My new rules for Golf 2014

A few years back I wrote a column proposing some rule changes in golf.  I received a ton of feedback so I thought I’d break out the list and make a few additions. Plus I’m on vacation this week, so recycling an old column seemed like a good idea.

Some of these rule changes come from personal experience and others are borrowed from an email I received a while back from a friend.

My rule change proposal:

• If your opponent has trouble remembering whether they shot a six or a seven and looks back to the tee and starts counting their shots, put them down for an 8.

• For every year past your 30th birthday, you should get one stroke automatically deducted from your final score.

• Friends who have spent thousands of dollars on the latest golf clubs to help their game rather than spending that money on lessons are penalized one stroke anytime they complain.

• There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is definitely still on (or near) the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, making it a stolen ball. The player is not to compound the felony by charging him or herself with a penalty.

• If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The law of gravity supersedes the law of golf.

• When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls.

• Divots should be replaced after every shot, not just after a great approach shot.

• You’re not allowed to purchase a new putter until you’ve had a chance to throw it.

• Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be blown in. This does not apply to balls more than three inches from the hole. No one wants to make a mockery of the game.

• If you’re afraid a full shot may reach the green while the foursome ahead of you is still putting, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up and complain that you should have waited or you can wait until the green is clear and top the ball halfway there.

• There is no penalty for so-called “out of bounds.” If penny-pinching golf club owners bought sufficient land, this would not occur. The golfer deserves an apology, not a penalty.

• There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, as golf balls should float. That they do not is a technical problem that manufacturers should correct.

• If a ball strikes a tree, rather than playing your next shot from where it landed (usually behind that same tree), you may place the ball the distance you believe it would have travelled had the tree not gotten in the way.

• When a player hits their drive deep into the woods and believes they may still be able to find the ball on the edge of the rough (and spends more than 30 seconds looking for the ball), you have permission to leave them behind.

• Foursomes who don’t offer to let a pair of golfers play through and just pretend that they aren’t there…when no one else is playing ahead of them, have given that pair of golfers permission to hit into them on the next hole.

• Golfers who have a handicap higher than 20 are NEVER allowed to give golf tips.

• If it ain’t broke, try changing your grip.

• Every time a golfer makes a birdie, he must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.

• It’s not a ‘gimme’ if you’re still away.

• No matter what causes a golfer to muff a shot, all playing partners must chant “You picked up your head”.

Happy golf season everyone!  You probably wouldn’t look good in a green jacket anyway! That beat up sweatshirt will do just fine.

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