Saturday, 31 January 2009

9 Quick Tips (Nuggets) on the Rules

Very few golfers know the Rules as well as they would like. My aim is to assist players to assimilate them gradually by presenting interesting information relating to a variety of Rules situations.

Here are 9 quick tips taken from my CD ’99 Golden Nuggets to Demystify the Rules of Golf’ produced by**, each of which could save you several strokes over the course of a year.

1. Put personal identification marks on all your golf balls.
• I reckon that this tip saves me at least ten strokes a year, by materially reducing the risk of playing a wrong ball. And there is the added bonus that sometimes friends find my lost balls and return them to me!
2. Read the Local Rules before commencing your round.
• Never start a round of golf on a new course without checking their Local Rules. You need to know such information as whether any immovable obstructions are designated integral to the course, whether you can take relief from staked trees, whether taking relief from GUR is mandatory and whether you can remove stones from bunkers.
3. Hover your club above the ground in windy conditions.
• Avoid the risk of incurring a penalty if the wind moves your ball after you have addressed it (i.e. taken your stance and grounded your club) by not touching the ground with your club before making your stroke.
4. Work out the Nearest Point of Relief before lifting your ball.
• There will be times when it is better to play your ball as it lies (if permitted by the Rules) rather than taking relief that means you have to drop your ball in a less favourable position.
5. Get opinions from fellow competitors on points of information.
• Under the Rules, distances, position of hazards, line of play (except on the putting green) and where the flagstick is located are public information and not advice.
6. Think before you drop a ball under the Rules.
• If there are loose impediments in the area that you are going to drop the ball you are permitted to remove them. It is wise to do so rather than have your ball come to rest against a stone or a twig. Also, try and drop the ball somewhere where its roll might be to your advantage. For example, it is easier to play a ball that has rolled down a slope to a smooth lie than play it off the face of a slope.
7. Deem your ball unplayable if you really don’t fancy your next stroke.
• A player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard. So, you may always take a penalty stroke and choose one of the three options under Rule 28 - Ball Unplayable.
8. Develop a routine to use when you are asked to mark your ball to the side on the putting green.
• What I do before marking my ball to the side at the request of a fellow competitor is to turn my putter round and hold it by the head rather than the grip. This triggers me to remember to replace my ball where it was, thus avoiding the general penalty for playing from the wrong place.
9. Learn the Rules!
• If you are not sure about a Rule ask your fellow competitors because information on the Rules is not advice.

No Rules and no improvement
Know Rules and know improvement


** Go to

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Golf Rules Quick Reference for iPhone or iPod Touch

This looks like an interesting product for golfers who are not great on the Rules and are lucky enough to own an iPhone or iPod Touch. The company behind the product claim that you when you are out on the course and are not sure of a Rules situation you can click on the section which corresponds to the position of your ball, click on the headline that applies to the situation, find the correct answer/procedure within seconds thanks to more than 200 illustrations and animated slide shows, or simply use the ‘relief finder’ feature that will tell you instantly if you are entitled to free relief. At $9.99 it is not going to break the bank. I understand that it is available through the iTunes App Store.

My take on it is, that it could be a very useful program for a beginner or casual golfer, to help them get a basic knowledge of the Rules, and I’m in favour of that. However, I hope that I don’t play with anyone that takes any personal digital assistant (PDA), or electronic handheld information device, onto the course in any level of competition. Apart from the very obvious problem if the phone goes off as someone starts a stroke, I think that it would be very distracting to the other players in the group if one of them kept clicking away at a device of this nature.

Wishing you all that you wish for yourself on the golf course,

Barry Rhodes

Saturday, 24 January 2009

‘999Q’ Launches on March 23rd

Fingers crossed, but having missed the Christmas market, it now seems likely that Green Umbrella Publishing is on course for launching my book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ on March 23rd. It’s been a long wait for me, as I completed the manuscript in June last year, but due to the pressure of having several other books already in their pipeline GUP were not able to meet the original anticipated date.

‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ is not just a Q&A book. For every question and answer there is an accurate reference to the applicable Rule or Decision, and in most cases a note to further explain the Rule. The questions are tiered into three knowledge levels; 333 simple questions that every golfer should know, 333 more difficult questions relevant to both casual golfers and golf club members, and 333 advanced questions for those seeking to expand their knowledge of the Rules. A detailed index provides an easy and convenient way for readers to reference specific situations as they arise. For variety, the questions are further subdivided into three formats; true/false, open answer and multiple choices.

