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Are there too many rules in golf?


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  1. 1. Are there too many rules in golf?

    • No
      37
    • Yes
      27


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Originally Posted by Elmer

...2 "kids" go out to play a round and have fun and are paired with a purist. Purist calls them out for not adhering to the intricacies of every rule, maybe the purist points to every violation and corrects them on it at every turn.

Maybe the purist tells them, "that's not how the game is played"

I have been paired with people who do just that. Sure the guy was being a no it all Richard, but  he want to reinforce that he know the rules and my practice round is wrong because I grounded a club in a bunker...

....You want to "pretend" you are on tour. Fine, have fun.

But let us have fun!

I have to agree with what some others have said - I've been playing golf for almost 30 years and have never encountered a "purist" who decided to play Rules Official while we were on the course.  I got chewed out once for walking (very silently and discreetly) around the perimeter of the green to get to my ball, by two guys who had big wagers at stake in their game - but that's as close as I've ever come to a "purist" pointing out violations and correcting me.

The only time I've ever said anything to anybody else about the rules was to a friend who cheated his ass off every time we played, then crowed about beating me afterwards.  He used foot wedges from behind trees, didn't count penalty strokes (or distance) on OB/lost balls, fluffed his lies, would throw his ball out of bunkers after hacking at it for 3 strokes (and then not count the strokes), take 6-foot "gimmes", not count lip-outs or tap-in putts, etc.  I finally got tired of it and the next time we played, I called him out on every single rule violation he committed (yes, including grounding his club in a bunker, which he still does to this day).  He got pissed about it and I told him if he was going to brag about beating me, he was going to beat me playing by the same rules I was playing.  He never quit cheating, but at least he did quit bragging about beating me, lol.  He's never maintained a handicap, only plays a few times a year nowadays, and has never bothered to learn anything about the rules - to this day he doesn't even know how to take a proper drop or when it's allowed (or not allowed).  I've never heard him complain about the rules being too complicated or numerous, because basically he doesn't care about them and isn't even aware that most of them exist - he's just out there to have fun.

Regarding the part after the 'snip', I couldn't care less what rules anybody else plays by when we're golfing - as long as we're not betting or playing in a tournament.  Or you're going to brag about beating me with your mulligans, gimmes, foot wedges and fluffed lies when I played the ball down.  As long as none of those apply, play it however you want and have all the fun you want - I won't say a word about the rules unless you ask.  We'll go out and have a great time, maybe drink a beer or two, and you can write down whatever score you want.  I have no illusions about being on the Tour - I just want my handicap to be an indicator of how I'm improving (or not), and it's hard to compare apples to apples if I'm playing by different rules every time I write a score down.

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Seems like your friend successfully played by none of the rules. That takes serious effort.


He always tees the ball up within the boundaries of the tee box.  I guess that's gotta count for something. :-)

For casual/recreational golfers (guys who only play a few times a year, don't maintain a handicap and never legitimately break 100), simplifying/rewriting the rules won't matter one bit because they don't know them, don't care about them and don't play by them anyway.  Most of them probably wouldn't even be aware that the rules were changed, and would continue playing by whatever rules (or lack thereof) they currently play by.

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The only time I've ever said anything to anybody else about the rules was to a friend who cheated his ass off every time we played, then crowed about beating me afterwards.  He used foot wedges from behind trees, didn't count penalty strokes (or distance) on OB/lost balls, fluffed his lies, would throw his ball out of bunkers after hacking at it for 3 strokes (and then not count the strokes), take 6-foot "gimmes", not count lip-outs or tap-in putts, etc.  I finally got tired of it and the next time we played, I called him out on every single rule violation he committed (yes, including grounding his club in a bunker, which he still does to this day).  He got pissed about it and I told him if he was going to brag about beating me, he was going to beat me playing by the same rules I was playing.  He never quit cheating, but at least he did quit bragging about beating me, lol.  He's never maintained a handicap, only plays a few times a year nowadays, and has never bothered to learn anything about the rules - to this day he doesn't even know how to take a proper drop or when it's allowed (or not allowed).  I've never heard him complain about the rules being too complicated or numerous, because basically he doesn't care about them and isn't even aware that most of them exist - he's just out there to have fun.

I know the same guy, except mine does not even bother hitting from a bunker. He just tosses it out of the bunker and declares "I am not going to hit out of this crap".

His theory is that you really have no way of knowing what is under the sand and does not want to bust up his clubs.

he also tends to take a mulligan on chips and uses the better shot.

His score is kept according to what he should have had, not what he actually had.

