Real golf is playing the ball as it lies

2009-12-02 00:00

WE know that golf is always a challenge each and every time we go out to play, but if the golf course on which you are about to play has a “play the ball as it lies” rule, it then becomes even more of a challenge.

This is especially true of golfers who regularly play at a course where a local rule of placing the ball is permitted. Most golfers will take advantage of this and always place the ball on the fairway, but when placing is not allowed, the golfer will feel that he is at a disadvantage.

One puzzling thing is why do so many golf courses allow the placing of the ball on fairways?

One of the misconceptions of the game is that many golfers believe that if one hits the ball on to the fairway, one is entitled to a good lie. Some may also argue that placing is necessary whenever fairways are not in such good condition, but it must be remembered that the conditions are the same for every player.

Many courses in South Africa have a placing rule during winter months in order to protect the course. Surely the course isn’t being protected when a golfer lifts the ball and places it on to the most lush clump of grass he can find and proceeds to blast it away with the next shot.

Where’s the logic in that? It would be better for the course for everyone to play the ball as it lies, as the game traditionally should be played.

The only exception would be in wet, soggy conditions where “lift, clean and place” makes sense.

As far as traditions and playing the game strictly according to the rules go, there is nothing to compare with the Scots.

Hardly any golf courses in the UK have irrigation systems because there is just so much rain. In the midseventies, when there was an extreme summer drought, the golf courses were dry dustbowls. The Scots would not allow players to place the ball as they said it makes a mockery of the game: similar to taking a “Mulligan”.

It is a standing recommendation of the ruling body of golf, the Royal and Ancient, that the ball be played as it lies. After all, isn’t this how golf is supposed to be played?

It’s one of the basics of the game not to touch the ball until you reach the green, and every golfer knows this, but obviously it’s a personal choice.

Last weekends results:

Maritzburg Golf Club played the annual All Seasons Classic on Saturday. It was played as a four ball betterball Stableford competition. The winners were R. Spearman and M. Schladenhauffen with 49 points. In second place on a count-out with 45 points were A. Toth and G. Daff.

Victoria Country Club also played four ball betterball Stableford competition on Saturday. It was won by R. van Niekerk and D. Mullis on 44 points. Second place went to D. Samuels and J. Randall on 42 points.

From the 19th hole:

Sam and Harry are playing at one of the new resort golf courses that has plenty of wildlife.

Sam slipped into a water hazard and a crocodile rapidly swam across to Sam and bit his leg off. “Hey Harry a crocodile has just bit off my leg.” screamed Sam.

“Which one?” shouted Harry. “I don’t know, all crocodiles look the same to me.”

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