Home' Australian Golf Digest : September 2017 Contents Your Say
• LETTER OF THE MONTH •
“Careful, Henrik. I don't want any
splashes on this new green jacket.”
Congratulations, Shane Trotter from Wagga Wagga, NSW, for
your entry for our photo of Henrik Stenson tapping a beer
barrel for Sergio Garcia in Germany. Your Callaway Supersoft
17 golf balls are on their way!
Keep it simple, attract more players
SURELY it’s time to address some of the more obscure rules of our
great game if we are to attract new players to competition golf and
membership of clubs?
I’ve played golf and loved it since I was 8 years old, following
my dad around with an old ball and a 9-iron. I became reasonably
adept through my teens but rarely played during the demands
of work and family in my twenties and thirties. When I reached
my forties and had more time (and money) on my hands, I
finally joined a club, got an official handicap and began playing
competition golf. As a newbie to the intricacies of the rules, I
read the Rules of Golf back-to-front and worked hard to ensure I
played the game by these rules. I’ve taken 11 strokes off my initial
handicap and I’m loving the friendship and competition afforded
by membership at what I believe to be an excellent local club.
I’ve watched closely the recent rules controversies, such as
those involving Dustin Johnson and Lexi Thompson, and it
seems to me the most important factor ought to be whether a
player gains an advantage when breaching a rule. If so, a penalty
is entirely appropriate, but what about an obscure rule where no
advantage is gained?
Recently, when playing in a mixed foursomes honourboard event
at my club, on our second hole I indicated the line of a putt to my
playing partner. One of our opponents noted I was not able to do so, to
which I responded (more firmly than I intended) that I was allowed
to do so in foursomes (he had said I could only do so behind the hole,
not on the target line above the hole as I had done). What I hadn’t
realised was that he was referring to my placing of the putter on the
green to indicate the line of the putt. The next day, his playing partner
reminded me of Rule 8-2b which states “When the player’s ball is on
the putting green, the line of putt may be indicated before, but not
during, the stroke by the player, his partner or either of their caddies;
in doing so the putting green must not be touched. A mark must not
be placed any where for the purpose of indicating a line of putt.”
The original advice to me was not entirely accurate, but I had
nevertheless clearly breached the rule, however inadvertently. I did
not indicate the line during the putt, and I did not mark the green,
but I did touch it. Having become aware of my breach of the rules, I
advised the committee the next day of the two-stroke penalty as well
as a further two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard,
moving my partner and I from a high finish to mid-field. I have no
problem with this as I had breached the rules, and I had no option
but to advise the committee once I became aware of my breach.
However, one has to wonder at the value of such complexity
in the rules where no advantage is gained (it’s difficult to see the
difference in placing a putter on the green without marking it
before a putt, from hovering it in the same position just above the
surface). At 44, I am still considered a relatively young member
of my club. How can we expect to attract new players to our game
when they carry the sense of doubt that they may be breaching
rules despite gaining no advantage as a result?
It’s definitely time to modernise the rules such that they only
apply a penalty when an advantage is gained, especially when so
few experienced members are actually aware during a round of
the exact nature of a rule. Unlike on tour, we don’t have a rules
official following us around to help us out.
Let’s make the rules simple so more people can enjoy this great
game without fearing the embarrassment and round-ruining
experience of breaching some obscure and outdated rule.
Anton Jones, Brookfield, QLD
How would you caption this photo of Matt Kuchar
checking out Jordan Spieth’s newly acquired claret jug
during the British Open prizegiving ceremony at Royal
Birkdale? E-mail your entry to australiangolfdigest@
cmma.com.au along with your full contact details.
We’ll publish the best answer in our next issue.
14 australiangolfdigest.com.au | september 2017
Congratulations to Anton, who wins six
dozen Callaway Chrome Soft White
golf balls, worth $359.94, courtesy of
Callaway Golf South Pacific.
THIS MONTH’S WINNER!
This month’s caption winner
will receive six dozen Callaway
Supersoft 17 golf balls, valued at
$209.94, courtesy of our friends
at Callaway Golf South Pacific.
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