Most golfers lie somewhere in the gray area of the sport and, for beginners in particular, golf is more recreational than competitive. Newbies, for example, are more concerned with getting the golf ball airborne than figuring out the nearest point of relief...and that's fine until you learn the game.
It's your game, play anyway you like, just don't boast about your score...unless, of course, you follow the Rules.
Okay, quickly rummage through your golf bag...snack bar (check), divot repair tool (check), bag of tees (check)....Rules of Golf book? Hmm...
Why not...do you find it too cumbersome to carry and, if need be, to open the book to find the correct ruling at the time of infraction?
Why do we need to follow the rules anyway...it's just a game...you may ask.
The rules were designed by the USGA (and R&A) for everyone so that you can develop an accurate handicap, allowing golfers to play with other players regardless of skill level...in order to be on an equal footing.
I am sure you have come across those players who bend/break the rules for their benefit (and I'm not talking about beginners - we'll give them a break for the purposes of this article - also, I guess it's okay if everyone in the group decides to play a friendly, non competitive match as there as separate rules for recreational golf.
The question of Sportsmanship and The Rules of Golf has also come up previously on the LPGA Tour and has been answered previously by Golf for Beginners - click the above link for the answer.
Have you seen these rule breakers in any of your rounds?
- Ball kicking to offer a better lie (in more ways than one!).
- Giving up on a hole and taking a double instead of a ... 19?
- Finding the wrong ball in the woods and claiming it for play.
- Not putting the ball into the cup as the first putt sails six feet past and then knocking the ball loosely with one hand - whether or not it drops in in the hole it is counted (a great score-saver).
- Playing Mulligans all day long - hit a ball, don't like it, hit another and the first one doesn't count throughout the round.
- Boast about your low score at the 19th hole.
Well, just in case you don't follow the rules because you don't understand them, you are now in luck. The fourth edition of The Rules of Golf in Plain English has just been published so, no more excuses.
According to the book notes on Amazon, "The earliest standards for the game of golf included just three hundred thirty eight words and thirteen rules, which included what to do if your ball had the misfortune of falling into “watery filth” and how to proceed if your ball was stopped by a horse."
Additions to the Rules now has grown the book to over forty-thousand words...no wonder golfers don't read them!
Golf for Beginners believes you should always follow the rules of any sport.
If you don't have the book of rules handy, here are three rules we believe you should always follow:
- Count every stroke and penalty so that you can track your improvement in the game.
- Play the ball as it lies
- Maintain proper etiquette throughout - no matter what you come up against - during your round.
We believe that the rules add to the enjoyment of the game for yourself and your playing partners. Start today if you are a beginner golfer and, if you are an advanced player, know that playing by the rules is as important as getting that golf ball airborne!
What are the most important rules of golf which you always follow? IF you could change one rule, what would it be?
Let us know in the comments section of this golf blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.