Rules are rules, so don’t ignore them

2013-02-08 00:00

GOLF was conceived as a fairly simple game with a stick, a ball and a hole in the ground and when the first rules were written in 1744, there were only 13 of them of only one sentence each.

Today the game is governed by a set of 34 complex rules in a book consisting of 208 pages. The rules are probably the most complex of any sport, but if you wish to play the game of golf, you need to know the important ones. Even though some rules seem illogical and unfair; like it or not, you have to live with them and play by them.

You cannot even agree with a like-minded opponent to ignore what you might think is a stupid rule because the Royal and Ancient Rule Book covers that too. Under Rule 1-3. Agreement to waive rules: Players must not agree to exclude the operation of any Rule or to waive any penalty incurred.

In an individual Stableford club competition recently, three players had just completed the first hole. Sam, Harry and Fred knew each other for years and had played together many times. On the second tee, Sam discovered that he had 15 clubs in his bag which is contrary to Rule 4-4a. Harry and Fred asked Sam to declare one of the clubs out of play, which he did. They decided between them that they would ignore the fact that Sam had played the first hole with too many clubs. The group finished their round and had forgotten about the incident on the second tee. Sam won the competition. They were sitting in the bar when Fred said that he felt uncomfortable with what happened with Sam. He felt that there could be a penalty. They reported the matter to the tournaments committee. The decision was that all three were disqualified because they agreed to waive a rule.

Sam actually incurred a two-stroke penalty and it should have been added to his score for the first hole. This would have meant that instead of two points scored it would have been zero.

This is a typical case of rule uncertainty. Always check with the rule book before signing your card.

From the 19th hole

Last week, a passenger in a taxi was heading for the station. He leaned over to ask the driver a question and gently tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.

The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, almost hit a bus, drove over the kerb and stopped millimetres from a large shop window. All was silent in the cab. Then the shaking driver said: “Are you okay? You scared the daylights out of me.”

The passenger apologised to the driver and said: “I didn’t realise that a little tap on the shoulder would startle you so badly.”

The driver replied: “No, I’m the one who is sorry, it’s entirely my fault. Today is my first day driving a cab. I’ve been driving a hearse for 20 years.”

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