Jump to content
IGNORED

Why Don't Serious Golfers Know the Rules?


Note: This thread is 1450 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

Recommended Posts

Okay, so here's the situation. I'm playing match play against a really good golfer who has been playing a long time. We are looking for his ball in a hazard. First, he brings his golf bag into the hazard, which is dumb but not technically against the rules. We find his ball, and he gets ready to play it. In just taking out his club and getting ready to play his shot (not even addressing the ball at this point), he grounds his club multiple times in the hazard. I tell him he grounded his club, but he thought you only got the penalty for grounding your club in the hazard if you were addressing the ball.

I get that some rules are obscure and not everybody will know everything. But how does a serious golfer, in a men's club, ground his club in the hazard like that? I can only assume that he's been doing this in tournaments for a long time.

It's even more frustrating because (1) I'm the rules chair of our men's club and (2) we have a requirement that people attend a rules seminar or take an online quiz every other year! Plus, how many times must he have played his ball when it's in a hazard? And I won the hole without the penalty anyway, so it didn't matter for our match. But if I see it in a real tournament, I'm going to have to piss him off and call a penalty on him. Ugh.

I just don't get how someone who is a serious golfer, playing in competition, doesn't know basic rules like that.

Anyways, rant over. I'd love to hear other examples of basic rules like this getting misapplied by experienced, competitive golfers, though!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I've asked friends if I have Rules Official tattooed on my forehead because guys in tournaments always turn to me and ask me what to do. 

In April I played in a one day event. The hole we were on was a dogleg right. My fellow competitor flared his drive way right into a hazard on an adjacent hole. He asked, "I get to drop in the fairway right, because that was my line of flight?"

He plays in tournaments all the time. He either really didn't know what to do or he knows and was trying to see what he could get away with. Either option is scary and means he has not played by the rules in the past.

He didn't argue when I told him his options and he quickly played the option I would have chose had I been in that situation. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I'm an experienced referee in the Carolinas Golf Association program. I do stroke play and match play events for the CGA, USGA Qualifiers, AJGA and some D1 college golf. I rarely see a player over the age of 15 who doesn't know the basics.

On the other hand, I do some high school stuff and those players know almost nothing . . . the "golf coach" is really an assistant football coach who does nothing more than organize the busses. They don't know golf and don't know the Rules. At my club, of 300 players there aren't more than a dozen who know their options from yellow and red hazards. 

That's just the way it is and I don't see any improvements in the future. Despite the looming Rules Moderization effort, most club players just don't care and no matter how simple the Rules become, they won't bother. I'm okay with that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with those who are puzzled by the lack of Rules knowledge of experienced players.  When one plays a game, it seems fairly basic for success for one to understand the Rules.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

In the local Amateur circuit, the season opener is plagued with golfers who forgot the rules during winter hibernation. Examples from last year...

  1. A guy hits a super slice off the tee that's still rising when it crosses the OB line. Does he hit a provisional? Nooooo. He goes down 200 yards, finds his ball OB, and drives back to the re-tee his drive.
  2. A guy who hits into a lateral hazard, takes a penalty stroke, and then walks 30 feet to the left and drops his ball onto the fairway.
  3. Early par 3: The joker who stands greenside talking on his cellphone while my group is waiting to tee off.

Note: This year things went better. And, most finished the opening round in 4:30 rather than 6:05 like last year. The threat of penalty strokes for second clock warning got everyone's attention.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On 5/31/2017 at 3:14 PM, DeadMan said:

Okay, so here's the situation. I'm playing match play against a really good golfer who has been playing a long time. We are looking for his ball in a hazard. First, he brings his golf bag into the hazard, which is dumb but not technically against the rules. We find his ball, and he gets ready to play it. In just taking out his club and getting ready to play his shot (not even addressing the ball at this point), he grounds his club multiple times in the hazard. I tell him he grounded his club, but he thought you only got the penalty for grounding your club in the hazard if you were addressing the ball.

I get that some rules are obscure and not everybody will know everything. But how does a serious golfer, in a men's club, ground his club in the hazard like that? I can only assume that he's been doing this in tournaments for a long time.

It's even more frustrating because (1) I'm the rules chair of our men's club and (2) we have a requirement that people attend a rules seminar or take an online quiz every other year! Plus, how many times must he have played his ball when it's in a hazard? And I won the hole without the penalty anyway, so it didn't matter for our match. But if I see it in a real tournament, I'm going to have to piss him off and call a penalty on him. Ugh.

I just don't get how someone who is a serious golfer, playing in competition, doesn't know basic rules like that.

Anyways, rant over. I'd love to hear other examples of basic rules like this getting misapplied by experienced, competitive golfers, though!

It's simple. Because I've played in a league that played by "strict rules" and it turned out that people really didn't know the rules as well as they thought. And you have to be careful about mixing rules with league politics, too. I quit the league. It's a pain in the arse.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I think a lot of golfers don't know them for a couple reasons.

First there is usually someone in the group who does.

