Originally Posted by Zeph
As long as you don't keep a handicap or play in tournaments, you can use whatever rules you want. By making a set of "official" relaxed rules, maybe these golfers can enjoy their round more. Nothing preventing them from avoiding the relaxed rules or still breaking them, but it might help for some.
It also makes it easier to compare against other casual players. Anyone maintaining a handicap of course would still have to follow the official rules.
But in other sports, we do this all the time in recreational play, where we don't play by the exact same rules as the pros, but still want to have clearly defined rules that let us play an organized game. When you go play pickup basketball in the park for example, no one is going to be calling three second violations, but that doesn't mean you can travel or foul someone.
In general, I think recreational players want clearly defined rules, they don't want everyone to be making up their own rules, they just want the rules to be simple enough to explain to a newcomer in 2 minutes. To the newcomer, it's really not clear why hitting a ball out of bounds should be worse than hitting it in the water or into the woods, why some drops should be one clublength and others two, or what's the difference between an impediment and an obstruction.
So I like the general idea here, though some of the choice of rules could maybe be improved on.
1. I like the double par rule, yes you have ESC for handicappers, but this one also speeds up play. After a certain number of strokes, the golfer is hurting the enjoyment of the other players waiting for him, the following group, etc.
2. I especially like the all penalties one stroke rule, and treating everything like a water hazzard where you drop, rather than re-tee. And allow the drop on the fairway, no closer than where it went OB, entered the hazzard, was lost, or became unplayable.
3. Two minutes search time is fine.
4. I'd almost rather the simplified rule here be simply "play it as it lies". But if we are going to allow improving lies, just make it like the "lift clean and place" local rule, and have it only apply in the fairway.
The only one that bothers me some is the no restrictions on equipment. Casual golfers are already exempt from the conforming grooves rule until 2024, even if they are keeping a handicap. And the new rule for anchored putting bans the stroke, not the equipment. And I don't think new players would generally be helped by having more than 14 clubs. So what would the benefit be?
I'd be concerned about anything that would encourage anyone to buy non-conforming equipment. Drivers that exceed COR limits? Polara balls designed to fly extra straight? I think casual players would be best off using the same equipment they would be using if they were to become more serious players.
And I don't think this really makes the rules much simpler. A simple rule 6 would be, play conforming balls and clubs, up to 14 of them. No restrictions though on things like distance measuring devices.