Thursday, 29 December 2011

A New Year Rules Riddle

Over three years ago, just a week after I commenced writing my weekly blog, I posed this Rules teaser;
On a par 3 a player scores a hole-in-one with a ball other than the original ball that he played on that hole. How can this happen within the Rules of Golf?
Here is a link to that blog with eight different ways that it could occur.

Well, now my devious mind has come up with something similar for you Rules enthusiasts to think about over the New Year’s holiday.

After celebrating much too enthusiastically on New Year’s Eve, George arrives at the first tee for his New Year’s Day match against his arch rival, Bill. Things don’t go well for him and unbelievably (!) he is 7 holes down without having struck a ball, when he concedes the match. George has not conceded any stroke or hole and has not breached a Local Rule or Condition of Competition. Explain how this could possibly have occurred under the Rules of Golf.
I am not certainly suggesting that this scenario will ever happen but the poser is intended to encourage readers to think laterally about some breaches of the Rules that we don’t often experience. Click here for my solution to this Rules Riddle.

Happy New Year to all of you,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2012 and may not be copied without permission. 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Golfers Will Understand (2)

At this same time last year I blogged on some ‘truisms’ about casual golf. Here are 20 more;

Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic and, while this cannot be measured scientifically, the more expensive the ball, the greater this water-magnetism.

If you want to hit a 7-iron as far as a scratch golfer, simply try to lay up with one just short of a water hazard.

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

If your driver is hot, your putter is ice cold; if you can hit your irons, you will top your woods; if you keep your right elbow tucked in, your head will come up.

The inevitable result of any golf lesson is the instant elimination of the one critical unconscious motion that allowed you to compensate for all of your many other errors.

It's not a 'gimme' if you're still away.

There are two kinds of bounces; unfair bounces and bounces just the way you meant to play it.

Don't buy a putter until you've had a chance to throw it.

When you look up, causing an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

Never try to keep more than 10 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

You can put a draw on the ball, you can put a fade on the ball, but no casual golfer can put a straight on the ball.

A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.

A good golf partner is one who's always slightly worse than you are. If you get a lot of invites to play, now you know why.

If there's a storm rolling in, you'll be having the game of your life.

If you're afraid a full shot might reach the green while the foursome ahead of you is still putting out, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up or you can wait until the green is clear and top a ball halfway there.

Golf balls from the same sleeve tend to follow one another, particularly out of bounds or into water.

It’s far easier to get up at 6.00am to play golf than at 10.00am to mow the grass.

The frequency with which balls are lost increases as the available supply decreases.

The secret of good golf is: use your real swing to take the big divot, use your practice swing to make the shot, and always hit your ‘do-over’ first.

Your best round of golf will be immediately followed by your worst round. The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.

Wishing all my readers a Very Merry Christmas,
I appreciate your loyalty.

If you find my blog interesting then it is likely that you know someone else who might also benefit. You can recommend that they subscribe at the top right corner of my home page, or, you can send me their email address at rules at barryrhodes dot com. As you know, there is no charge, they can unsubscribe at any time and I will not share their email address with anyone else.

You can also subscribe yourself or your friends to my very popular, free ‘Rhodes Rules School’ series of emails at this link;

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

A Rules Related True Story

The relevance of this plaque will become obvious when you read on.

