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Learn the Rules One Bite at a Time!

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One bite at a time

Learning (and keeping up with) the Rules of Golf is quite a task.

Many say the least satisfactory approach is to pick up the book, start on page 1 and plough through to the end. This’ll either put us to sleep or be rapidly discouraging.

So, how might we approach the task? My opinion is that we should take it “one bite at a time.” Let me offer this:

First, take some time to study the Table of Contents to see how the Rules are organized, and begin to learn the Rule numbers and their titles (and later the subtitles).

Second, near the back of the book is a hugely important section, Definitions. Read through them twice. A thorough knowledge of the Definitions will help build a solid foundation for learning how to apply the Rules.

Third, now we can begin with the Rules “one bite at a time.” Look at the calendar . . . today is the 1st so read Rule 1, tomorrow, the 2nd read Rule 2. and so on. Next month, repeat the process, “one bite at a time.”

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Another tactic, which I found useful in hockey and baseball, is to learn the rules as you encounter them.  Whenever a question arises...make a mental note of it and resolve the issue when you get home.  That way the rule is tied to a specific, and actual, circumstance.  Real life examples are easier to remember than hypothetical ones.

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1 hour ago, Piz said:

Another tactic, which I found useful in hockey and baseball, is to learn the rules as you encounter them.  Whenever a question arises...make a mental note of it and resolve the issue when you get home.  That way the rule is tied to a specific, and actual, circumstance.  Real life examples are easier to remember than hypothetical ones.

That can obviously work, but often people are so focused on just getting the result, it's not the best way to learn the Rules. They may learn one specific part of a rule, or an exception, and then think it applies more broadly than it may, etc.

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1 hour ago, Piz said:

Another tactic, which I found useful in hockey and baseball, is to learn the rules as you encounter them.  Whenever a question arises...make a mental note of it and resolve the issue when you get home.  That way the rule is tied to a specific, and actual, circumstance.  Real life examples are easier to remember than hypothetical ones.

As you suggest, real life examples of Rules breaches which cost a player penalty strokes do make them easy to remember. We see it in action on TV far too frequently. My method, however, is a tactic to both learn the Rules and avoid the penalty strokes.

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Doing something wrong, or stupid, has always made an indelible impression on me when it mattered the most.  I am not suggesting that a general familiarity, with the parameters established by the governing authorities, is not efficacious...only that direct pain serves to reinforce said restrictions.

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Isn't that the truth, Piz. Play a wrong ball one day when it matters and we'll never make that mistake again.

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8 hours ago, Asheville said:

Isn't that the truth, Piz. Play a wrong ball one day when it matters and we'll never make that mistake again.

I recall hearing a Tom Watson quote to that effect - you never forget the rule that jumped up and bit you when it mattered.

My additional suggestion once you are making progress on the journey is test, test, test.

There are excellent helpful quiz sites courtesy of the likes of Dr Lew Blakey (the single best site- generalarea.org), the R&A, the USGA etc.

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Today's the 2nd, Rule 2's an easy one, don't forget to reference the Definitions along the way.

Rule 2 - The Course

Purpose of Rule: Rule 2 introduces the basic things every player should know about the course:

  • There are five defined areas of the course, and

  • There are several types of defined objects and conditions that can interfere with play.

It is important to know the area of the course where the ball lies and the status of any interfering objects and conditions, because they often affect the player’s options for playing the ball or taking relief.


2.1 Course Boundaries and Out of Bounds
2.2 Defined Areas of the Course
2.3 Objects or Conditions That Can Interfere with Play
2.4 No Play Zones

 

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I highly recommend the USGA rules quizzes to learn the rules - available through the rules app or web site. There are three levels - basic, intermediate, and advanced. 

The questions are random. Try taking the Basic 10 question quiz until you get 10 out of 10 right! 

I look up the rules that I got wrong to learn more. 

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5 hours ago, reidsou said:

I highly recommend the USGA rules quizzes to learn the rules - available through the rules app or web site. There are three levels - basic, intermediate, and advanced. 

The questions are random. Try taking the Basic 10 question quiz until you get 10 out of 10 right! 

I look up the rules that I got wrong to learn more. 

If you care to take this sort of a roundabout way to learn the Rules, I'd suggest doing the quizzes as an  "open book" exam. That way you'll learn your way around the Rule book. Experienced Rules people say, "It's not what you know, it's what you can prove."

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9 hours ago, reidsou said:

I highly recommend the USGA rules quizzes to learn the rules - available through the rules app or web site. There are three levels - basic, intermediate, and advanced. 

The questions are random. Try taking the Basic 10 question quiz until you get 10 out of 10 right! 

I look up the rules that I got wrong to learn more. 

To acknowledge the source: the USGA basic and intermediate quiz questions are taken from the Blakey 500 question set. The USGA advanced question set are an original set of a further 200 questions.

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Rule 3 - The Competition

3.1 Central Elements of Every Competition
Purpose of Rule: Rule 3 covers the three central elements of all golf competitions:

Playing either match play or stroke play,

Playing either as an individual or with a partner as part of a side, and

Scoring either by gross scores (no handicap strokes applied) or net scores (handicap strokes applied).


3.2 Match Play

Purpose of Rule: Match play has specific Rules (particularly about concessions and giving information about the number of strokes taken) because the player and opponent:

Compete solely against each other on every hole,

Can see each other’s play, and

Can protect their own interests.

