#### backwoodsman

##### Tour Winner

...And it was decreed from on high that golf shall be a game of skill, made more so by the placing of strategic areas of exceptional difficulty to be known as hazards. â€œSmite your ball in there at your perilâ€ said the Great One. â€œHa ha. Ha ha. Ha haâ€

â€œOh dearâ€ said the Wily Hacker Intending to Negate Every Rule. â€œmy ball appears to have landed in a strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard. Indeed, it appears to be of such exceptional difficulty that I shall need to find out quite how exceptional it is. I shall give it a prodâ€.

â€œHold!â€ cried the Doddery Old Rules Compiler. â€When your ball lands in a strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard, it is a test of your skill as to how you overcome the problem presented to you. If you should test the surface, it would not be such an exceptional difficulty. We have made a RULE. Thou shall not give it a prodâ€

â€œDamn â€œ cried the WHINER, â€œbut on the other hand, there is here, to the side, another strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard into which my ball has not fallen. It appears remarkably similar, so I shall give that a prod instead.â€

But the DORC had foreseen this. â€We have foreseen that you should think this adjacent strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard is similar that that in which your ball liesâ€ said he. â€œ You should read our RULE carefully. Thou shall not give it a prod, nor shall you give a prod to a similar strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard.â€

â€œWell how about this one over here thenâ€ said the WHINER. â€œIt is far away and cannot be of relevance to the strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard in which my ball lies. It will give me no advantage. May I give this one a prod?â€

â€œIt may not be of relevanceâ€ said the DORC â€œbut you should observe our RULE even more carefully â€¦ nor shall you give a prod to any similar strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazardâ€.

â€œThat is outrageous â€œ claimed the WHINER. â€œIt is far away and of no relevanceâ€

â€œThat may be so, but you forced us into it. You constantly desire to prod where you ought not be prodding.â€

And the Great One on high decreed, in a stentorian voice, â€œIf you prod where you should not prod, I shall penalise you two smites. So I advise you; do not prodâ€.

â€œIn which case â€œ said the WHINER â€œif it should satisfy you all, I shall strike my ball without prodding anything. Damn! My ball flies into the distance and appears to have fallen into another strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard. But what shall I do regarding these footprints I have made in this sand. Are they not unfair to anyone who has the misfortune to land their ball in this placeâ€

â€œIndeed, you are correctâ€ replied the DORC. â€œ Etiquette says you must smooth them outâ€

â€œBut does that not count as a prod. I have to strike my ball from another strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard and shall be penalised two smites for prodding. I have merely complied with your wishes and have no desire to penalised two smites for doing soâ€.

â€œWe are not uncaring of your predicamentâ€ said the DORC. â€œWe have made an exception. After you have struck your ball from a strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard, you may give it a prod to smooth out the surface. You may prod it even if your ball should land in another strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard. You will not be penalised two smites. But, beware, you may only prod this one from within which your ball has just been struck. We do not like prodding -you may not prod elsewhere.â€

â€œYou are kind and wiseâ€ said the WHINER.

But, he was not regarded as wily without reason and determined to remember the RULE and use it to his own advantage should opportunity arise. Which was not far offâ€¦

â€œOh lookâ€ cried the WHINER on the next hole. â€œMy ball has landed immediately adjacent to a strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard. May I stand in it in order to make my next shot?â€

â€œOf course you mayâ€ said the DORC.

â€œDoes it not count as a prod? â€œ asked the WHINER â€œ Will I not be penalised two smites?â€

â€œYou ball is not lying within a strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard. Therefore, you may prod all you like. You will receive no smitesâ€

The WHINER strikes his ball and watches with dismay as it falls within a distant strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard. But he remembers the RULE and he particularly remembers the exception. After playing a shot he should smooth his footsteps and will not receive two smites. Consequently he partakes of a wee prod in order to smooth his footsteps.

The WHINER proceeds to his ball lying in the next strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard and plays it out. He completes his round without further difficulty.

In the Great Oneâ€™s residence the WHINER hands in his card. The Great One says â€œWHINER, I am sorry, but you have signed this card and your score is incorrect. I must disqualify you. You have not included the penalty of two smites I awarded at the second strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard. You prodded where you should not have prod.â€

â€œBut â€œ cried the WHINER â€œ there is an exception. The DORC said I should smooth my footsteps â€“ that I may prod, and I would not be penalised two smites, even though my ball lay in a strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazardâ€

But the Great One replied â€œDid not the DORC also advise you to beware; that you may only prod the strategic area of exceptional difficulty known as a hazard from which your ball had just been played? Your ball was not in such a place â€“ it was outside â€“ and so the exception does not apply. You prodded where you should not have prod and so you received a penalty of two smites, which you have not recorded.â€

â€œBut the second place was far away, and I could not receive any conceivable advantage by prodding the first place. It is ludicrous.â€ cried the WHINER

And the Great One replied â€œ Oh, for fecks sake weâ€™ve already done that. We tried to make the RULE as fair as we could, but you keep pushing it â€“ just keep away from the feckin hazards and donâ€™t bloody prod â€˜emâ€¦â€¦â€