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USGA/R&A Re-Evaluating All Rules, Top to Bottom


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27 minutes ago, disco111 said:

And again!...................Who didn't like it and why?................Between 1960 and now, the Pro's in the 80's, via Ray Floyd, when he was on the players board, lobbied for that change. In all honesty, I've been playing the game since the late 50's and never heard of the OB rule being lifted. Granted, I wasn't playing USGA events, but the adults that were teaching me the game, never referenced it. Not saying it didn't happen, but if it was changed once, it could be changed again.   

 

 

It's not a case of liking or disliking it.  It has to do with staying within the fundamental principles and logic that forms the base for the game.  I don't like taking a stroke and distance penalty any more than the next guy, but I understand why it's there.  It's not just an arbitrary whim that the penalties are structured as they are.  

I have taken the time to do some studying of the rules and their history.  I've read Richard Tufts pamphlet "The Principles Behind the Rules of Golf" a few times, and I can see the logic behind the rules.  If you do that you might have a better understanding of why they are as they are.   Discussing the rules without some foundation for your point of view is always going to put you on the short side of the debate.

Nobody likes being penalized, but if you play golf, it's going to happen.  That is a dead certain guarantee, and it's not always going to seem fair, but it will be equitable.

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There are four similar situations in golf in which the ball is removed from play. They are: 1) when the ball is lost, 2) when it goes out of bounds, 3) when it is lost or not playable in a water h

I believe that the underlying principles have always been a consideration for most of the important rules revisions, even though they hadn't been documented.  If you read the "original" 13 rules, the

(Imagine that I'm channeling Richard Tufts)  There is a delightful randomness to golf and to the way the ball rolls and settles into its lie.  To remove that from the game by placing the ball instead

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This is just my personal opinion and I don't have a reference to back up my suspicion for it as a motivation, but I also believe the stroke-and-distance penalty will remain as it is for OB because it helps discourages risky play.  In many places, OB protects an area where persons or property may be damaged by errant golf balls. Therefore, having the OB penalty be as severe as possible encourages people to hit away from those risky areas.  Some players will even hit an iron instead of driver to reduce their chances of going OB.

This is illustrated perfectly by a course I frequent  which has water all down the right side and then dog-legs right to the green.  How do most people play that hole?  They grab a driver and fire away.  Why?  Because it's only a 1-stroke penalty if they go in the water and they get to drop where it crossed the margin. For most golfers with any kind of decent swing, they're using a pitching wedge for an easy third shot and walking away with bogey. I guarantee you if it were OB rather than a lateral hazard, people would be aiming WAY left, taking irons off the tee, etc.

Yes, it is true that with some players, they're so wild that the color of the stake matters not.  It's also true that sometimes players will hit one OB, and then hit another OB when they take stroke-and-distance. However, I think any kind of research would show the benefits FAR outweigh these more rare occurrences.

 

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I wonder how many really read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested the long quote from R Tufts in post #135

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Did the people that changed the rule back in the 1960 not understand the principles behind the rules?  I'm just perplexed how they would change the rule to something that people now see as sacrilegious.

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The lost ball rule was S&D in 1744. OOB goes back to 1886 when it was first defined and was S&D.

In 1947 the USGA and In 1950 the R&A changed to distance only. They both changed back to S&D in 1952

In 1960 the USGA changed to distance only. They changed back to S&D in 1961

What's sacrilegious about it?

 

Edited by Rulesman
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So this particular rule was change not once, but twice and apparently the powers that were, most likely did not read or care for offerings of R Tuft. As stated prior, there were only 13 original rules and now we have a book. It's great that folks wish to hold to the "principles behind the rules", but has the USGA and R&A really adhered to those principles, in needing a book to define the rules, because the game has drastically changed from then to now? 

Now as to what's sacrilegious, apparently it's folks wishing to be the torch carrier and invoking the principles of the game rebuttal, when they are aghast at the presumption that someone would have the audacity to voice their displeasure with a rule and wishing it would changed. But somehow they fail to see or just overlook the fact that it's been done in the past and it surely can done again in the future.

Suffice to say, we'll just agree to disagree on the subject.   

  

   

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The idea has been tested and rejected.  There is no need for further testing. Is that a simple enough answer for you?

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2 hours ago, Fourputt said:

The idea has been tested and rejected.  There is no need for further testing. Is that a simple enough answer for you?

No!...........The question was asked - why was it rejected and the boilerplate answer was "to adhere to the principles", but yet the powers that be/were apparently did not and willingly sought a change. The main question, at least for me is, why did they offer the change and then why was it rescinded? (OB once and LB twice). You wish to use the term "tested", I guess the first test failed and so they thought a second should be conducted? I will reiterate once more, just because it's a rule, it does not make it right and if it should prove to be for the betterment of the game, then so be it. But, if it's seemingly a detriment, then change should be allowed. It happened once, twice, then perhaps a third time as they say, is a charm.    

