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CarlSpackler

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A lot of people are questioning the rules of golf these days. Just like many are calling for a simpler tax code here in the US (myself included), people think the rules are too complex to understand. I’m guessing that it isn’t so much that they are too difficult to understand than it is hard follow when you have to penalize yourself. The world we live in seems to be migrating further towards a philosophy of “Do whatever you want”. People don’t think that laws apply to them. We are self-centered and spoiled and becoming more so as time goes on.

For years, I fought the notion in a golf league that we should adopt a different set of rules to “simplify the game”. I asked what was so hard to understand about hitting a 3rd from the tee if your tee shot goes out of bounds. It’s a simple notion that is easy to understand. When their argument about rule difficulty failed, they would quickly revert to a rational of speeding up the game to prevent the walk back to the tee. I then explained the concept of a provisional ball if you hit your ball towards OB and aren’t sure if it stayed in. It only takes a few minutes if that to tee up another. More resistance came and then people started calling me “Rules Nazi” and said that I was taking the fun out of the game. Tagging @missitnoonan.

The conclusion I finally came to was that they simply couldn’t face the reality that they were not as good as they believed they were and needed to take away some of the penalties involved in golf to shoot better scores. It stinks to have add 2 strokes to your score for one lousy shot. I’ve had to do this more often than I care to recall. I have had to take the “walk of shame” many of times when I couldn’t find my ball in the deep rough. After doing that a few times, you become familiar with the notion of a provisional ball. The funniest excuse I heard was that you shouldn’t be penalized for a lost ball because tour pros have marshals and galleries to find their ball and the common golfer does not. They didn’t like my response that they should go to Q-School and get their card if they need help finding their ball.

The rules are complex and there are a lot of grey areas. This is why there are so many debates and discussions after the fact. When the playing field varies from course to course and the randomness of nature is involved, bizarre circumstances are going to arise. What do you do if your ball hits a power line that crosses the fairway and pulverizes or hits a flying bird and drops straight down? What if a dog runs across the fairway and picks up your ball that already came to rest and runs off with it? I have actually witnessed those things happen. I am thankful that there are people that have studied the rules in depth, but they are not available during the casual Sunday round. Lord knows we don’t want people flipping through the ROG app to figure it out in the middle of a round either. Playing by the rules is a learning process. You have to start with the basics and move forward, but first you have to commit to following the rules no matter what the outcome or how fair it may seem.

After all this rambling on, what is my point? I suppose my point would be to man up, play by the rules, and stop whining about them. Don’t be like my older siblings who made up or changed rules of a game as they went along when they began to fear that they might lose to their younger brother. If you aren’t playing by the ROG as they are defined, you are not playing golf and need to come up with a different name for what you are doing. A coworker and friend who died of cancer said when I described the “rules” that were being proposed for golf league, “That’s not playing golf! That’s playing slap-and-tickle!” Rest in peace Mike. You always knew how to put things.

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Preaching to the choir,  but understand we are a minority. 

I don't really think I've ever played with anyone outside of the website that plays strictly by the rules. Some come closer than others, but the incorrect treatment of lost balls is almost universal.

In a recent KMHA event there was a big fuss about a guy's casual drop on a lost ball. He went way right on Eagle #10 (probably the high hay back there past the hazard). The guy was incensed. Old boy said "What about these other ---kers." Followed but "--K it. I'm out of here."

 I did the same damn thing in the same event, but hit my provisional and took my lumps.

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3 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

Preaching to the choir,  but understand we are a minority. 

I don't really think I've ever played with anyone outside of the website that plays strictly by the rules. Some come closer than others, but the incorrect treatment of lost balls is almost universal.

In a recent KMHA event there was a big fuss about a guy's casual drop on a lost ball. He went way right on Eagle #10 (probably the high hay back there past the hazard). The guy was incensed. Old boy said "What about these other ---kers." Followed but "--K it. I'm out of here."

 I did the same damn thing in the same event, but hit my provisional and took my lumps.

This is the problem with having a 2nd set of rules. It's not really a competition. If the referees in an NFL game allow one team to hold and enforce it strictly on the other, it's not a competition. It's a show. Noooot like that eeeever happens.

I had to call out someone in a KHMA event 2 years ago. KHMA isn't really a serious golf association IMO. It's more of a drinking organization than a golf org.

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Hey. I've got $90 of store credit to thank for the others drinking habits. Two of the C-flighters ripped it up after Saturday's round and didn't make Sunday's tee time at the club championship. 

Actually, I was impressed the head dude (still can't remember his name) enforced the rule.

 

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Great post @CarlSpackler!

Quote

“That’s not playing golf! That’s playing slap-and-tickle!” Rest in peace Mike. You always knew how to put things.

I think I would have gotten along well with Mike.

From two different playing partners this week I heard "just take a mulligan" and "you're just making the game harder". The next time I hear anything like that I'm going to respond "or... I could man-up and just play by the rules".

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I invited an old buddy to join my group today and learned a few new rules.

