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Why aren't the rules simpler?


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#1 Shanks4ever

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 10:41 PM

The Rule Book for 2012 requires roughly 26000 words to cover the Definitions and 34 Rules.In total this book contains 52000 words. The Decisions on the Rules of Golf book, also issued by the R&A, is ‘intended to clarify matters that may not be entirely clear from the Rules of Golf.’The 2010-2011 edition of this book comprised around 168000 words. A game which has barely changed in its nature, at one time took 430 words and 13 rules to regulate. What hope does the average player have to follow the rules?

#2 RulesGeek

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:06 PM

A game which has barely changed in its nature, at one time took 430 words and 13 rules to regulate.

What hope does the average player have to follow the rules?

Barely changed? Are you aware that those 13 original rules did not cover stroke play - the introduction of the 'Special Rules for Stroke Play' near the end of the 19th century was the largest complication of the Rules of Golf. As for the average player's hope - he could read the book once a year and ask questions when he comes across something that he doesn't understand.

#3 Shanks4ever

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:35 PM

The game has barely changed, get a ball hit it into the hole with a club. The average player would never have read the rule book and when he is out on the course he will be asking 3 players who have the same knowledge. Not many people have a rules official handy for the average club event. The game needs a simpler set of rules the average player might actually read, understand and abide by. eg the stoke and distance rule should be abolished and a drop should be made as near as possible to the point the ball was considered lost by player and marker In modern times with speed of play issues this rule is archaic.

#4 RulesGeek

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:48 PM

The average player would never have read the rule book

Then he shouldn't be surprised at how little he knows about the rules. Now, why should we expect that he'll make the effort to read a simplified set of rules?

#5 Shanks4ever

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:03 AM

As a generic statement people that play golf have integrity and would like to play by the rules. Go to your average club on a Saturday morning and witness some of the astonishing relief taken unwittingly by the ignorant. Simpler relief rules would be read, understood and followed.

#6 RulesGeek

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:06 AM

As a generic statement people that play golf have integrity and would like to play by the rules.

Go to your average club on a Saturday morning and witness some of the astonishing relief taken unwittingly by the ignorant.

Simpler relief rules would be read, understood and followed.

You should get to work writing them then. Best of luck.

#7 OldBogey

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:07 AM

The rules could be made much simpler. Ok, for the elite level professional 'tour' events, the old rules that have been added to over centuries could be retained. Why not have "Simple Rules for Amateurs". e.g. All penalties are either stroke or distance. i.e. If your ball goes into somewhere undesirable (into the scrub, a hazard, OOB, or is simply lost), you can replay the shot without adding yet another, or you can take a drop near the edge of the fairway at the same distance from the hole from wherever your ball finished (found, unplayable) or was last seen (on its way into trouble) for one penalty shot. There, you have one rule covering lost, unplayable, all hazards and out of bounds. The basic premise being nearest playable point, no nearer to the hole and any other mistake costs you one shot (hitting equipment, moving ball, wrong place, etc.). A new golfer would learn that on their first outing. That would speed up play considerably because lots of lousy shots would simply be replayed without bothering to try and find the wayward ball. Make the hole a little larger, perhaps 6" (150mm). Then lots more putts would drop and the hole is finished sooner. That would also put a little more emphasis on getting to the green because putting would be just that little bit easier. The Decisions book would become something just for the Tour.

#8 Shanks4ever

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:25 AM

Rules Geek I won't be writing them, that is the RA's job, the trouble with golf is it has become a "lawyers picnic." You seem to be reinforcing the notion the rules work. When the generic users of the rules don't undertand most of them you have a problem. The RA have done very little of a positive note in years in regards to the rules. eg it would have been simple to regulate the distance the ball goes and let the club manufacturers do what they like and thus not make great courses obsolete without stupid tiger tees The long putter, give me a break if that is in the spirit of the game.

#9 RulesGeek

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:37 AM

Rules Geek

I won’t be writing them, that is the RA’s job, the trouble with golf is it has become a “lawyers picnic.”

You seem to be reinforcing the notion the rules work. When the generic users of the rules don’t undertand most of them you have a problem.

The RA have done very little of a positive note in years in regards to the rules.

eg it would have been simple to regulate the distance the ball goes and let the club manufacturers do what they like and thus not make great courses obsolete without stupid tiger tees

The long putter, give me a break if that is in the spirit of the game.

You told me that the average golfer hasn't read the book -- I agree with you. I think that fact is the primary (by FAR) reason why golfers do not have adequate rules knowledge. You disagree. I don't have any sympathy for someone who is unfamiliar with the contents of a book that he hasn't bothered to read; and, I don't place any blame for that ignorance on the book.

#10 OldBogey

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:43 AM

I agree with most of what you say there, Shanks. If the ball was made a fraction larger, wind resistance would reduce the maximum distance it could be hit. I use a long putter (sternum), but would have no objection to putters being limited to the same maximum length as other clubs. The requirement is that one has to hit the ball with the head of the club, but you can do that any way you like. I don't think my putter is any longer than my driver anyway.

#11 OldBogey

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:47 AM

I don’t have any sympathy for someone who is unfamiliar with the contents of a book that he hasn’t bothered to read; and, I don’t place any blame for that ignorance on the book.
RG, the problem is that the book is not an easy read, unless you're into law, accountancy (tax law), etc. Many people find the tediousness of the detail such a distraction that it becomes incomprehensible to them.

#12 OldBogey

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:50 AM

The original point was that the rules are so needlessly complex, that it discourages people from 'taking on the challenge'. I agree.

#13 Shanks4ever

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:58 AM

You told me that the average golfer hasn’t read the book—I agree with you. I think that fact is the primary (by FAR) reason why golfers do not have adequate rules knowledge. You disagree. I don't disagree with you, you have missed the point. The exception will read the 168,000 words of legal mumbo jumbo. The majority would read and UNDERSTAND a simple set of rules and abide by them.

#14 RulesGeek

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 01:26 AM

You told me that the average golfer hasn’t read the book—I agree with you.

I think that fact is the primary (by FAR) reason why golfers do not have adequate rules knowledge. You disagree.

I don’t disagree with you, you have missed the point.

The exception will read the 168,000 words of legal mumbo jumbo.

The majority would read and UNDERSTAND a simple set of rules and abide by them.

I understand your assertion - I disagree with it. I've seen the amount of effort that is requried to gain a reasonable amount of rules knowledge. I'm embarrassed for the golfer who is too (lazy|frightened) to make that effort. If the game is 'dumbed down' in the hopes of enticing golfers to read and understand the dumbed-down version of the rules, it will be a real shame if they still can't be bothered.

#15 Goldy

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 01:38 AM

I like the fact that RulesGeek is prepared to diss anyone's idea to simplify the current set of rules, essentially by saying that ignorance to a largely incomprehensible and overly complex set of rules is no excuse. How many other sports (that are not subject to some sort of on the spot umpiring) have a set of rules or circumstances that come even remotely close to those of golf? And how many weekend warriors do you REALLY expect to have the time and/or inclination to familiarise themselves with this achaic and unbelievably complex rule set? Assuming that they themselves are not "rules geeks". Having played quite a bit with the whole sphere of low to high handicap golfers since being involved in this game again for the last few years, I reckon I could confidently predict that NONE of them would be familiar with all of the rules.




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