I fully realize that I personally am not going to change the minds of the USGA and the R&A and none of this forums rules guardians, but it's a discussion on what could or should be changed and I'm sorry, but the position has already been established that it can and did happen and perhaps it should happen again. 

   

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56 minutes ago, disco111 said:

No!...........The question was asked - why was it rejected and the boilerplate answer was "to adhere to the principles", but yet the powers that be/were apparently did not and willingly sought a change. The main question, at least for me is, why did they offer the change and then why was it rescinded? (OB once and LB twice). You wish to use the term "tested", I guess the first test failed and so they thought a second should be conducted? I will reiterate once more, just because it's a rule, it does not make it right and if it should prove to be for the betterment of the game, then so be it. But, if it's seemingly a detriment, then change should be allowed. It happened once, twice, then perhaps a third time as they say, is a charm.    

I fully realize that I personally am not going to change the minds of the USGA and the R&A and none of this forums rules guardians, but it's a discussion on what could or should be changed and I'm sorry, but the position has already been established that it can and did happen and perhaps it should happen again. 

   

Your real problem is that you refuse to acknowledge that there is any logic or reasoning for the rule to be as it is.  You want, therefore it should be.  No matter that it was not a fair or equitable rule when it was only loss of stroke.  You want it your way, and no matter how we try to explain the reasoning behind it, you refuse to accept the answer.  This is a common result in a rules discussion with people who haven't a clue why the rules are structured as they are.  

We are not trying to talk down to you - we are trying to educate you,  but you reject our tutoring.  Good enough.  That just means that I don't have to beat my head against this particular wall any longer.

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1 hour ago, Fourputt said:

Your real problem is that you refuse to acknowledge that there is any logic or reasoning for the rule to be as it is.  You want, therefore it should be.  No matter that it was not a fair or equitable rule when it was only loss of stroke.  You want it your way, and no matter how we try to explain the reasoning behind it, you refuse to accept the answer.  This is a common result in a rules discussion with people who haven't a clue why the rules are structured as they are.  

We are not trying to talk down to you - we are trying to educate you,  but you reject our tutoring.  Good enough.  That just means that I don't have to beat my head against this particular wall any longer.

I for one acknowledge why the rule is the way it is.. However, why don't you answer the question I asked?

Did the ruling bodies understand the principles behind the rules when they changed it to only a stroke penalty?  If you answer yes they understood then the question will be why would they change a rule to something that goes against the principles behind the rules of golf?  If you answer no they didn't then it's sad that there are people changing rules while not even understanding the principles behind the rules of golf and you will have to concede that hey if the people who are changing the rules don't understand then why should the rest of us care?

It's a discussion, if you don't want to have it, its your right, but we are also free to ask the question.  Especially since when someone brings up that they want the rule to be stroke only the answer that is given is that that goes against the underlining principle of the rules, which then brings us back to the same question above.

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1 hour ago, Fourputt said:

Your real problem is that you refuse to acknowledge that there is any logic or reasoning for the rule to be as it is.  You want, therefore it should be.  No matter that it was not a fair or equitable rule when it was only loss of stroke.  You want it your way, and no matter how we try to explain the reasoning behind it, you refuse to accept the answer.  This is a common result in a rules discussion with people who haven't a clue why the rules are structured as they are.  

We are not trying to talk down to you - we are trying to educate you,  but you reject our tutoring.  Good enough.  That just means that I don't have to beat my head against this particular wall any longer.

No your not trying to educate and yes you are attempting to talk down. You totally refuse to answer a question that has been asked from several posters and you continue to stand behind it's your way and nothing else has any place in the discussion. You keep referring to rules structure and people that haven't a clue, but that's not talking down in your book! Nobody has stipulated anything about logic of a rule that you find irrevocable, even though it's been done. You offered your reasoning behind the rule and again you wish to totally remove the fact that it's been done before, so your rational is flawed. 

Abu3baid's post reflects the crux of the discussion and asks a most valid question, which either way it's answered, puts those making the rules in a not so favorable light. 

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8 minutes ago, disco111 said:

No your not trying to educate and yes you are attempting to talk down. You totally refuse to answer a question that has been asked from several posters and you continue to stand behind it's your way and nothing else has any place in the discussion. You keep referring to rules structure and people that haven't a clue, but that's not talking down in your book! Nobody has stipulated anything about logic of a rule that you find irrevocable, even though it's been done. You offered your reasoning behind the rule and again you wish to totally remove the fact that it's been done before, so your rational is flawed. 

Abu3baid's post reflects the crux of the discussion and asks a most valid question, which either way it's answered, puts those making the rules in a not so favorable light. 

I understand your question and it's valid, but without someone who knew the members of the Rules committee during that time you're likely not going to get an acceptable answer.  

