golf, every stroke must be counted until the ball is in the hole, period. I do like and recommend practice rounds. During which, I re-take shots, improve the lie, take mulli's etc. BUT I DO NOT track the score or post it to affect my handicap. A practice round is just that, to work out some kinks, whether physical or mental.
8/18/10
 
Bryan K says:
Here is another one. A lot of the time, when my ball is pretty close to the pin, another player will replace the pin assuming I'm going to take a "gimme" when I insist on putting out. I feel like a doof if I ask him to pull the pin (especially when he's halfway back to the cart) or if I take the time to pull it myself, but sinking those 18 inchers is GREAT practice. So I'll occasionally putt out with the pin in the hole when I know that the pin isn't going to affect the putt without taking a two stroke penalty.
8/18/10
 
mdbuschsr says:
When I decided to start taking the game more seriously and track my improvement, I was amazed at my real scores. When you stop taking gimmees, fluffing the lie, and the ever present mulligans your score will almost certainly sky rocket.

I went from a HC of 15 to a 23 almost overnight when I started following all of the rules to the best of my ability and knowledge. I'm still learning the finer rules so it's likely that I'm breaking a few here and there. Sometimes it's still hard to count that odd/weird infraction, but I do!
8/18/10
 
mdbuschsr says:
I did not read all of the comments above before posting. The last sentence posted by Bryan Kautzman caught my eye. I thought that pulling the flag when on the green was more of an etiquette thing. So, I went to the rules section on PGA.com to verify. I've been breaking that rule for a long LONG time.

Perhaps my HC should be more like 40? I guess I have a lot to learn.
8/18/10
 
bkuehn1952 says:
As one can see, the golfing world has a variety of outlooks about the rules. I find people that insist on following every point to extreme in even the most casual rounds to be a bit of a bother. To have someone look down their nose at me for violating the Rules of Golf as I pickup my ball 6 inches from the hole is amusing. Wow, I am a cheater and illegitimate golfer with no integrity who is not to be trusted in any endeavor!
8/18/10
 
paddy01 says:
As I'm yet to play a competitive game the only person I'd be cheating by not following the rules is myself. Also as a complete novice I want an accurate assessment of my game ready for when the time comes to play something competitive.

It's a personal thing for me too is that I wouldn't want to rock up to my first competitive game with a 14 handicap and then play like the 28 I actually am, I'd find such a situation deeply embarrassing.
8/18/10
 
tennesseeboy says:
@mdbuschst - I agree, I'm thinking I should delete every round I've entered into oob as I have obviously never completed a round without a rules violation. I just noticed the rule of the day on the USGA's website . If you find a range ball on the course and hit it back onto the range, you have violated rule 7-2.
8/18/10
 
Bryan K says:
Sweet! Is that a two-stroke penalty if you hit a ball back onto the range? The reason I ask is because it's a bit more than mildly annoying when I hear a "thwack" from the guy who I thought was walking behind me and hit the dirt because he is hitting a ball back onto the range.
8/18/10
 
bkuehn1952 says:
7-2/5 Hitting Practice Range Ball Back to Range
Q. During play of a hole, a player saw some balls from the adjoining practice range lying on the course and flicked one back to the range with his club. Is there a penalty under Rule 7-2?
A. In some circumstances the hitting of a practice range ball back towards the range during the play of a hole would be a breach of Rule 7-2, but the casual flicking of a range ball, apparently only for the purpose of tidying up the course, is not a breach.
8/18/10
 
KVSmith59 says:
my group putts out everything. Every one of us has at one point missed a short putt. We also follow the rules to the best of our knowledge. We are a bunch of old guys (50+) so we really don't give a damn what other golfers think. As noted above, if you don't follow the rules as much as you can, you might as well place an astericks next to your score as you're only cheating yourself. You can't get better if you don't know what your "true" score is.
8/18/10
 
tennesseeboy says:
@bkuehn1952 - Yes, flicking is legal but when I find a range ball, I view it as a free range ball and take a free practice shot. A few weeks ago, I bet I hit ten balls back on the range... I'm so ashamed.
8/18/10
 
Bryan K says:
lol tennesseboy. I crap you not, though...more than once, I've been walking down a fairway and have hit the deck because I hear that familiar "thwack" behind me. Maybe it's post-traumatic stress from actually being hit with a golf ball a couple of times, but when I know someone in my group is walking behind me, I will hit the deck when I hear that sound.
8/18/10
 
paddy01 says:
The 9th hole of my local course is a lovely little downhill par 3, it's also adjacent to the range. If you pull it left off the tee you'd better be wearing a motorcycle helmet for your next shot if the range is busy..it's not at all uncommon to find range balls on the 9th green :-)
8/18/10
 
cjgiant says:
@bkuehn1952 - I too "am a cheater and illegitimate golfer with no integrity who is not to be trusted in any endeavor!"

