Tag Archives: golf rules



According to the National Golf Federation, “USA has lost more than 5 million players over the last decade and that more golf courses closed than opened in the U.S. in 2013 for the 8 straight year”. Dick’s Sporting Goods rid itself of more than 500 PGA professionals who used to work as customer consultants.

“Foot golf” (kicking a soccer ball into an oversized hole) is gaining popularity. Redwoods Golf Course introduced a larger hole (8 inch in diameter) instead of the usual 4-¼ inch hole. In Southern California, Mark King, CEO of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, installed oversized holes (15-inch) at a country club, reducing playing time one hour less than the normal time it takes to play 18 holes.

Investors are wary of golf-related businesses and have caused declines in stocks of Callaway.

So what is this negative uproar about golf? Some call it “The Tiger Effect” – that interest in golf has declined, as Tiger Woods’ dominance of the game appears to have ceased. Others believe it is “too-expensive” to play golf. And then there is the big complaint about golf being an “elitist” sport with “rules that are too difficult to learn and follow”.

But why do people play golf in the first play? And what makes them give up the game?

Many of us enjoy the challenge that the sport of golf presents. We enjoy the competition of trying to score lower than our handicap index. We consider it a great way to exercise and walk more than 15,000 steps in a game. But probably one of the best reasons is that we simply enjoy the camaraderie, friendship, and kibitzing before, during, and after the game. Strong friendship amongst competitors develops that makes the social aspect quite appealing.

However, like most other clubs, we have had our own share of “golfing decline”. For some yet unknown reasons, some familiar faces are no longer anywhere to be seen, in weeks, months, …and years.

So to what could this be possibly attributed?

Time maybe. Work demands? Health and financial issues? Family? Or could it be an occasional “snag in social interaction” – a disagreement on the course? About something so trivial. Maybe even a horrible score on a hole!

What is probably one of the greatest causes of golf’s decline and disagreement (player quitting the sport) is about rules. Some of us have become paranoid with the “strict application and interpretation of complex rules”.


For example, who is not guilty the following “strict rules’” violations:




  • Marking a ball on the green at 90 degree angle from a straight line to the hole and then returning it perpendicular to the hole, OR marking the ball properly and then returning it a few centimeters closer to the hole
  • Lackadaisically backhanding a very short putt and missing the ball completely and not counting the missed stroke
  • Lifting a ball to identify it in a “summer rule” play
  • Dropping a ball more than 2 club lengths in a lateral water hazard
  • Grounding a club within a clearly marked hazard (with red stakes) (such as when searching for the ball using a club)
  • Teeing the ball up a few inches ahead of the tees
  • Picking the ball up as a “gimme” in tournament play, or striking the ball in disgust for a missed putt and not finishing the hole
  • Hitting a similar ball from the rough and then discovering it is not the original ball you played
  • Hitting a ball after taking a drop (from a presumed “lost” ball) without declaring it to be a “provisional ball”, and then finding and playing the original ball
  • Ignoring the stroke and distance penalty on a lost ball

Padraig Harrington, Camilo Villegas, Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie, Craig Stadler, John Daly, and Chella Choi, all professional golfers are just some of the victims of “TV golf rules junkies” who call to report rules infractions.

Thank goodness, as an amateur club, close circuit TV zoom cameras do not follow the Birdiehunters closely. SIMON would have an easier job with unsigned scorecards, disqualifications, and multiple rules infractions.

If we are to prevent contributing to the malaise of declining interest in the sport, isn’t it about time to be more humane and accept that the sport is ONLY a pastime for all of us; that it is OK to be an expert in the complex rules of the game, if one chooses, but quite another to be so draconian about them that we are ready to send a jihadist to anyone who commits an infraction?

Perhaps we should be more “rules friendly” and less “rules paranoids” because, I am 100% sure that all of us at one time or another, have been guilty of some of the TEN MOST COMMON GOLF RULES INFRACTIONS.




During the last Thursday of each month, we have an “open” schedule. DANNY, a marshall at NorthView, managed to get us our tee times on that busy day. Aside from two foursomes ahead of us, we were the only golfers at the Ridge that day due to a very large tournament by Vancouver Firemen scheduled at 1:00 pm.

BAMBOOZLED by 1st time participants

SCOTT, MELVIN (MARIO’s son) and JASON joined the Birdiehunters at the ridge. The trio are regular members of VAN CITY GOLF (with established RCGA/CPGA handicap indices).  (If you recall, I was named “Honorary Team Captain” of the club at the last PAL INTERCLUB TOURNAMENT, and along with CHANG HJ, represented the team.)

SCOTT has a terrific game. When I played with him at Redwoods, I remember him putting for birdies on many holes. I wasn’t a bit surprised when someone reported that he played a 5 wood to 10 feet of the pin on the signature par 4 8th hole of the Ridge.  His 74 was the lowest gross of the day.

There is no truth to the rumour that as a course marshall. DANNY had a lot to do with the pin placement at the Ridge. He did arrange, however, for all the KP markers for our club. With his updated handicap index and a sizzling 79, he grabbed the top prize of the day from SCOTT.

First time lucky? It would seem that way. JASON took 3rd place at the Ridge.


Revisiting our rule concerning “new” participants to our tournaments is necessary to avoid questions.

When “prospective” new members are invited or accepted to join us, we exercise two options:

1) Allow them to play but not participate in the tournament until they have recorded 5 games, OR

2) Allow them to participate in the tournament, PROVIDED they have a verifiable, certified valid RCGA/CPGA/PGA handicap indices.

There is a stipulated qualification however. During the 1st 5 games, their applicable handicap index shall be THE LOWER of their index and that recorded on our system. For example, in the case of DAVID and DANNY, we accepted their declared index and applied this rule to their subsequent 5 games.


michelle wie

At the US OPEN last week, here is what was reported on the Live Update for the LPGA:

“05:04 p.m. EDT Michelle Wie takes advantage of the relief she took from the sprinkler head being in her line of play on the 14th hole and hits a nice chip to two feet. She taps in for par. Three-stroke lead, four holes to play, and her closest pursuer, Stacy Lewis, has run out of holes.”

Actually, she did not chip the ball; she putted from off the green.

She took the relief from Rule 24-2 Immoveable Obstruction, local rule.  Actually, contentious issues also involve Rule 25-1 – Abnormal Ground Condition. You can google these rules for further clarification.  Under Rule 24-2, if a player stance may be impeded by a sprinkler,  or an immoveable obstruction; or if the ball lies within the obstruction, he may drop the ball away from the obstruction without penalty. If the obstruction (sprinkler head) is “in the line” of his target, Rule 24-2 does not permit a “free drop” UNLESS a “local rule” opts to allow the relief.

If Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina (site of the PGA and LPGA US Open) adopts the option under Rule 24-2, The BirdieHunters of BC, as a club follows suit.

Thus, under Summer Rules, if any immoveable obstruction impedes your stance, your swing, or the lie of your ball, you may seek relief under option (D) of Rule 24-2!

In case you wish to be technical, be guided by these definitions:

“An immovable obstruction is an artificial object on the course that cannot be moved (e.g. a building) or cannot readily be moved (e.g. a firmly embedded direction post). Objects defining out of bounds are not treated as obstructions.

An abnormal ground condition is casual water, ground under repair or a hole, cast or runway made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.”

A hole in the ground that was left by greenskeepers or workers (in particular around the green) is also considered as “an abnormal ground condition” whether marked as GUI or not! Free relief is available under Rule 24-2 and 25-1!