Last year there was a lot of consternation about the changes made to the rules of golf regarding the use of belly putters, before that golfers welcomed the change to the rule which saw them no longer penalised if their ball moved after it had been addressed and it was “virtually certain” that an outside agent (ie, the wind) rather than the player had caused the ball to move.
While these rules are amended for all golfers, us amateur hackers tend to find our need for guidance from the rulebook, as it stands, is relatively limited, especially when you are playing socially rather than in a club medal or competition.
Yet despite that, I think there is a real need for the USGA and R&A to come up with a rulebook that addresses the many isses that your amateur hacker faces on a daily basis when they head off to the local course for a quiet round with their friends.
Having been a golfer for many years and one who only plays socially, I feel I have enough experience to suggest ten rule changes that would benefit me when I’m out on the course and with respect to the R&A, here are my suggestions for an amateur’s Rules of Golf amendment section.
The Ten New Rules of Amateur Golf for an Alternative Golf Rule Book
1. Playing with white socks and sandals should be punishable by a two stroke penalty on each hole the offending footwear combination is worn on.
2. Ruining someone’s stroke because of your annoying mobile phone ringtone means not just a loss of hole, but your opponent now legitimately can select any club from your bag and keep it, or is allowed to launch the offending mobile into the nearest water hazard.
3. If you are a slow-playing fourball that will not let much quicker groups behind you play through, then those behind you have the right to drive their balls at you on each hole until you get the message.
4. Failure to rake a bunker after playing from it means that you will forfeit your driver and instead, this will be replaced with a rake in your bag until you get the right idea.
5. If you are waiting at the first tee and watching other groups of golfers tee off, you forfeit one stroke every time you watch somebody on the tee and make an internal bet with yourself that they are likely to make a dreadful tee shot, or even miss the ball completely. If you make this an open bet with playing partners, no matter how quietly, you each receive a shot penalty.
6. There should be a 30 second rule for finding lost balls, so that people waiting to play behind are not encased in ice by the encroaching new ice age, while you search in vain for your lost ProV1x for approximately 9.2 billion years after playing your initial tee shot.
7. The penalty for accidentally playing the wrong ball and only noticing after you have done so, means you have to by an extra round at the bar following the round while the person who’s ball you hit gets to keep their cash in their pocket.
8. Any person found guilty of having a temper tantrum on the course is punished by being forced to go and spend the day with a class of nursery children where such behaviour is more tolerable. They are not allowed back on the course until they’ve reached the final year of school and have the emotional maturity to deal with the real world.
9. Failure to repair your pitchmark on the green is punishable by you losing the hole or penalising you two strokes and then your playing partners each get to use their putter to put a small but visible dent on the bodywork of your car.
10. Gaudy golf clothes that are clearly lacking in style and taste are punishable by you losing the respect of your peers. This is less a rule of golf per se, but more just a general observation. Players like Ian Poulter (below) get away with it because they are relatively young, hugely talented and popular. Sadly, we are not.
(Images Courtesy of Ian Poulter Facebook Page, R&A Official Site, Gorilla Golf)