Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

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Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by bkuehn1952 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:17 am

The golf rules blogospheres are burning up following the joint announcement of a modernization effort directed at the Rules of Golf. In some ways this process is disappointing. I worked pretty hard to learn the Rules and now a number of them potentially will be turned upside down. Still, it is good to see the joint organizations attempting to "go with the times" rather than retreat into steadfastly holding on to "the ways things have always been."
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:27 am

Ah,
Lipstick on a pig.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by legitimatebeef » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:02 pm

bkuehn1952 wrote:The golf rules blogospheres are burning up following the joint announcement of a modernization effort directed at the Rules of Golf. In some ways this process is disappointing. I worked pretty hard to learn the Rules and now a number of them potentially will be turned upside down. Still, it is good to see the joint organizations attempting to "go with the times" rather than retreat into steadfastly holding on to "the ways things have always been."
What does that even mean? Concede that the typical modern person has a short attention span and/or a distaste for the ordinary challenges of sport? I believe in human evolution/devolution but have we really changed all that much since the rules of golf were first drafted? If anything we are faster, stronger, smarter now. I.e. better equipped to take on the assorted challenges that golf offers.

I see however that there are some interesting proposals among them. Such as prohibiting the caddie from helping the player align herself. Oops, I mean his or herself. Oh who am I trying to kid here. This issue was practically invented by the ladies of the LPGA, and is distinctly a modern practice. In that sense I can see how rules do need to be updated. Not just for the participants who are becoming increasingly weak and inept in the face of sporting challenges, but also for those who would seek to find loopholes and exploit them. I do love the ladies of professional golf but the caddy alignment thing is pure bullshit IMO. It looks horrible.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:23 pm

Have you ever seen a caddie tell their player they aren't lined up right, after the player gets over the ball?

I have yet to see that happen. Which makes me question the point of the practice.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:54 pm

Actually I just saw a more comprehensive list of the proposed changes. There are some massive changes I wasn't aware of.

I still feel like the USGA/R&A's changes are the equivalent of the Catholic Church's statement, in the 1990's, that sun did not revolve around the earth.

But some of these changes caught me off guard.

- Being able to ground a club in the bunker (or other penalty areas)
- a ball being deflected by your equipment isn't a penalty assuming it wasn't intentional or wasn't put in that spot as a "backstop" (what happens if you hit a chip that hits the club face twice, is there going to be a penalty, if not is that 1 or 2 strokes?)
- No penalty for hitting unattended flag stick from the green (I'm going to ask for the flag stick to be left in for every put over 15', a free backstop if I hit it too hard lol).
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by srogers13 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:22 pm

I think you still are not going to be allowed to ground a club in a bunker, but you can move loose impediments. But you are going to be allowed to ground your club in other penalty areas, with them calling water hazards and desert areas and overgrown grass areas designated with red and yellow stakes as penalty areas.

They are also going to remove the penalty for hitting yourself with the ball, ala Jeff Maggert bouncing the ball off of the bunker into himself at the Masters.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:26 pm

This is what I saw re: grounding club in bunker.

"Moving or touching loose impediments or touching sand in a bunker

A player may remove loose impediments in the sand and touch the sand with his/her club, although the player cannot deliberately touch the sand to test its condition. Practice swings would still be prohibited."

To me grounding is not testing the condition, so it would be allowed?
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by bkuehn1952 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:53 pm

jasonfish11 wrote:This is what I saw re: grounding club in bunker.

"Moving or touching loose impediments or touching sand in a bunker

A player may remove loose impediments in the sand and touch the sand with his/her club, although the player cannot deliberately touch the sand to test its condition. Practice swings would still be prohibited."

To me grounding is not testing the condition, so it would be allowed?
No, I believe bunkers will not be "penalty areas" so grounding (i.e. resting the club in front or behind the ball) will continue to be prohibited.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:38 pm

I'm still not seeing where you can't ground the club in a bunker based on what I found above.

Good thing they decided to make the rules less confusing.

"...and touch the sand with his/her club, although the player cannot deliberately touch the sand to test its condition."

