Announced today are decisions about the rules of golf for 2014 and beyond. 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 will affect your score.
This year, some of the decisions address important aspects of the game and some of the more trivial areas. I will let you decide. All decisions below taken from the tsn.ca website. The first decision deals with those who analyse video and call into the tournaments to report a rules infraction. Decision 18/4 outlines that a player will not be penalized when “enhanced technological evidence” shows that a ball moved, it will not be deemed to have moved if not “reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time.” The ever-increasing involvement of arm-chair golfers forced this decision. This is a good rule, because it puts the onus on the player to be his own referee – exactly where it should be!
Decision 14-3/18 allows players to use smart phones to access weather reports. The new decision also clarifies that players are permitted access to information on the threat of an approaching storm for their own safety. This rule is more for the amateur than the professional. Being caught many times in questionable weather that turned into a storm makes this decision a smart idea. Actually, I did not know it was against the rules…go figure.
Decision 25-2/0.5 was revised to clarify when a golf ball is embedded. Officials have noticed an increased in tour players asking for relief, and a debate on whether the ball has broken through the soil. The revised decision will be accompanied by illustrations. Ok, I am sure there will be many who suggest that is really not an issue, however, if you hit the ball hit like the pros and play on soft courses, embedded golf balls does pose a problem. Not 100% sure this decision will fix the issue, but time will tell.
Decision 27-2a/1.5 was revised to allow players to go forward 50 yards without losing their right to return to play a provisional ball. Okay, I know Phil Mickelson walked 120 yards to the green, fixed the pin and almost jugged it, but really. You know someone is going to count the steps and determine the yardage by the players gait and…..well I think you get the point!
The rules of golf are ever evolving. It is good for the game to keep up with new technology and course design. I am not convinced that some rule changes are driven by the golfing industry, but that is a discussion for another day. A great website on the rules of golf is found at http://www.rulesofgolf.ca/.
What do you think of the new decisions?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!