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WUTiger

Growing the Game: Amended rules for beginners?

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  1. 1. What do you think about amended rules for first-year golfers?

    • It will be the end of the game! Play right or don't play.
      14
    • It's OK as long as I don't see it in person.
      1
    • It's OK, as long as they automatically lose the hole with a freebie.
      1
    • I think it's a good way to grow the game.
      19
    • My friends told me these were local rules for everyone at our golf course.
      2

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48 posts in this topic

Until newbies get the hang of golf, some people are suggesting the following adjustments for their first "spring training" season:

  • If you can't get out of a sand trap on the first shot, drop the ball outside the trap and continue on.
  • If you end up in really deep rough, drop the ball in the first cut before you play.
  • Once you get to eight strokes, pick up the ball and move on to the next hole.
  • No more than three putts on a green.
  • Mark down scores only for holes you complete.
  • Try to have fun when you play.

Newbies get this for the first season, and then they play regular rules in Year 2.

Do you think these adjustments are a good way to help ease people into golf.... T-ball for hackers? Or, will it destroy the game?

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You lost me.  Beginners don't care.  Special rules would have zero effect on growing the game.  Just the opposite. A new player learns the "rules" you want to propose, then finds out when he decides to play golf with real golfers that the rules he thought he knew so well now are meaningless, as are any scoring milestones he thought he had achieved.  And that's assuming that he pays any more attention to your beginner rules than the current beginner does to the real rules.  Call me a skeptic, but the rules are the last thing a new player concerns himself with.  New players are generally satisfied initially with what they learn word of mouth.  Much of it may be wrong, but it allows them to function on a golf course until they have sufficient reason or interest to delve deeper into the rules.

You would be better served by putting your efforts into a campaign for teaching them etiquette, from care of the course to respect for other players, including maintaining a good pace of play.

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Meh, pass.  Might as well let people know what this game is going to do to them right off the bat.  Honestly, most of the rules should apply for everything, not just newbies.  Especially the ones about picking up your ball after 8 strokes and after 3 putts.

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I don't think the rules should be changed. As fourputt said, beginners don't know a lot of the rules anyway; a different set would just be confusing. If I was playing with a beginner though in a non competitive round, I wouldn't mind ditching some of the rules and not counting the score for the sake of pace of play and education, or even counting the score as what it would have been. Yes, let them drop out of a bunker or deep rough, but count appropriate strokes and penalties. Or just calling it a practice round. If the person is posting scores for handicap, though, the rules must be followed or the handicap is not valid. Also, as a local rule, I would like to see maximum strokes implemented for pace of play. Rather than a specific number, I would propose double par. I would not limit putts unless the double par was hit. I also think on busy days at the discretion of the starter, you should have a handicap of 10 or better to play the tips.
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Originally Posted by dbuck

I don't think the rules should be changed. As fourputt said, beginners don't know a lot of the rules anyway; a different set would just be confusing. If I was playing with a beginner though in a non competitive round, I wouldn't mind ditching some of the rules and not counting the score for the sake of pace of play and education, or even counting the score as what it would have been. Yes, let them drop out of a bunker or deep rough, but count appropriate strokes and penalties. Or just calling it a practice round. If the person is posting scores for handicap, though, the rules must be followed or the handicap is not valid. Also, as a local rule, I would like to see maximum strokes implemented for pace of play. Rather than a specific number, I would propose double par. I would not limit putts unless the double par was hit. I also think on busy days at the discretion of the starter, you should have a handicap of 10 or better to play the tips.


Im a big fan of limiting strokes to double par.  I also like the idea of having a handicap 10 or better to play the tips but how do you prove that?  Unless its a course that you play all the time, anyone could just say that they are a 10 handicap if they really want to play the tips.

IMO, a better idea might be for the rangers, if they see a grouping holding everyone else up and playing from the tips; make that group move up at least 1 set of tees.  I honestly dont understand the obsession by average golfers of playing from the tips.  Ive been grouped with people in the past who played the tips and for me at least, it wasnt even fun.  I recently moved up from the whites to the reds and honestly, golf is more fun because I can easily make par on most holes instead of having to scramble and play out of my mind just to break par from the whites.

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Originally Posted by WUTiger

Until newbies get the hang of golf, some people are suggesting the following adjustments for their first "spring training" season:

Who are the "some people" you refer to?   Give us some names of these people or what their association is with the game.

I see no benefit in this at all.  I think people just learning the game are not at all interested in the rules to begin with.  Most of them are not going to play for money, get in skins games, or whatever.

I have a 17 year old who toyed around with golf when he was 7 to 9 years old then quit totally to devote his time to baseball.  He burned out on baseball and took up golf seriously back in January of this year.  He hits balls almost daily and play 9 or 18 almost daily.  We have had numerous sessions about the Rules of Golf between the 2 of us.  If he wants to play, he needs to know the rules as they are written.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

You lost me.  Beginners don't care.  Special rules would have zero effect on growing the game.  Just the opposite. A new player learns the "rules" you want to propose, then finds out when he decides to play golf with real golfers that the rules he thought he knew so well now are meaningless, as are any scoring milestones he thought he had achieved.  And that's assuming that he pays any more attention to your beginner rules than the current beginner does to the real rules.  Call me a skeptic, but the rules are the last thing a new player concerns himself with.  New players are generally satisfied initially with what they learn word of mouth.  Much of it may be wrong, but it allows them to function on a golf course until they have sufficient reason or interest to delve deeper into the rules.

