Grouchy Golf Blog

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 8:42 AM

The Sport With the Most Ridiculous Rules

I have always thought that the creator of the Rules of Golf must have been some sort of mentally challenged sport sadomasochist. Isn't the feat of rolling a ball into a tiny hole from hundreds of yards away using only sticks hard enough by itself? I guess not because there are a plethora of rules to make this darn sport even more difficult.

All the golf rules ruckus right now is over Dustin Johnson's 2-stroke penalty for grounding a club in a hazard during the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. The controversy is that Dustin failed to recognize that his ball lay in a bunker because the crowd had been standing in it and trampled it down. Sure, it wasn't clear that his ball lay in a bunker, but it was a bunker none the less. Because he grounded his club prior to his shot, he violated USGA Rule 13-4: Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions of the Rules of Golf.

However, my problem isn't with the determination of a bunker or other hazard on a golf course. My beef is that there is a rule about grounding your club in the first place! Grounding your club is just a natural resting spot for your club before you swing. Why should it be any different in a hazard? Isn't it penal enough to have your ball lay in a hazard? But more to the point, is there really any advantage to grounding your club? It's not like you're allowed to tee the ball up. I have been playing this godforsaken game for over 15 years and not once did I feel that not grounding my club in a hazard materially affected my shot. I'm sure that Dustin would have had the same result with his 2nd shot on hole #18 if he had not grounded his club in the bunker. The rule prohibiting grounding of the club anywhere is just asinine to me and is just one of the many rules that should be stricken from the Rules of Golf.

In the end, this is just another instance of why golf is often the laughingstock amongst the sporting world.

Anonymous Patrick said...

I couldn't agree more. The reason for the rule is so the player can't test the condition of the sand by grounding their club in the sand. Yet you dig your feet into the sand while addressing the ball, which is a more effective was of testing the sand.  


Anonymous Dion said...

If a ball has a ledge of sand behind it, grounding could flatten or otherwise affect the lie.  


Anonymous David said...

just enjoy the game... almost 25 million golfers have been brainwashed to think we have to play according to the rules that apply to professional golf tournaments only. relax and have fun. if you can't hit the ball as far as you once could, then buy a non-conforming driver and ball to help you out. if you are having trouble with slices and holding up play trying to find your ball in the woods, use the Polara golf ball (it is straight - the USGA tested it and then made a rule specifically to outlaw it. Thanks USGA guys for considering us high handicappers!) If you need a few extra clubs to enjoy the game, then take 16 or 18. You won't have to do community service if you are caught. Ans what's with the groove rule phasing in in 2025? The game of golf is shrinking and the guys at the USGA are in part to blame. When are people going to wake up and realize that the game of golf won't fall off a cliff if it is made a little more enjoyable? The USTA realized this and now tennis enrollment is growing again.  


Blogger Chris said...

It's important to recognise the different requirements between a pro event and the saturday social. When it's significant amounts of money on the line you want to be sure the rules are precise and enforced. On the Social just drop the ball near the right point and get on with enjoying the game.

What about stroke and distance in the club medal - now that really does slow down a game!  


Blogger Gary said...

No matter what sports you have participated in throughout your life, the more accomplished you become, the more you enjoy it!

Coming from an extremely athletic family, I have always approached challenges with a "Commitment produces Results " mentality. I am an average guy , going to work five days a week , and playing golf as often as possible (Whenever I get the green light). Never having golf lessons before , everything I know about golf has come through reading magazines and trial and error, and there has been plenty of error.

. I currently have an 8 handicap and play with a set of irons that were made in the mid seventies (low profile Lynx Predator). They have never been fitted to my size (6' 4"), nor have the shafts been replaced for my high club head speed (regular shaft) . Hence, this causing me to make numerous adjustments to my swing , all the while, eventually costing me strokes. I carry only two wedges , a 48 and a 56 degrees , silly me. I do however carry a driver that is worth more than all of my golf equipment put together, a Titlest D2 907, just recently purchased (used). I think my wife was sick of hearing me talk about, it so she went out and bought it for me. Until 2 moths ago , I had been playing a 2 iron off the tee, which becomes a hell of a chore playing form the tips.
Golf to me , is a game that you should appreciate the personal challenge it offers, to truly enjoy it. You are connected to so many elements while on the coarse . Whether it is the nature surrounding you , the people you are playing with or the tranquility of a "Good Walk Spoiled" (great book by the way), it's just plain beautiful.

People golf for many reasons. Some play to provide a more relaxed environment for a business meeting, others simply for the exercise, but for me .... Pure Passion. I can't explain why, considering I was much better at baseball and hockey. Growing up in Northern Ontario, golf could only be played for around 4 months of the year.
My birthday gift each year from my parents was a membership at a local coarse . A nine hole facility that offered so many different opportunities for a young boy to learn from . Golf teaches you respect, not only for yourself , but other people that surround you. Integrity, you learn from a young age not to play honestly, because you are only cheating yourself. There is certain etiquette expected from each individual on the coarse. When those expectations aren't met, they stand out, and are quickly reminded of what they have done is unacceptable .
One thing that golf demands is consistency from the player, very difficult to come by. You can have the most unorthodox swing, but as long as the club face is square to the ball upon contact , good things generally transpire.
Golf could simply be an excuse to get out for the afternoon to enjoy the nice weather or a dream you have to one day be Professional. It is a sport that promotes healthy values and morals, and can be played by anyone of any age.
On that note , enjoy a game that will challenge you always , to score honestly, and leave your foot wedge at home.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think he would have the same result, try this, next time your on the course, playg ever single shot with you club hovering over the ball.

See how many thins and fats you hit  


Blogger Bob Penett said...

Truth or Consequences

Another year of sports cheating and lying is about to end with the possible disqualification of one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy. Yes, the same Heisman Trophy returned earlier this year by a former “winner” who was guilty of bending the rules.

Other top sports venues, such as the Olympics and the Tour de France, have shown that cheating and lying are certainly not confined to the big three, football, basketball and baseball, which will take center stage in April with the Clemen’s and Bond’s trials.

Then there is golf. Recent studies indicate over 70% of all players cheat. This has nothing to do with the personal situation of the most famous golfer. The studies are referring to us! In the 1992 movie, A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise yells at Jack Nicholson on the witness stand “I want the truth”, to which Jack replies, “You can’t handle the truth”. Can we handle the truth?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with playing for fun without any rules, similar to the popular Truth or Consequences game show of long ago. It was never meant to be serious or real. But, if you do consider yourself to be a competitive player, obey the rules and Play the Truth.  


Blogger Bob Penett said...

The rule had to be applied. The ridiculous part was allowing the gallery to stand in the "bunker" and that neither player, or their caddies, realized in was a "bunker". When one of the best players in the world is in contention to win THE PGA TOURNAMENT, and he has to be told he broke a rule on the 72nd hole, something is very wrong. The situation set back honest golf a ton at the recreational level. USGA, we need simplified, clearer rules to establish a more accepted common denominator for non-PGA play. When the vast majority of the players you represent are not playing by the rules, something is very wrong.
Play the Truth!  


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