The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland, and the United States Golf Association are the rulers of golf. These organizations determine for all golfers the world over what they can and can’t do. This is no easy task, and interpreting the rules is even more difficult. The Kindle version of the 2014-2015 Decisions of the Rules of Golf contains 752 fact-filled pages.
Even though seemingly every angle and situation is covered, gaps and voids remain.
Here is an attempt to plug some of those holes.
It is permissible, encouraged and, in fact, good golf etiquette when players scream out “fore” each and every time they hit a shot and are unsure where it will plummet to Earth.
It is frowned upon to bellow “fore” after your shot hits the irrigation tech right in the old tool belt. (It’s advisable to run away at this point.)
While the long putter and anchoring are still allowed under the rules of golf, the foot wedge has never been nor ever will be considered an acceptable club by the USGA or R&A.
Giving your playing partner a 3-footer to halve the match is a wonderful show of sportsmanship. Conceding oneself a 6-foot downhill slider to win the 11th flight of the men’s club Arbor Day Open is just not acceptable in anyone’s book.
A tee shot that lands in the deep cabbage, two shots to get out of the rough, a shot from the fairway into the bunker, two more shorts to exit the sand and three putts always adds up to a nine no matter what your math tells you.
Slamming down your putter as you walk off the green after barely missing an 11-inch putt that cost you a whole lot of moola in a grudge match with your ex-wife’s divorce attorney – and now-husband – is allowable by many. Slamming down your caddie who read the putt is grounds for all sorts of bad mojo from the golf gods, especially because you missed his mark by a cup and a half.
While teeing off, you notice that your opponent, who is carrying his/her own golf bag, has taken a seat in your golf car. It is allowable for you to penalize him/her for illegal use of your equipment as long as you understand that all four tires on your car will be slashed when you get to the parking lot.
The USGA and R&A define a crawfish as a burrowing animal. A burro, according to the rule makers, is not a burrowing animal.
Yellow stakes define a hazard. White stakes define out of bounds. Red stakes define a lateral hazard. An icky green steak means that piece of meat has sat in the refrigerator far too long.
When a partner or opponent sends an approach shot deep into the woods, acceptable comments include: “I’d hit another one.” “You’re probably not going to find that.” “Bad luck.”
You should never, ever say, as the ball is in flight: “This one is high and deep … it could be … touch ’em all, baby; that one is out of here!”
If it happens that a pear is resting against your golf ball in a bunker and the nearest pear tree is 682 miles away (it’s actually a pair of pear trees), guess what pal: You can’t move that pear. If a partridge from the aforementioned pear trees happens to extricate the offending fruit, no offense has been committed.
Go ahead, quote dialogue from “Caddyshack,” but only once a round and never in three consecutive days. Anyone who violates this unwritten ordinance must sit and watch the entire “Caddyshack II” movie as a punishment.
It’s rumored that the R&A and USGA will announce a joint decree heavily suggesting that clubs establish a local rule forbidding any reference or quoting of the movie “Happy Gilmour” during a round of golf. As all parties agree, doing so shows a lack of respect for the game and displays less than a modicum of basic understanding of what makes a funny movie. The suggested penalty is to compel the humorless miscreants to spend three hours on weekend mornings fixing ball marks on greens and then watch a showing of Adam Sandler’s “Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star.”
No rule by either governing body addresses the legality of “just putting at night with the 15-year-old daughter of the dean.” (My one “Caddyshack” quote of this column.)