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

Swango1980

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See above

The OP wanted suggestions for making the rules simpler and that is exactly what I have suggested. No need for any differentiation between any objects that may be found on or around the course.
I agree it is never going to be incorporated but it is my view.
I assume you would allow free relief if the players swing could damage a tree sapling, or would you just allow players to play the shot if they could, and destroy the young trees?

What about a stony path? Your rule could encourage many to just play the shot rather than take penalty. Even forgetting the likely damage to their clubs, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable at rocks being shot off at funny angles. Best make sure every player in your group is behind you before you hit the shot.

What about a ball on a wrong green. Play as it lies, or penalty drop? I can imagine this would make some greenkeepers nervous if this was the choice you gave golfers.
 

Orikoru

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I find your post quite worrying. I do get that hardly anyone knows ALL of the rules but a lot of people know a lot of the rules , and certainly well enough to play most rounds and not get things wrong. I think its absolutely unfair that a golfer can lose a competition to someone who's made up the rules as they've gone along.

Contrary to what you say "minor rule infringements " can cost the perpetrator 2 shots, or the loss of a hole, and, if players ignore the possibility of penalties on the grounds that they've worked on "a good approximation " of the rules and not added a penalty then the person holding up your clubs Claret Jug may be doing so grossly unfairly, the runner up maybe even commiting the same penalty, but knowing the rule, and taking the additional penalties - it does make ignorance bliss!

If a player just looked at a book of rules and read a page or 2 every day, a lot would register when a scenario occurs, and they'd learn the rules over a period of time.
I didn't enter any comps until I had a good working understanding of the rules, of course, I'm not saying just enter comps straight away and just wing it. But at the same time people shouldn't be on a knife edge and afraid to enter in case they put a toe out of line.
 

Neilds

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I assume you would allow free relief if the players swing could damage a tree sapling, or would you just allow players to play the shot if they could, and destroy the young trees?

What about a stony path? Your rule could encourage many to just play the shot rather than take penalty. Even forgetting the likely damage to their clubs, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable at rocks being shot off at funny angles. Best make sure every player in your group is behind you before you hit the shot.

What about a ball on a wrong green. Play as it lies, or penalty drop? I can imagine this would make some greenkeepers nervous if this was the choice you gave golfers.
You are, of course, assuming i have considered every possible scenario. What I have done is made a suggestion to make the rules simpler, I have not made a proposal to protect players or the course form the actions of a wayward golfer :giggle:
 

Swango1980

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You are, of course, assuming i have considered every possible scenario. What I have done is made a suggestion to make the rules simpler, I have not made a proposal to protect players or the course form the actions of a wayward golfer :giggle:
That is where the rules become "complex" though. Once you start to factor in all the potential scenarios, whether they be infrequent or not. I have no doubt the rule makers, when starting from a blank canvas, had every intention to make the rules as simple and straightforward as possible. Over the many years, with all the contentious issues that have occurred, I am sure the rules went through many many revisions to account for many things that were not covered before, and also accounting for new technologies. I understand the major revision in 2019 was largely to try and make the rules more "simple". Not necessarily by removing rules, but certainly by trying to bring things together in a better refined format, and adjusting some others (e.g. flagstick no longer needing to be attended)

I don't think the rules are there to try and be overbearing or complicated. Yes, things may get complicated on this forum. But, it is a Rules Forum after all, and the biggest discussions will often be centred around the more obscure rules / interpretations. But, on the course, I find it is rare that there is much drama regarding the rules. Nothing to stress about anyway, simply something to discuss at the time, and maybe share the experience on this forum if you can be bothered.
 

