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And Butch said, “He likes to tinker”

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Your swing is broken. You know it. Your playing partners know it. The 15-year-old kid picking up balls on the range knows it. There is something fundamentally wrong. Everything was fine, and then one day it wasn’t. Well, that’s not entirely true. You started to feel it slipping away a few weeks ago, like a slow leak in a tire, but you ignored it hoping that it would get better. Unfortunately it got worse, until you had a complete blow-out today. What happened?

You aren’t sure, and so the first chance that you get, you make your way to the practice range and buy three large buckets of balls, determined to find the answer. You then begin to randomly experiment, trying one thing after another. What was it you heard on the Golf Channel the other night? What about the tip that your brother-in-law gave you last weekend when you were up at the lake? Your mind begins to race. Maybe if you took the club back a little slower? What if you were to hold your finish? Maybe try pausing at the top? And then, before long, you find yourself lost in a maze of thinking.

In desperation you begin to tinker, hoping you can fix the problem yourself. You realize that there is a certain audacity in thinking that you can repair your own swing. You would of course call a plumber if a pipe burst in your house. Why wouldn’t you hire a teaching professional to help you with your golf swing? And then a random thought crosses your mind. He would probably charge less than a plumber. The truth is that you like to tinker with your swing. You think of it as a hobby. But then you remember what the speaker at last year’s men’s club fall banquet said: “I would agree that tinkering with your swing can be fun, but it is an absolute guarantee that you’ll never improve.”

What exactly is a “tinkerer?” The dictionary defines a tinkerer as an individual who would repair, adjust, or work with something in an unskilled manner. The key words in that sentence is “unskilled manner.” As a life-long teacher, I’ve witnessed times when a skilled player is able to fix their own swing by experimenting around the edges.

That is not the case with the average golfer, who more often makes the mistake of confusing the symptoms they are experiencing for a root problem. And then, in an attempt to fix it, an average golfer often puts a band-aid on what amounts to an open wound. The problem may then appear as if it has been solved, but only temporarily — maybe for a day, a week or a month — but then the original problem reappears again, but this time often in a more virulent form.

When that occurs, the player is then forced once again to search for a secondary cure, and then a third, and a then fourth, beginning an endless cycle of tinkering. And in time, they often find themselves so confused, it is as if they have tumbled down into Alice’s rabbit hole where up is down and down is up, creating their own wonderland where nothing seems to make sense anymore.

Butch Harmon

I attended a teaching seminar hosted by the Iowa Section of the PGA in Des Moines, Iowa, a few years ago. Butch Harmon was the guest speaker. He had just been fired by Tiger Woods a few weeks before. After finishing his presentation, someone in the audience asked him about Tiger. Butch was quiet for a moment, clearly weighing what to say — or not say. The room became quiet, and then when it seemed as if he may have forgotten the question, he said quietly, “He likes to tinker.”

The Scientist

In the mid ’80s, I had a student who loved to tinker with his swing. He was a 15-handicapper who never improved because he was constantly experimenting. In his case, it was to a degree understandable because he was a scientist. He would spend his day conducting laboratory experiments, mixing the contents of one test tube with another and then observing the outcome.

The doctor would come to see me for a lesson every week without fail. He was like a man who might go for a haircut or a massage on a regular basis, whether he needed it or not because he enjoyed it. And each time he came, it was the same. He had made a discovery. He would first explain his latest idea and then how it had come to him.

“I was lying in bed when it occurred to me that if I pointed my left elbow joint downward it might force my wrist into a better position at the top of the backswing. What do you think?”

“I think if it works that’s great,” I said. 

“Let me show you,” he said, taking a practice backswing then looking at me like an expectant puppy begging for approval. “Do you think it will work?”

“We won’t know that until you hit a ball,” I said. “As you know, the practice swing and the real swing are always different.”

The problem was that he suffered from a nasty hook that might have put Ben Hogan to shame. The primary problem, was that like Hogan, he bowed his left wrist outward at the top of his backswing, which closed the clubface. The problem then was that he had to find a way to open up the clubface on the downswing so that at impact it was somewhere close to square. The doctor was capable of emulating the top-of-the-backswing position when making a practice swing, but then, when he went to actually hit the ball, his left wrist would revert to the same convex position.

