Rule 14 1b

There is mixed opinion on the rule ‘change’ that has been announced by the ruling bodies of the game of golf- The R&A (Royal And Ancient Golf Club) and the USGA (United States Golf Association). These two are responsible for the administration of golf internationally including making and reviewing the rules that govern how our game is played. The first rules were drawn up a looong time ago by a group known as the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers who played the game at the Leith links (subsequently they moved to what is now Muirfield Golf Course) at a time when there were no fairways as such, and the ball was ‘holed’ when hit into an indentation scraped into the sandy soil. The player then proceeded to hit his next stroke from beside the ‘hole’! Pretty primitive, yes, but these Gentlemen Golfers decided that there needed to be some definite guidelines and so produced this first list of rules in 1744 to formalise things in one of the first ever tournaments that they ran. There were 13 of them and when you read them I think you will find they envisaged a much more restricted environment than we currently enjoy (and are guided by 34 rules and appendices) today.

According to the Honourable Company of Gentleman Golfers, here are the original rules of golf as they appeared in 1744. All 13 of them. They are written here as they appeared then in the English of The Day.

THE RULES OF GOLF Circa 1744
“Articles and 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, and that only within a Club’s length of your Ball.
5. If your Ball comes among Water, or any wattery filth, you are at liberty to take out your Ball and 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 anywhere 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 should lose your Ball, by its being taken up, or any other way you are to go back to the Spot where you struck last, and 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 any thing else, the Ball so stopp’d must be played where it lyes.
11. If you draw your Club, in order to Strike and 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 furthest from the hole is obliged to play first.
13. Neither Trench, Ditch or Dyke, made from the preservation of the Links, nor the Scholar’s Holes or Soldiers Lines shall be accounted as a Hazard. But the Ball is to be taken out Teed and play’d with an iron Club.

John Rattray– Captain.”

Every 4 years the R&A review, modify, add to, update the rules of golf (after approval by the USGA- oh how they would love to be the premier administrative body worldwide!) and among changes to be enacted in 2016 will be an addition to the rule that governs how one is actually allowed to strike (hit) the golf ball. For many years people have been playing with a variety of long-shafted putters and have tinkered with how these are held and swung, to the extent that they have been anchored either at the chest or chin, but more recently (and arguable more popularly) anchored to the belly [belly putters]. Throughout these years there has been discussion around whether or not these should actually be allowed given the original intention of the game which was to hit a ball from a starting point (teeing ground) to a small hole (now on a ‘green’) in the fewest number of ‘strokes’. There is a clear description of that intent in Rule 14… Currently the rule that refers to hitting or ‘striking’ a ball is-

14-1 Ball To Be Fairly Struck At
The ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed, scraped or spooned. 

However the discussions have had their effect- an additional new rule will read-

14-1b Anchoring the Club
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point”.  
Note 1:  The club is anchored “directly” when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.
Note 2:  An “anchor point” exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.

I agree with the rule change (addition) and will have no sympathy for those who believe they are being hard done by and picked on. Keegan Bradley even went so far to suggest that the rule modification or clarification was in some way an implicit accusation that people who used ‘broomstick’ or ‘belly’ putters were cheats. (Methinks he doth protest too much?) I am sure no-one suggests they are cheats inasmuch as people from my side of the argument believe that the game should be the same for all and that variations that allow for a major deviation from the intention of the rules, (ie. the intention of the game is clearly outlined in Rule 14,) and the challenge to ‘fairly striking’ the ball is a personal one of skill and discipline, not one of technology. Some may think that the evolution from persimmon wooden clubs to titanium or carbon fibre is the same but I would argue this technology is available to anyone without the need to alter either a skill or one’s discipline that is required when changing from a conventional putter to either of the anchored versions.

I just heard one of the announcers at the professional event I’m [kinda] watching who (1) was happy if there might be a set of rules for professionals that might differ from the rules for amateurs (dopey idea) and who (2) also suggested that it might be advantageous for amateurs with some infirmity to be assisted by the anchored putting stroke! (Surely if your infirmity allows you to swing the club freely coming down the fairway, the much more restricted and genteel swing or stroke of a putt which is required to propel the ball probably no further than 50-60 feet would be manageable?) Another dopey idea.

