Getting to know the rules of the game

2013-07-19 00:00

THE experts of the game of golf recommend that golfers go through what they call a pre-shot routine before they hit the ball.

This also applies to the putting green where golfers like to position the trademark on the ball in a certain way.

Some line up the brand name so that it points to the hole; others position it at right-angles to the hole. It’s just a personal preference.

A few weeks ago, four golfers were playing in a competition. On the first hole, a golfer, let’s call him Fred, was a metre from the hole and marked his ball.

The other three players completed the hole so it was Fred’s turn to putt.

He replaced his Srixon ball in the way he usually does with the name pointing to the hole.

He picked up his marker and stood up to putt.

He noticed that the brand name wasn’t quite lined up to the way he usually has it, so he went down on his haunches and rotated the ball so that it was perfect to his liking. He stood up again and holed the putt for a par.

One of the players mentioned that he thought Fred had incurred a penalty when he rotated the ball.

Fred disagreed, he said that he had been doing it for years, besides he didn’t lift the ball, nor did he move it from its position (“off its spot” as we say).

The other two members of the group weren’t sure of the rule.

Even after referring to the rule book (Rule 18 — Ball at rest moved), Fred was not convinced that he incurred a penalty because he didn’t actually “move” the ball.

In cases like this, the book Decisions on the rules of golf 2012-2013 needs to be consulted and every golf club should have a copy.

In the rule book there are three pages relating to Rule 18, compared to 32 pages in the Decisions book. Rule 18-2a/33 deals with this occurrence and clearly states that there is a one-stroke penalty for rotating the ball.

If Fred had re-marked the ball, there would have been no penalty. He couldn’t believe that he had been transgressing the rules for so long and that no one had noticed or even commented.

It can only happen in golf.

If you are unable to watch the first three rounds of the Open Championship, be sure not to miss the fourth and final round on Sunday.

From the 19th hole:

Three old golfers — Sam, Harry and Fred — were sitting together after their weekly game of golf. These are some of the things they were overheard saying to each other:

Sam said: “All forms of wildlife on a golf course are there for the sole purpose of distracting you.”

Harry said: “If I hit it right, it’s a slice. It I hit it left, it’s a hook. If I hit it straight, it’s a miracle.”

Fred said: “Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without being good at them.”

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