And so lesson after lesson, the doctor continued to come up with a new idea, none of which worked. The next time he came for his appointment, I suggested that we talk for a moment. I started by saying “Doctor, there is something we need to discuss.” I could see the anxious look on his face. “Yes. I’m listening” he replied. He was used to doing the lecturing, but now he was on the receiving end. “I’d like you to stop tinkering with your swing,” I said. And then he said the words that I will never forget: “But I tinker to improve.”

I thought for a moment before answering him and then said, “I’m sorry doctor but I’m afraid that is just not true.” He looked at me as if I’d killed the family dog.

“You want me to stop tinkering with my swing?” he asked. 

“Yes, that is what I’m suggesting,” I said. 

“I’m not sure that I can do that,” he said. He paused. “But if you think it is important, I’ll try to stop.”

The word “try” gave him away. What I’ve learned is that when someone says they will “try” something, they are giving themselves a way out. They usually have no intention of following through on the promised action. I knew he couldn’t stop. I knew he wouldn’t stop. And so, at that moment, I resolved that I would allow him to tinker, and I would play the role of the janitor, sweeping up whatever mess he might leave behind.

A Dream

The doctor continued to take lessons from me for a few more years after that with only minor changes in his swing — or his scores. And then one day he just stopped coming. He was elderly, but in good physical condition. And then a macabre thought crossed my mind; maybe he had passed away.

That night I had a dream. I saw a picture of him lying in a coffin. There was a pastor standing at the church alter inviting members of the congregation to come forward to pay their last respects. As I shuffled forward down the center aisle, I saw his wife, Francis, seated in the front pew with a black veil covering her face. She turned her head as I passed, nodding in my direction. As I neared the open coffin I could see that his hands were crossed, left over right. As I looked closer, his left wrist was bowed outward just like in his golf swing. And then I woke-up with a start.

A few weeks later, I was relieved to see him at the airport with his wife. He apologized for not mentioning it before, but they were going on a trip around the world. “I’ll call you when we get back,” he said, waving over his shoulder as the two of them made their way toward their gate with a porter trailing behind. That was the last time I saw him, but I tell his story as a cautionary tale to students of mine who are inclined to tinker with their swings

The Author (as a sponsor)

You enjoy tinkering, you say? I understand perfectly. Just realize that as a tinkerer, there is a good chance that you will never be a better golfer than you are today. And so if you really want to improve, quit tinkering. Should you make that decision, you will in all probability find that you have become addicted. And so, as you begin to pull away, you may experience a period of withdrawal. This is normal, but during this period do not let your guard down. This is when you are most vulnerable.

Also, it is important that you remove any forms of temptation that could draw you back into your old behavior.

Step 1: Go through your house with a large trash bag and put all of the books, magazines, and videos that you own, including those stashed under your bed, into the bag.

Step 2: Cancel your magazine subscriptions, effective immediately.

Step 3: This step is related to watching the Golf Channel. In the event one of the instructional segments should suddenly come on while you are watching, you should do one of three things immediately:

  1. Mute the sound.
  2. Switch the channel.
  3. Put your hands over your ears and start mouthing, “La, la, la, la, la,” until the segment is over.

As your sponsor, I want you to understand that the only way to break your addiction is to go “cold turkey.” You may feel an impulse to jump into your car and drive to the local drug store for a copy of the latest golf magazine. Should you feel that urge, I want you to start counting backward from 100. That usually does the trick.

Let’s return to the subject of your swing. You are probably wondering, “What should I do next? You are a little confused, and I understand. You’ve had a good deal of new information to process. Here is my thought. I’d advise you to sign-up for a series of lessons with a competent professional who has a track record of success working with players at your level… and then never look back.