So I’m in favour of everybody being required to use the same sort of equipment and to use it in a ‘standard’ way that can be improved one from the other by their skill and enhancement of it, and discipline and their application of it. Get your advantages by applying yourself and doing the basic things better than those around you rather than by relying on quirky and questionable technological developments.

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Scottish Hospitality

A golfer is cupping his hand to scoop water from a tinkling burn flowing beside the fairway on the fourth hole at a picturesque highland golf course.

A passing groundskeeper shouts:  ‘Dinnae drink tha waater! Et’s foo ae coo’s shite an pish!’

The golfer replies:  ‘My Good fellow, I’m from England .  Could you repeat that for me, in English!?’

The groundskeeper, taking real care to enunciate carefully replies:  ‘I said, use two hands – you’ll spill less that way!

SPORT & BALLS

INTERESTING OBSERVATION

1. The sport of choice for the urban poor is SOCCER. (I’m sorry- in due deference to my Pommie mate- FOOTBALL)soccer ball

2 The sport of choice for maintenance level employees is BASKETBALL.2012 NBA All-Star Game

3 The sport of choice for front-line workers is RUGBY.rugby ball

4 The sport of choice for supervisors is CRICKET.cricket ball5 The sport of choice for middle management is TENNIS.tennis ball

And….

6 The sport of choice for corporate executives and officers is GOLF.golf ball


THE OBVIOUS CONCLUSION:

The higher you go in the corporate structure, the smaller your balls become.

THE OTHER OBVIOUS CONCLUSION: 

There must be a ton of people in the Government playing marbles!marbles

Just saying.

Page 82, Sentence 3.

Women make up over 40% of the newer students. Does this mean they make up just under 60% of the older students? Or might it mean something completely different?

Quite frankly I don’t care one way or another! The reason I started this post with that sentence was that another blogger had a post that was intended to make suggestions on how other bloggers might get (or use) ‘inspiration’. What she suggested was that you pick up the nearest book to you, turn to page 82 and use the 3rd complete sentence on that page somewhere in your next blog post. (Get the title now?)

I guess it’s in part intended to get over, around or through writers’ block. This hasn’t become an issue for me- if I can’t think of anything to turn into a blog post, guess what? I don’t post! Pretty simple, huh? Of course there are probably thousands no, tens of thousands no, hundreds of thousands – LOTS of bloggers who do so for some kind of reward , either in cash or kudos and so have certain expectations put on them, but I’m not one of those so if I don’t get a bright idea, or have an opinion to make, or a gripe to grizzle about or just a cool photo or place to share, I don’t bother.

Occasionally this DOES lead to slight pangs of conscience- do my followers (and bless each and every one of them!!!) expect me to be putting stuff out there on a regular basis? Do they expect pearls of wisdom or promotions of places I enjoy each hour/day/week? I don’t know but I suspect not (so the pangs are only slight). I’m sure that there would be some way of a message to get through if this was the case, so in the absence of such a message I proceed merrily on with the philosophy of “if I have I will, if I don’t I won’t” sort of thing.

So, there you are, Jackie- I worked the 3rd complete sentence on page 82 of “The EVERYTHING GOLF BOOK” into my next post (this one.) How did I do? I’m certain this wasn’t what you intended, but what the hoo?

Have a lovely day, everybody.

Golf Challenge

If there are any golfers in New Zealand who read this, maybe we will meet up in March!

I am at the pointed end of the organising committee for a new golf tournament to be held on The West Coast in March of 2013- Tuesday 5th, Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th and Friday 8th. Each day will feature 18 holes of stableford golf on one of the four main courses- Westport, Reefton, Hokitika and Greymouth in that order. These are four quite different golf courses and offer their own special wee challenges but at that time of the year they will be in their best shape and so whatever problems arise they will probably be self created.

