Rules, Rules, Rules

The Rules of Golf have dominated the news lately. Stories abound with professional tour events turned upside down as leaders were assessed penalties days later, as well as, the impending overhaul of many rules.

What do professional golfers think and how do golf rules impact you?

Golf Channel Amateur Tour (www.GCAMtour.com) player Matt Blum provided some thoughts on when the rules have importance and when they can be bent.

Friendly Rounds

You should always play by the rules, whenever possible. Rather than use a foot-wedge to get out of trouble, take the opportunity to improve your golfing skills, learn to play creatively, and prepare yourself for more serious rounds.

When should the rules be broken? Matt said there are times when a mulligan, or do-over, has its benefits – such as learning more about how the course plays or in trying a new shot in a real environment, not just on the range.

Rounds where mulligans have been used should not be posted for handicap purposes, or even bragging rights, if you don’t follow all the rules of golf.

Sociable Rounds

These are times when you are paired with others you might not know or are in some type of relaxed competition where rules are followed less closely – such as in a golf league or group event.

Not following the rules in this situation can cause you to be expelled from the event, cost your group the chance for winning a prize, or negatively impact personal relationships.

Professional Rounds

While you may never play in an official tournament, knowing the rules and how to conduct yourself during one is beneficial.

The rules at a tour event are the same used on a Sunday in your buddy group.

Playing by the worldwide set directions gives you the advantage should you find yourself in some other professional situation – such as a work event, golf themed meeting, or community event where your play is observed by others.

Whenever you are unsure of proper action or are at odds with your playing partner on a rules interpretation, Matt suggests you invoke USGA Rule#3-3 and play two balls – one as it lies and another with what you feel is the correct action.

Mark each score on your card and ask for a ruling at the clubhouse. This can settle long discussions and keep pace of play moving.

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