Contentious Opinion - Would the great game of Golf be better served by a MAJOR Simplification of the Rules?

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I have no wish to be controversial but Golf is a very simple game to which hundreds of years of unusual events that have happened within a round have been catered for by a multitude of people in golfing history. The whole premise has changed and been built around competition. i.e. the handicap system maintained to give everyone a chance of taking the fiver off their playing partners (or the Club Championship, etc)

It's a bit like VAR and the offside rule in football. It used to be simple until scrutinised at 2000 frames per second to see if the defenders toe nail clipping is in front of the forward.

Having recently restarted the whole concept is alien to me. I used to queue for hours to get a tee time in the 80's and only ever counted my score. A gross number was always an achievement. Now I flounder in the multitudes of scoring systems, makes my mind boggle and, quite frankly, puts me off a bit.

I fully appreciate most people adhere to their understanding of the Rules at the time and are honest on the whole. A lot of infractions are borne of ignorance not intent or due to misunderstandings with an extraordinarily complex set of rules. It is my belief this inhibits the uptake and puts people of unnecessarily.

Surely, the very basics could be condensed and made more easy to understand and communicated much more effectively across the masses to enhance the enjoyment of this great game.

Obviously, this will meet with significant resistance but the single biggest fact in everyone's life is that change is inevitable, more so than even death. What is good now is likely to be not so good next month, etc.

Right, I've lit the blue touch paper and have retreated the requisite 20 yards to the bottom of my garden!
 

BiMGuy

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The only scoring that matters is your gross score. Golf is about getting your ball into the hole in the fewest shots. Anything else just isn’t proper golf in my opinion.

Other than occasional match play comp. I have no interest stablefords or scrambles. Stick to what you enjoy and ignore the rest.
 
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I have no wish to be controversial but Golf is a very simple game to which hundreds of years of unusual events that have happened within a round have been catered for by a multitude of people in golfing history. The whole premise has changed and been built around competition. i.e. the handicap system maintained to give everyone a chance of taking the fiver off their playing partners (or the Club Championship, etc)

It's a bit like VAR and the offside rule in football. It used to be simple until scrutinised at 2000 frames per second to see if the defenders toe nail clipping is in front of the forward.

Having recently restarted the whole concept is alien to me. I used to queue for hours to get a tee time in the 80's and only ever counted my score. A gross number was always an achievement. Now I flounder in the multitudes of scoring systems, makes my mind boggle and, quite frankly, puts me off a bit.

I fully appreciate most people adhere to their understanding of the Rules at the time and are honest on the whole. A lot of infractions are borne of ignorance not intent or due to misunderstandings with an extraordinarily complex set of rules. It is my belief this inhibits the uptake and puts people of unnecessarily.

Surely, the very basics could be condensed and made more easy to understand and communicated much more effectively across the masses to enhance the enjoyment of this great game.

Obviously, this will meet with significant resistance but the single biggest fact in everyone's life is that change is inevitable, more so than even death. What is good now is likely to be not so good next month, etc.

Right, I've lit the blue touch paper and have retreated the requisite 20 yards to the bottom of my garden!
Golf is a very simple game played by people with complicating minds.

I was told by an auld fella when I started playing as a kid on my local municipal that I should put my ball on the tee then not touch it again until I pick it out of the hole. If I cannot play my ball I drop it within two club lengths of where it is and add one shot. If I lose my ball I go back to where I hit it from, drop another ball, and add one shot.
 

Neilds

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Golf is a very simple game played by people with complicating minds.

I was told by an auld fella when I started playing as a kid on my local municipal that I should put my ball on the tee then not touch it again until I pick it out of the hole. If I cannot play my ball I drop it within two club lengths of where it is and add one shot. If I lose my ball I go back to where I hit it from, drop another ball, and add one shot.
I like this sort of thinking. Why should you get a free drop because a grandstand/bridge/bench/whatever is in your way? You should be punished for hitting in the wrong place 🤪
 

RichA

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The only scoring that matters is your gross score. Golf is about getting your ball into the hole in the fewest shots. Anything else just isn’t proper golf in my opinion.