We have already secured over $11500 worth of competition prizes but guarantee there will be much more on offer. I am determined to make this a promotional opportunity for ‘The Coast’ and as such we will be featuring artists and craftspeople from all over, and hope to send many of our golfing friends away with a memento of their enjoyable visit to ‘The Coast’.

If you are interested do visit the West Coast Golf Challenge website here and also visit our Facebook page here. (-don’t forget to ‘like’ the page and perhaps leave a friendly comment or two!)

You will find all the information you need about the tournament, things to do (other than golf) when you’re on ‘The Coast’, and a range of quality accommodation establishments choose from to stay in while you’re here.

I look forward to making your acquaintance in March!! Tight lies!

Costs Of Recreation

This today started me thinking a wee bit about costs of recreational activities and it would seem that, more and more, you have to, on the one hand limit the extent of organised ‘things you do’ in your free time, or get a part-time job to pay for the costs of organised ‘things you do’ in your spare time. Of course it is always going to involve costs of one kind or another- for equipment needed to participate (and it seems the higher the expertise the higher the costs of equipment because ‘second best won’t do’?) for club affiliation costs if you belong to a club, for hire of facilities if you aren’t just able to go to a track or a river (etcetera) and ‘do your thing’, and simply for the associated costs of getting yourself to wherever it is you need to be to ‘do your thing’.

More and more people are bemoaning the increasing costs and it is not uncommon to hear that someone is giving up a sport because they can’t afford to continue. This Has particularly been the case when subscription increases are considered at my local golf club. Of course there are always extenuating circumstances that impact on people- age and income, family status (young children about, and I agree completely that the first priority is the family and not the weekend “good walk spoiled” [as Mark Twain is reputed to have described golf]), or prioritising pass-times because I ‘can’t afford both’.

What I attempted to do at the last annual meeting of my club, the Greymouth Golf Club, when a 5% subs increase was moved and a number of negative comments followed was to try to get people to realise (a) how unrealsitic it was to expect subs to stay the same, year in and year out and (b) what a very good deal they get .

Of course it’s easy to talk about ‘cost of living increases’, the CPI, and other such,  but then to see people shrug their shoulders and suggest it’s unreasonable at ‘our golf course’ is unrealistic. Before this discussion the annual financial reports were presented and one of the major items is always depreciation- we have assets and equipment that wear out and need replacement so to prepare ourselves for those replacement costs we should be saving a certain percentage of our income every year- depreciation. We have equipment, especially course presentation equipment that requires regular maintenance. We have staff who need to be paid, and their salaries must keep pace with other sector salary increases. So it is clear that increases are inevitable.

The argument of our membership being a great ‘deal’ is easy. Our course is always in very good condition and is presented to a standard comparable with all but the ‘resort’ courses around the country (although it can be argued that the greens are slower than they might be- hardly a reason for sinking subs!) There is seldom, if ever any problem with getting on the course given our membership is small (around 200 in all, and it is usual that only about a quarter of htese play on ‘club days’.) As well as a very pleasant golf course, membership also allows free access to a number of other golf courses around the country- in the North Island we have ‘sister’ status with Patea and Dannevirke clubs, while in Canterbury our sister clubs are Weedons, McLeans Island and Waimak Gorge, 3 very accessible and well-presented courses freely available for any Greymouth members. Finally, membership of Greymouth Golf Club entitles access to all other Buller/Westland courses, seven in number. A ‘great deal’ indeed.

So while there are always valid arguments about increases it is my belief that if a responsible club management keeps membership increases reasonable and obviously justified the members need to suck it up and if the desire is there to play the sport, the means can be found to fund participation.

Incidentally our members are able to pay their subs by regular direct-debit so for a weekly commitment of around $10 they can play as many games as they wish at Greymouth, play as often as they wish elsewhere on ‘The Coast’ and walk onto 5 other courses if they are ‘out and about’.

Incidentally, if you wish to become a member of Greymouth Golf Club we would love to welcome you.

PGA Live Golf Coverage.

