Re: What do you consider the most stupid rule in golf?
Originally Posted by lamebums
I'm surprised no one addressed this in the thread. The problem is that by grounding your club in a sand trap, you can test the consistency and wetness and fluffiness of the sand. You gain information the rulemakers have decided you should only learn by hitting the ball -- and a little by taking your stance.
Now, there is a dumb part of this rule, too. I specifically mentioned sand above, but the rule talks only about hazards, which of course, also mean water hazards. And, should your club accidentally touch the surface of the water, that's grounding it even though it isn't the ground, and of course the two stroke penalty. But, water is water -- there is not fluffiness or consistency or wetness of water -- even across the wide range of temperatures playable for golf, the properties of water change only a tiny, tiny, minuscule amount. Unless the water is really slush or icy, there is no consistency to water -- so by "grounding" the club in water, there is no additional information to be gathered.
Originally Posted by Golfme
The rules give you a loophole for this one. Everywhere except in a hazard, you haven't taken your address until you ground your club. That means, you can stand there a long time and let the wind blow your ball so long as you haven't grounded your club. As soon as you have grounded your club, it is presumed that your action has moved the ball. Whether the movement is caused by an earthquake or rabid wildebeest or wind after that point -- ground your club and it presumed to be your fault. Don't ground the club and it is not presumed to be your fault. Now, if the ball should move, it can still be ruled to have been your fault, but it is not presumed to be your fault until you've grounded you club.
So, if you are playing on a windy day and you are on slick greens, I'd recommend practicing hovering your putter. If it happens to you a lot you'll either learn to hover the putter or accept those penalty strokes. But, this is a case where the rule is written to be strict one way, but they also give you an out. As bluenoser pointed out, this was just an additional bonus to the way Jack Nicklaus addressed the ball (I think he felt it reduced the tension in his arms, not primarily because of the grounding rule -- that was an added bonus).
Originally Posted by flap
I actually would like to see this rule go the other way. Maybe limit the pros to 10 clubs and then you won't have to trick up the courses to 7500 yards and 6 inch rough. Bring back some classic course like Augusta National back when there was no rough -- er, I mean second cut.
My vote for the original question would be stroke and distance for OB as well. The Palmer quote sums up the situation perfectly, in my mind.
The USGA actually does suggest playing OB like a lateral water hazard if the course is busy and/or you are a high handicapper. Obviously, if the course is really busy, you should hit a provisional if there is any doubt at all. If the penalty was just distance, the provisional system would still be played exactly the same way, just one less stroke. I think that the same penalty, distance only, should be for lost balls, too. In many ways, we hackers at the muni aren't playing the same game as the pros -- they almost never lose a ball because of forward spotters. Someone always as a good look where it went into the 5 inch rough, whereas we can easily lose it in 2 inches if the grass lays just right.
I think that there should be a leaf rule of some kind, too. In the fall, there are always those 2 weeks or so where the leaves just fall like rain, and it really doesn't matter how often the groundskeepers get out, there will always be a significant number of leaves on the fairway or just off the fairway. Losing a ball in those leaves is the worst, because you can see it go right in the pile but it doesn't seem to matter how many you swish around, your ball just won't show up. Again, this probably won't affect the pros much with their spotters and perfectly groomed courses, but it would make the game for us lowly amateurs a little fairer. Just make it a free drop one club length from where the ball entered the leaves or in the most likely spot the ball ended up in the leaves. At the very least, if a lost ball was only a distance penalty, not stroke and distance, losing a ball in the leaves in the fairway wouldn't be nearly as painful to the scorecard.