Other than occasional match play comp. I have no interest stablefords or scrambles. Stick to what you enjoy and ignore the rest.
Depends if you play golf for enjoyment or for your ego, I guess.
Official handicaps have been around for over 100 years.
 

2blue

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I have no wish to be controversial but Golf is a very simple game to which hundreds of years of unusual events that have happened within a round have been catered for by a multitude of people in golfing history. The whole premise has changed and been built around competition. i.e. the handicap system maintained to give everyone a chance of taking the fiver off their playing partners (or the Club Championship, etc)

It's a bit like VAR and the offside rule in football. It used to be simple until scrutinised at 2000 frames per second to see if the defenders toe nail clipping is in front of the forward.

Having recently restarted the whole concept is alien to me. I used to queue for hours to get a tee time in the 80's and only ever counted my score. A gross number was always an achievement. Now I flounder in the multitudes of scoring systems, makes my mind boggle and, quite frankly, puts me off a bit.

I fully appreciate most people adhere to their understanding of the Rules at the time and are honest on the whole. A lot of infractions are borne of ignorance not intent or due to misunderstandings with an extraordinarily complex set of rules. It is my belief this inhibits the uptake and puts people of unnecessarily.

Surely, the very basics could be condensed and made more easy to understand and communicated much more effectively across the masses to enhance the enjoyment of this great game.

Obviously, this will meet with significant resistance but the single biggest fact in everyone's life is that change is inevitable, more so than even death. What is good now is likely to be not so good next month, etc.

Right, I've lit the blue touch paper and have retreated the requisite 20 yards to the bottom of my garden!
Which are the rules that need simplifying?
 

Jimaroid

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People are confusing the game and the rules. The game is very simple. The rules are very complex. The rules account for the problem that many simple things can combine to create complex situations.

USGA and the R&A are making efforts to simplify the rules. See the Players Edition and the Visual Search in the Rules of Golf for examples.
 
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Which are the rules that need simplifying?
I asked a very simple question the other day about sand knocking a ball into a bunker by accident. The thread ran to dozens of assertions, counter assertions and all sorts of 'dark arts' being invoked. No one could definitively answer a simple question and that is fundamentally wrong.
I'm sure no one cares really.
Keep the simple rules, ditch the made up ones would be a start.
I was a cricket league administrator for years until it became apparent to me that
'village cricket' was dying due to the parochial attitudes of more senior officials who would not be persuaded that young lads these days have no interest playing every day, bank holidays etc - like they used to do 30 years ago! The average cricketer these days is time poor, hence the large reduction in participants and a general lowering of standards.
Golf is at a similar crossroads - participation and interest is up but believe that to be artificial due to Covid. Golf itself has gone back to the cash cow mentality and is in danger of pricing itself out the market, raking it in while it can, but it's not unreasonable to suggest the bubble is likely to burst with the cost of living going sky high.
Look - I don't understand quantum mechanics and everyone plays for their own reasons.
I just see a large divide between golfers playing socially with their mates and clubs, organisations, ruling authorities gearing everything towards the competitive aspects of the same game.
 

BiMGuy

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Depends if you play golf for enjoyment or for your ego, I guess.
Official handicaps have been around for over 100 years.
I’m not good enough to have an ego 🤣

I play for enjoyment. I enjoy seeing what I can score and like the pressure of shooting a gross score.
Some people don’t, so play formats like stableford or don’t score at all, that’s fair enough if that’s what they enjoy. But it’s not for me.
 

jim8flog

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There was a major simplification of the rules in 2019 but even then they have had to have interpretations (decisions) and Rules clarifications as queries have arisen.

One forum topic that has been covered time and time again on this and other forums is " what rules would you get rid of". These discussions have often shown a good reason for the vast majority of the rules. Without them everybody would just make up their own and we would all be playing by a different set of rules.

If you just want to play for fun then just do what you want, (my mates and I do) but when it comes to paying in comps against a whole field of players playing by one set of rules is very important.
 

Voyager EMH

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Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Here is a copied post of mine from last year in the Vintage Golf thread...

I have a 1965 book titled “The Ind Coope Book Of Golf”. It is an anthology of writings from golf journalists and famous golfers through the years from the year dot up to 1965.
Original price of 18 shillings and available in hardback at £5.38 including postage from Amazon. My copy has a pencilled 7/6 inside and that I believe is what my dad paid for it.

