The USGA, in conjunction with the R&A in St. Andrews, Scotland, writes, interprets, and maintains the rules of golf to guard the tradition and integrity of the game. The two organizations are joint authors and owners of The Rules of Golf and Decisions on the Rules of Golf. Through an agreement with the R&A, the rules jurisdiction of the USGA includes only the United States, its possessions, and Mexico. The latest version went into effect Jan. 1, 2004, with the next revision taking effect Jan. 1, 2008.
This is all just fine, but what about when you’re out on the course and find yourself in a situation like Craig Stadler back in 1987. While playing in a PGA event, Stadler hit a ball that landed under a tree. He placed a towel on the ground so he could kneel down to take his next shot without getting mud on his pants. That action was deemed to be building a stance. Incidentally, the rule violation was spotted by a TV viewer who called in, and because Stadler had already finished the round and signed his card with an incorrect score, he was disqualified from the tournament.
That example is just one of many that you’ll find in The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Golf Rules & Etiquette, subtitled an essential guide to the rules of the green. The recently released book was written by Jim Corbett, developer of the popular Web site “Mr. Golf Etiquette.”
The book is not designed as a replacement for the USGA’s Rules of Golf, but rather should serve as a quick reference while on the course. The author explains in his introduction:
“The Pocket Idiot’s guide to Golf Rules and Etiquette is organized to provide the maximum help to the golfer when it is needed most—out on the course. Clearly, it is impossible to include every single rule of golf and every etiquette consideration within the confines of a pocket guide (you would need an extra caddy just to help carry the several volumes of such a work along the course with you). Instead, the major rules affecting the play of the game and the important etiquette rules are covered so every golfer from the low-handicapper to the weekend hacker to the once-a-year-corporate-duffer will find the help they need in a substantive but easy-to-use book that will keep everyone playing the same game.”
Another unique aspect of this useful guide is the handy tear-out card that details the penalty and free-lift situations most often found on the golf course. For example, when facing a ball that is in the yellow stakes area (water hazard), golfers have three options: Play it as it lies with no penalty; re-hit it from the original spot and take a one-stroke penalty, or take a drop between where it was hit and where it went out of bounds for a one-stroke penalty.
Throughout the 180-page booklet you’ll find interesting little nuggets titled “Keeping Up With the Bobby Joneses,” “Did You Know?” and “The Words and Wisdom on Golf.” Bobby Jones is considered by many to represent the epitome of good golf etiquette. These sidebars provide a quick outline of etiquette material covered in the specific chapter. In Chapter 4, which addresses Pace of Play, the Bobby Joneses’ vignette reminds you of the following:
• Keep up with the group ahead of you (within a half hole).
• Be ready when it is your turn.
• Assess your upcoming shot as you approach your ball.
• Play ready golf.
• Establish a quick pre-shot routine.
• On the tee, watch everyone’s shot, and help look for lost balls.
• Line up your putt while others are putting.
• In addition to the great summary on golf rules, The Pocket Idiot’s Guide also contains a glossary of terms to help educate you on the game.
The book, which retails for $9.95, is available online at www.idiotsguides.com.
The 19th Hole (and a few chip shots)
Recently, Bear Mountain Golf & Country Club, Olympic View Golf Club (both in Victoria, B.C.), and Crown Isle Golf Club in the Comox Valley—three notable courses on Vancouver Island—completed various phases in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, which among other things, equips golf courses with the necessary tools to develop effective conservation and wildlife enhancement programs. Whether it’s water quality, habitat protection, or chemical use (or lack thereof), golfers can be confident that these courses are doing their part in making sure playing conditions—and the state of our planet—are respected and upheld to the finest degree possible. For information, visit www.audubonintl.org.
Rick Stedman is an avid RVer, golfer and writer who lives in Yakima, Washington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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