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Is breaking the rules really bad?


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Just one more comment then I'll bow out.  You will never learn to play such shots if you never even make the effort to try.  It's still up to you, but playing a great shot from a difficult situation is one of the more rewarding parts of the game for me.

I agree. It's like when you learn to play tennis for example. Easy to hit a forehand when your just standing on the court, but hitting a good forehand, or backhand on a full on dead run is another animal, but if you don't learn to hit those shots in tennis, you won't get very far.

I played with a guy once who would tee up every shot, he had the same answer as the OP, and about 4 or 5 months after that I saw him on the range, and every ball he hit that I could see, was hit off a tee,. At some point in time, you need to be able to hit shots that aren't Perfect, the sooner you lean them, and start hitting them decent, the more Fun you will have during a round. just my 3 cents.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Nope, given the whole context, there's nothing wrong with any of what you've said.  Knock yourself out, and have fun.  If it helps you speed up play, so much the better. All I ask is that you r

I understand how challenging golf is......but you're also cheating yourself out of the joy of hitting that good shot out of a divot, or out of a tough lie in the rough.  The joy of saving a genuine bo

Do what you want.  My only caveat is that I have never been able to understand why so many think that playing by the rules and having fun are mutually exclusive.  I play by the rules and I have a blas

It all depends on the situation. If you are just out knocking around and having fun, it doesn't matter to me even if we are playing together as long as we are not in competition. And if we are playing a "scramble", (which some folks call golf, but it isn't other than you use golf clubs to hit golf balls) a lot of the rules don't apply. Even the pros sometimes play lift, clean and place in certain conditions. A lot of places I have played had less than perfect fairways, and the local rule for informal competitions (pickup money games like 2 low etc) was "up in the fairway, down in the rough". A ball in the fairway could be moved within a foot or so; a ball in the rough must be played as it lies. I used to be you, until I started trying to keep a handicap. On a lot of the goat ranches I have played, you had to move your ball if you wanted to hit off grass. When I started playing by the rules a few years ago, even when playing alone, I found I enjoyed it quite well, and my score really didn't change much because I learned to hit off less than perfect lies. Oh, and last Thursday I played 9 by myself in moderately busy conditions in an hour and fifteen. Putted them all out except one 6 incher when a foursome had just let me through.
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Interesting...my experience is similar, as soon as I started playing the ball "down" instead of bumping it around, my ball striking improved and so did my scores.  It just became so much easier to hit the ball well - down and through instead of a sweeping motion.  Now we play the ball down all the time - if someone asks can they move it, the response is normally "move it if you think you need to."  Amazingly, ego kicks in and they don't want to move it!

It's not that hard to learn to play the ball as it lies (Rule 13-1).

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Since the first time I picked up a golf club, I have played the ball down. I play by the rules, not only when I am with other people, but when I am alone. I love to do that, but that is my personality.

I play with ALOT of people who move the ball, take mulligans, don't count penalties, you name it they do it...and NOT ONCE has it ever bothered me or changed my life. In fact, not long ago, I joined up with a group and played out the last 3 holes. Believe it or not, I putted one to within "gimme" range and one of them tapped it back to me. You want to know what I did.....................I said thank you and picked the ball up and walked to the next tee when we were done. I would have never have picked up the ball if it were up to me, but it was 1 stroke on my way to an otherwise uneventful 83 and they were a joy to play with. I could have made a big deal about how "honorable" I was and I played everything out and how dare they give me a putt and now I could not record it for my handicap, etc, etc, but at the end of the day, its just not that important.

I think we on this forum forget that we are the exception to the golfing rule. We are diehards, we take it seriously, but sometimes, others venture into our domain and WE are reason people think so poorly of golf. Most people don't know where to take a drop on a lateral water hazard, and MOST don't care. They are out chasing a white ball around a green pasture and trying to have as much fun as they can. While we (and I will make this assumption about most of us here) are out chasing a little white ball around a green pasture trying to get as good as we can and hoping to have some fun in the process.

My vote, play the way that makes you happy, and if in the process you post scores that cause your handicap to be better than it "should" be, welcome to my games when it counts. Those 3 footers that you give me, I miss about 40% of the time and my handicap will reflect those misses.

