In Summary
  • Most Kenyan golfers however choose to rely on hearsay for information on the Rules.
  • It is not uncommon to hear discussions on a wrong decision made on golf courses on account of advice from a low-handicapped golfer.
  • Before I earn the wrath of Uncle George for casting aspersions on low handicappers, isn’t it true that most golfers would rather ask the opinion of golfers who are experienced rather than open a Rules of Golf book?

There was a very common phrase a few years ago when the new constitution for our beloved country Kenya was being discussed. It went something like

“I don’t need to read or understand it. (Insert the name of your favoured politician) has already read it and reckons that it is okay”.

I think that that attitude of relying on others to make decisions for us has permeated the golfing fraternity as well. The Rules of Golf, just like the Kenyan constitution are readily available either as hard copies, mobile applications or even online.

Most Kenyan golfers however choose to rely on hearsay for information on the Rules.

It is not uncommon to hear discussions on a wrong decision made on golf courses on account of advice from a low-handicapped golfer. Before I earn the wrath of Uncle George for casting aspersions on low handicappers, isn’t it true that most golfers would rather ask the opinion of golfers who are experienced rather than open a Rules of Golf book?

The low handicappers are perceived to be more experienced in the game and will often be called upon to give rulings. Some of the times the rulings will be based on gut feeling since some of these “experienced” may not have read the Rules of Golf themselves but have learnt as they went along.

For those that have attempted to read the Rules of Golf but felt like they were being given the runaround by R&A and USGA, rest assured that there is hope.

The Rules of Golf in their current state can be very frustrating for the golfer who just wants to have fun. If, for example, one was looking for the Rule that deals with the ball at rest moved by a spectator, they will find it under Rule 18-1 (ball at rest moved by outside agency).

When reading the content of Rule 18-1, there is reference made to Rule 27-1 (ball out of bounds; ball not found within five minutes) under which there is mention of Rule 20-5 (making stroke from where previous stroke was made).

By the time the player is through going through all these sections, they will have forgotten why they had picked the Rule book in the first place.

There is good news. The new constitution is now out. The simpler set of Rules has been issued by the R&A and USGA who are requesting golfers to go through them and give their views before August 31 this year.

The Rules committee will then review the feedback and announce the final changes by mid next year. The new Rules of Golf will then take effect on January 1, 2019.

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