Even Experienced Golfers Make Rule Mistakes

Understanding the rules of golf is very important for all golfers. I studied the rules and feel that if wanted to be competitive golfer, I needed to know the ins and outs of the rule book. I feel that I understand the rules well and that I have saved many strokes because I knew the details and how to implement the rules. Regardless of how confident I felt, I still made mistakes that cost me a stroke or two. Fortunately, it did not cost me a match or a tournament.

The biggest mistake I made over the years (and several times as a matter of fact) was accidently grounding my club in a hazard. Of course this is not a problem any more with a change to rule 17, but before to 2019 it was a challenge for me. Where my problem arose was not paying attention to the depth of my ball in long grass. As I prepared to make a shot, I push my club too far down and touched the hazard. Of course I called the penalty and after berating myself for making a silly mistake, I moved on. It is the nature of making a rules mistake.

Another rules mistake that cost me was double hitting the ball on a chip. This foolish infraction was caused by trying to help the ball to the target. Not only did I gain extra strokes, but my ball was far off target. Fortunately new rule 10 eliminates the extra stroke, but not being off target. At least I have a putt for par instead of a bogey.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. All golfers make rules mistakes. Regardless of your experience, there are times when rules infractions happen. The best thing to do is accept our mistake, call the penalty on ourselves, and focus on not making another rules mistake.

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


2 thoughts on “Even Experienced Golfers Make Rule Mistakes

  1. Well this sure sent me in a different direction than I thought it would. I haven’t followed all the rules this past year playing in our skins game. I wasn’t thinking I was cheating, but in a way I was cheating my fellow players. They run their skins game from the senior league rules at the course. And I’ve not often taken advantage of all of the free relief those rules offer. For instance I’ve landed beside the first green on the cart path which is a hard packed sand-shell mix. It’s a shot I’m good enough at and it’s both great practice and fun to show off a little hitting off a truly tight lie. But to be fair, I know I’m going to be more consistently accurate taking the free relief offered. And by not taking it, I am not only reducing the chances I win a skin which is ok, but I’m reducing the chance that I tie the hole and save a skin from someone else in the group which in principal is not ok because that means two others lost the hole with me.

    I’d given thought to how following all the rules, including taking free relief when you can is needed for getting an accurate handicap before but I hadn’t had that thought about the ramifications in the skins game I joined in on until tonight. Looks like I’ll have to adjust and give thought to that too before choosing an option during the skins rounds. It’s not only likely to bring an extra skin or two my way but it’s more fair to my competitors. And that kind of sounds like a win/win to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      You are absolutely right that applying the rules properly does protect the field. It is something that I learned after making a mistake during a tournament and being scolded by my team mates. It was a lesson I have never forgotten. I think you have made the right decision to examine your application of the rules. Let me know how things work out.

      Cheers Jim


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