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I do think that it would be to benefit of golf, to have some recreational rules.  I too play by my own set of rules, while they are very close the "pro" rules they do encourage fast play ...

Face it, I think we all agree there are some really silly rules in golf.

I also have found at the recreational weekend golfer that claims to "play by the rules" will the first person in the group to break them ...

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Since the first time I picked up a golf club, I have played the ball down. I play by the rules, not only when I am with other people, but when I am alone. I love to do that, but that is my personality.

I play with ALOT of people who move the ball, take mulligans, don't count penalties, you name it they do it...and NOT ONCE has it ever bothered me or changed my life. In fact, not long ago, I joined up with a group and played out the last 3 holes. Believe it or not, I putted one to within "gimme" range and one of them tapped it back to me. You want to know what I did.....................I said thank you and picked the ball up and walked to the next tee when we were done. I would have never have picked up the ball if it were up to me, but it was 1 stroke on my way to an otherwise uneventful 83 and they were a joy to play with. I could have made a big deal about how "honorable" I was and I played everything out and how dare they give me a putt and now I could not record it for my handicap, etc, etc, but at the end of the day, its just not that important.

I think we on this forum forget that we are the exception to the golfing rule. We are diehards, we take it seriously, but sometimes, others venture into our domain and WE are reason people think so poorly of golf. Most people don't know where to take a drop on a lateral water hazard, and MOST don't care. They are out chasing a white ball around a green pasture and trying to have as much fun as they can. While we (and I will make this assumption about most of us here) are out chasing a little white ball around a green pasture trying to get as good as we can and hoping to have some fun in the process.

My vote, play the way that makes you happy, and if in the process you post scores that cause your handicap to be better than it "should" be, welcome to my games when it counts. Those 3 footers that you give me, I miss about 40% of the time and my handicap will reflect those misses.


I'll agree - it's important that people have fun playing our game, regardless of what Rules they want to follow or not follow.  However, those that do not wish to adhere to the Rules should not come to a Rules forum promoting their abuses and expect any sympathy.  This is a forum where we happily answer questions about the Rules and discuss the intricacies of the Rules amongst those interested.

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I'll agree - it's important that people have fun playing our game, regardless of what Rules they want to follow or not follow.  However, those that do not wish to adhere to the Rules should not come to a Rules forum promoting their abuses and expect any sympathy.  This is a forum where we happily answer questions about the Rules and discuss the intricacies of the Rules amongst those interested.

Really? I think you should smile more.. I don't see the big deal in the OP posting what he did.

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Really? I think you should smile more.. I don't see the big deal in the OP posting what he did.


Well, it's something about a red flag and a bull.  It's ok to ask questions about the Rules and to anticipate getting civil answers to those questions.  It's also ok to offer different opinions on the rules of golf and their interpretations.

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I like to play by the rules as it is the only way to measure your performance and determine if you're improving.  I see a lot of guys at my clubs that are pretty liberal with the rules, but also post scores for handicap.  A 3-4 foot putt is not a gimme but they take it as one.  Mulligans, breakfast balls, foot wedges and free drops without penalty if they can't find their ball are part of their game too.

The end result is they develop a vanity cap that they can't come close to playing to and get very belligerent during tournaments because their scores are 10 - 15 shots higher than normal and they usually lose unless they play against another vanity capper.  When they lose, rather than acknowledge and accept their handicap is bogus, they start to accuse others of being sandbaggers.  I have no doubt our club has a few sandbaggers but they are outnumbered by at least 20 to 1 by the vanity cappers.

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Golf is a game based on integrity and tradition, so if what you do on the course is not with integrity or somehow degrades tradition, then I'd be inclined to assert that breaking the rules in this way is really bad.

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Golf is a game based on integrity and tradition, so if what you do on the course is not with integrity or somehow degrades tradition, then I'd be inclined to assert that breaking the rules in this way is really bad.

Just one question: did you read the original post? Or just the thread title?

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  • 2 weeks later...
For me it's just about not being frustrated.  I don't personally enjoy trying to swing with branches in my backswing, or out of an extremely difficult lie when I don't have the skill to do so, or other similar situations.  I also don't want to hold people up, so I figure it's better for everyone if I just move the ball, hit from there and move on.  If I'm ever playing with someone who is keeping my score and insists on following every rule, they can feel free to mark down all my infractions and penalize me accordingly.  I feel like golf is challenging enough the way I play.