But I think the biggest reason is that there are just not many times in a round where you need them. For me, I would guess one in three rounds has a question that comes up. This is assuming a basic knowledge of the game, so I would not count newbies. And a rules official would have a different definition of 'basic' vs a casual golfer. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

I think many assume they do know them. They read the rules years ago, but memory gets fuzzy. It happens in all sports and as @Papa Steve 55 pointed out, we don't need to refer to them that much.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Some time ago I and a friend were scrambling against a couple guys for beers and sandwiches after the round. On a long par 4 there was a long strip of GUR, marked, in the left rough. We hit into it and went to take relief. One of our opponents insisted that we had to drop back where the GUR started which was a good 50-60 yards behind us! I told him all we needed to do was drop at the nearest point of complete relief no nearer the hole, I have no idea if I was right or not, but I convinced him.

Edited by Buckeyebowman
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

19 hours ago, Buckeyebowman said:

Some time ago I and a friend were scrambling against a couple guys for beers and sandwiches after the round. On a long par 4 there was a long strip of GUR, marked, in the left rough. We hit into it and went to take relief. One of our opponents insisted that we had to drop back where the GUR started which was a good 50-60 yards behind us! I told him all we needed to do was drop at the nearest point of complete relief no nearer the hole, I have no idea if I was right or not, but I convinced him.

You were essentially correct.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

It's hard to know all the rules.  I peroidically take the USGA quizzes and always get a question or a few wrong.  Even when you make an effort, you still don't necessarily understand the rules.

Try it yourself?  https://www.usga.org/RulesQuiz/rules_quiz_questions.asp

Edited by No Mulligans
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Moderator

I think a lot of golfers learn about the rules from people who don't know the rules themselves.  They just think they do because someone else told THEM about the rules..  I've had to learn more as I've played more competitive golf, and I think I'm at least half-knowledgeable, which probably makes me dangerous.  However, I carry a copy of the rules in my golf bag, and try to refer to them whenever we have a question.  If you do this a few times, you learn how to find stuff, its not as hard as many people make it out to be.  Looking it up for yourself is the best method I know of to actually learn something.

Now, when someone tells me something that I know is completely wrong, I simply hand him the rule book and ask him to show it to me.  After a bit, I'll even point him to the correct page.  Its obviously time for HIM to learn something.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Why they don't know the rules? That is because there is a rules book and its big time dull and written in a complicated language. And the rules are so difficult that we need an extra book with uncountable decisions. 

I got a 2 stroke penalty once, during a serious strokeplay event. I dropped two clublenght at a yellow water hazard. Me and my marker didn't know the rule, but there was a rules official who saw it and was too late in stopping me from hitting the dropped ball.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Moderator
9 hours ago, MacDutch said:

Why they don't know the rules? That is because there is a rules book and its big time dull and written in a complicated language. And the rules are so difficult that we need an extra book with uncountable decisions. 

I got a 2 stroke penalty once, during a serious strokeplay event. I dropped two clublenght at a yellow water hazard. Me and my marker didn't know the rule, but there was a rules official who saw it and was too late in stopping me from hitting the dropped ball.

Two responses.  First, the basic rules are NOT that complicated.  Some of the decisions can become very complex, but you could fit most of the simple rules on a couple of index cards.

Second, water hazard rules are among the most basic, and they come into play for many of us rather frequently.  I have little sympathy for those who don't know the simple rules.  

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

18 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Second, water hazard rules are among the most basic, and they come into play for many of us rather frequently.  I have little sympathy for those who don't know the simple rules.  

If water hazard rules are that simple, why are they subject to change? I am not sure about the number of decisions concerning water hazards, but if water hazard rules are that simple, why would there be decisions about them?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

31 minutes ago, MacDutch said:

If water hazard rules are that simple, why are they subject to change? I am not sure about the number of decisions concerning water hazards, but if water hazard rules are that simple, why would there be decisions about them?

Because the design of golf courses brings many more specific local issues into play than the rule can possibly account for.  If they wrote all of the decisions into the rule itself, that rule alone would be 50 pages long.  They write the rule for the typical situation, then they add a decision when an incident occurs where the ruling may be unclear without clarification.  

For the most part, the Decisions just clarify specific instances which have cropped up during competitions.  If you learn Rule 26 as written, you will know all you need to know to proceed correctly in any hazard situation.  You may still run across one of those special cases, but even not knowing the decision, you can still play and return a correct score, even if it isn't as favorable as the decision might have made it.  

You can always play a new ball under stroke and distance for a ball in a water hazard (Rule 26-1a) and you will be correct.  All the rule does is add a couple of other dropping options (26-1b and 26-1c) depending on the situation.  Most of the decisions for rule 26 are aimed at getting a player back on track when he has already screwed up by not following the rule correctly.  The rule itself is quite simple, one of the easiest rules to play by.

Edited by Fourputt
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Administrator
36 minutes ago, MacDutch said:

If water hazard rules are that simple, why are they subject to change? I am not sure about the number of decisions concerning water hazards, but if water hazard rules are that simple, why would there be decisions about them?

The water hazard rule is one of the simplest out there.

You have three options. Five if it's red. That's it.

7 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

Most of the decisions for rule 26 are aimed at getting a player back on track…

Yup.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

The basic ones (rules that govern actual play and relief situations, IMO) most tournament players should be familiar with. But the rules of golf are so procedural and esoteric its not really practical to memorize most of them. Thats why we have rules officials out there. Use them. 

Edited by Groucho Valentine
Link to post
Share on other sites

Note: This thread is 1450 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...