3.3 Stroke Play


Purpose of Rule: Stroke play has specific Rules (particularly for scorecards and holing out) because:

Each player competes against all the other players in the competition, and

All players need to be treated equally under the Rules.

After the round, the player and the marker (who keeps the player’s score) must certify that the player’s score for each hole is right and the player must return the scorecard to the Committee.

Edited by Asheville
.

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Today's the 4th, Rule 4 gets our once over. 

We all know what a club and a ball is, but it's worth a good look at the Definition of Equipment: 

Equipment - Anything used, worn, held or carried by the player or the player’s caddie.

Objects used for the care of the course, such as rakes, are equipment only while they are being held or carried by the player or caddie.

There is one accompanying Interpretation:

Equipment/1 – Status of Items Carried by Someone Else for the Player
Items, other than clubs, that are carried by someone other than a player or his or her caddie are outside influences, even if they belong to the player. However, they are the player’s equipment when in the player’s or his or her caddie’s possession.

For example, if a player asks a spectator to carry his or her umbrella, the umbrella is an outside influence while in the spectator’s possession. However, if the spectator hands the umbrella to the player, it is now his or her equipment.

Rule 4 - The Player's Equipment

Purpose of Rule: Rule 4 covers the equipment that players may use during a round. Based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the player’s judgment, skills and abilities, the player:

  • Must use conforming clubs and balls,

  • Is limited to no more than 14 clubs and normally must not replace damaged or lost clubs, and

  • Is restricted in the use of other equipment that gives artificial help to his or her play.

For detailed requirements for clubs, balls and other equipment and the process for consultation and submission of equipment for conformity review, see the Equipment Rules.

 

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On 12/2/2019 at 2:20 AM, Piz said:

Another tactic, which I found useful in hockey and baseball, is to learn the rules as you encounter them.  Whenever a question arises...make a mental note of it and resolve the issue when you get home.  That way the rule is tied to a specific, and actual, circumstance.  Real life examples are easier to remember than hypothetical ones.

The problem with this is two-fold.  One is encountering the situation may take time or may not happen at all.  Two, and perhaps more importantly, knowing when you may be breaking the rules requires you to actually know the rules in the first place

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Rules 5 and 6 tell us about playing the "round" and playing the "hole."

Purpose of Rule: Rule 5 covers how to play a round – such as where and when a player may practise on the course before or during a round, when a round starts and ends and what happens when play has to stop or resume. Players are expected to:

  • Start each round on time, and

  • Play continuously and at a prompt pace during each hole until the round is completed.

When it is a player’s turn to play, it is recommended that he or she make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds, and usually more quickly than that.

Rule 5 - Playing the Round
5.1 Meaning of Round
5.2 Practising on Course Before or Between Rounds
5.3 Starting and Ending Round
5.4 Playing in Groups
5.5 Practising During Round or While Play Is Stopped
5.6 Unreasonable Delay; Prompt Pace of Play
5.7 Stopping Play; Resuming Play

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=5

 

 

 

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Rule 6 - Playing a Hole

Purpose of Rule: Rule 6 covers how to play a hole – such as the specific Rules for teeing off to start a hole, the requirement to use the same ball for an entire hole except when substitution is allowed, the order of play (which matters more in match play than stroke play) and completing a hole.

6.1 Starting Play of a Hole
6.2 Playing Ball from Teeing Area
6.3 Ball Used in Play of Hole
6.4 Order of Play When Playing Hole
6.5 Completing Play of a Hole

And the Interpretations for Rule 6:

6.1b(1)/1 Ball Played from Outside Teeing Area in Match Play and Stroke Not Cancelled by Opponent
6.1/1 What to Do When One or Both Tee-Markers Are Missing
6.2b(4)/1 Tee-Marker Moved by Player Should Be Replaced
6.2b(6)/1 Ball That Comes to Rest in Teeing Area Does Not Have to Be Played as It Lies
6.3a/1 What to Do When Balls Exchanged at Unknown Place
6.3c(1)/1 Meaning of “Penalty Strokes Solely From Playing That Ball”
6.4c/1 Stroke Cannot Be Cancelled When Provisional Ball Played Out of Turn from Teeing Area
6.5/1 Another Ball Played After Hole Was Unknowingly Completed

 

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These next five Rules 7 through 11 are grouped under the heading, Playing the Ball.

Rule 7 - Ball Search: Finding and Identifying Ball

Purpose of Rule: Rule 7 allows the player to take reasonable actions to fairly search for his or her ball in play after each stroke.

But the player still must be careful, as a penalty will apply if the player acts excessively and causes improvement to the conditions affecting his or her next stroke.

The player gets no penalty if the ball is accidentally moved in trying to find or identify it, but must then replace the ball on its original spot.

7.1 How to Fairly Search for Ball
7.2 How to Identify Ball
7.3 Lifting Ball to Identify It
7.4 Ball Accidentally Moved in Trying to Find or Identify It

Relevant Interpretations:
7.1a/1 Examples of Actions Unlikely to Be Part of a Fair Search
7.2/1 Identifying Ball That Cannot Be Retrieved
7.4/1 Estimating Original Spot on Which to Replace Ball Moved During Search
7.4/2 Player Attempts to Dislodge Ball in Tree or Step on Ball in Tall Grass During Search

 

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