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Two Strokes for OB Instead of Stroke/Distance

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OB Question  

65 members have voted

  1. 1. (In tournament play) if an alternative for stroke and distance allowed you to play from a spot near where my original ball was lost or went OB for two (2) penalty strokes, I would be…

    • Very likely to use it.
      13
    • Somewhat likely to use it.
      22
    • Unlikely to use it.
      20
    • Very unlikely to use it.
      10


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I think OB needs to be changed to the same rules as hazards, which should all be treated the same, drop at point of entry + one stroke penalty. 

I am not saying this because it will speed up play, I am saying this because it will help grow the game.

Hear me out. On more than one occasion I have played with a golfer who is just starting to take the game seriously, they break 100 playing by what I call "modified" rules. Now they want to start recording an actual handicap and know where their game stands. Then they slice one OB. They then hit their 3rd shot, same result. Now they are hitting 5 from the tee. Absolutely devastating. At this point they will either quit trying to even keep score, since they may very well card a 10, or simply drop near the entry point and go back to "modified" rules of play. 

The goal on every shot is to advance the ball closer to the hole. If your ball traveled 100 yards then exited the golf course, you should get those 100 yards, with the penalty being a single stroke to put the ball back in play, same as any other hazard. 

This would go a long way toward newer golfers wanting to play by the rules and enjoy the game while doing so. If a guy hit is tee shot OB, at least he gets to advance down the course and hit his third shot from a spot closer to the hole. 

I believe it is these overly penal rules, same with grounding clubs in hazards, etc. that turn newish golfers away from taking the game more seriously. The pool of golfers who are going to follow the strict letter of the rules when it means they shoot 110 every time is quite small. It takes a certain personality to overcome that level of adversity, and most average guys don't have the time or patience to get after it like that, but if they could play "by the rules" without embarrassingly high scores they might jump on board.

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18 hours ago, Braivo said:

The goal on every shot is to advance the ball closer to the hole. If your ball traveled 100 yards then exited the golf course, you should get those 100 yards, with the penalty being a single stroke to put the ball back in play, same as any other hazard

This would go a long way toward newer golfers wanting to play by the rules and enjoy the game while doing so. If a guy hit is tee shot OB, at least he gets to advance down the course and hit his third shot from a spot closer to the hole. 

I believe it is these overly penal rules, same with grounding clubs in hazards, etc. that turn newish golfers away from taking the game more seriously. The pool of golfers who are going to follow the strict letter of the rules when it means they shoot 110 every time is quite small. It takes a certain personality to overcome that level of adversity, and most average guys don't have the time or patience to get after it like that, but if they could play "by the rules" without embarrassingly high scores they might jump on board.

I have two comments.  First, hitting a ball off of the golf course simply isn't the same as hitting it onto a hazard that is ON the golf course, so it deserves to be treated differently.  

SEcond, as a golfer learns the game, and wants to play more and more within the rules, that golfer should akso be encouraged to begin posting scores for a handicap.  Part of that handicap system is the ESC score (in the USGA system), which limits the maximum score you can use.  Essentially, if a golfer hits two balls OB, he can write down his ESC score with a clear conscience and move on, at least for casual rounds.  I'd suggest that for someone at this stage of development that continuing play to the green for "practice" would be appropriate, although on-course practice during a round is not allowed in competitions.  No embarrassingly high scores necessary.  

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1 minute ago, DaveP043 said:

I have two comments.  First, hitting a ball off of the golf course simply isn't the same as hitting it onto a hazard that is ON the golf course, so it deserves to be treated differently.  

SEcond, as a golfer learns the game, and wants to play more and more within the rules, that golfer should akso be encouraged to begin posting scores for a handicap.  Part of that handicap system is the ESC score (in the USGA system), which limits the maximum score you can use.  Essentially, if a golfer hits two balls OB, he can write down his ESC score with a clear conscience and move on, at least for casual rounds.  I'd suggest that for someone at this stage of development that continuing play to the green for "practice" would be appropriate, although on-course practice during a round is not allowed in competitions.  No embarrassingly high scores necessary.  