I believe that this unique format, I can’t find any similar book, is a ‘must have’ for all golfers who wish to improve their knowledge on the Rules of the game, as well as an invaluable guide that helps to make sense of the many inscrutable Rules of Golf.

My mission is that ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ will assist all golfers, whatever their level of ability, to enjoy their sport more, improve their scores and help maintain the integrity of this fantastic game.

Email me if you would like a signed copy from the first print run in March.

Good Golfing,

Barry Rhodes

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Another Hilarious Golf Video on YouTube

Thanks to my new Twitter friend ‘MyGolfSpy’ for bringing this old video to my attention. You probably won’t be surprised that I’ve found something relating to the Rules here too. But enjoy it first.
Good Advice!

Well, I wonder if you picked up the two Rules issues. By saying, “You can’t get through there” and “Just chip it out”, the unfortunate fellow competitor (or opponent) was making a suggestion that could influence the player in determining his play, incurring a two strokes penalty in stroke play, or loss of hole in match play. The second irony is that, in match play, even if he hadn’t commented at all, when the ball rebounded off the tree hitting him in the crotch, the player who made the stroke could have cancelled it and played another ball, without penalty, from where his original ball was last played. This is Rule 19-3, ball in motion deflected by opponent, caddie or equipment in match play.

Helping you to learn the Rules the easy way

Barry Rhodes
P.S. You can click on nine more hilarious golf videos at;

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Join me on Twitter

Today I have taken the plunge and joined Twitter.

Click on the Twitter logo to go to my home page. Now that I’m 'on' I would be delighted to ‘tweet’ with any readers about anything, especially if it’s golf related, and not necessarily about the Rules (I do have a life outside of this subject!)


Barry Rhodes

Sunday, 18 January 2009

30 Rules of Golf Q&As

Andy Brown has put 30 of the questions that I have answered for him on his Golf blog.

Click here to test your knowledge if you are interested;

I will have more news on my book for you next week. Things are starting to move quickly and it looks like we will be ready to launch by 23rd March.

Enjoy your golf,


Sunday, 11 January 2009

Tiger Walks on Water

Here’s a great ‘tongue in cheek’ video of Tiger Woods, from Electronic Arts, that I think that you’ll enjoy. Be patient for the first 25 seconds - it's worth it.

However, he does incur a penalty under the Rules. Can you spot what it is? The answer is below, but watch the video first.

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

Answer: Breach of Rule 13-4b. Before making a stroke at a ball that lies in a water hazard a player must not touch the water in the hazard with his hand or club.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Which ball is in the bunker?

Here’s an interesting photo that I came across on a Leith Society Discussion board. My thanks go to Bernard, and his friend who owns it, for their permission to use it here.

Assuming that there is no Local Rule declaring the steps to be integral to the course, which ball(s) do you think is/are in the bunker?

This one is a little controversial and illustrates why it is so important to consider introducing Local Rules to avoid confusion. As it stands, only ball ‘C’ is in the bunker because it lies within an imaginary line drawn between the bases of the grass banks on either side of the steps, which defines the margin of bunker. However, it can be argued that if the steps had been swept of sand and there was any lip down into the sand from the bottom step, then the margin of the bunker would be around the base of the bottom step.

So, if we assume that ball ‘C’ is in the bunker, how does the player proceed? Rule 24-2b deals with relief from an immovable obstruction in a bunker.

The player may lift the ball and drop it either:
(a) Without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief in the bunker. When the ball is dropped within one club-length of the nearest point of relief in the bunker it must first strike the ground in the bunker at a point that avoids interference by the immovable obstruction.
(b) Under penalty of one stroke, outside the bunker keeping the point where the ball lay directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the bunker the ball may be dropped.

Balls ‘A’ and ‘B’ are lying on an immovable obstruction outside the bunker and relief may be taken as follows;
The player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief must not be in the bunker or on a putting green. When the ball is dropped within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, the ball must first strike a part of the course at a spot that avoids interference by the immovable obstruction and is not in the bunker and not on a putting green.

If the Committee had introduced a Local Rule saying that the steps were an integral part of the course no relief without penalty would be available and the ball must either be played as it lies, or declared unplayable under Rule 28 with a penalty of one stroke.

Enjoy your golf more by understanding the Rules better.

Barry Rhodes