Also, as your sponsor, I want you to remember that if you should need me during a moment of crisis, you can always reach me. I’m only a phone call away. And now before leaving, I want you to take the Tinkerer’s Pledge. Please raise your right hand while placing your left hand on this old copy of Golf Digest with Gay Brewer on the cover. Now, repeat after me:

“I, (then state your name for the record)…”

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As a teacher, Rod Lidenberg reached the pinnacle of his career when he was named to GOLF Magazine's "Top 100" Teachers in America. The PGA Master Professional and three-time Minnesota PGA "Teacher of the Year" has over his forty-five year career, worked with a variety of players from beginners to tour professionals. He especially enjoys training elite junior players, many who have gone on to earn scholarships at top colleges around the country, in addition to winning several national amateur championships. Lidenberg maintains an active schedule teaching at Bluff Creek Golf Course Chanhassen, Minnesota, in the summer and The Golf Zone, Chaska, Minnesota, in the winter months. As a player, he competed in two USGA Public Links Championships; the first in Dallas, Texas, and the second in Phoenix, Arizona, where he finished among the top 40. He also entertained thousands of fans playing in a series of three exhibition matches beginning in 1972, at his home course, Edgewood G.C. in Fargo, North Dakota, where he played consecutive years with Doug Sanders, Lee Trevino and Laura Baugh. As an author, he has a number of books in various stages of development, the first of which will be published this fall entitled "I Knew Patty Berg." In Fall 2017, he will be launching a new Phoenix-based instruction business that will feature first-time-ever TREATMENT OF THE YIPS.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Speedy

    Sep 23, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Butch Harmon’s the best.

  2. Double Mocha Man

    Sep 20, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    I am so glad I am not a tinkerer. I proudly admit that I “experiment” on the range.

  3. bh

    Sep 20, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Tinkering is what makes it fun for me. I like the puzzle. Sure, I could leave well enough alone, but doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

  4. Acew7iron

    Sep 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    If your not tinkering…yur not trying

  5. RonMcD

    Sep 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    We know he likes to tinker with his dinker ……..

  6. Square

    Sep 18, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    That last post was a mess. Sorry guys. Let’s try that again.

    I admit, I used to tinker. Even though would shoot between 68-78, I was never consistent. Tinkering was the culprit. I would try this, try that…you name it. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to have the money and the desire to see a real teacher in Tampa. I make a point of seeing him 2 x per year. His name is Rich Abele and by using Trackman we identified my one serious, consistent swing fault. Rich focuses on impact and I just needed one thing to think about. When I practice or play this single thought is the sole thing I concentrate on when I swing. Without question this year with less practice and play, I was able to play my best. I was able to consistently shoot 68-72 with a few 73s. Having one swing thought and having confidence in that single thought was the key. Having a great teacher helped too.

  7. Square

    Sep 18, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I admit, I like to tinker. Even though would shoot between 68-78 I was never consistent. Tinkering was the culprit. I’ll try this, try that…you name it. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to have the money and the desire to see a real teacher in Tampa. I see him 2 x per year. His name is Rich Abele and by using Trackman we identified my consistent swing fault. Rich focuses on impact and I just needed one think to think about. When I practice or play it is the sole thing I concentrate on when I play golf. Without question the last year, with less practice and play was the best. I was able to consistently shoot 68-72 with a few 73s. Having one swing thought and having confidence in that though was the key.

  8. BW

    Sep 18, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Most rec’n players who seek help from an ‘instructor’ are usually in poor physical shape and the instructors know it’s futility, so they just string them along to suck $$$ from the suckers.
    Many go to instructors to have a ‘golf buddy’ to talk to and then brag they went to so-and-so for lessons and it was great.
    Those who avoid instruction are usually ashamed of their bodies and avoid embarrassment. They just keep on hacking and clowning on the golf course.
    Golf is a dying activity and even the club manufacturers know that so they just cater to the upper 1% and wannabes with over-engineered clubs at ludicrous prices. They are just milking the stragglers. It’s over, baby…..

  9. Ray Bennett

    Sep 18, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    There is so much BS in this article. I had to laugh about the bowed wrist and opening the clubface bit. No wonder the average golfer is in Limbo after reading this nonsense.

  10. Steve S

    Sep 18, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Much of this article seems to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, so enjoyed it. Bottom line though is that I have not found a teacher yet that doesn’t want to remake my swing. I play to a 10-11; mostly due to an erratic short game. I use a modified single plane swing that takes into account a bad knee and an arthritic back. It looks ugly but when I’m not in pain I hit the ball mostly straight with a very tiny draw. I’m sure most pros would gag if they saw my swing but I have fun. I’ve taken video of my swing when I was hitting the ball well and use it to compare to when I’m going bad. With all the new technology available to us, many of us no longer need a teaching pro to enjoy the game.

