By Mike Stevens
What’s the big whoop about new and simplified rules? I guess it’s human nature to resist change, but anything to speed up play is good, in my opinion. I just wonder why it took so long to get these implemented. The process began back in 2012. Remember the Nike ad – “Just Do It.” Heck, if you’re the so-called ruling body, you should be able to make whatever changes are in the best interest of the game. There were originally 13 basic rules, and except for the one saying you must tee off within one clublength from the hole, they served the game well for hundreds of years. Now, there will be 24, down from 34. They’re going in the right direction.
But here is the real rub: 90 percent of golfers don’t play strictly by the rules, anyway. Yes, rules are important. As Kramer once said, “Without rules, there would be chaos.” For tournament play, absolutely! The average golfer is just out for a day with their buddies. I play with a group of guys once a week. Even after a half-hour on the driving range, they all hit two balls off the first tee. It’s commonplace to improve their lie or take a drop for lost balls and O.B. shots instead of going back to replay. Guess what? They use their illegitimate handicaps each week and no one complains about rule breaking in the $5 skins game. So, if I were the King of Golf, the last page of my rule book would say, “These rules are for tournament play. For all other forms of recreational play – do as you please.”