November - 2011


I was thinking how in reality, there are many different types of golf we all play. Because the Rules of Golf tell us that to play Competitive golf, or Tournament golf, we must adhere to the guidelines that are set forth not only under the Rule book, but each of the corresponding Decisions. And that's absolutely true. As with any organized sport, if you choose to play golf and compete, or to post a score, you play according to the rules established over many years of trial and error and that are set up to be balanced and fair to every player, and every aspect of the game. If you choose not to follow this road, then you are really just getting exercise and enjoyment of the outdoors.

That's my point. Sometimes golf is just exercise.

In real life, have you ever taken a mulligan? How about a gimmie? How about asking "Hey! What club did you hit?" Have you ever grabbed your friend's new driver, and hit a shot during a round just to see if that's the answer to all your golfing dreams? The answer is YES. We all break the Rules probably every round without thinking.

In some ways, that's what makes the game beautiful.

I know, by approaching this subject, I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth. Writing the Rule's section requires me to always support how the game is supposed to be played. But the truth is, golf is a game for a variety of individuals to play. Simply that. Young, old, expert, beginner, customer golf, vacation golf, or maybe honey-do golf. Make up your own version. But, believe me, when I play golf with my wife and she hit's a bad tee shot on the first hole, Reality is, the first thing we all say is "hit another one honey!" (PLUS-I live with her…)

If you play customer golf, or maybe golf with your boss, are you going to deny them another shot? "Take a mulligan!" How about that three footer? "That's good-Pick it up!"

We all at times stretch the Rules to suit the moment. When I've played golf in Hawaii in "Da Game" they clearly lay out the set of rules they play by ahead of time. No mulligans, play your ball down, no improving your lie, don't even think of asking for a gimmie if it's over a foot! They have six or more groups with five players in each group, and they are all competing against each other (for a small wager). They make their OWN rules- "That driver's not legal? Who cares? You still have to hit it." "What? You have seventeen clubs in your bag? Boy! You must really need them! Good luck." They don't care about that part of the Rules. They decide their own rules for their own game. I think many of us do the same. Pick and choose which rules you like.

That's Reality.

Why would I say this? (I don't know, I'm kinda starting to sweat writing this…)

I know that when you play with your buddies you do sometimes have your own rules set up. That's just the way it is. I played with my father for many years, and later in life he picked up the habit of bumping his ball to get a better lie, just because everyone in his weekly group was doing it. It seemed odd at the time, because the Rules were something he insisted my brother and I follow because they build your character, and they definitely challenge your emotions. At the time, my brother and I initially thought that's wrong. "Dad, that's not right- you're cheating!" (Self-righteous little jerks!) But now, it's funny, I have this wonderful image in my mind of my Dad rolling the ball around to get just the perfect lie. He doesn't play anymore, and I miss it.

My point is- never forget that golf is a game.

The line between enjoyment and exercise and playing by the Rules of Golf is your choice- but the reality is that Tournament golf and just playing golf can be two distinctly different games.

            Derek Duesler