I have decided to accept Erik's challenge and present revamped rules 26-28 to tst. I am 99.9% convinced that purists like Erik and 4putt will feel that these modifications represent a fundamental change to the game. I am equally certain that golf would still be golf for the majority of people who tee it up each week if these rules were to be implemented.
BUT, I COULD BE WRONG, SO WHAT I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO DO IS HAVE EACH OF YOU PLAY A ROUND OR TWO UNDER MY PROPOSED RULES AND GIVE FEEDBACK AS TO HOW IT CHANGED THE GAME FOR YOU (FOR BETTER OR WORSE). I'll save an official rules experiment for later this season after I have gotten some feedback on what I am proposing below.
Thanks in advance for your open-minded consideration and feedback.
The New Rules of Golf- Fast, Fair and Simple
In an effort to make the game faster, fairer and easier to understand, I propose the following rules to replace rules 26, 27 and 28 which are about 1700 words currently. The new rules are less than 500 words.
I believe them to be much closer to how the majority of golfers actually play the game when not competing in a tournament. While average scores may go down slightly under these rules, I feel that they would result in less of a fundamental change in the game than the technological advancements we have seen throughout the years.
Summary of Simplified Rules 26 through 28
Drops, with a 1 stroke penalty, are allowed in all situations including unplayable lies, water hazards, out of bounds and lost balls.
The only restriction on penalty drops is that they take place in a timely manner and be no nearer the hole.
Players may re-hit shots, counting both the original and re-hit, but are not permitted to go back and re-tee the ball after leaving the teeing ground.
Here is my proposed verbiage. Suggested modifications to improve clarity are appreciated.
26. Drops- Under penalty of 1 stroke, the Player may drop, no nearer to the hole, as follows:
a. Unplayable Lie- the point where the ball is found.
b. Water Hazard- the point where the ball is believed to have last entered the hazard.
c. Lateral Water Hazard- the point closest to the hole where the ball is believed to have entered the hazard or the point where the ball is found.
d. Out of Bounds- the point where the ball is believed to have last exited the golf course.
e. Lost Ball- the farthest point from the hole in the area where the ball is believed to be lost.
f. The Player has a maximum of 3 minutes to elect this option and play his next shot in cases that do not involve a search for his ball.
g. When searching for his ball, the player has a maximum of 5 minutes, including search time, to elect this option and play his next shot.
h. The time begins to run when it is the Player`s turn to play after the player has reached or should have reached his ball or the approximate drop area.
i. Penalty for exceeding time limit- 1 additional stroke.
a. Counting his original stroke, the Player may re-hit any shot from the teeing ground or by taking a drop no nearer the hole when playing outside the teeing ground.
b. This option may be declared on a provisional basis only when a ball is suspected to be in a hazard. The provisional ball becomes live if the ball is found in a hazard or lost near/in the hazard and must be picked up if the original ball is found through the green.
c. This option is unavailable after the player has left the area of the original shot or his caddy has begun searching for his original shot.
28. Drop Closer to the Hole- Ball must be re-dropped
a. No additional penalty if done before playing a stroke from a location closer to the hole.
b. Player is allowed a maximum of 2 drops (original drop and 1 free re-drop). The player is assessed an additional penalty stroke if a re-drop ends up closer to the hole and must re-drop until the drop ends up no closer to the hole.
c. 1 additional penalty stroke if a stroke is made on a ball that is dropped closer to the hole and then re-dropped correctly.
d. 2 additional penalty strokes if a ball is not re-dropped correctly assuming that the incorrect drop was not done to intentionally flaunt the rules and gain an unfair advantage.
e. A Player who intentionally drops closer to the hole in an effort to gain an unfair advantage may be disqualified by the committee.
Are these rules different? Absolutely, but the more important question is whether you would enjoy golf less or more under these rules?