If you are in a competition and do not call any rules violation on yourself (no matter how much you disagree with them), that is a direct challenge of your integrity.

However, I can make an argument that if playing to post to a handicap, those penalties that fall into Reily's "stupidest rules ever invented" should be ignored. Is your handicap a fair measure of your ability if an oddball penalty increases your score? So you putt out from 6" with the pin in and score a 77 instead of a 75. It's actually a great way to sandbag.

Now we just need to agree which rules are stupid and which are "fair".
8/18/10
 
bkuehn1952 says:
@cjgiant: I agree with you totally.
8/18/10
 
jbird2011 says:
I have to say what I say to all the guys on my team: "The 1st rule of Golf is to have fun!" "Rule #2....If you suck...suck fast" (meaning hurry up, nothing sexual). People shouldnt feel bad or think they are cheaters when they go out with their buddies and they are taking mulligans, rolling their ball over, or taking gimmies. Anybody who thinks different needs to remember that this is just a game.

I played competively from 6th grade into college. After I graduated I started playing with beginers and felt stupid being the stickler on rules so I became a little lax on rules. However, I always felt following the rules by the book was for serious competition.

As for the people that try to use the "handicap" argument...If you post scores that are lower than usual than you are only hurting yourself.
8/18/10
 
stedar says:
Funny thing rules.
If you knowingly break them, you often get a worse result on the score sheet.
If you play by them and do your best to get-over-a-bad-result on 1 hole, you make a few great shots on others and seem to be better off.
Or at least, this is what I've found.

Tough break for Dustin, but then again, any bare ground has always been a hazard (bunker or not, you can not ground your club in a hazard; under trees etc). I think Dustin will think twice about any bare ground/sand and he will be all the better for it. Look for him in the future - he will be holding a trophy soon and deserve it :-)
8/18/10
 
cjgiant says:
@stedar - can you refer me to the USGA rule for "any bare ground has always been a hazard (bunker or not, you can not ground your club in a hazard; under trees etc)", specifically under trees?
8/18/10
 
legitimatebeef says:
I hit all my putts in the hole. Yeah, it's the rules, but after a while I stop caring about that. I just like putting the ball in the hole 18 times. It's a feeling of completeness that you just don't get by picking up putts. Plus I like to see how perfectly centered and paced to hit back of the cup I can hit those little 1-2 footers. I feel like it gives me a little practice by doing that every time and ultimately helps my holing ability from all distances.

Sometimes I knock in a short putt with the flagstick still in if someone's still off the green, and not give myself the penalty.
8/18/10
 
JuKu says:
@bkuehn1952: "18-1. If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced." A drop is a two stoke penalty for breaking rule 18. By decision 1-4/12, there is no additional penalty for playing from a wrong place.
8/19/10
 
stedar says:
@cjgiant:
Grounding a club under a tree has been a hazard for me - if a loose impediment moves the ball due to something I moved (hand or club) then it is a penalty. Under trees has plenty of loose impediments, often not seen to be obvious until the ball moves. I use the terms loosely, only to make a point about the rules. Golf has so many, that the only relief that can be taken is from local rules like GUR, clean and place, etc. Sorry if I offended, was just relaying my thoughts about what happened to DJ and my own experience of loosing a stroke or two...
8/19/10
 
bkuehn1952 says:
@JuKu: I stand corrected. The rule does stipulate that if the original location can be determined that the ball is to be replaced rather than dropped, not just on the green.
8/19/10
 
cjgiant says:
@stedar -
I was not offended, but curious, because others have pointed out rules (or rulings) that I wouldn't have believed but found to be true. So you were saying you treat any bare ground as a hazard (especially under trees). I can accept that, but it did not come across in your post.
8/19/10
 
Ace087 says:
Talk about honesty OOBGOLF should come up with some kind of penalty for false info. Do you know the first 500 and change of the fairways in regulation leaderboard all have 100%. Some of these clowns have 100's of rounds. Maybe oob can open a site that shows hammerheads how to get percentages.
8/24/10
 
[ post comment ]
 
    New Products
    Stats
    Caption This
    World Am
    How Bizarre!
Most Popular:

Subscribe