And with the new modern rules, it looks like they will allow the tournament committee, even in stroke play, to set a maximum score per hole, so that newer golfers won't have to take a 14 on a hole after they've bombed 3 or 4 balls out-of-bounds.

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1 minute ago, DaveP043 said:

I have two comments.  First, hitting a ball off of the golf course simply isn't the same as hitting it onto a hazard that is ON the golf course, so it deserves to be treated differently.  

SEcond, as a golfer learns the game, and wants to play more and more within the rules, that golfer should akso be encouraged to begin posting scores for a handicap.  Part of that handicap system is the ESC score (in the USGA system), which limits the maximum score you can use.  Essentially, if a golfer hits two balls OB, he can write down his ESC score with a clear conscience and move on, at least for casual rounds.  I'd suggest that for someone at this stage of development that continuing play to the green for "practice" would be appropriate, although on-course practice during a round is not allowed in competitions.  No embarrassingly high scores necessary.  

Fair point. 

However, on many more modern golf courses "off the course" is a relative term that won't make sense to a newbie golfer. They may wonder why the water on the right side of the fairway is hazard/drop and the homes and backyards on the left side is a stroke and distance penalty. OB is no longer just down one side of 3 or 4 fairways that line the perimeter of the golf course, but in many cases is along nearly every single hole, as common as a tree line, only far more penal. For a newer golfer shooting in the 90s, he can't control which way his misses go, so this is a frustrating aspect of "playing by the rules". My home course has OB, at some points, that is just 8-10 paces from the edge of a green. If you're going to penalize OB so severely it should require a massively errant shot to go OB, this is simply not so in a lot of cases. 

I understand that ESC comes into play, but again, for a newbie, he doesn't want the asterisk by his score, he wants to shoot a legitimate decent score.

I am not arguing what is right/wrong, I am simply stating that perhaps the elimination of some complex, overly penal rules may help grow the game more than we realize. 

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2 minutes ago, jsgolfer said:

And with the new modern rules, it looks like they will allow the tournament committee, even in stroke play, to set a maximum score per hole, so that newer golfers won't have to take a 14 on a hole after they've bombed 3 or 4 balls out-of-bounds.

I found this proposed change to be kind of amusing.  Tournament committees have always been able to determine different formats, whether or not they conform to the USGA-approved competition formats.  All of the many scramble and shamble formats fall into this category.  

1 minute ago, Braivo said:

My home course has OB, at some points, that is just 8-10 paces from the edge of a green. If you're going to penalize OB so severely it should require a massively errant shot to go OB, this is simply not so in a lot of cases. . 

I know that many of the more modern courses, mine included, have OB that's very close to the fairways and greens.  However, this isn't entirely new.  Play the Old Course, and you'll find OB all along the right side of every hole from 13 to 18, often within just a couple of steps of the perfect spot in the fairway.  Of course, real duffers don't get to play there, they do enforce a maximum handicap limit.

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19 hours ago, Braivo said:

I think OB needs to be changed to the same rules as hazards, which should all be treated the same, drop at point of entry + one stroke penalty. 

I am not saying this because it will speed up play, I am saying this because it will help grow the game.

Hear me out. On more than one occasion I have played with a golfer who is just starting to take the game seriously, they break 100 playing by what I call "modified" rules. Now they want to start recording an actual handicap and know where their game stands. Then they slice one OB. They then hit their 3rd shot, same result. Now they are hitting 5 from the tee. Absolutely devastating. At this point they will either quit trying to even keep score, since they may very well card a 10, or simply drop near the entry point and go back to "modified" rules of play. 

The goal on every shot is to advance the ball closer to the hole. If your ball traveled 100 yards then exited the golf course, you should get those 100 yards, with the penalty being a single stroke to put the ball back in play, same as any other hazard. 