You'll never get better at playing golf if you always seek to make the game as easy as possible. But as long as that is your goal... Whatever you wanna do...

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I don't even know anybody in this area that "plays by the rules" until they get to a point where they can at least legitimately break 100 or so (and I am glad of it). I do sometimes see tourists doing it and it's painful to watch.

Just yesterday I was waiting for my wife to get to the course and a man and woman I didn't know were playing the 9th hole. Since I was just sitting there I watched them play the hole (or at least most of it). I stopped counting the woman's strokes at 14 and gave up all hope for the guy at 8 and neither even had a ball on the island green yet. The woman hadn't even gotten close enough to attempt the shot and the man had already missed his attempt from the drop area at 70 yards. (In their defense they were the only ones on the course. Thank goodness.)

When my cousin first started playing golf I went to visit him and played a round with him and his buddies (none of whom could break 100). They followed every rule and kept score in their attempts to break 100. That was my first experience with a group of which I was a part slowing down the other golfers on the course and I absolutely hated it. It was so bad that I skipped several holes completely in an attempt to move our group along faster, which did very little good at all.

My thoughts the whole time:

This is embarrassing.

I'll be glad when it's over.

I'll be glad when these guys get better.

Can't they see the smoke coming out of the ears of the players behind us?

Why aren't they playing the ladies tees?

How can I figure out a way to let the 10 groups behind us all play through?

If I ever do this again I hope nobody is on the course besides us.

So yes, I believe breaking the rules can be a beautiful thing

100%

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If you play basketball, can you defy the rules by never bouncing the ball and just running to the hoop and putting it in?

In my opinion, you aren't playing golf at all if you aren't playing by the rules. If you aren't skilled enough to hit the ball down the fairway, your penalty is that you are hitting out of the rough. 99/100 times you are going to hit a crappy shot out of that bad lie, but that ONE shot you hit just right and stick on the green is the reason I play golf. That rush. That sense of accomplishment. It's my addiction. Eventually you will be better and consequently you will have better lies and better looks to score. That really makes the game more fun when you get to that point.

Do what ever you want, but you aren't playing the game of golf.

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If you play basketball, can you defy the rules by never bouncing the ball and just running to the hoop and putting it in?

Well ... its safe to say that in the NBA, if the player is "going to the hole" its certainly appears that they may take a extra step or two ... i also believe the 3 point line is different in the NBA ...

With that said, in competition common set of rules are mandatory ... however, buds out hacking it up ... not so much ... call it what you want ... I call it fun with my buds, and we do not measure that fun with a score card or a handicap ... but we whoop it up when someone sticks it from a bad lie on the green ...

The good news about the game of golf is, it allows us both to enjoy it, even with different objectives and goals from the game.

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Well ... its safe to say that in the NBA, if the player is "going to the hole" its certainly appears that they may take a extra step or two ... i also believe the 3 point line is different in the NBA ...

With that said, in competition common set of rules are mandatory ... however, buds out hacking it up ... not so much ... call it what you want ... I call it fun with my buds, and we do not measure that fun with a score card or a handicap ... but we whoop it up when someone sticks it from a bad lie on the green ...

The good news about the game of golf is, it allows us both to enjoy it, even with different objectives and goals from the game.

NBA players have gotten away with not only traveling, but carrying over too. And we won't get into the fouls that aren't called on certain players some time ago. It's funny, when I used to play pick up games, which included not so good players to Div.2 college players, it was very hard to get away with either traveling, or carrying over, and we didn't have refs, we just tried to keep each other honest.

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Not at all a rule Nazi but I know them in dizzying detail.  Kind of a personality quirk.

Anyway,  IMHO there are several rounds of golf a person can choose to play......

1) Competitive round--Money or title on the line.  Rules all the way. Post score for handicap.

2) Round for score--Rules (ok maybe a breakfast ball) Post the score if you wish.  I don't care.

3) Fun rounds with buddies-- Agree on the rules and play.  Post the score if you wish.  I don't care.