  11. acemandrake

    Sep 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    For me, “tinkering’ = “chasing tips”

  12. AB

    Sep 18, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I tinker all the time and my swing gotten better, plus I have gained yards. There’s nothing wrong with tinkering

  13. Patricknorm

    Sep 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Excellent article. I taught tennis and squash for 30 years from beginners to world champions. It’s easy teaching players with skills and motivation. It’s near impossible to teach those that question your methods. These people ” have an idea” but really don’t grasp the reality. If I could have had these people as children then maybe there would be hope.
    As adults, busy with life, successful in business but mediocre in sports. We all have aptitudes: music, math, athletics, memory, spatial, etc. I can take you so far but, there are limitations. We all need mentors regardless of our skills. Nobody can do it themselves and be great.

    • mlecuni

      Sep 19, 2017 at 4:54 am

      As an adult, i think that the tinkering way is possible if you Eat, drink, sleep golf like a child would do.
      So in a way, i agree with you when you say, if only i had these people when they were child, and i add, “or if they have way more time to practice/play”.

  14. Dennis Lurvey

    Sep 18, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Tiger is a perfectionist to the point it takes over his life and his golf. He is incapable of playing as an art, has to be in control of everything all the time. Michelle Wie as well and others. It’s a mental disorder. Tiger has never been able to take direction from others, except maybe his dad. When he said he liked to tinker he was searching for a phrase that wasn’t, he’s an arrogant control freak perfectionist who believes he’s the only one who knows golf.

  15. Philip

    Sep 18, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Have to disagree … I play with so many that regularly have lessons and do not even understand what they are trying to accomplish at times. Granted it is highly likely that they do not have the ability or desire to get better, however, I have witnessed lessons being given and received lessons that have no chance of resulting in real improvement. Personally, I think the main reason is the difficulty that people have in truly communicating. Luckily, I’ve had a few pros in which it clicked nicely. On the other side, the tinkering that I have been doing this season has resulted in me having more control than I ever did of the golf ball, and without losing distance … actually gaining some.

  16. Redley Jacob

    Sep 18, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Where I practice next to it is Pro area where he teaches his students. All I hear is BS for 60 bucks an hour.

  17. Andrew Broom

    Sep 18, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    All the Pros want you to cough up your hard earned money but you will never actually improve. I went from 22 to 8 by tinkering only. Don’t listen to these vested interest and tinker away.

  18. Chris Baker

    Sep 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I think the article makes a lot of sense, especially for the average golfer. But I’m not sure using Tiger Woods as an example is most effective way to get people to buy into your idea/theory (yes if you want them to open the article). He is either the greatest or second greatest golfer to ever play the game and he likes to “tinker”. I can only assume that people who hear Tiger Woods liked to “tinker” will take it upon themselves to also “tinker” because it seemed to work pretty well for him. My opinion is to use a golfer who liked to “tinker”, but ultimately was not successful in doing so.

  19. RonG

    Sep 18, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Adult men believe there is a golf swing buried in their big strong body and their massive minds only need to be told what to do and it will happen… consciously. It’s mind over matter and a small golf tip is all they really need to knock out the glitches.
    Oh, and the newest model golf clubs with SGI features will launch them and conquer the golf course. So easy….

  20. Avery

    Sep 18, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Hahaha.

    Step 4: Stop visiting Golf WRX

  21. Acew7iron

    Sep 18, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Oh and BTW…Ive dropped 4 strokes off my HC just this season. It is possible to Tinker and improve…the key? You have to play the game more than 4 times a month…

  22. Acew7iron

    Sep 18, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Well…As a player of the game for over 25 years and currently a 9 I consider myself somewhat of a “tinkerer”. As a avid follower of this site I recently read a very informative piece about how every golfer eventually hits the skids with their swing because its all tied to every sense you have and at some point it WILL come off the rails (not “if”…but “when”) mostly because we are human and not machines. It has been my experience that the more I practice and play the longer I can ride those good playing waves but I know one day it will just seem to leave…without warning.
    Now to my point…What shall I do when this happens? Run to a Pro and pony up $100 for a lesson to immediately get me back on track? I admit…would be nice to have that luxury but the game itself is expensive besides pay a Pro every time a hitch gets in my giddyup. No…Most of us must resort to the tinker…eventually the good swing returns and you ride the wave again until it crashes on shore 6-8 strokes above your HC.