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1 hour ago, newtogolf said:

I understand your question and it's valid, but without someone who knew the members of the Rules committee during that time you're likely not going to get an acceptable answer.  

My best guess is that they were trying to appease suggestions from someone who felt the same as Disco and Abu.  Once the change was in place it was discovered that the new penalty did not fit the situation, and they ultimately reversed themselves.  The last time it was tried was more than 50 years ago, and in the time since there have been plenty of people making the same suggestion, to no avail.

The idea has been tried, data has been analyzed, and the change was rescinded.  They aren't going to reverse themselves again just because a few disgruntled players don't like the stroke and distance penalty.  Adherence to the fundamental principles requires that the penalty remain as it is.  That's all I can say on it, since I wasn't privy to the meetings which resulted in the experiment.

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I've read through the last few posts here, and thought I'd chime in.  The writings that many have referred to, "The Principles Behind the Rules of Golf", was published in 1960 by Richard Tufts, and was based, at least in part, on an article from 1953 written by Joe Dey.  I am not aware of earlier writings on the principles, although there certainly could have been some.  In my view, the Rules have evolved over the centuries through the well-intentioned and thoughtful efforts of the various ruling bodies, but they haven't necessarily had a set of specific principles to refer to.  It may have been "tests" like the changes to the OB penalties that led Dey and Tufts to try to review the rules themselves and come up with a set of principles that help the rules to make consistent sense.  Now, more than 50 years later, many (most?) of us have accepted that those Principles outlines by Tufts make the rules make sense, and would like to see any future changes be in conformance with those principles.  Its interesting to me that "The Principles..." is offered for sale by the USGA, but I don't believe they have endorsed it as official USGA policy.  Even so, for anyone who is interested in the history of the rules, or proposes a change to the rules, I think the Principles would be a valuable read.  

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It may be of interest that in 1776 one version of the lost ball rule was 'If you lose your ball, you lose the hole'. Of course at that time, the concept of stroke play didn't exist.

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8 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

I've read through the last few posts here, and thought I'd chime in.  The writings that many have referred to, "The Principles Behind the Rules of Golf", was published in 1960 by Richard Tufts, and was based, at least in part, on an article from 1953 written by Joe Dey.  I am not aware of earlier writings on the principles, although there certainly could have been some.  In my view, the Rules have evolved over the centuries through the well-intentioned and thoughtful efforts of the various ruling bodies, but they haven't necessarily had a set of specific principles to refer to.  It may have been "tests" like the changes to the OB penalties that led Dey and Tufts to try to review the rules themselves and come up with a set of principles that help the rules to make consistent sense.  Now, more than 50 years later, many (most?) of us have accepted that those Principles outlines by Tufts make the rules make sense, and would like to see any future changes be in conformance with those principles.  Its interesting to me that "The Principles..." is offered for sale by the USGA, but I don't believe they have endorsed it as official USGA policy.  Even so, for anyone who is interested in the history of the rules, or proposes a change to the rules, I think the Principles would be a valuable read.  

I believe that the underlying principles have always been a consideration for most of the important rules revisions, even though they hadn't been documented.  If you read the "original" 13 rules, the fundamental principles of playing the ball as it lies and playing the same ball from tee to hole jump out at you.  As the rules evolved, those principles continued to remain as the solid base upon which necessary changes were built. Tufts refined it and delved deeper to connect some of the less obvious links, but he still began with those basic ideas that had been implied for 200 years.

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8 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

I believe that the underlying principles have always been a consideration for most of the important rules revisions, even though they hadn't been documented.  If you read the "original" 13 rules, the fundamental principles of playing the ball as it lies and playing the same ball from tee to hole jump out at you.  As the rules evolved, those principles continued to remain as the solid base upon which necessary changes were built. Tufts refined it and delved deeper to connect some of the less obvious links, but he still began with those basic ideas that had been implied for 200 years.

It may be a chicken and egg kind of thing.  The original framers of the various versions of the rules seem to have had a common vision of generally what was right and wrong.  Whether they passed those "principles" down, or whether Dey and Tufts deduced the principles from the rules, and their knowledge of the evolution of the rules, I just don't know.  Much of science and engineering has evolved the same way.  We start with what we see (in this case the rules) and work backward to learn the basic mechanisms (Principles) that underlie the behavior we're studying.

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I would like them to simplify how to determine when multiple penalties apply. At present, these rules are not only difficult to follow, difficult to find. Right now, it's all couched under the Decision 1-4/12, unless another rule expressly overrides it. 

I'm certain there's room for improvement in terms of findability here and I'm guessing there's room to simplify the whole idea of when multiple penalties apply, but can't say for sure. At minimum, they need to take a hard look I think. Any thoughts?

Edit: Looks like there are multiple decisions in 1-4 that deal with this ... 1-4/12 through the end. Only strengthens my case for simplification (if possible) I think.

Edited by gblackwell
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