Grounding isn't testing the condition (in my opinion). So I'm not sure why you can't ground the club.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by bkuehn1952 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:45 pm

From the USGA presentation:

Proposed Rule: Under new Rules 12.2a and 12.2b, the player would be allowed to touch or move loose impediments in a bunker and would be generally allowed to touch the sand with a hand or club; but a limited prohibition continues so that the player must not:

a. Deliberately touch the sand in a bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the stroke, or
b. Touch the sand in a bunker with a club in making a practice swing, in grounding the club right in front of or behind the ball, or in making the backswing for a stroke.

http://www.usga.org/rules-hub/rules-mod ... uchin.html

Of course all of this is just a tentative proposal and things could change significantly from the initial proposal.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by legitimatebeef » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:08 pm

The double-chip penalty is pretty cruel. Double-chipping is plenty penal as it is. One could argue that it is its own penalty. But you have to add a stroke-- essentially a penalty for sucking. That's fucked up. You pay a toll in embarrassment as well. Imagine if we got penalized every time we shanked one, or chunked the shit out of it whatever. It's not that different. :nope
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:22 pm

bkuehn1952 wrote:From the USGA presentation:

Proposed Rule: Under new Rules 12.2a and 12.2b, the player would be allowed to touch or move loose impediments in a bunker and would be generally allowed to touch the sand with a hand or club; but a limited prohibition continues so that the player must not:

a. Deliberately touch the sand in a bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the stroke, or
b. Touch the sand in a bunker with a club in making a practice swing, in grounding the club right in front of or behind the ball, or in making the backswing for a stroke.

http://www.usga.org/rules-hub/rules-mod ... uchin.html

Of course all of this is just a tentative proposal and things could change significantly from the initial proposal.

Ah thank you.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by jasonfish11 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:26 pm

legitimatebeef wrote:The double-chip penalty is pretty cruel. Double-chipping is plenty penal as it is. One could argue that it is its own penalty. But you have to add a stroke-- essentially a penalty for sucking. That's fucked up. You pay a toll in embarrassment as well. Imagine if we got penalized every time we shanked one, or chunked the shit out of it whatever. It's not that different. :nope
I guess my point is, at what point does a golf club become your equipment?

If you put your bag down skull a ball and it hits one of your other clubs, they are deeming that to not be a penalty. But if you address the ball (not on the green or teebox) and hit the ball accidentally, it is still a penalty (from my limited knowledge of these proposed rules).

So does a club become a part of your equipment after intentional contact, or after the shot is over? If it is after intentional contact I could argue a double chip is just 1 stroke, no penalty. Just like if I propped my bag up next to the green shanked a chip into my driver which fell onto the green and into the hole. No penalty play it as it lies.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by DougE » Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:13 pm

I'm happy to see they are finally addressing some questionable rules, whether it be to speed up the game or for more common sense. Like touching the sand in a bunker without testing the sand. Makes sense. You don't gain an advantage by inadvertently touching a few grains of sand. Fixing spike marks? It's about freakin' time! That was stupid, and frankly more unfair to players who were playing toward the end of the day, when more spike marks would have been accumulated. I like the option for courses to make certain types of OB areas red staked, with a similar drop/penalty to that of lateral hazards. No provisional necessary. On busy golf courses, it's the best way to go.

I also love the new proposed drop rule. Hope that one goes into effect soon.

There are a lot of potential rules revisions. The only bad thing about all these changes, as BK touched on, is having to learn them all so it is well-ingrained in my head when I'm out there. However, since most seem to be better for the player, you won't hear too many complaints from me.

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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by legitimatebeef » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:32 pm

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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by bkuehn1952 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:56 pm

The one I am a bit bothered by is the "No need to advise fellow competitors when one is going to lift the ball." In general that is fine and I certainly don't want someone penalized if they inadvertently forget to say something. We have a problem, however, in the senior tournaments we run. These old effers are ALWAYS lifting their ball to identify it. C'MON!! You mean to tell me you can't see your mark 90% of the time??? Mark both sides you dipstick! And tell me that after you lift that Topflite from the rough that you are going to stuff it back down where you pulled it?? Right - we all know you are going to gently set it back just about where you got it marked (if you even bothered to accurately mark its position). :fkno

Now these mothers are going to be lifting without anyone having a chance to observe the activity. I can just see me arguing:

SID! You mean to tell me you can't see your mark right there on the side of the ball?? Don't you DARE touch that ball!