Recently I posted a bit of a grizzle about the extent of live coverage of USPGA events because I felt that it was CRAP!! There are basically three types of golf I watch on TV (and I have to add it is preferable to view it live as you never really know when some form of ‘spoiler’ might pop up- a tweet on Twitter, a mention in a news programme [radio of TV], newspaper or a casual comment from an acquaintance) If you don’t wish to view the post linked above the guts of it was that I timed a couple of segments and kept a careful track of live shots, both putts and strokes played ‘through the green’ (fairways, rough, hazards, etc..) What I recorded in a 15 minute period was 8 putts and 6 other shots- what I saw was repeated replays from earlier in the day or previous rounds, front-people talking to themselves or ‘guests’, features on notable players (interestingly enough it seems it is not necessary for the notable to actually be ‘in the hunt’ or even in the field!), repeated leader-boards, items on concurrent events on the PGA‘s other ‘Tours’ or championships, references to the European Tour (with the inevitable ‘spoilers’ for events I might well have on tape!!), obeisance to sponsors and interminable references to their (PGA) beloved ‘FEDEX Cup, (the PGA’s effort to create a ‘major’ event, something they believe they can do simply by throwing an obscene amount of money at it. In my view it doesn’t work but that’s OK.)

So this morning I started watching the live coverage of the USPGA’s ‘Transitions Championship‘ at Innsbrook’s Copperhead Course which promised to be pretty interesting given Luke Donald has a good chance of regaining #1 status, Ernie Els looking good and needing to perform well to make it into the ‘Masters’ a wee way down the track, Jim Furyk playing well and looking to climb back into the top echelons of the game, Sang Moon Bae, a young Korean looking very handy and showing he’s got the game to win, other good players there or there abouts, as well as gorgeous playing conditions and a great golf course waiting to bite the unwary in the backside!

I was pleasantly surprised that for the first half hour or so there seemed to be much more live golf shown and much less extraneous bumf but always the ‘somewhat cynical’ I decided to do another timed study. Things were looking really good when after just 7 minutes we had overtaken the totals of the previously timed 15 minute ‘studies’ with 6 putts and 8 strokes ‘through the green’. Woohoo! Sadly things slowed a bit over the next 2 minutes when they showed 2 putts and 1 other shot. It was at this time that they announced change of presenters- the Golf Channel had been carrying the game but it was to change to NBC when they finished a commitment to broadcast a hockey game. The change duly took place and the remaining 6 minutes was from NBC. Bloody hell!!! 6 minutes- 3 putts!! I couldn’t believe it! 7 minutes, 6 putts and 8 ‘other strokes’. 8 further minutes, 5 putts and 1 ‘other stroke’.

That’s it- I quit. I’ll now use the time that the USPGA events are being shown to watch recorded European Tour and record the USPGA ‘live’ coverage. This will now enable me, when I watch it later to fast forward through the dross to get to the golf. Thanks be to someone for MySky+. (You never know, I might even get off my arse and do something useful while the USPGA events are being recorded! Hmmm- that’s a pretty scary proposition!)

NZ Golf- You’re Pathetic

The annual Halberg Sports Awards were held the other night and in one of the categories there was an impressive and notable list of ’emerging’ young sports stars. It was impressive because each of the young people nominated has already created an image on the world stage in their chosen sports. Jacko Gill (athletics), Shaun Johnson (rugby league), Sam Meech (sailing), Byron Wells (skiing) were the shortlisted finalists.

The list was notable because it not only didn’t feature a female, but World Champion 14 year old golfer Lydia Ko wasn’t part of the list. I believe that had she been nominated not only would she have made the shortlist from which the winner was chosen, but would have been at very short odds to win.

Oh! Wait!! NOMINATED!!!!???? There’s the problem. Lydia wasn’t even nominated! It seems NZ Golf in its infinite wisdom decided not to put her name forward for consideration! If this is true it is astonishing. I can only assume that they must have felt that Lydia is past “emerging” given she has had such success and is “emerged” (in the criteria there is the term “elite” used with reference to competition- given Lydia has won the world amateur championship perhaps that qualifies as “elite”?.)