This would go a long way toward newer golfers wanting to play by the rules and enjoy the game while doing so. If a guy hit is tee shot OB, at least he gets to advance down the course and hit his third shot from a spot closer to the hole. 

I believe it is these overly penal rules, same with grounding clubs in hazards, etc. that turn newish golfers away from taking the game more seriously. The pool of golfers who are going to follow the strict letter of the rules when it means they shoot 110 every time is quite small. It takes a certain personality to overcome that level of adversity, and most average guys don't have the time or patience to get after it like that, but if they could play "by the rules" without embarrassingly high scores they might jump on board.

Yes, the threshold for entrance to serious golf is high. It took me close to 10 years before I could consistently shoot in the 90s and now in the 80s breaking basic rules knowingly or unknowingly all along simply because it was too much trouble to REALLY care.

What people don't realize is that shooting an honest 110 for a newbie (2 years) is not bad at all. There is an unrealistic expectation to be able to break 100 after a few months or even couple of years IMO.

Most non-serious ignore these 'overly' penal rules anyway. So why yield to that and change the nature of the game in a truer form?

In that sense golf is prolly not for the masses (from rules stand point of view) regardless of how much the stewards of the game want to grow the game. It may work in the beginning but golf will start to loose its true mystique and draw over time if watered down.   

 

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I'll just chime in here and say that one of the reasons I haven't considered competing yet is that I do not feel confident enough off the tee. This rule makes me hesitant to embarrass myself in a real competition, but as I grow as a golfer, the rule as is doesn't bother me one bit (and never has).

Last time I piped two straight OB's was probably in 2015, and that's because I've been working hard on a swing that'll get me from a duffer to one that I think is competition-ready.

So the idea that golf rules would keep me from enjoying golf is not true with me. If anything, this rule makes me dig deeper, and appreciate the hurdle I needed to overcome.

If it weren't so penal, who knows- maybe I'd have been content with my crappy swing as my scores wouldn't have been hurt as bad by drivers sliced off the planet.

Makes me realize how important it is to have a somewhat reliable shot off the tee, and that's not only rewarding to strive for, but ultimately makes me a better golfer.

 

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3 minutes ago, RandallT said:

I'll just chime in here and say that one of the reasons I haven't considered competing yet is that I do not feel confident enough off the tee. This rule makes me hesitant to embarrass myself in a real competition, but as I grow as a golfer, the rule as is doesn't bother me one bit. 

Last time I piped two straight OB's was probably in 2015, and that's because I've been working hard on a swing that'll get me from a duffer to one that I think is competition-ready.

So the idea that golf rules would keep me from enjoying golf is not true with me. If anything, this rule makes me dig deeper, and appreciate the hurdle I needed to overcome.

If it weren't so penal, who knows- maybe I'd have been content with my crappy swing as my scores wouldn't have been hurt as bad by drivers sliced off the planet.

Makes me realize how important it is to have a somewhat reliable shot off the tee, and that's not only rewarding to strive for, but ultimately makes me a better golfer.

 

Outstanding post.. Very much at the heart of ones journey to becoming a serious golfer.

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7 minutes ago, Braivo said:

I am simply stating that perhaps the elimination of some complex, overly penal rules may help grow the game more than we realize. 

What's "complex" about, "If you hit your ball off the marked boundary of the course, you incur a 1-stroke penalty and must replay the shot."?  It's probably one of the simpler rules in the book.

It's also worth noting that I doubt that anyone in the history of the game, failed to take up the game because they read the rules beforehand and found them to be too complex and/or penal.  In fact, the vast majority of golfers simply go out with a couple of buddies and start smacking the ball towards the hole without anything more than the most rudimentary understanding of the rules.  Many that become lifetime "golfers" never get past that....and that's just fine, but the rules, and more importantly, the governing principles behind the rules shouldn't be changed for some perceived benefit to those that don't even follow the rules in the first place.