I received this email today from Peter Blaisdell, a respected, long-term, US tournament Rules Official. It led me to a story that is particularly appropriate for this time of year and I am sure that it will provide you with food for thought
“I'd like to share something with you, my friends.
I received a phone call last night from someone I don't really know.
I have posted the contents of the conversation on the Golf Club Atlas website under the heading-----I got a phone call--
If interested, take a look, it speaks volumes about golf and the human condition.
Really shook me up.
Here is Pete's entry on Golf Club Atlas forum (dated today, 14th December, 2011); 
I got a phone call last night from a woman who identified herself and asked if I was the Mr. Blaisdell who is a rules official. I said yes and she said that her husband wanted to speak to me but I should be aware that he was heavily medicated. I thought, --What the hell is this?--A man came on the phone and said—Pete, you probably don't remember me but I used to play in a number of USGA qualifiers back in the 90's. The name did ring a bell but I really could not place him. He said that there was a ruling at a Public links qualifier at Gardner municipal where there was a difference of opinion on a situation where two players had a heated discussion concerning a ball moved after address on the putting green. The man on the phone was the player involved and his fellow competitor was adamant that the ball had moved. I was not the first official but was brought in as a second opinion because the first official was not sure how to rule on this. It came down to a simple he said-he said and I ruled for the player accused.

The man on the phone said --I have pancreatic cancer, I've been in the hospital for 7 weeks, nothing can be done, I came home to die. I want you to know that the ball did move and I cheated. I have carried this with me for years and I wanted to get it off my chest. It is the reason I stopped playing golf because I was so ashamed of myself. It is the only time in my life I cheated and I want to tell you I'm sorry that I lied to you and the other player.

I told the gentleman that I accept the apology and that it took guts to call. I said I would pray for him.--This really shook me up. I wanted to share this.

If you have read this with interest you will probably want to read the many varied comments that have since been posted on the web site. This is the link

Good golfing,

Edit: I am sorry to have to report that this honourable gentleman passed away in January 2012. RIP.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Winter Rules / Preferred Lies

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

There is much confusion over the subject of ‘Winter Rules’, or ‘Preferred Lies’, or as some critical golfers call it, ‘Lift, Clean and Cheat’. I think that the main reason for this is sloppiness by club or course Committees in properly wording the Local Rules that are required, and then failing to display the appropriate notice where it will be seen and taken note of by members. There must be very few courses that do not suffer from adverse conditions at certain times of the year, thereby justifying the introduction of temporary Local Rules, either to protect the course or to promote fair and pleasant play.

Committees should anticipate these occasions and have properly worded Local Rules prepared that spell out exactly what is, and what is not permitted. It is definitely not good enough to post a notice that says ‘Winter Rules’, 'Preferred Lies' or ‘Lift, Clean and Place Everywhere’. Wherever possible, it is recommended to reproduce one or more of the specimen Local Rules that are provided in Appendix l, Part B, section 4 of the Rules book. Amongst the subjects that should be considered are;
•    Whether lift, clean and drop is to be restricted to fairway areas, or is to include the rough (through the green).
•    Whether the ball must be marked before it is lifted (strongly recommended).
•    How far the player is allowed to place their ball from where they picked it up (e.g. the width of a score card, 6 inches, one club-length).
•    Whether there is relief for a ball embedded through the green (not just on closely mown areas).
•    The procedure to be followed if a player’s ball comes to rest on a temporary putting green.
•    If mats are in use on a teeing ground, whether the player must play from the mat, even if they are able to tee their ball within two club-lengths behind the tee markers without it being on the mat.
•    Confirming that the ball may only be placed once before it is in play.
•    Identifying general areas of ground under repair, such as cut turf seams, sand slits areas of drainage disruption and damage caused by heavy equipment.
•    Identifying dropping zones and when they may be used.

As I write this piece I am reminded of a situation I experienced some years ago when a fellow competitor, whose ball had embedded in the bank of a ditch inside the margin of a water hazard, started to prise it out. When I advised him that there was no relief for a ball embedded in a water hazard he abruptly replied that the notice in the pro-shop said, “Placing everywhere”!

Good golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2011 and may not be copied without permission.

Have you discovered 'Rhodes Rules School' yet? Every week I get several emails from golfers and golf clubs, telling me how useful they find my weekly email series of questions, answers, references and explanations, based around photos and diagrams of everyday Rules situations that occur on the course. It’s free, you can unsubscribe at any time and your email address will not be shared. Click here to subscribe.