Wait a minute, Morrie! How come I couldn't see your ball before you lifted it but now it is visible from 50 yards??
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by GBOGEY » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:17 pm

I don't like the new drop rules - they need to be simplified but this sounds like placing the ball.

I don't like being able to ground in a hazard - that seems like breaking a golf commandment.

All the rest are more common sense and the way people really play. The one that puzzles me is the flagstick - really curious as to what drove this.

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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by DougE » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:45 am

GBOGEY wrote:I don't like the new drop rules - they need to be simplified but this sounds like placing the ball.

I don't like being able to ground in a hazard - that seems like breaking a golf commandment.

All the rest are more common sense and the way people really play. The one that puzzles me is the flagstick - really curious as to what drove this.
The new proposed drop rules don't bother me, but do have the feeling of placing the ball. However, there is even enough gravity from the minimum 1" drop height to allow the ball to settle some. If the 20 inch/80 inch numbers become the drop zone requirements in 2019, it will be two simple distances that can be marked on a club shaft or alignment rod carried in your bag, used just like we do to measure today, but instead of measuring club lengths, we measure using the pre-marked area on the club shaft, alignment rod or other similar object. Two pieces of pinstripe tape placed 40 inches apart on your driver shaft or alignment stick can easily measure the 80 inch distance. I will likely use an alignment stick, marked at 20 and 40 inch intervals. I carry them in my bag anyway.

I like having the ability to ground a club inside a hazard (not including bunkers). Obviously touching the water with your club in a hazard (to test the water) won't give you much aid, but if you are inside the red/yellow markers, in deep crap/wetlands adjacent to the water itself, grounding the club will allow you to get a feel for how far down the actual ground is, helping you gauge what the best path is for making the best contact. I agree that grounding in a BUNKER would be like breaking a golf commandment, but inside water hazards doesn't bother me at all. In bunkers, though you will still not be able to ground your club behind or in front of the ball, or test the sand in any way with your hands or club, being able to inadvertently touch the sand or move a loose impediment is common sense.

As far as the flagstick, I am surprised at that one as well, but kind of like it. When I play alone, I don't always take the flagstick out. On more than one occasion, I am sure I have hit a putt too hard which may have gone in, but hit the stick too hard and was deflected away. On the other hand, I am also sure I have dropped a putt or two by hitting the stick. And no, I don't assess a penalty for hitting the pin when I play alone. When I am putting or chipping from off the green I ALWAYS leave the pin in, as the odds seem better when you have a backstop, just in case.

One rule that isn't yet included in the new proposed rules, but I read absolutely will be by 2019, is a revision to the stroke and distance rule for OB and lost balls. That is the rule I have wanted changed forever. So I am happy to hear they are planning to change it. I just hope whatever they come up with to replace it, it is a good fix.

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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by jasonfish11 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:28 am

DougE wrote: As far as the flagstick, I am surprised at that one as well, but kind of like it. When I play alone, I don't always take the flagstick out. On more than one occasion, I am sure I have hit a putt too hard which may have gone in, but hit the stick too hard and was deflected away. On the other hand, I am also sure I have dropped a putt or two by hitting the stick. And no, I don't assess a penalty for hitting the pin when I play alone. When I am putting or chipping from off the green I ALWAYS leave the pin in, as the odds seem better when you have a backstop, just in case.
Changing the flagstick rule would make sense if you were allowed to count your rounds as a single for handicap purposes. But given you can no longer count rounds as a single, I too don't understand the change for the flagstick.

Personally I feel like it would make me want to leave the stick in the hole for everything over 15' or so, heck maybe even a tricky downhill 3' putt would be worth leaving it in.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by bkuehn1952 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:24 am

The current research on flagsticks is that they help or have no net effect on scoring in all cases except when the flagstick is leaning to such a degree that a ball can't fall into the hole. The times where we think the flagstick kept our ball from falling in are either illusory or well offset by the times the flagstick stops the ball or allows the ball to fall in rather than zoom over the top of the hole.

