COVID-19 and Temporary Golf Rules

I purposely have refrained from talking about COVID-19 because I believe there are way more qualified people who should be heard from. All I can say is that I am doing my part by staying home as much as possible and practicing social distancing. Having said that, golf season is quickly approaching and courses in my area might be open as early as three weeks. If that is the case, I will have to make some decisions on whether to hit the links or wait it out. We will call that a game day decision.

In the meantime, the R&A and USGA have temporarily modified some of the rules to address the COVID-19 challenges from playing golf to level out the playing field during competition. Before I give my opinion on these efforts, I thought it important to outline the modifications.

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The 20 New Rules of Golf

Actually, the changes to the rules of golf extend past 20. In 17 days, golf as we know it will never be the same because the new rules will allow for players to be penalized less for poor play. Overall, I think this is a good idea for the casual player looking for an outing on the links that is not wrought with frustration. However, for the lower handicap player, I think that the new rules allow a higher handicap player to compete better without playing better. Continue reading

A Golf Decision on Video Replay

The USGA and R&A have finally made a decision on video call ins from fans. After the a crazy year of armchair referees calling in to challenge and effectively award unrealistic penalty strokes on professional golfers, the governing bodies of golf have made a decision. Unfortunately, their direction is weak and does not address the root of the problem! Continue reading

Golf Apps for 2016

Are you intrigued by golf apps? I have tried many, but have never really found the right app to keep me interested. Many offer unique features from taking pictures, a GPS, scorecards, or just plain games. Most offer in-app purchases which I fully understand, yet I have not actually taken the step to pay for an upgrade.

However, I did find a free golf app that I do enjoy. It is not a game, it does not offer tips, but it is great for my game. It is the Rules of Golf by the R&A. (The USGA has a Rules of Golf App as well. Both have versions for android and iPhones.)

randa_rules_of_golf_01This app is extremely easy to use. It offers a short over-view guide of the rules, a full set of rules, a section on etiquette and a quiz.

Each section provides great details on the rules of golf in a simple and easy to understand format. What I enjoy most about this golf app is the etiquette part.

The etiquette section touches on the spirit of the game, safety, consideration for other players, pace of play, priority on the course, care of the course, and penalties for breach. Although some of the areas could be expanded a bit, I was pleased to hear that they actually took the time to add a section on etiquette because it is an important aspect of the game.

Golf apps are a growing part of golf. I am just starting to explore them and to date, this is may favorite app.

Do you have one? If you do, pass on the name so we can all check it out!

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


New Golf Rules for 2016

2012 CN Future Links Western - Golf CanadaThe rules of golf continue to evolve. The R&A, USGA and RCGA are constantly trying to improve golf by modifying, changing and adding rules in a 4 year cycle. As 2016 approaches, 4 major rule changes will add some common sense to golf and I think will reduce some of the frustration experienced by all golfers, at every level.

Thanks to Golf Canada for the below information. It was copied word for word from their website because trying to paraphrase the information would not be advantageous to anyone. Additionally, if you check the above link, there is video explaining each rule below.

Among the most significant of the changes in the 2016 edition of the Rules are the following:

  • Withdrawal of Rule on Ball Moving After Address – Rule 18-2b (Ball at Rest Moved by Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment) has been withdrawn. This means that if a ball at rest moves after the player addresses it, the player is no longer automatically deemed to have caused the ball to move. A one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2 will be applied only when the facts show that the player has caused the ball to move.
  • Limited Exception to Disqualification Penalty for Submission of Incorrect Score Card – A new exception has been introduced to Rule 6-6d (Wrong Score for Hole) to provide that a player is not disqualified for returning a lower score for a hole than actually taken as a result of failing to include penalty strokes that the player did not know were incurred before returning the score card. Instead, the player incurs the penalty under the Rule that was breached and must add an additional penalty of two strokes for the score card error. In all other cases in which a player returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, the penalty will continue to be disqualification.
  • Modification of Penalty for a Single Impermissible Use of Artificial Devices or Equipment – The penalty for a player’s first breach of Rule 14-3 (Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment and Abnormal Use of Equipment) during the round has been reduced from disqualification to loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. The penalty for any subsequent breach of Rule 14-3 will continue to be disqualification.
  • Prohibition on Anchoring the Club While Making a Stroke – As announced in May 2013, the new Rule 14-1b (Anchoring the Club) prohibits anchoring the club either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point” in making a stroke. The penalty is loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play.

There are many more rule changes that I will address in the upcoming months, but for now, these 4 rules make the top of my list. I am grateful for Golf Canada’s efforts to explain the rules of golf in terms everyone can understand.

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