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13 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

Outstanding post.. Very much at the heart of ones journey to becoming a serious golfer.

Aww thanks:beer:

i think it boils down to the idea of separation values to some degree. 

Golf, to me, is enhanced when the elements of the game allow for better players to separate themselves more. As a ridiculous example, if all putts were 10ft no break uphill putts, it would be harder to separate yourself in that skill- even if you practiced your ass off.

Likewise, if people who were wild off the tee were never faced with OB stroke/distance white stakes. It waters down the value of the skill to some degree.

I am putting in a ton of work and want to separate myself from some dude who hasn't been able to practice and avoid the white stakes. White stakes give me an advantage over that guy, and I want everyone to have a chance to earn that advantage to separate. 

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I put unlikely to use it on the basis that OB could be so way offline its not going to help playing from that position, atleast if its OB off a tee or from in the fairway you have a solid lie to retake your shot albeit minus the distance. 

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35 minutes ago, RandallT said:

Aww thanks:beer:

i think it boils down to the idea of separation values to some degree. 

Golf, to me, is enhanced when the elements of the game allow for better players to separate themselves more. As a ridiculous example, if all putts were 10ft no break uphill putts, it would be harder to separate yourself in that skill- even if you practiced your ass off.

Likewise, if people who were wild off the tee were never faced with OB stroke/distance white stakes. It waters down the value of the skill to some degree.

I am putting in a ton of work and want to separate myself from some dude who hasn't been able to practice and avoid the white stakes. White stakes give me an advantage over that guy, and I want everyone to have a chance to earn that advantage to separate. 

Yes, yes and yes. It makes me cringe when I think about how watering down not just the rules but in effect the principles would change golf as we know it and how many sub layers that make up the game would get robbed without folks understanding it till its too late. .  

44 minutes ago, David in FL said:

What's "complex" about, "If you hit your ball off the marked boundary of the course, you incur a 1-stroke penalty and must replay the shot."?  It's probably one of the simpler rules in the book.

It's also worth noting that I doubt that anyone in the history of the game, failed to take up the game because they read the rules beforehand and found them to be too complex and/or penal.  In fact, the vast majority of golfers simply go out with a couple of buddies and start smacking the ball towards the hole without anything more than the most rudimentary understanding of the rules.  Many that become lifetime "golfers" never get past that....and that's just fine, but the rules, and more importantly, the governing principles behind the rules shouldn't be changed for some perceived benefit to those that don't even follow the rules in the first place.

+1

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51 minutes ago, RandallT said:

I'll just chime in here and say that one of the reasons I haven't considered competing yet is that I do not feel confident enough off the tee. This rule makes me hesitant to embarrass myself in a real competition, but as I grow as a golfer, the rule as is doesn't bother me one bit (and never has).

Last time I piped two straight OB's was probably in 2015, and that's because I've been working hard on a swing that'll get me from a duffer to one that I think is competition-ready.

So the idea that golf rules would keep me from enjoying golf is not true with me. If anything, this rule makes me dig deeper, and appreciate the hurdle I needed to overcome.

If it weren't so penal, who knows- maybe I'd have been content with my crappy swing as my scores wouldn't have been hurt as bad by drivers sliced off the planet.

Makes me realize how important it is to have a somewhat reliable shot off the tee, and that's not only rewarding to strive for, but ultimately makes me a better golfer.

 

I don't remember you having a big slice when we played a year or so ago.

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1 hour ago, Braivo said:

Fair point. 

However, on many more modern golf courses "off the course" is a relative term that won't make sense to a newbie golfer. They may wonder why the water on the right side of the fairway is hazard/drop and the homes and backyards on the left side is a stroke and distance penalty. OB is no longer just down one side of 3 or 4 fairways that line the perimeter of the golf course, but in many cases is along nearly every single hole, as common as a tree line, only far more penal. For a newer golfer shooting in the 90s, he can't control which way his misses go, so this is a frustrating aspect of "playing by the rules". My home course has OB, at some points, that is just 8-10 paces from the edge of a green. If you're going to penalize OB so severely it should require a massively errant shot to go OB, this is simply not so in a lot of cases. 