This is an amazing talent and New Zealand can look forward to having a new and exciting profile on the international golf stage.Good luck, Lydia, and I look forward to seeing more and more of your exploits on courses around the world.

US Golf Non-Coverage

I am a bit of a golfer (but there will be no conversation about exactly what bit I might be, thank you very much!) and do enjoy watching the fantastic play that the various pro tours put on display week after week. These golfers perform at a way different level and in a different world from we recreational golfers and their skill levels are only to be marveled at.

Danny Lee is New Zealand's newest and currently greatest hope on the USPGA Tour. Good luck, Danny.

Yes, the conditions they  play under are as near to perfect as they can be, yes, they have the best equipment available and yes, they have have a caddy (often a very accomplished golfer in their own right) to ease their burden and to provide them with the very best data and advice to aid in decisions about any particular shot, BUT to maintain the standards they do day after day and week after week is real testament to their commitment, ability and athleticism. They are GREAT!

Watching the ‘Humana Challenge’ (I think used to be the ‘Bob Hope Classic‘) from LaQuinta in California on TV this morning I was struck by the dis-service the coverage of golf in the US does to these great golfers. You might think my use of ‘dis-service’ to be unreasonable but perhaps this will help me justify that. I decided to take note of how much live golf is actually shown so I kept a tally sheet for exactly 15 minutes. This is what I discovered-

IN THAT 15 MINUTE PERIOD I SAW 6 LIVE STROKES – (Tee-shots, fairway shots, shots from rough or hazard)
IN THAT 15 MINUTE PERIOD I SAW 8 LIVE PUTTS

Some might think that 14 separate bits of live action isn’t all that bad, but if you consider that the average time spent showing a stroke ranges from 5 to 8 seconds (less for a putt, perhaps more for a stroke down the fairway) that gives a total live coverage of just 1min20secs or so! LESS THAN 10%!! That’s a joke!

The remainder of the time is not taken up with adverts, as you might imagine, rather it was to do with descriptions of the courses being played (we can probably work that out watching the play), leader-boards (but seldom showing more than the top 20!), trumpet-blowing of sponsors or administrators, history (flash-backs) and unrelated ‘journalism’ (what a notable did on their holidays, what this personality or that thinks of this or that), and so-on. Oh! and that interminable Fedex Cup stuff.

As this morning’s coverage unfolded they also showed segment’s of an interview with ex-president Bill Clinton, repeated vignettes of a notable in the field- for this tournament it seems to be Phil Mickleson (it doesn’t matter that the chosen notable isn’t one of the leading performers, you get to see stats, profiles and ‘oh what a good boy am I’ quotes, etc..)

What a breath of fresh-air the European Tour events are to watch. Admittedly the USPGA  tour is the richest and no small amount of this is due to the level of sponsorship, but you don’t get to be a euro-millionaire playing for peanuts. The European tour events still carry (increasingly) good purses yet they are able to be presented on television as largely non-stop live golf (still of a quality just as good as the USPGA). If I had a choice I would be watching the McIlroys, Donalds, Poulters, Himinezes, Garcias and their European buddies rather than the Woodses, Micklesons, Furicks, Villegases, Watsons and theirs. Pity the opportunity doesn’t exist until the odd WGC event or The Open Championship– maybe Sky could do me a favour and broadcast more live European golf and I can utilise the dinky wee black box with the sexy blue eye!!

Oh! Did I mention the blardy awful background music they use when away from live coverage (and as they are away from live coverage on a regular basis it isn’t something you can really ignore!)

A wee post-script. I am NOT one of those golf-geeks who sidle into shot behind an on-air interview with a player, stand around looking like an absolute dork and (I bet) in their own mind by association project themselves into the pro’s world. I think the TV company should choose ‘sets’ to do post-round interviews that don’t include such gormless looking wannabes.

A wee post-post script. I said “this morning” but the sad thing is that this is going to apply tomorrow morning, the next morning, and every other morning USPGA coverage is on! Annoy-making.

