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Why aren't the rules simpler?


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#16 Shanks4ever

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 01:39 AM

Golf already has an "unapproachable" tag for those outside the "tent", with all the rules on how to play the game, how to dress and how to behave. (in case you are worried I am a member of a "high end" Tier 1 club with rules on just about everything that I abide by.) The complicated playing rules are yet another reason golf is struggling as a sport. The effort to read the rules is way too much for the expected return for the average punter. The "dumbing down" is for the majority who are not rules geeks and would like to play by the "rules". If you can't find the ball or can't hit it there should be 1 simple rule for relief that everybody will understand and abide by without stroke and distance which is a great time waster and in effect a double penalty.

#17 OldBogey

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 02:39 AM

Let's take the example of a fairway running alongside a creek which also forms the course boundary. A player's shot curls into the creek. Why should it make any difference whether the course boundary is defined as the near side of the creek, the centre of the creek, or the far side. If the boundary is the near side, the ball is OOB and the shot must be replayed. If the boundary is the far side, the ball is in a WH and the player drops a ball near where it crossed into the creek. If the boundary is down the middle, one has to determine, with "certainty" whether the ball struck anything within the creek before the centreline or over it. There is no logic whatsoever in there being different courses of action to be taken depending on which circumstance is applicable. The player played an errant shot and his ball went where it shouldn't. There should be only one possible remedy with no scope for opinions as to how far into trouble the ball may have gone before touching something.

#18 Libba

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 02:44 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.

I think that would be a great way of simplifying club competitions and speeding up play. Most of the mistakes you see other people make usually relate to the different relief procedures.

#19 burt328

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 03:14 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.

I agree with OB, this would make the game more enjoyable and speed the game up. I have only been playing golf for about 12 months and I find that not many club golfers understand the rules because there seems to be a different rule for every scenario. I have looked at the rule book, I am not sure how I am supposed to remember all the different rules. This is why social golf is so much more fun, if you play with mates you can just play a fun game of common sense golf.

#20 RulesDoc

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 03:53 AM

The R&A has IMO done a great job simplifying the Rules by writing the "A Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf". It's 7 pages to be found in the beginning of the little Rule Book; if the average golfer read these pages a couple of times, he'll know more than most golfers including the pro's!! To keep on talking about the great number of words in the Rules of of and Decisions combined is just trying to disencourage golfers from actually reading the Rules that can be used on a daily basis - several of them can certainly benefit the player and make the game more enjoyable.

#21 AAA

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 04:56 AM

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

Is this rule really difficult to understand? However, recognising your marker (or opponent) has a vested interest in considering that point to be considerably further away from the hole than you do, the time taken to reach agreement will of course outweigh any potential benefit.

#22 AAA

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:02 AM

The perpetual challenge to anyone who considers a rule to be too complicated. Rewrite it so that everyone can understand. Remembering of course that the 'pitch/court/course' that the game is played on is also very complicated. Has anyone checked lately on the number of rules there are in tennis or even croquet for games that are played on a tightly regulated course?

#23 Th_mper

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:13 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.




+1 Agree whole heartedly, if they dont read even the basic rules and cant understand them(or dont want to),it is pointless dumbing them down. If you dont want to read the rule book then stick to playing social golf with your mates.

#24 Shanks4ever

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:17 AM

AAA Perhaps in matchplay there may be some disagreement but not normally I would have thought in other forms of the game, surely compromise would mean a quick solution would be arrived at. Strict and complicated rules create a situation of no compromise and therefore no common sense. The "Irish drop" is common sense, stroke and distance is not. Yes the playing surface is expansive but the general rule in driving of give way to the right in driving a vehicle holds true just as play it as it lies does in golf.

#25 Shanks4ever

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:25 AM

You are all completely missing the point, you rule gurus are the only ones that know the rules, the vast majority of members of golf clubs who are not playing social golf have a minimal understanding of the rules. Many of these members are not intellectual pygmies and would be more than capable of reading and understanding the rules, they just choose not to like the vast majority. If the vast majority don't know the rules there is a problem, thus the need for some revision of the rules to "dumb' them down for the majority.

#26 OldBogey

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:37 AM

I don't think it's a question of dumbing down the game, it's more to do with streamlining it to make it more straightforward, and as previously noted, it would also speed up play. No matter how much we go on about it, nothing will change. The rules have been added to over many generations by traditionalists who didn't want to interfere with all that had been done in the past, just a minor addition each time to 'clarify' what should happen. Now we have all those decisions as well. The traditionalists couldn't bring themselves to changing any rules, just elaborating on them by making an additional record of whenever the circumstances didn't quite fit in with the details of the relevant rule. I don't have a problem with tradition - it gives us an appreciation of how life used to be and where we came from. But that doesn't mean we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore the prospect of other ways of doing things.

#27 OldBogey

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:46 AM

20-20 cricket and one-day matches evolved from the need to do things a little differently. That didn't mean the end of test matches, but no-one would claim that these modern incarnations of cricket are not cricket. They require the same skills and abilities as the traditional form, it's just the strategy and some aspects of scoring that change. It's time golf was updated.

#28 Shanks4ever

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:52 AM

Yes OB well put, rules gurus love the status quo but unfortunately they are stuck in the past. The game needs to move with the times (ie people are time poor) and don't need further complication in what is supposed to be a fun pursuit.

#29 Th_mper

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:34 AM

Shanks, Golf is a game with complicated rules that is not meant to be played by people who are time poor and expect to be able to race around the coarse and play 18 holes in under 3 hours, then complain to all and sundry that the game is too slow and the rules are too complicated and the ruling bodies need to change the rules to suit them. OB, The rules of cricket are the same in test cricket and in the shorter versions they actually added additional rules in the shorter games to allow for players inside and outside the circle and the power plays etc.So cricket is not a good example. I would hate to see golf go down the same road as the americans are now advocating with 9 hole comp rounds and the ESC for the so called time poor so they can get more players on the coarses.

#30 OldBogey

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:30 AM

Lots of 'time poor' people play nine hole rounds and GA are opening up handicapping to allow for nine hole rounds. It's not 'traditional golf' but it's still golf. The playing rules are still the same but the handicapping rules are changing. It's just different aspects of progress, whether we agree that it's 'progress' or not.




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