4) Practice round.  This is one where I move the ball around a lot based on what I am working on.  Get it out of that divot if playing out of a divot is not what I am working on at the moment.  For example.  Right now I am working on making a better turn and maintaining spine angle.  Hitting out of a divot or from under a tree will distract me from that practice.  Post the score if you wish.  I don't care.

5) Scrambles/Shambles and other "hit and giggles".  By all means post the score.  Would love to see you have a few 63's on your card.

For every time I said "Post the score if you wish.  I don't care."  that will artificially lower their handicap.  Then I can get a match with them later and guess what, they will be exasperated that they are constantly getting beat.'

The only handicaps I have a problem with are the guys that continually post 84 and somehow miraculously shoot 77 on tournament days.  Word on those guys gets out quick and they will never get a dime out of my pocket.  Even if they offer to change their handicap.  No Way.  Might be nice guys and I will play with them anytime.  Just not for any money.

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I assume most on this forum are serious and better than average golfers. (At least they are on the internet ;-) ) Speaking as someone that is new to the game, hitting every ball as it lies, marking down every stroke, etc. etc. can be so frustrating it is demoralizing. I wound up playing through the front 9 with what I would consider a very good golfer last summer when I had been playing golf for less than 2 months. Of the 7 holes we played together, he had a couple of birdies, one or two boggies, and pared the rest. Didn't see the first 2 holes b/c he caught up with me waiting on a foursome in front of us, but expect he was no worse than one over for nine. After seeing me hacking at the ball a bit, he politely asked if I would mind if he gave me a few pointers. Made a few suggestions that helped immediately After asking how long I had been playing, he smiled and gave me the best advise of the day. Don't try to hit something you know you can't hit. Move it out of the deep rough, away from the tree, back from the lip of the bunker, etc. If playing a practice round, ( isn't that every round when you get started?) learning to hit an easy shot has to be a starting point and will better your game more than trying to hit something that you know you have no chance of hitting. As my game has slightly improved, I have done less of this. Still suck, but I now try to hit and even shape more shots that not long ago I would not have even attempted. I sliced a tee shot on a 200 yard par 3 today and wound up on the adjacent fairway a good 60-70 yards from the pin. A line of trees between me and 80% of the green. I used a 6 iron and punched a low shot between 2 trees, under fairly low branches, into the side of a mound by the green, bouncing the ball over and onto the back corner so the ball could roll out down to the hole to my left. The greens on this course are very slow, so the ball only rolled 15 feet of the 40 or more I needed. With the faster greens of the other courses I play, the ball would have been very close to the hole. As it was, I missed my putt for par a few inches left and tapped in about a foot back for boggie. Maybe routine or bad for some, but one of the best holes I have ever played considering how bad my tee shot was. Six or nine months ago, I wouldn't have even seen this shot, let alone tried it. Doubt I would hit it again if I tried it 5 more times, but I hit it today. So those saying you have to hit hard shots to learn to hit them are right. After a point. First you have to be able to hit a shot period. I don't know that hacking at a bunch of balls a foot above or below your feet in 2 inches or more of grass is really going to help. Or trying to thread a needle. Sometimes a mulligan or a foot wedge will help improve your game. There is a limit to what you can do without getting discouraged. But then my handicap, if I had one, would be higher than my oldest son's age, so what do I know.
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    • Sorry I’m late to the party…but damn….congrats! That’s awesome!
    • Thanks to everyone who let me share the moment with ya.  @David in FL, @paperclip, @measureoffsetinnm, @Shindig, @ChetlovesMer, @Zippo, @TourSpoon, @overfade, @Double Mocha Man, @Nail, and @ncates00--thanks for the comments and encouragement!   You'll definitely get there.  Maybe when ya least expect it--then...boom! Haha.  Thanks, Zippo.  My wife took a 'normal smile' pic, and, well...let's just say I'm not photogenic.  'Whoo! face' won out. Wade
    • Day 130 (16 May 21) - went back to the Day 21 drill of last year’s 30 Day Covid-19 plan, i.e. low point drill.  Too many strokes lately that were fat, especially the irons.  Took a thin towel, 8i and foam golf balls worked on the downswing to get more consistent impact of ground after the ball.  
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