A final post-post-post script. To check the accuracy of my data I did the same exercise this morning. Over another timed 15min period I saw 8 live shots down the fairway and 8 live putts.

GETTING ON or GETTING UP?

I celebrated a ‘notable’ birthday the other day in the middle of a weekend of representative golf.I am lucky enough to play well enough, generally hovering around 6-8 handicap, to be selected into the Masters team for the West Coast and this weekend we were playing triangular matches against Nelson and Marlborough. We played at Westport and even though I play the course reasonably regularly and sort of ‘know’ it a practice round on Friday was in order so extended by 18 holes the already full weekend.

We won’t go into how well or otherwise the golf went (although I’m not about to slash my wrists because of the results) but rather how the body held up to the expectations!I have to admit I don’t do myself many favours by a sensible regime of fitness training, although I do feel I keep myself in reasonable shape in one way or another. Playing 18 holes starting at about 8am and then a hurried lunch to play another 18 in the afternoon is normally reasonably demanding, but this Saturday it blew. Boy! Did it blow! We are sheltered from the extreme winds on my home course and to battle into a howling northerly for half the round just made things a bit more of a challenge. Still with the aid of a bottle of V and other energy drinks before too long I got enough of a second wind to enjoy a few celebratory drinks with the guys and birthday shout.

The sky opened over night and the forecast for the next day seemed to be turning to fact but of course hope springs eternal. We woke to no stars and heavy overcast but no real rain so things looked promising- the magic word in the forecast yesterday was ‘clearing’. By the time we got to the course there seemed to be a lot less wind and that ‘clearing’ could be a fact, so off for the morning 18 with drizzly showers but not the headwind of the day before. Of course felt fresh and rested so armed with replacement ‘V’ and energy supplement drink away we went. Hmm- lunch seemed longer coming today, and there didn’t seem to be the same amount of time before my opponent started pacing around the first tee! Yes, there were a niggle or two here and there but nothing to speak of, and although the ‘clearing’ had turned out to be a bit of a teaser the weather wasn’t going to be a battle.Was it my imagination or had the uppy-downy bits become more uppy than downy? Was it my imagination or had the anti-inflammatory effect worn off? Was it my imagination or had someone loaded my bag with a couple kilo of bricks? To add insult to injury I played a ‘young’ guy- I reckon he only just qualified for ‘Masters’ division of 40+, (I first qualified 25 years ago!!) who could hit the ball a mile, and straight. Not fair! Still I went OK and managed to extend the match to a few holes from home before I made a total pig’s ear of two holes and the game was over. Of course it was some way from the clubhouse but the walk back beat the onset of proper rain, and I was packed away and in dry clothes before all but the surrounding hundred or so meters of the course disappeared and we celebrated the fact we were indoors. I had an urgent reason to be home so I made my farewells and started home (admittedly a wee bit earlier than I’d intended, but…) Of course an hour and a bit drive means things cool down in set positions and so when I got out of the car back in Greymouth there was a bit of a twinge here and a sharp pain or two there, but I convinced myself that a bit of a stretch, a couple of beers and a successful Warriors outing would make everything good.

And so it did until I crawled out of the sack next morning (fortunately I wasn’t required to be anywhere so there was no urgency). The aches were a bit more wide-spread, the twinges a bit more noticeable but a nice shower put paid to most of these inconveniences. But I was TIRED. Still…

So it was that I started wondering whether it might be time to stick with 18 holes a day a couple of times a week and let the younger ‘oldies’ take on the other young ‘oldies’ that seem to be in the majority on the teams. I’ve had a decent crack at it, wouldn’t it be fairer to make way for someone younger anyway? Have my results really been good enough to be selected anyway? Am I completely happy with the game I take away?

Or next year should I just spend a bit of time setting myself for competition better- start some fitness stuff, do some flexibility stuff, and go into the rep season better prepared for as many as up to 90 holes for a weekend? Yeah! That’ll do it. “LIFE SPRINGS ETERNAL” (or was that ‘hope’?)