Since I’m in Dallas for 9 days without my clubs, I’m stuck watching the Golf Channel and catching up on lots of golf blogs and Twitter feeds. I read a funny post by my Canadian blog friend Jim about his “local” rules and keeping the game fun. So I take the ball from Jim and run with the question to you: How “seriously” do you take the Rules of Golf when you play? What’s the silliest “local rule” you may adhere to when you play? Perhaps the Breakfast Ball for the dew sweeper group off the first tee?
Me? I’m pretty old school with the Rules. If I snap hook a drive OB, I’ll re-tee and play 3 in the fairway (the second one ALWAYS settles in the fairway). I’m also in favor for OB stakes to actually be played as lateral hazards (red stakes) in order to speed up play and not be so penal to the player having a fun round.
I was competing in a Philly Open qualifier two weeks ago and, for the first time in my competitive career, HIT THE WRONG BALL IN THE FAIRWAY TO THE GREEN! The 18th fairway at the site was adjacent to the driving range. I play Titleist ProV-1 balls. I mark my ball with a broad Sharpie line along one side of the ball. Guess what range balls the course used? Yes, Titleist. With a broad stripe on the side. In this instance, I saw Titleist looking down at the ball in the middle of the fairway, I saw a line right against the level of the grass in the fairway. I didn’t think twice, because this ball was right about where I thought it would end up. After I hit my shot (finishing on the green about 15′ from the flagstick), I saw another ball 10 yards ahead. My playing competitors were both to the right of me and had played their shots…..and then I walked up to this ball and looked down….and said to myself, “Wow, you’re an idiot”.
Add two strokes for playing the wrong ball…. from USGA Rule 15-3 (b). I made double bogey there. Throw in the triple I made from the pond on 11 and missing the cut by 4 shots, my loss of focus is still bugging me, just a little.
But, those are the Rules of Golf. Over my playing career, I’ve found the Rules have helped me more than they’ve seemed to be “unfair”. It’s up to the player to know them, and it’s up to the player to abide….or not. I won’t hold the breakfast balls or “two putts on uncut greens to get the speed” against you Jim. Because I know you love the game and you have respect for it. As do most players. The most important thing is to enjoy that time on a beautiful golf course. Because we should all be grateful golfers.
Thanks for the thought provoking, Jim.