Golf Season Is Almost Here!

I can hardly wait! Golf season is just around the corner.

In keeping with the weather theme mentioned by Rick at mindbodygolf, I thought I would show you can what happen at my course in the space of 30 days…..

We go from this.

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To this.

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To ahhh, I am golfing!

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I am a grateful golfer! Bring on the sun!

Distance Measuring Devices in Golf

Since 2006, distance measuring devices (DMD) are allowed in golf. Although this rule has been around for 9 years, if ask an amateur about a DMD, you might be surprised at the plethora of answers.

What sparked my interest in DMD is a Sean Foley’s article called Ride the Wind from Golf Digest, April 2015. He stated in the article that weather apps on your phone to find wind speed and direction are allowed when playing golf. At first, I was thinking that this could not be right because it was not something I remember reading in the rule book. So, off to the rules I went.

According to the USGA and RCGA, Appendix IV, players cannot use any device that:

  • the gauging or measuring of slope;
  • the gauging or measuring of other conditions that might affect play (e.g., wind speed or direction, or other climate-based information such as temperature, humidity, etc.);
  • recommendations that might assist the player in making a stroke or in his play (e.g., club selection, type of shot to be played, green reading or any other advice related matter); or
  • calculating the effective distance between two points based on slope or other conditions affecting shot distance.

Unless I am interpreting this wrong, a device that measures wind speed or direction is contrary to rule 14-3 – Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and Unusual Use of Equipment. So it is not legal to use a weather app that measures wind speed and direction and thus cannot be used during any tournament or round of golf.

To make sure I cover all my bases, I next checked the recent decisions of golf that have not made it into the official rulebook yet. “According to the USGA and R&A, “decisions” are updated every two years and the actual Rules of Golf are updated every four years.”  The ability to change the rules of golf to adapt to its evolving nature is extremely important.  Most weekend golfers are less concerned about the real rules, but if you have a wish to play in any competition, knowing or not knowing the rules could prevent you from being disqualified.

My research in the ‘decision’ section of the official rules revealed: 14-3/18 Weather Information Accessed on Multi-Functional Device

Q. During a stipulated round, may a player access local weather information (e.g., wind, temperature, humidity) through an application or internet browser on a multi-functional device?

A. Yes. The prohibition in Rule 14-3 is only applicable to the specific act of gauging or measuring conditions that might affect a player’s play (e.g., through use of an anemometer or a thermometer). When accessing weather reports provided by a weather station through an application or internet browser, the player is not actively measuring or gauging the conditions.

Basically, a person can use a weather app, but not to check wind speed and direction to make swing decisions or club selection. They can only check for the possibility of stormy weather making its way toward the course.

After rereading the article, I actually think the error was a typo. Foley states that compasses are not allowed and weather apps are allowed during a round of golf. The official rules show that the exact opposite is true.  So as you head to the course, if you use a multi-functional device, make sure it can only measure distances or else you could be disqualified.

On last point about using DMD, they have to be approved by the Local Rules of your course or else they are not allowed either!

Lastly, if I am wrong about my interpretation of the DMD rule, please feel free to correct me and I will pass it on to my readers. It is important that we all understand the rules of golf!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Put on the Clock in Golf

time-management

Slow Play in Golf, Is it a Problem?

Henrik Stenson is not happy about being “put on the clock” on the 15th hole at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last weekend. He attributes to this poor play down the stretch to the ruling that his group (the last group) was out of position. This is not a usual ruling, but it generally is not enforced on the last group with the tournament on the line.

I did not watch the tournament, but Pete at White Dragon Golf has a good wrap up on Stenson’s views worth reading. We could discuss the merits of the call, but I have always viewed a rules official as someone who levels the playing field, but should not determine the outcome of any match. I am not sure this is the case at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and will sit on the fence as to whether it was the correct call or not.

What does being put on the clock actually mean? This information below is from golf.about.com. They have covered the topic pretty well. I have only cut part of the article out, so there is more about fines if you want to read on.

PGA Tour slow play rules and penalties are based on what the tour calls “bad times.” Let’s say Group X has fallen off the pace and is out of position (meaning, too much space – usually a full hole – has opened between this group and the group ahead of it).

A rules official or Tour official will notify all players in the group that the group is being put “on the clock.” Once a group is on the clock, PGA Tour officials begin timing each player. Once that timing of a group begins, each player has 40 seconds to play each stroke, except in the following cases when he has 60 seconds:

  1. He is the first of his group to play from the teeing ground of a par-3 hole;
  2. He is the first to play a second shot on a par-4 or par-5;
  3. He is the first to play a third shot on a par-5;
  4. He is the first player to play around the putting green;
  5. He is the first to play on the putting green.

Slow play is a problem in golf! We have discussed this topic (natural flow, May I Play Through)  several times and this weekend, Rule 6-7 Undue Delay / Slow Play might have cost a professional golfer about $500,000! Yes, about a half of a million dollars! Quite a bit of cash for just a few seconds here and there.

Depending on your perspective, the ruling this weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational might seem excessive. However, from a player who has endured 6.5 hour rounds in tournaments, slow play is a problem in golf. Unfortunately for Henrik Stenson, according to his perspective (and a person’s perspective is a person’s reality) being “put on the clock” was uncalled for and eventually cost him the chance to win.

I have never been put on the clock and generally, I play pretty quick. So a couple of questions to all the readers out there: Do you think slow play is a problem in golf? Was Stenson’s slow play ruling fair? Have you ever been called for slow play? Have you ever wanted to call someone for slow play? What are you thinking?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!