I understand that ESC comes into play, but again, for a newbie, he doesn't want the asterisk by his score, he wants to shoot a legitimate decent score.

I am not arguing what is right/wrong, I am simply stating that perhaps the elimination of some complex, overly penal rules may help grow the game more than we realize. 

You can't really write the overall rules to compensate for poor course design. 

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41 minutes ago, jsgolfer said:

I don't remember you having a big slice when we played a year or so ago.

Excellent! I fooled you then! But seriously, I think I've improved enough of my fundamentals since 2014, when I was slicing horrendously. 2015 was better as I learned to be less over the top, but still quite steep and swiping across the ball. 2016 was better still (even though I didn't get out too much, I did work on vid lessons).

On #18 at Stoneleigh though, I did hit my first OB right (we guessed, unless it bounced back). Then my provisional went right near the hill/path/or some wall. I never found it, and I just dropped up there to prevent the walk of shame. Sad way to end that round, because I was hitting it pretty well for me overall that day. And it was no biggie among friends at the end of a fun round where nothing was on the line. But it is that kind of hole that has kept me from thinking I'm ready to really compete (which I have been ok with, and has made me work harder).

This year, I'm looking to do some competitions, as I think I finally feel ready to play in some competitions. 

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2 hours ago, GolfLug said:

In that sense golf is prolly not for the masses (from rules stand point of view) regardless of how much the stewards of the game want to grow the game. It may work in the beginning but golf will start to loose its true mystique and draw over time if watered down.   

Well said, I can accept that. Perhaps "growth" of the game is overrated. 

1 hour ago, RandallT said:

I'll just chime in here and say that one of the reasons I haven't considered competing yet is that I do not feel confident enough off the tee. This rule makes me hesitant to embarrass myself in a real competition, but as I grow as a golfer, the rule as is doesn't bother me one bit (and never has).

Last time I piped two straight OB's was probably in 2015, and that's because I've been working hard on a swing that'll get me from a duffer to one that I think is competition-ready.

So the idea that golf rules would keep me from enjoying golf is not true with me. If anything, this rule makes me dig deeper, and appreciate the hurdle I needed to overcome.

If it weren't so penal, who knows- maybe I'd have been content with my crappy swing as my scores wouldn't have been hurt as bad by drivers sliced off the planet.

Makes me realize how important it is to have a somewhat reliable shot off the tee, and that's not only rewarding to strive for, but ultimately makes me a better golfer.

Perfectly stated. Exactly the kind of open-minded response I was hoping to elicit with my comments. You have made me reconsider the line of thinking I was taking. Why strive for that great tee shot if it doesn't matter much.

On a slightly OT note: does the PGA Tour alter OB for tourney's? How does Phil not go OB all the time with his errant tee shots? Anyway, just thinking out loud. 

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42 minutes ago, Braivo said:

... does the PGA Tour alter OB for tourney's? How does Phil not go OB all the time with his errant tee shots? ...

I don't know the answer to the first question but my guess is the Tour typically would not add, remove or replace white staked areas.  In fact, I think on one layout, a resident's backyard pool was not marked O.B. and someone got to drop from the "immoveable obstruction."

As to the 2nd, Phil is not that errant a driver compared to the overall golf population He undoubtedly respects O.B. and plays away or with a shorter club when faced with a tight hole.  Also most courses have a limited amount of holes with O.B. since many holes are within the interior of the squarish patch of land commonly used for a course.  So-called "real estate" courses present their own unique problems as often builders try to create as many building lots as possible bordering the course. I have played some where it seemed like every hole had O.B. (backyards!) on one or both sides of the hole.

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