I will begin my semi-retirement at the end of this year and Darin Green of our staff will take over my duties of writing Rules articles for the handicap revision as I transition out of my current position. This is planned to be my last article unless something keeps me up at night and I have to become a “contributing author” as a result.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to share my thoughts on the Rules of Golf and what happens to all of us when we run into them on the golf course or in conversation. I have studied the Rules for over twenty years and I still run into new occurrences that I never thought possible. I will continue to study and teach seminars on the Rules of Golf; something I enjoy very much.
I have often been asked what is my favorite Rule or ruling and I still do not have a good answer. If you were to ask me which Rule I dislike the most, I do have an answer; maximum available relief from casual water in Rule 25-1b.
The first ruling I ever messed up was back in the late nineties as a new FSGA volunteer when a player approached me and told me that he had too many clubs. I knew what the penalty was (stroke play) but did not know to which holes the penalty applied. I was so embarrassed.
That embarrassment is what drove me to learn all that I could about the Rules of Golf. I did not want to have that feeling again. Twenty years later, I feel that I now have a good grasp on the Rules of Golf. The problem is, you never know what you don’t know.
The first set of Rules was penned in 1744 by the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh. Two hundred seventy-three years later and we still do not have them straightened out. However, they keep trying. The most comprehensive revision to the Rules of Golf since 1986 will take place at the end of next year and become effective January 1, 2019. Oh well, more to learn about the Rules of Golf.
I have enjoyed your feedback, both good and bad, and hope I have been able to teach you at least one thing about the Rules of Golf that you can use.
If there is one way to make the game more enjoyable, try to think of a way to make it more enjoyable for those with whom you play. Work on your pace if you are slow, your temperament when you are not playing well, or your reaction to that double bogey. You could be in a lot worse places then on a golf course. I have often begun Rules Seminars in pointing out that Rule One says it’s a game; remember that.
It’s a fickle game but it’s a game for a lifetime. See you on the course!
Remember, use the index or the table of contents to find the correct Rule that applies to the situation and follow the Rules of Golf to help yourself to enjoy the game of golf.