    Tinkering is not the Devil…Its the only way to fix what ails you.

  23. Nick

    Sep 18, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Tinker = Trial and Error & Error & Error & Error ………….

  24. Doug Ferreri

    Sep 18, 2017 at 10:26 am

    I have been an instructor for many years and truer words were ever written.

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On Spec

On Spec: Please don’t play blades (or maybe play them anyway)

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Host Ryan talks about the different ways to enjoy the game and maximizing your equipment enjoyment which doesn’t always have to mean hitting it 15 yards farther. The great debate of blades vs cavity backs is as old of an argument you will find in golf but both sides can be right equaling right. Ryan explains why.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Opinion & Analysis

What’s going on with the decline in putting on the PGA Tour?

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Watching the PGA Tour recently, I was struck by Frank Nobilo commenting on how professionals and their instructors work down to the smallest detail, a reflection on the intense competition on the PGA Tour and the fact that to be successful you cannot ignore anything. He made this comment with his thumb and forefinger barely not touching for emphasis.

That being the case, the numbers below should cause major introspection by every player and their coach. They are self-explanatory and have been verified by a third party expert who deals in putting data.

All figures are Shotlink data from the PGA Tour. To preclude undue influence by an anomaly years 2003-5 are averaged as are 2016-18

Average make percentage from 5 distances, 2003-2005 combined

  • 6 FEET: 71.98 percent
  • 8 FEET: 55.01 percent
  • 10 FEET: 43.26 percent
  • 15-20 FEET: 19.37 percent
  • 25 FEET AND BEYOND: 5.96 percent

Average make percentage from the same 5 distances, 2015-2018

  • 6 FEET: 70.43 percent
  • 8 FEET: 53.54 percent
  • 10 FEET: 41.39 percent
  • 15-20 FEET: 18.80 percent
  • 25 FEET AND BEYOND: 5.33 percent

Percent decrease 

  • 6 FEET: 1.55 percent
  • 8 FEET: 1.67 percent
  • 10 FEET: 1.87 percent
  • 15-20 FEET: .57 percent
  • 25 FEET AND BEYOND: .83 percent

One comment, green conditions have been vetted to the point where they are not considered a culprit. Faster, yes, but pristine surfaces, and very consistent week to week. There are some outliers like the U.S. Open greens but they are included in the data shown and caused no significant spike for that week.

Further, on the subject of greens, today’s professional has booklets showing green patterns, high MOI putter heads, instruction from putting specialists, and caddies, expert green readers in their own right. Bottom line: if anything the greens help not hurt.

So your turn. Look at the data. Appoint yourself all-powerful guru to improve putting data. What would your plan, be? Oh and this little tidbit so you can earn a huge consulting fee: We took six players, three on either side of the halfway point, your solution resulted in a one-shot per TOURNAMENT improvement. Average INCREASE in earnings for the season: a smidge over $500K!

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Opinion & Analysis

A merciful new local rule

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This April, within a list of 2019 Rules Clarifications, the USGA and R&A quietly authorized a new Local Rule that you can expect to see enacted everywhere from the U.S. Open Championship to, if you’re lucky, your own club championship.  

New Local Rule E-12 provides some protection from an unintended consequence of Rule 14.3c, which requires that your ball come to rest in the relief area for the drop you’re taking. When I first read about this option, I confess that I was a bit skeptical. But now that I’ve experienced the Local Rule in action, its value has become very clear.  

My initial skepticism came from the fact that I like it that every time, we drop we now must drop in a relief area. I also like the simplicity of requiring the ball to come to rest in that relief area — no more awkward need to figure out if your ball stayed within two club lengths of the point where your drop first struck the course, as used to be the case.  So right from the start, I was very comfortable with the new rules in this regard. But in some cases, particularly for those who haven’t carefully studied the revised rules, this simple approach has caused problems. 