Orikoru

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That is where the rules become "complex" though. Once you start to factor in all the potential scenarios, whether they be infrequent or not. I have no doubt the rule makers, when starting from a blank canvas, had every intention to make the rules as simple and straightforward as possible. Over the many years, with all the contentious issues that have occurred, I am sure the rules went through many many revisions to account for many things that were not covered before, and also accounting for new technologies. I understand the major revision in 2019 was largely to try and make the rules more "simple". Not necessarily by removing rules, but certainly by trying to bring things together in a better refined format, and adjusting some others (e.g. flagstick no longer needing to be attended)

I don't think the rules are there to try and be overbearing or complicated. Yes, things may get complicated on this forum. But, it is a Rules Forum after all, and the biggest discussions will often be centred around the more obscure rules / interpretations. But, on the course, I find it is rare that there is much drama regarding the rules. Nothing to stress about anyway, simply something to discuss at the time, and maybe share the experience on this forum if you can be bothered.
I think there are a handful that could be stripped back, but for the most part you're right - it will never be a short list of rules because there are so many possible scenario on a natural outdoor landscape such as a golf course. As opposed to say a basketball court which is a finite space of only one terrain.
 

chrisd

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I didn't enter any comps until I had a good working understanding of the rules, of course, I'm not saying just enter comps straight away and just wing it. But at the same time people shouldn't be on a knife edge and afraid to enter in case they put a toe out of line.
I absolutely agree about " on a knife edge" , but my concern is the fact that making the rules up as we go along is not fair to the whole field. I ve heard the same points you make said at my place, and had to point out that the " play 2 balls" rule exists for anyone less sure of a rule. But certain golfers think that its reasonable to have a stab at the answer and the "so long as the other players in the group agree" method of rules judgement seems to prevail. It doesn't help though, that the pro shop is probably the last place to check a rule, I've seen them get a number of rules wrong in the past, and we dont have any committee members available on a competition day either.

Sadly rules seem to be the last thing anyone cares about in a golf club !
 

Orikoru

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I absolutely agree about " on a knife edge" , but my concern is the fact that making the rules up as we go along is not fair to the whole field. I ve heard the same points you make said at my place, and had to point out that the " play 2 balls" rule exists for anyone less sure of a rule. But certain golfers think that its reasonable to have a stab at the answer and the "so long as the other players in the group agree" method of rules judgement seems to prevail. It doesn't help though, that the pro shop is probably the last place to check a rule, I've seen them get a number of rules wrong in the past, and we dont have any committee members available on a competition day either.

Sadly rules seem to be the last thing anyone cares about in a golf club !
How do you equate a decent understanding of the rules with "making it up as we go along". If you have to physically make it up that's not a good understanding of the rules...

Must admit I usually do what you said and go with the agreement of the playing group. I have the rules app on my phone which I would use if none of us had a clue at all - one of my problems with the rules though is that they're actually extremely wordy. One of my mates who I play with for example, lovely guy, not the best at reading comprehension though - I could very much picture him looking up a rule, reading it and still being none the wiser. Even I struggle with the wording on some of them and I consider myself literate. 😂 Ultimately this means finding the right rule, reading and understanding it, is not a quick process - even on the app as opposed to a book.
 

chrisd

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How do you equate a decent understanding of the rules with "making it up as we go along". If you have to physically make it up that's not a good understanding of the rules...

Must admit I usually do what you said and go with the agreement of the playing group. I have the rules app on my phone which I would use if none of us had a clue at all - one of my problems with the rules though is that they're actually extremely wordy. One of my mates who I play with for example, lovely guy, not the best at reading comprehension though - I could very much picture him looking up a rule, reading it and still being none the wiser. Even I struggle with the wording on some of them and I consider myself literate. 😂 Ultimately this means finding the right rule, reading and understanding it, is not a quick process - even on the app as opposed to a book.
"Making it up as you go" is just a way of saying "to guess the application of a possible rule infringement" by trial and error, it's not meant to be offensive.

My problem with the rules book is that I find it hard to always find the rule, and it only tells you what you cant do, not what you can do. I remember not being able to actually show the rule pertaining to grounding a club on a bridge so the guy never believed me.
 
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It is near if you can't take a swing and you drop within 2 club lengths - same as now
So, you've started qualifying things? In your mind, 'near' means 'if you can't take a swing' and a where to take a penalty drop means 'within two club lengths'. So, are they not 'rules'? And if someone else think different how do you know who is right. And how much extra qualification is needed for other scenarios to be found on a golf course?