You would be better served by putting your efforts into a campaign for teaching them etiquette, from care of the course to respect for other players, including maintaining a good pace of play.

Fourputt I totally agree, as most new player I would assume all you think about is hitting the ball, or I should say that was all I was concerned with when I started. Rules come into play as you learn and I could not agree with you more on etiquette. So many new players do not even know how or think of fixing there divots, allowing others to play through, common courtesy of others. That is much more important then special rules, again IMO.

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As a beginner the only thing you mention that I do is the 8 strokes.  I do similar and just take a double par.  But after a month of playing that doesn't happen near as often maybe once every 2 rounds.

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Beginners, young and old, athletic or not, are usually wonderfully self-regulating when it comes to figuring out how to have a little fun out of golf. Having others relentlessly thrust Rules and 'do's and dont's" upon them won't help them have fun and want to come back.

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I'm not sure a second set of rules would really help.  As stated above, not sure they care about the rules when they first start.  I'm not even sure some of the 10+ year golfers I see care about the rules.  If they are really bad, maybe just write down the occasional good score so they can see what it feels like to have a good hole.  Also, I think it could get confusing as to what a year one golfer or a year 2 golfer is.  Someone might take it up in earnest, play twice a month or something.  While another might play 2-4 times in the year.  At the beginning of some arbitrary anniversary date, one might argue that he didn't really start golf yet.

However, along those lines, I think (and have posted in several other topics), that par 3 courses and executive courses are AWESOME for the beginner. You might consider it an extension of the Tee It Forward program.  They would run into less serious golfers, not have to be as long, save some money, play in less time, learn etiquette, learn the rules, get better at short game, etc.  Realistically, if you can't break 110 from the forward tees, I think this is a good place to start.  I think a recommendation to play the shorter courses first would probably be better than a second set of rules.

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There's no choice for me. It won't be the end of the game, but I don't think any of the other choices are right either.

I encourage beginners to have fun. Tee it up everywhere if they want. Throw their ball out of the bunker. Who cares? Do whatever. Just have fun and move along at a good pace .

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My buddies and started playing at Top Golf. Then we played modified rules at a local Par 3 course and a couple of the cheaper Muni's. Those rules were...

1. Modify lie at will.

2. Lost balls were penalty enough (Heck those things were a buck.) We didn't even count the intitial shot.

3. Putt out, No gimmies

4. Pick up was double par.

Once you broke 100 on a Par 70 course then you had to play by the real rules. (As best as we knew them.)

The main priority was fun. I have found that with these adjustments the game is a little more inviting and you can make the etiquette the main focus. Speed of play, walking in someones line, 90 degree rule, etc you can point out as you play.

Just sayin',

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I doubt many first year players follow the rules, so having an amended set of rules seems like a lot of work with little payoff.  Let the first year guys take their mulligans, foot wedges, drops, etc so they enjoy the game more like they have been all along.

I'm biased in that I don't like shortcuts that take you out of your way because it's easier.  I was never a fan of "Hooked on Phonics" for my children because in many cases it taught them to spell a word wrong which they would then have to unlearn so they could relearn the proper spelling.

Amended rules seems like Hooked on Phonic for golf, after the first year they will have to start over again learning the proper way to play golf

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Just let them go out and have fun.   If they want to start taking the game more serious and getting better they will seek out the proper rules and sometimes even instruction.   It just human nature and the logical progression for most.

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I have always found that it is easier to teach someone the correct way the first time, then to unlearn bad or non-existent teaching.  I don't think most beginners really care what the rules are anyways, so giving them a different set of rules they won't follow doesn't make sense to me.

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New players don't care about scores (or they shouldn't at least). If you play your first year of golf with being able to get a free out from the sand, how do you think that will work out for them in their second year? Not well. Best for them to learn the real rules of golf from the beginning, that way when scores start to really matter to them they will know what they're going to be doing.

Also depending on the person, being handed a "we know you suck so we made these rules to make you think you suck less" rule book wouldn't be making the sport seem like something they'd want to continue.

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I voted NO! Many (most?) new players already "bend" the rules, as do a lot of not so new players. It's okay, so long as they are just playing for fun. No need to codefy it. As soon as you do so you are setting up an 'entitlement' that will cause resentment come year two. "Why should I all of a sudden have to play by the same rules as someone that has been playing for years? No, one set of rules, be you beginner or pro; you are playing golf or... Not.
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My buddies and started playing at Top Golf. Then we played modified rules at a local Par 3 course and a couple of the cheaper Muni's. Those rules were... 1. Modify lie at will. 2. Lost balls were penalty enough (Heck those things were a buck.) We didn't even count the intitial shot. 3. Putt out, No gimmies 4. Pick up was double par. Once you broke 100 on a Par 70 course then you had to play by the real rules. (As best as we knew them.)   The main priority was fun. I have found that with these adjustments the game is a little more inviting and you can make the etiquette the main focus. Speed of play, walking in someones line, 90 degree rule, etc you can point out as you play. Just sayin',

This is really what I was driving at above. (Yes, I posted then read the rest of the thread.). Far better, IMO, that a newer golfer, or golfers in general, know they are making 'special' rules for themselves than trying to somehow offficially grant those.

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