The freedom this new Local Rule provides applies exclusively to back-on-the-line relief drops, such as you might make from penalty areas or for unplayable balls. It’s a bit complicated, but let me take you through how it helps. We’ll use yellow-staked penalty areas as an example. Last year, for back-on-the-line drops such as these, you’d identify the point where your ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard and draw an imaginary line from the flagstick through that point, select a nice place to drop anywhere you chose back along that line, and then let it drop. If you picked a point sufficiently back, and your ball didn’t hit anything prohibited, and it didn’t stop more than two club lengths from where you dropped it, you were good to go.  

This year, instead of dropping on that imaginary line, you drop in a relief area that surrounds that imaginary line. Just like before, you identify the edge of the penalty area where your ball last crossed, go back as far as you wish along an imaginary line from the flagstick through that point — but now you should identify a relief area around your selected drop location. To do so, you pick a point on the line, then define a relief area one club length from that point no closer to the hole. So you typically have a semicircle two club lengths in diameter in which to drop. If you drop a foot or two back from the front edge of the semicircle, there’s almost always no problem with the ball coming to rest outside the releif area and you’ll be ready to play.  But if you drop right on the front edge of your defined relief area, or if you didn’t bother to identify a point/relief area along the imaginary line before you dropped, and your ball bounces and comes to rest even the slightest bit forward — it’s now outside the relief area and subject to a two-stroke or loss of hole penalty for playing from the wrong place if you end up hitting the ball before correcting your mistake.

That might seem kind of harsh — you take a back-on-the-line drop like you did last year, it bounces and stops an inch forward, you hit it — and you get severely penalized.  If you had simply established the relief area an inch or two forward, things would have been perfectly legal! The 2019 rules, in their effort to simplify and make consistent the drop/relief procedure, created an unintended potential trap for players that weren’t careful enough managing their business. This seemed like it was going to be a big enough problem that the USGA and R&A decided to graciously do something about it:  Introduce Model Local Rule E-12.

When this Local Rule is adopted, a player is given some additional freedom. If he or she applies the relief area/drop principles correctly, there is, of course, still no problem.  But if he or she ends up with the ball somewhat outside the relief area, there still might be no penalty. As long as the ball originally struck the course within where the relief area should be, and as long as it didn’t come to rest more than one club length from where it first hit the course when dropped, you can still play it penalty-free (as long as it’s not nearer the hole than where the ball originally lay in the case of an unplayable ball drop, or nearer the hole than the edge of the penalty area where the ball last crossed for a penalty area drop).

While all that’s a bit complicated sounding, in practice it’s intuitive. And as an added bonus, it probably doesn’t matter if you don’t understand it or even know it’s in force — there are simply more occasions when you can blissfully, even ignorantly, play on penalty-free.

This new Local Rule provides another advantage as well. When it’s in effect, an opponent or ref (or a TV viewer) won’t have to concern themselves with whether or not the player making the drop actually followed the recommendation of first defining a relief area before making a back-on-the-line drop. If you’re at a distance, and you see a player taking a drop which bounces slightly forward, you can relax. You don’t have to wonder whether or not you should rush up and confirm that the ball didn’t squeak out of the player’s intended relief area in an effort to prevent the player from incurring a penalty.  One way or another, everything is more than likely just fine.

With all that in mind, maybe you’d like to see the specific wording of E-12:

“When taking Back-On-the-Line relief, there is no additional penalty if a player plays a ball that was dropped in the relief area required by the relevant Rule (Rule 16.1c(2), 17.1d(2), 19.2b or 19.3b) but came to rest outside the relief area, so long as the ball, when played, is within one club-length of where it first touched the ground when dropped.

“This exemption from penalty applies even if the ball is played from nearer the hole than the reference point (but not if played from nearer the hole than the spot of the original ball or the estimated point where the ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area).

“This Local Rule does not change the procedure for taking Back-On-the-Line relief under a relevant Rule. This means that the reference point and relief area are not changed by this Local Rule and that Rule 14.3c(2) can be applied by a player who drops a ball in the right way and it comes to rest outside the relief area, whether this occurs on the first or second drop.” 

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