Discussion: Should we bifurcate the Rules of Golf?
By mustang6560 on 11/29/12
Unless someone, somewhere thinks of something the USGA and R&A haven't already thought of, then the proposed ban on anchored putting will go into effect January 1, 2016. Both professional and amateur players, regardless of age, ability, gender, or religious affiliation, will be subject to a two-stroke penalty if they are found in breach of Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf.

It's no surprise that the ruling bodies decided to ban anchored putting — we've known about it for some time, however, now that it's official, the gentle whimpers to bifurcate the Rules of Golf have turned to loud cries. Brandel Chamblee, Johnny Miller, Greg Norman, and Gary Player are among those who are crying bifurcation the loudest. They want the ruling bodies to create two sets of rules — one for professional golfers and one for amateur golfers.

Brandel points out that most sports including football and baseball have two sets of rules to define nuances of the game. So in order to protect golf, the architects of the Rules of Golf should create a second set of rules for amateurs, which would allow things like anchored putting. But Mike Davis, the USGA Executive Director, contends "People who want to bifurcate don't understand what they're asking."

So naturally, we want to ask you. Should we bifurcate the Rules of Golf, creating a second set of rules for amateur golfers?

[ comments ]
dukedsp says:
I don't think so. Golf is hard and should be it is one of the things that makes it great. If you are playing competitively and/or keeping an official handicap the rules should all be the same in my opinion. If you are not doing those things then play any way that is fun for you. You don't need a second set of rules to play the way you want.

I guess I don't understand why there should be two sets of rules.
bducharm says:
I wish you wouldn't use that language!!! LOL - sorry, had to!

Most amateurs "bifurcate" the rules anyway so why create 2 sets! I would estimate that maybe 5% of amateurs are playing in competitions that follow USGA rules.
ppinkert says:
No I think a single set of rules is enough. I am an amateur and right now play for the health aspects and for fun. But, I would like to think that at some point I can set up an official handicap and perhaps play competitively. With a single set of rules, I believe, doing that would be much easier.
legitimatebeef says:
Good points by dukedsp and bducharm. There's too much whining about the rules driving people from the game. Who are these people and why should we bend over backwards to accommodate them. It's a hard game and as such its not going to appeal to everybody. And that's, OK. Anyways there is such a disregard and disrespect for the rules by amateurs that they don't even deserve a bifurcation.
dottomm says:
I'm relieved to see the comments being posted on here. The people who aren't playing competitively already play by a different set of rules as it seems most the people I set out with barely know that there are any rules at all, let alone etiquette.
bkuehn1952 says:
I think we already have bifurcation through the use of Local Rules. At high level USGA events or on the PGA Tour you won't see anyone using range finders and GPS units. These are allowed in lower level tournaments and every day play through the use of a Local Rule. I just wrote a letter to the USGA Excutive Committee with a suggestion to create a Specimen Local Rule that would allow "anchoring". Clubs would be allowed to post this Local Rule and allow players to continue to "anchor" their putter. People aspiring to play in high level amateur, college or professional events will naturally eschew the anchoring technique, leaving it for the rest of us schlubs who want to use long or belly putters in our casual play.

One set of Rules with accommodation for the other 99% via Local Rules.
Spaceman_Spiff says:
Duke said it best, sunday only players will play however they want. No need for two sets of rules. If you're not playing competitive or posting for handicaps then do what you want IMO.
mjaber says:
The rules are the rules. Leave 'em alone. If the rules are driving people away, then they are probably the same people that drive in the breakdown lane in traffic, drive everywhere with their highbeams on, and use aerosol cans for uses other than intended. If the game is going to grow, the cost for a round needs to come down, and the pace of play needs to increase.
Dusty23 says:
One difference between golf and other sports with two sets of rules is that nobody from the Old Farts baseball league is going to earn a spot in the World series, whereas a amateur golfer can get good enough to qualify to play in a professional event
jasonfish11 says:
mjaber - So every time you hit your ball into the woods and lose it you go back to the original spot and re-hit right? If you do that and you are a weekend golfer you are the reason pace of play is so slow. If you're a high level amateur or a pro then by all means practice to the letter of the law. But if you aren't below a 5 handicap just do what all other amateurs do and take a drop where the ball seemed to go in then use the logic of "if I were on the PGA tour a fan would be standing over my ball and I wouldn't have lost it."

I agree the rules are already bifurcated for the weekend golfers. And see no need to actually have 2 sets of rules. BTW I use a belly putter and am a weekend golfer.
joe jones says:
Bifurcation should be only used in controlling how far the ball flies. I think that is what Player,Miller and Nicklaus are addressing. They want a different ball for the pro's and the rest of us. The new equipment has already eliminated some of the great courses from tournament consideration. Moving traps, narrowing fairways and letting the rough grow can only go so far to protect these course. When you consider how much acreage is required for a 7500 yard course and the additional cost of maintenance,water,fertilizer and availability of property bifurcation make perfect sense.
legitimatebeef says:
Screw bifurcation let's trifurcate the dang thing. One for the pro's, one for serious amateurs, one for the duffers.
Bryan K says:
I think we need to go one step further. We need a second ruling body in America that would actually create rules using logic rather than making things up as they go along. The USGA has jumped the shark. It's time for them to fade into history.
jem_porter says:
The same rules for all, isn't that part of the attraction that allows us all to say - wow those PGA guys really are good. Golf has been around for 600 years and for most of that time there was no anchoring of any club. So really what we saw earlier this week is just a continuation of the rules as they have always been interpreted (except an abnormral period that lasted a few decades and will end on 1 Jan 2016).
mjaber says:
@jasonfish... No, I don't go back to the spot. I hit a provisional if I think there is even a chance that the ball has been lost, that way if I don't find the original, I don't have to go back.
carv712 says:
Hmmmm, who's opinion should i regard as more valuable Mike Davis or Gary Player? Boy thats a tough one. Mjaber or Greg Norman??? Another head scratcher. When Mike Davis says, "People who want to bifurcate don't understand what they're asking" I think what he means is, "It would require too much money and too much effort from too many employees to accomplish." If Davis is serious about growing the game of golf and not just growing the size of his wallet than he should at least be exploring the options or similar alternatives like Bkuehn's recommendation.
Matt McGee says:
If there were two sets of rules, I'd break them both. I'm a rebel.
Tim Horan says:
Any bifurcation of the rules would reduce the number of young players coming into the game. If they do set out two sets of rules I would probably give up golf altogether. I strive to align myself with the pros and any dilution of the rules will make it impossible to keep track of just where my game really is.
TRegs says:
Bifurcate already! I'm all for Golf Rules 2.0! Most of us cheat because there is not standard set of rules for us. I have to hit out of an unfilled divot, a bunker footprint, or putt over spike marks? Really? I have to hit off a weed in the rough because I can't afford to play rounds over $50? Give me break. I drive one 260 down the middle that rolls 10 feet off the fairway through the dogleg. It goes under some leaves and I can't find it. That's a lost ball and I have to go back to the tee and re-hit or I'm cheating??? I consider myself to be an honorable person but I cannot play an honest round of golf, most can't. It's a cryin shame! If someone who I never played with tells me they shot 87, I have no idea what that means. Give us 10-20 handicappers a realistic set of rules so we are can play with some honor, play faster, and all be on the same page. If the USGA won't do it, we should. Who's with me!!!
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