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

“Dumbing Down” Golf to Level the Playing Field

I am mystified by the USGA’s decision to disallow the use of an elementary compass by any golfer. This simple device (the bane of many middle schoolers’ lives) is a fundamental tool used when studying geometry. There are no major secrets to its use and in the hands of a skilled mathematician, can produce amazing information. However, for most of us it is a simple tool and, in my opinion, there is nothing unusual about it. So why has the USGA decided to ban the compass from the game of golf after Bryson DeChambeau used one at the Travelers Championship? Continue reading

The US Open Final Thoughts

Congrats to Brooks Koepka in his second US Open win. He is the first player since Curtis Strange to win back to back. This is an amazing feat considering the field, course and conditions. I am amazed by the 16 stroke difference from 2017, I wonder what caused such a difference in his score 😉!

I have three final thoughts about the US Open. The first has to do with the USGA. Every year they make the headlines about their approach to ‘making the course tough’ to fit the their standards. And every year they seem to miss the mark. Saturday afternoon at Shinnecock is a perfect example. I have played on lightning fast courses before, but Shinnecock was ridiculous. The USGA admitted the course ‘got away from them’; I am not sure what that means because a course should not require that much management over 4 days. I will admit I am not an expert, however if that much care is required over such a short period of time, the USGA needs to revisit their processes.

Back to back wins by Brooks is amazing. I am happy to see him step up and handle the pressure of the final round at a Major; I hope this equates to stronger play over the rest of the season. Except for Dustin Johnson, the results of the field demonstrate that there really is no dominant player in the Majors. The days of Tiger Woods like dominance are over and every Major is up for grabs. I like the state of golf and find if exciting to see who steps up each time.

Lastly, a big shout out to Tommy Fleetwood. Shooting a minus 7 when everyone else struggled to break par is amazing! I bet he never thought he would shoot 4 birdies in a row on the back 9. He is probably doing the ‘what if’ thinking game for the first 3 rounds. Regardless, it is an amazing score on a crazy tough track.

The US Open is over for another year. As always, it had some highlights, controversy, and stellar play. If the USGA could get out of its way, it would be the best Major of the year. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, it is 4th. Thoughts?

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

Playing Well at The US Open

I marvel at watching some of the players easily (relatively of course) navigate a course set up by the USGA. The US Open is known for its dangerous rough, lightning fast greens, and manicured fairways. This year at Shinnecock, the USGA has made the course a beast that gives professional golfers fits of anxiety. For an amateur, watching the best golfers in the world seem mortal can be unsettling. Yet some of the players appear to have solved the puzzle and score relatively well. I wonder what their secret is, do you? Continue reading