The only time I take the flagstick out when I am off the green is if it is severely leaning or I am putting from the fringe up a steep hill. I figure on a hill the back edge of the hole is higher than the front edge, it is softer than the flagstick and a putt hit to the center of the hole but too hard might fall in after hitting the back edge vs. the flagstick.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by DougE » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:36 am

bkuehn1952 wrote: The only time I take the flagstick out when I am off the green is if it is severely leaning or I am putting from the fringe up a steep hill. I figure on a hill the back edge of the hole is higher than the front edge, it is softer than the flagstick and a putt hit to the center of the hole but too hard might fall in after hitting the back edge vs. the flagstick.
Very good point.

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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by GBOGEY » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:06 pm

jasonfish11 wrote:
Changing the flagstick rule would make sense if you were allowed to count your rounds as a single for handicap purposes. But given you can no longer count rounds as a single, I too don't understand the change for the flagstick.
That puzzled me as well - can't be about speeding up play since single rounds don't count.

I've always heard that the ball is more likely to go in when the flag is out. Funny, I do the opposite of BK. I leave it in on downhills from off the green so that an overly hard shot might hit the stick and slow down. I figure on an uphill gravity will when.

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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by legitimatebeef » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:14 pm

In consideration of the proposed changes I played with the flagstick in today. I liked it. It saved me a lot of time. You can really keep the flow going. Which is appreciated when it's freezing cold out.

If people no longer have to pull out, will they continue to do so? I mean the serious jerkoffs are obviously going to, but the casual player especially the older ones who try to avoid bending over as much as possible might ditch it. Looking way down the road, in a hundred years who knows, maybe pins will stay in the hole. As in maybe when John Daly IV or whatever putts out for his first major championship win, there will be a flagstick in the hole.
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by jasonfish11 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:42 pm

I was wondering that too. I bet the vast majority of people will still pull it out given that is what they are used to doing.

Will it make me a jerk putting it back in to putt my ball after someone already pulled it out?
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Re: Modernization of Rules - USGA/R&A

Post by bryan k » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:32 am

Man, the USGA’s site on this sucks. I had to open 32 different pages to read all of the rule changes. That’s click-bait material.
That said, here are my thoughts:

Repairing Spike Marks on the green: Most people do this anyway. When I was younger, and I competed in singles tourneys, I had this page of the rulebook dog eared because no one ever believed me that it was a rule.

Leaving the flagstick in the hole: Wasn’t it Dave Pelz who said that the odds are slightly better if the flag is in the hole? Even if the ball doesn’t fall, the result of a pin ricochet are almost always better than if it didn’t ricochet off the pin. The only time I pull the pin is when the wind is causing it to lean my directly. That happens a lot in Fargo. At any rate, this is going to speed up the game a lot, assuming that people ever leave it in the hole. I usually leave it in when I play by myself because I can’t handicap my rounds anymore anyway.

Lining up players: Hell, if I had known this was legal, I’d have been doing it for years.

Accidental Deflections: This one is very interesting. I interpret this to mean that an accidental double-hit would no longer be a penalty (unless, of course, they are leaving that rule in the book). I wonder how far the “virtually certain” rule is going to go, though, in regards to rule changes where a ball is moved. Are we going to need to be virtually certain that a player intended to hit the ball twice in order to impose a penalty? In case you’re wondering, I’ve seen this happen when a bloke hit a little blooping pop-up with his driver and tried to hit it again before it landed.

New drop rule: Close to half of the people that I play with don’t even drop correctly. Plus, there are times when I know that I’m not going to get my ball to stick by dropping it (and I might even risk losing it in the water). Seems like a trivial procedure anyway.

Relief for plugged lies: I hope I wasn’t interpreting the rules wrong, but my understanding is that relief from plugged lies in the fairway was already allowed. It sounds like the rule change would allow relief from plugged lies in the rough as well? If playing from the rough was easy, they would have called it “the easy”.

Penalty areas: I like this one a lot. It sure will make golf in Phoenix easier if courses start marking their desert areas as “penalty areas”. I also like the fact that I can hit out of a penalty area just like I hit anywhere else. Plus, I just like the overall simplification of it.

Maximum Score: Well, this would allow me to play a legit round from the tips at some very tough golf courses……

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