  1. If your playing partners lose sight of your ball and you shorten your time to look for it because the course is packed, you drop the ball where you think it landed and assess yourself no penalty strokes.
  2. If the greens were recently aerated and you hit a putt to within 3" of the hole, you count the putt as holed, no extra stroke as would be added for a "gimme"
  3. Any noises from vehicles on nearby roads while making a stroke entitle golfer to a "mulligan".  

We both shot a 95 today but he played by his rules while I played by the actual rules, for which I was called a sandbagger.  He then pointed out that he'd expect I would have played better than him given I'm taking lessons.  

He's a great friend and we don't golf together very often so I let the comments slide as it doesn't really matter to me what he scores but I did think it was sad that he had convinced himself the above rules are what "everyone" plays by.  

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2 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

Great post @CarlSpackler!

I think I would have gotten along well with Mike.

From two different playing partners this week I heard "just take a mulligan" and "you're just making the game harder". The next time I hear anything like that I'm going to respond "or... I could man-up and just play by the rules".

Mike was one of a kind. He worked in our Reynosa, MX facility. I was down there with an employee and we were playing at Palmview GC. He pulled up next to us, and my employee hit a shank that came off the the club at almost 90 deg. and rolled right underneath Mike's cart. Mike taught us the term "hosel rocket" that day.

2 hours ago, newtogolf said:

I invited an old buddy to join my group today and learned a few new rules.

  1. If your playing partners lose sight of your ball and you shorten your time to look for it because the course is packed, you drop the ball where you think it landed and assess yourself no penalty strokes.
  2. If the greens were recently aerated and you hit a putt to within 3" of the hole, you count the putt as holed, no extra stroke as would be added for a "gimme"
  3. Any noises from vehicles on nearby roads while making a stroke entitle golfer to a "mulligan".  

We both shot a 95 today but he played by his rules while I played by the actual rules, for which I was called a sandbagger.  He then pointed out that he'd expect I would have played better than him given I'm taking lessons.  

He's a great friend and we don't golf together very often so I let the comments slide as it doesn't really matter to me what he scores but I did think it was sad that he had convinced himself the above rules are what "everyone" plays by.  

It's amazing how creative people get with their rationalizations. I suppose it's a mulligan if someone emits a bodily noise in your back swing too. :-)

I feel you pain on getting accused of sandbagging by following the rules. I had a guy get freakin hostile with me for teeing up another ball  after snap hooking one OB. There was no doubt it was gone. He started cussing and called me an a__hole. Seriously? He refused to come back to the league. 

I'm hoping to find a competitive league or whatever once I get fully settled down here in FL.

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League's tend to settle at the lowest common denominator as far as Rules.  Simplified "rules" tend to assist the poor and/or highly inaccurate players, which often make up the majority of the league.  I got very good at finding balls because the league in which I participated let players drop well away from the forest/brush/OB, often with a liberal interpretation of how far the ball went.

My opponent would drop a ball on the edge of the fairway at the 150 yard marker and get ready to hit his "3rd" shot.  "Got it!" I would happily announce from 75 yards back in the forest.  Yes, all the guys loved to play against me.

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4 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

League's tend to settle at the lowest common denominator as far as Rules.  Simplified "rules" tend to assist the poor and/or highly inaccurate players, which often make up the majority of the league.  I got very good at finding balls because the league in which I participated let players drop well away from the forest/brush/OB, often with a liberal interpretation of how far the ball went.

My opponent would drop a ball on the edge of the fairway at the 150 yard marker and get ready to hit his "3rd" shot.  "Got it!" I would happily announce from 75 yards back in the forest.  Yes, all the guys loved to play against me.

Funny. I was really good at finding my opponents shots too. It's easy. Search approximately 50 yards back from the place they are looking. ;-)

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Most of the leagues I have either played on or subbed in, have a vast majority of the players (90%+) that don't really care about playing golf, it's more of a social event/activity that gets them outside so I can kinda see why they modify the rules especially when it already take 2.5 to 3 hrs to complete 9 holes. 

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4 minutes ago, JxQx said:

Most of the leagues I have either played on or subbed in, have a vast majority of the players (90%+) that don't really care about playing golf, it's more of a social event/activity that gets them outside so I can kinda see why they modify the rules especially when it already take 2.5 to 3 hrs to complete 9 holes. 

I can understand if they are there as a social gathering, but 2.5 - 3 hours for 9 holes is out of control. It sounds like they need to be educated on more than just the rules of golf, but ready golf. My challenge to you is to be a voice of reason in that craziness. 

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On 9/13/2016 at 5:08 PM, CarlSpackler said:

I can understand if they are there as a social gathering, but 2.5 - 3 hours for 9 holes is out of control. It sounds like they need to be educated on more than just the rules of golf, but ready golf. My challenge to you is to be a voice of reason in that craziness. 

Yeah it's absurdly slow which I always comment on to the people who wrong the league but they always give me this "it is what it is" response. I think the main issue is that there are a few teams that are shooting in the 60-70s for nine holes which tends to slow down the pace when they get early tee times. They are able to hit the ball a decent distance but its like 1/10 chance and there are a lot of duffs which is kinda the perfect storm of slow pace because it always seems like that one time you tell someone to just hit they catch all of it launching one into the group in front of you.

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