An extract from “This Man Longhurst” by Bob Ferrier…

"…his golfing obsessions – slow play, the pruning of a swollen rule book, and most of all the modern clubs, and golf balls that fly for miles and render obsolescent the structure and intent of almost every existing golf course – are too well known to require labouring here."


And that was written sometime before 1965.
 

Crow

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I asked a very simple question the other day about sand knocking a ball into a bunker by accident. The thread ran to dozens of assertions, counter assertions and all sorts of 'dark arts' being invoked. No one could definitively answer a simple question and that is fundamentally wrong.
So what should happen in the simple situation you've described above?
 

chrisd

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It's simple really

Play with rules that have been honed over many years and cover many many of the scenarios that the average golfer encounters on a round of golf - or - abandon all rules and introduce just one, count every shot and don't move any ball (nearer the hole) without adding a 2 shot penalty. It would be interesting
 
Thread starter #16
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So what should happen in the simple situation you've described above?
As we did at the time - replace no penalty to anybody - what's the problem with that really?
There was some suggestion of being penalised which, to my mind is ridiculous
 
Thread starter #17
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There was a major simplification of the rules in 2019 but even then they have had to have interpretations (decisions) and Rules clarifications as queries have arisen.

One forum topic that has been covered time and time again on this and other forums is " what rules would you get rid of". These discussions have often shown a good reason for the vast majority of the rules. Without them everybody would just make up their own and we would all be playing by a different set of rules.

If you just want to play for fun then just do what you want, (my mates and I do) but when it comes to paying in comps against a whole field of players playing by one set of rules is very important.
Jim,
I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to break the rules and take being honest to a whole level of OCD! However, what you're saying is the two situations are mutually exclusive but what I'm saying is there are people playing who would like that not to be the case.
I'd love to play in the seniors roll up but just don't feel confident I'd pick up the methodology very quickly. I'd play by the rules but not necessarily the rules that everyone else consider 'the rules'!
 
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Jim,
I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to break the rules and take being honest to a whole level of OCD! However, what you're saying is the two situations are mutually exclusive but what I'm saying is there are people playing who would like that not to be the case.
I'd love to play in the seniors roll up but just don't feel confident I'd pick up the methodology very quickly. I'd play by the rules but not necessarily the rules that everyone else consider 'the rules'!
In that rollup they may have their own 'rules', though they may simply be things around scoring rather than their own 'rules'. You don't have to know any of that, you keep your own gross score and at the end they'll work things out for you. And you can just play to the rules the 'auld fella' told me when I started playing as a kid.

If you see a player doing something that you don't understand or think breaks a rule you simply ask why he has done it. I did that recently when a senior I was playing with redropped on the basis that he didn't like where his ball finished up after he took free relief. Now his mates in the senior roll up might do that and he thought he could - he now knows it's not OK out of context - if that the sort of lax thing they OK...up to them unless it is a WHS round.

If there are little 'sides' for such as birdies or 'sandy pars' (in my place they are referred to as 'bits'), your playing companions will tell you if you get one. After 18yrs at my place I still don't know all the circumstances for 'bits' and I simply don't bother trying to learn them as they vary from group to group. And when playing any pairs format your team mate will advise you of anything you need to know.
 
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Steven Rules

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I asked a very simple question the other day about sand knocking a ball into a bunker by accident. The thread ran to dozens of assertions, counter assertions and all sorts of 'dark arts' being invoked. No one could definitively answer a simple question and that is fundamentally wrong.
Just to be clear, and without wanting to revisit that thread in this thread, your question in that other thread - for your actual stroke play situation - was answered very quickly, succinctly and correctly in post #3 of that thread by Colin L.

Pretty much the rest of that thread was devoted to what would have happened in the exceptionally rare event (I've never seen it happen) that it happened in match play.
 

Steven Rules

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As we did at the time - replace no penalty to anybody - what's the problem with that really?
There was some suggestion of being penalised which, to my mind is ridiculous
That was absolutely correct for stroke play. The vast majority of the remainder of that thread related to the match play format.
 
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