I dont care what he does until he wants to tell me he is a better golfer

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The player is not entitled to a good lie or an unobstructed swing anywhere except maybe on the tee and the putting green, and even there it isn't stated as such (if the player is stupid enough to tee his ball too close to the tee marker, all bets are off   ).  Elsewhere it is strictly the luck of the draw.  One would expect to have an unobstructed swing on if his ball lies in the fairway, but I have actually seen instances where branches hung low enough that they could interfere with the top of the backswing, even on a fairway shot.

Try as you might to inaccurately twist @Fourputt's post, there is a HUGE difference between having a reasonable expectation of anything, and being entitled to it under the rules. When I hit a good shot down the middle of the fairway, I expect to have a good lie. Sadly, that's not always the case. Such is the wonderful nature of golf, and the reason that the Rules need to be written as precisely as they are.

I wasn't saying thanks for agreeing with me (which @Fourputt clearly wasn't), just for reading the post carefully enough to understand what I was getting at.

I understand and agree by the literal wording of the rules there is no 'entitled to a swing' except that in course of play on a normal course that isn't laid out in a wild forest with dense understory, a wetland, or heavy rough or with trees and shrubs within the boundary of teeing grounds, sometimes / reasonably often (depending on skill) you will be. Otherwise you can't play 'normal' golf, the definition of which contains "a stroke or succession of strokes" so to me it's also a reasonable implication to see 'between the lines' that I will sometimes be de-facto 'entitled' to 'a swing' (though not necessarily unrestricted) in the course of play.

I like the difficulty of golf and the unpredictable natural setting. I'm just making a few points that the rules aren't perfectly worded for literal interpretation. For the point of the thread, I'm not sure if this argues for more rules for clarity of points not specifically addressed or fewer with better worded overarching principles?

I recognize that we are arguing semantics so I took a shot at wording some of the 'core rules' related to this discussion using more player affirmative language (see attached document) to clarify what I meant about a little more hierarchy in the rules and sub-rules for added clarity (as I see it anyway) among all the exceptions to the general principles lurking around in separate sections. I think it mostly conforms with the language of the rules as currently written, but be sure to let me know what I missed (in a PM if it's OT).


GENERAL PRINCIPLES

The game of golf consists of player moving a single ball from the teeing ground into the hole with a stroke or as few successive strokes as possible using a club in accordance with the rules.

A player is permitted 14 conforming clubs (see appendix). A player is permitted a single conforming ball (see appendix) in play and unlimited conforming spare balls.

A player is permitted to take fairly take a firmly footed stance without building a stance, to ground their club lightly (no more than the weight of the club resting on the grass or ground) behind the ball, and to fairly strike at the ball (without pushing, scraping, or spooning) with the head of the club.

A player, fellow competitor, marker, opponent, or caddie must not take an action with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play or alter physical conditions with the intent of affecting the playing of a hole unless permitted under the rules.

To avoid gaining a potential advantage or conferring a potential disadvantage in the course of play a player generally must play the ball at rest, as it lies, and the course as they find it.

A player is permitted to move, bend, or break growing vegetation and disturb the surface of the course only to the minimum extent needed to fairly take a stance, and/or as part of a fairly made stroke (including the backswing if the stroke is taken). < A player has no expectation of a lie, stance, swing, or line of play of any quality. If an adequate stance or swing cannot be obtained with minimal disturbance of the course conditions, a player’s recourse is to declare a ball unplayable to obtain relief under that rule unless in a water hazard where the water hazard rule takes precedence.>

EXCEPTIONS TO GENERAL PRINCIPLES

1. within the course : a player is generally permitted – provided the ball is not moved - to remove loose impediments and moveable obstructions (see special conditions below) - including from the line of play - unless a loose impediment and ball lie in or touch the same hazard; a player may mark and lift a ball in play at rest that may assist a fellow competitor or opponent; a fellow competitor or opponent may request a ball in play at rest to be marked and lifted and the marker moved if it interferes with their lie, stance, or line of play; a ball in play may be substituted (unless on the putting green) if the player’s ball is not immediately recoverable if entitled to be dropped, re-dropped, or placed under the rules

