Recently, I ran a couple of polls to see if players actually use the new rules of golf or at least ask for rulings. I figure with the changes made to modernize golf, it would be worth asking the question of regular players if they need assistance implementing the changes. I must say, I am not surprised at the results, but it is something to think about.
I found it quite interesting that many of the professionals during the PGA Championship always asked an official if they were in a difficult situation. I do not think it was because they did not know the new rules, but more because they did not want to make the slightest mistake that could cost them extra strokes they could not afford.
The questions I asked on twitter were as follows:
Regardless, if the round was competitive or not, very few players ask for a rule interpretation. Of course, I do not know the answer as to why, but the best case scenario is that everyone read the new rules and completely understands all their nuances. The more reasonable explanation is that most players have some understanding of the rules, but do not care enough to make sure.
As far as the non-competitive round, I would surmise that most players are there to have fun and the rules just get in the way. The have enough of an understanding to play the game and keep a reasonable score. If they want to take their game to the next level, then I expect they will learn to grasp a greater understanding of how the rules can work to improve their game.
I was a bit more surprised at the competitive side. The fact that 2/3 of the players do not ask for a rule interpretation was a bit surprising. I have played many competitive rounds over the years and I can say that I ask for an interpretation in at least 80% of my rounds.. Sometimes it is for proper relief, but at least I ask. It seems logical to do so, but it seems I am in the minority for sure.
With so many players not really concerned about the rules of golf, the question arises: do we even need them? Of course this is a rhetorical question because we do, but if the governing bodies are trying to grow the game, focusing on the rules might not be the place to start.
What do you think? Do you ask for an interpretation of the rules often?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!