Actually, I'm not sure why folk consider the rules of golf to be that onerous. Golf has 24. But football and rugby league have 17 and rugby union has 21. Not that different really. And cricket has 42.
 
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Neilds

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So, you've started qualifying things? In your mind, 'near' means 'if you can't take a swing' and a where to take a penalty drop means 'within two club lengths'. So, are they not 'rules'? And if someone else think different how do you know who is right. And how much extra qualification is needed for other scenarios to be found on a golf course?

Actually, I'm not sure why folk consider the rules of golf to be that onerous. Golf has 24. But football and rugby league have 17 and rugby union has 21. Not that different really. And cricket has 42.
At no point did I say no rules, I said simpler rules. Golf may only have 24 rules but how many sub section, definitions, explanations, etc? This is what makes things so complicated- just browse the forum if you need any more proof
 

Orikoru

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At no point did I say no rules, I said simpler rules. Golf may only have 24 rules but how many sub section, definitions, explanations, etc? This is what makes things so complicated- just browse the forum if you need any more proof
Was gonna say, to claim it only has 24 rules is just fanciful. When you've got 15.a, 15.b, 15.b.ii etc etc and you're counting that as one. 😂 (Don't quote me on the numbers I made them up.)
 

D-S

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The only obvious simplification I can think of is to remove all rules regarding advice.
It really makes no difference in the real world and is very often not known and almost never applied. In addition it is probably the most broken rule in golf but not clamped down on as it has little or no impact on the game. When one player has employed legally a caddie specifically to give advice to help his score, another knowing what a fellow competitor has hit is of no relevance.
I know the rules folk will be against it but certainly on other forums precisely defining what is or isn’t advice is debatable (and debated for pages on end) and is open to far more interpretation than can be decided on the course.
Not much of a change but every little helps.
 

rulie

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Lest we forget the original Rules of the game:

Articles & Laws in Playing at Golf.


1. You must Tee your Ball within a Club's length of the Hole.

2. Your Tee must be upon the Ground.

3. You are not to change the Ball which you Strike off the Tee.

4. You are not to remove Stones, Bones or any Break Club, for the sake of playing your Ball, Except upon the fair Green & that only within a Club's length of your Ball.

5. If your Ball comes among watter, or any wattery filth, you are at liberty to take out your Ball & bringing it behind the hazard and Teeing it, you may play it with any Club and allow your Adversary a Stroke for so getting out your Ball.

6. If your Balls be found any where touching one another, You are to lift the first Ball, till you play the last.

7. At Holling, you are to play your Ball honestly for the Hole, and not to play upon your Adversary’s Ball, not lying in your way to the Hole.

8. If you shou'd lose your Ball, by it's being taken up, or any other way, you are to go back to the Spot, where you struck last, & drop another Ball, And allow your adversary a Stroke for the misfortune.

9. No man at Holling his Ball, is to be allowed, to mark his way to the Hole with his Club, or anything else.

10. If a Ball be stopp’d by any Person, Horse, Dog or anything else, The Ball so stop’d must be play’d where it lyes.

11. If you draw your Club in Order to Strike, & proceed so far in the Stroke as to be bringing down your Club; If then, your Club shall break, in any way, it is to be Accounted a Stroke.

12. He whose Ball lyes farthest from the Hole is obliged to play first.

13. Neither Trench, Ditch or Dyke, made for the preservation of the Links, nor the Scholar's Holes, or the Soldier's Lines, Shall be accounted a Hazard; But the Ball is to be taken out Teed and play’d with any Iron Club.

 

salfordlad

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Was gonna say, to claim it only has 24 rules is just fanciful. When you've got 15.a, 15.b, 15.b.ii etc etc and you're counting that as one. 😂 (Don't quote me on the numbers I made them up.)
In case you were losing sleep over the numbers - including the .a, b, c etc is 123 separate terms, include the bracketed numbers after the letter takes you to an aggregate 318 terms.
 
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