a. searching for / identifying ball : A player has no expectation of seeing their ball in fairly taking a stroke, but are obligated to ensure they are striking at their own ball so are permitted to move, bend, & break, growing vegetation only to the minimum extent needed to search for and identify their ball only if not otherwise positively identifiable, provided this does not improve the lie, the area of intended stance or swing, or their line of play; if the ball is moved during search or identification, the ‘ball at rest moved’ rule generally applies; in addition a player is permitted to mark and lift a ball if not otherwise positively identifiable provided they announce their intention to do so to their fellow competitor, marker, or opponent and provide them an opportunity to observe the lifting and replacement; In lifting a ball for identification it must not be cleaned beyond the minimum extent needed for identification. If a player lifts their ball for identification without good reason to do so or without following the procedure above, they incur a penalty of one stroke

i. searching for / identifying ball believed covered by sand : player may without penalty touch or move the sand to find or identify the ball; once the ball is positively identified the player must re-create the lie as nearly as possible, but is permitted to leave a small part of the ball visible; if the ball is moved while searching for and identifying the ball must be replaced without penalty and the lie re-created

ii. searching for / identifying ball believed in or on obstruction or in abnormal ground condition : no penalty if ball is moved; ball must be replaced unless player opts to proceed under the applicable obstruction or abnormal ground condition rule; if moved ball is replaced player may still proceed under applicable obstruction or abnormal ground condition rule

b. ball possibly unusable for play :  a player's ball is unsuitable if the ball is visually cracked, cut, or no longer holds its original shape (ball is still usable if material is stuck to it that could be removed or if the paint / cover has only superficial scratches or damage; to determine if the ball is unusable a player is permitted to mark and lift a ball provided they announce their intention to do so to their fellow competitor, marker, or opponent and provide them an opportunity to observe the lifting and subsequent replacement if it is determined ball is usable; if it is determined that the ball is unusable then another ball may be substituted and placed in the original spot of the unusable ball;

c. ball shatters or breaks apart as a result of a stroke : the stroke is canceled and you must play a new substituted golf ball as close as possible to the spot from where you originally played your ball.

2. within the teeing ground : ball may be placed on the course surface, natural material, or on a conforming tee within the teeing ground; course surface irregularities may be removed or created; a ball may be re-teed or replaced without penalty if it is knocked off the tee or surface irregularity while addressing the ball

3. through the green : damage to the course such as from divots or pitch marks may be repaired at any time unless doing so would improve a player’s lie, stance, or area of intended swing

4. on the putting green : a player may mark, lift, & clean the ball; the player must not test the putting surface or touch / alter the line of play in lifting the ball or dealing with special conditions; damage to the course from an old hole plug or from the impact of a ball (pitch-mark) may be repaired whether or not ball lies on the putting green; a player must not make a stroke while standing on or astride their line of play unless stance is taken to avoid standing on another player’s actual or prospective line of play

5. within a hazard (sand or water) : a player must not touch the ground with their club or hand or otherwise test or modify the hazard condition except to fairly take a stance

a. searching for / identifying ball believed covered by loose impediments : within a hazard only player may without penalty touch or move loose impediments to search for or identify the ball; once the ball is positively identified the player must replace the loose impediments; if the ball is moved only during replacement of loose impediments there is no penalty

6. within a water hazard or lateral water hazard : a player may strike at a ball moving in water provided they do not delay their stroke to allow wind or current to improve their lie, stance, area of intended swing, or line of play

a. searching for / identifying ball believed to be in water: within a water hazard only player may without penalty probe (with club or otherwise) for it; if the ball is moved only in the course of probing for the ball there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced

SPECIAL CONDITIONS

A player is generally entitled to a lie, a stance, a stroke, and a line of play un obstructed by the following conditions only which may generally be removed:

A. loose impediments (natural objects not embedded in the course or adhering to the ball) – such as:

1. dead & detached vegetation

2. stones & rocks

3. clods of earth (aeration plugs, & loose divot strips / clumps)

4. animal droppings

5. insects & their webs &  nests

6. worms & their casts

7. dead animals

8. snow or ice

B. moveable obstructions (any artificial, manufactured, or constructed objects) – such as:

1. loose trash / refuse

2. sand rakes & other maintenance tools

3. course maintenance equipment & devices

4. signage & markers

5. golf equipment

6. pieces or assemblies of milled wood

7. doors or windows

A player is generally entitled to a lie, a stance, a stroke, and - on the putting green only - a line of play un obstructed by the following conditions only from which an option for relief may generally be taken:

C . immovable obstructions (any artificial, manufactured, or constructed objects) outside water hazards – including:

1. course maintenance equipment & devices

2. signage & markers

3. abnormal ground conditions – including:

a. ground under repair

b. animal burrows, runways, casts, or mounds

c. casual water (surface water accumulations outside a water hazard including snow & ice, but

not dew & frost)

4. man-made constructions – such as:

a. walls

b. paths & roads

c. huts & other structures

D. fellow competitors, markers, partners, opponents, caddies and outside agencies

E. ball embedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground in a closely mown area either

1. through the green

2. on the putting green

RELIEF FROM SPECIAL CONDITIONS – facing conditions of the course listed a player may exercise the following options:

A. loose impediments :

within same hazard : no relief granted from this condition

ball is not moved : through the green or on the putting green remove loose impediments without penalty

ball is moved :

through the green : penalty of one stroke & replace ball in original position

on the putting green : replace marker and/or ball without penalty

B. moveable obstructions :

ball in or on obstruction :

through the green, within the teeing ground, or in a hazard : lift, clean, & drop (after removing obstruction) directly above original lie without penalty

on the putting green : lift, clean, & place (after removing obstruction) on spot directly below original lie without penalty

ball not in or on obstruction:

ball does not move: remove obstruction without penalty

ball moves:

through the green or in a hazard : lift & drop directly above original lie without penalty

on the putting green : lift & place on spot directly below original lie without penalty

C. immovable obstructions & abnormal ground conditions :

within a water hazard : no special relief granted from this condition but player may follow relief procedure under water hazard rule

through the green and within the teeing ground : a player may lift, clean, & drop within one club length not nearer the hole from nearest point of relief without penalty

on the putting green : relief permitted only if ball and condition lie on the putting green; player may lift, clean, & place within one club length not nearer the hole (which may be off the putting surface but not in a hazard) from nearest point of relief without penalty

within a sand hazard / bunker : a player may lift, clean, & drop within one club length not nearer the hole from nearest point of relief without penalty; any relief from obstruction must be taken within the bunker where obstruction occurred as near as possible to the original position not nearer the hole where maximum relief from the condition is obtained, or under a 1-stroke penalty lift, clean, & drop outside the bunker any distance back along the original line of play away from the hole

D. fellow competitors, markers, partners, opponents, caddies and outside agencies : ???

E. embedded ball :

1. through the green : lift, clean, & drop as near as possible to the original lie not nearer the hole first striking a part of the course through the green

2. on the putting green : mark, lift, clean, & place after repairing the pitch-mark

NOTES / EXCEPTIONS TO SPECIAL CONDITIONS RELIEF:

1. within the course : relief is not granted under C (immovable obstructions or abnormal ground conditions) if the condition only interferes with a clearly unreasonable stance, stroke, or direction of play or if interference from another condition makes the stroke clearly impracticable; when a ball in play is in motion no obstruction that might influence the movement of the ball (other than equipment of any player or the flagstick when attended, moved, or held up) may be moved

2. within the teeing ground : dew & frost may be removed; teeing ground markers are defined as part of the course and may not be moved but a stance may be taken outside them

3. on the putting green : loose sand, soil, & stones are defined as loose impediments for this course location only

4. within a sand hazard / bunker : no relief from loose impediments is granted if the object and the ball lie in or touch the same hazard

5. within a water hazard or lateral water hazard : no relief from loose impediments, immovable obstructions, or abnormal ground condition is granted if the object or condition and the ball lie in or touch the same hazard – a player may instead take relief with penalty under the applicable water hazard rule

6. markers and objects used to identify out-of-bounds are defined as outside the course and may not be moved even if possible (unless by local rule)

DESCRIBE / LIST PENALTIES BY NUMBER / LETTER CODE

OTHER RELATED / REFERENCED RULES & PENALTIES FOLLOW:

Unplayable Lie Rule & Relief Options

Provisional Ball Rule

Water Hazard Rule & Relief Options

Lift / Drop / Redrop / Place Procedures (includes ball rolling into other conditions & substituting unrecoverable ball)

Ball At Rest Moved Rule

Ball In Motion Deflected Or Stopped

Etc.

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  • 2 months later...

There shouldn't really be any rules in golf besides play it as it lies unless otherwise fairly specified to be deemed relief from the course such as soft mushy fairways in otherwise dry conditions or odd lies in the fairway like holes, sprinkler heads etc.. There should be no out of bounds just hazards play it as it lies if you can and if i'ts ob a specified drop area should be specified not re tee from missing it by a yard when you can clearly see your ball. Rules should be there for relief and you should always be able to place your ball not drop it ten times then place it like on tv.. Water hazards are a fair penalty and hazards are also a fair penalty. That's it it's how I play very simple challenging and fair know body can cheat either it's easy.

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There shouldn't really be any rules in golf besides play it as it lies unless otherwise fairly specified to be deemed relief from the course such as soft mushy fairways in otherwise dry conditions or odd lies in the fairway like holes, sprinkler heads etc.. There should be no out of bounds just hazards play it as it lies if you can and if i'ts ob a specified drop area should be specified not re tee from missing it by a yard when you can clearly see your ball. Rules should be there for relief and you should always be able to place your ball not drop it ten times then place it like on tv.. Water hazards are a fair penalty and hazards are also a fair penalty. That's it it's how I play very simple challenging and fair know body can cheat either it's easy.

i am confused.

You say there should be no Out of Bounds and then 14 words latter indicate if something is hit Out of Bounds, you get a specific drop area.

But the rules already give you a specific area, which is where you hit the ball from in the first place.

There are times when my ball is 2 inches past the OB marker  and I wish there was no such things as OB.

However there are times when my ball has been shanked 150 yards into the woods and I am glad there is OB (How would you hit out of a forrest without take an unplayable?)

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i am confused.

You say there should be no Out of Bounds and then 14 words latter indicate if something is hit Out of Bounds, you get a specific drop area.

But the rules already give you a specific area, which is where you hit the ball from in the first place.

There are times when my ball is 2 inches past the OB marker  and I wish there was no such things as OB.

However there are times when my ball has been shanked 150 yards into the woods and I am glad there is OB (How would you hit out of a forrest without take an unplayable?)

One of your options for an unplayable is exactly the same as OB. Rule 28 option a

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I read somewhere the original rules of golf were: play the ball as it lies; play the course as you find it; if you can't do either or both of the first two rules, do what is fair.  But when you have millions at stake or playing a $5 Nassau the "do what's fair" is pre-defined for you.

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I read somewhere the original rules of golf were: play the ball as it lies; play the course as you find it; if you can't do either or both of the first two rules, do what is fair.  But when you have millions at stake or playing a $5 Nassau the "do what's fair" is pre-defined for you.


Not quite.   The earliest rules (1744) on record numbered 13.  You'll find them here: http://www.ruleshistory.com/rules1744.html

What  you refer to is from the inside cover of the current Rules of Golf and it reads:

Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it and if you cannot, do what is fair. But to do what is fair, you need to know the Rules of Golf.

Sums it all up rather well.

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Not quite.   The earliest rules (1744) on record numbered 13.  You'll find them here: http://www.ruleshistory.com/rules1744.html

What  you refer to is from the inside cover of the current Rules of Golf and it reads:

Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it and if you cannot, do what is fair. But to do what is fair, you need to know the Rules of Golf.

Sums it all up rather well.

Problem is some peoples definition of "fair" varies, regardless of the rules!

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Sure would be nice if some of those 19 yes votes would offer some viable suggestions.  Anyone can say that there are too many rules, but nobody seems to be able to come up with a reasonable alternative, at least one that anyone besides himself considers as "reasonable".  I doubt that very many of those "Yes" votes have more than a vague idea of what the rule book even looks like, much less have actually read it and attempted to understand it.

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Sure would be nice if some of those 19 yes votes would offer some viable suggestions.  Anyone can say that there are too many rules, but nobody seems to be able to come up with a reasonable alternative, at least one that anyone besides himself considers as "reasonable".  I doubt that very many of those "Yes" votes have more than a vague idea of what the rule book even looks like, much less have actually read it and attempted to understand it.

Try this -

http://simplegolfrules.com/introduction/

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Try this -

http://simplegolfrules.com/introduction/

Still too many.

I need a cliff notes version:

Hit ball

Find ball. hit ball again.

Cant find ball, go back and hit again, now lying 3.

If ball is wet, pick up & dry off. now lying +1

Cart girl gets $1 extra for every beer you buy!

Spitting sunflower seeds on green is 5 stroke penalty.

Cigeratte butt on green 10 stroke penalty.

play quick!

see how easy that was!

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  • 2 weeks later...
i am confused.

You say there should be no Out of Bounds and then 14 words latter indicate if something is hit Out of Bounds, you get a specific drop area.

But the rules already give you a specific area, which is where you hit the ball from in the first place.

There are times when my ball is 2 inches past the OB marker  and I wish there was no such things as OB.

However there are times when my ball has been shanked 150 yards into the woods and I am glad there is OB (How would you hit out of a forrest without take an unplayable?)

I guess you could still be given the option to retee but most of the time id rather be dropping 10 yards from where the ball went into someones yard with a penalty stroke like a hazard. I think a penalty stroke is always enough unless your brave enough to hit it given the option to do so.

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