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Action Plan for Understanding the Rules of Golf?


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#1 KaBoom21

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

Basically, I want to understand the rules of golf thoroughly so I can particpate in events and possibly work at local events.

Long story short, I was a hack golfer for many years who never paid much attention to the real rules. Played OB as a lateral hazard and the group I played with just had our own informal rules.

Reading the ROG handbook is tough - I mean, the rules language can be intimidating and downright snooze-inducing.  I'm not a lawyer, but I've had experience drafting contract/addendum language, so I can't imagine I'm alone in finding it difficult.

I know I need the ROG and Decisions handbooks, but I guess what I'm looking for is the most efficient way and how others have done it that didn't get exposed to the rules until later in life.

Thanks.

Edited by KaBoom21, 08 January 2013 - 11:27 AM.


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#2 Augster

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:29 AM

For entertainment value, reading the Decisions is more fun. There are a lot of crazy situations in the Decisions book which makes it an easier read. Also, you learn the Rules in order that they reference.

Mostly though, get down the basics that you will see over and over during rounds of golf. Relief for hazards, bunkers, OB, immovable obstructions, movable obstructions, nearest point of relief, and the procedure for dropping and redropping. If you are going to play a lot of match play, read those sections also.

Get the USGA rules app for your phone. That way whenever a Rules question pops into your head, or you encounter one on the course, you can start finding the Rules quickly.

#3 Hateto3Putt

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

View PostAugster, on 08 January 2013 - 11:29 AM, said:


Get the USGA rules app for your phone. That way whenever a Rules question pops into your head, or you encounter one on the course, you can start finding the Rules quickly......

....while at the same time breaking the rule regarding smart phones! :busted_cop:

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#4 sui generis

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:02 PM

View PostKaBoom21, on 08 January 2013 - 11:22 AM, said:

Basically, I want to understand the rules of golf thoroughly so I can particpate in events and possibly work at local events.

Long story short, I was a hack golfer for many years who never paid much attention to the real rules. Played OB as a lateral hazard and the group I played with just had our own informal rules.

Reading the ROG handbook is tough - I mean, the rules language can be intimidating and downright snooze-inducing.  I'm not a lawyer, but I've had experience drafting contract/addendum language, so I can't imagine I'm alone in finding it difficult.

I know I need the ROG and Decisions handbooks, but I guess what I'm looking for is the most efficient way and how others have done it that didn't get exposed to the rules until later in life.

Thanks.

Here's what I did. I attended a USGA/PGA Rules School. That gave me the confidence to apply to my state's golf association to become a local rules official. That worked out well for them and me as I spent the next few summers working once a week or so at events.

I'm more convinced than ever that it's a rare bird who can "know" all of the Rules. For me, learning to use the reference materials quickly and accurately has been my goal. Hard work on my part and some excellent mentoring have helped me do a decent job in the field. However, the best thing to come of the experience has been how much more I enjoy playing my own game.

If you wish to go it alone my advice would be to 1) memorize the Definitions 2) know what each Rule is about then 3) jump in with both feet with your state association. You can rest assured they'll find a place for you. They know how to do it!
Knowledge of the Rules is part of the
applied skill set which a player must
use to play a round of competitive golf.

#5 lander215

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:41 PM

View PostHateto3Putt, on 08 January 2013 - 11:49 AM, said:

View PostAugster, on 08 January 2013 - 11:29 AM, said:

Get the USGA rules app for your phone. That way whenever a Rules question pops into your head, or you encounter one on the course, you can start finding the Rules quickly......

....while at the same time breaking the rule regarding smart phones! :busted_cop:


Which rule is being broken if you use the rules app?


#6 Sawgrass

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:00 PM

BTW, if you join the USGA as a new member you get a hat and a rules book for $10.00.  Best deal in golf.

Also, their usga.org site has many quizzes and tutorials you might enjoy, as well as all the rules and decisions laid out for free.

My final three tips:
1) don't listen to TV announcers, even x-pros, when it comes to the rules -- they're frequently wrong.
2) If you can find a friend to play with that knows what he's doing, have him talk to you about what rules he is addressing and what rules you might be addresssing as you play.  "Rules guys" are sometimes silent about others' play because they're used to being hated for their detailed approach.  But let them know you're interested and they'll never shut up!
3) Read this site regularly.  Sometimes there'll be incorrect information initially, but every thread, sooner or later, seems to get to the truth.  And being taken down some wrong paths is a useful exercise in terms of learning the mistakes that others make.  (See post #5 above and watch what happens!)

Enjoy!

Edited by Sawgrass, 08 January 2013 - 01:03 PM.


#7 DCSerafin

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:06 PM

above the other excellent reccomendations of the other posters,  usga has an online quiz you can take, It's free,  it gives you real-life examples and provides your score along with the answers for the ones you got wrong.

http://www.usga.org/...es_quizzes.html

#8 kevcarter

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:07 PM

View Postlander215, on 08 January 2013 - 12:41 PM, said:

View PostHateto3Putt, on 08 January 2013 - 11:49 AM, said:

View PostAugster, on 08 January 2013 - 11:29 AM, said:

Get the USGA rules app for your phone. That way whenever a Rules question pops into your head, or you encounter one on the course, you can start finding the Rules quickly......

....while at the same time breaking the rule regarding smart phones! :busted_cop:


Which rule is being broken if you use the rules app?

Easy mistake to make, now that we all understand smart phones can't be used for calculating yardage. Still many other ways the smart phone can be used.

14-3/16
Use of Electronic Devices

As provided in the Etiquette Section, players should ensure that any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other players.

The use of an electronic device such as a mobile phone, hand-held computer, calculator, television or radio is not of itself a breach of Rule 14-3. For example, the following uses of an electronic device during a stipulated round are not a breach of the Rules:

·Using the device for matters unrelated to golf (e.g., to call home);

·Using the device to access information on advice-related matters that was produced prior to the start of the player's round (e.g., an electronic yardage book, swing tips);

·Using the device to access (but not interpret or process) playing information from previous rounds (e.g., driving distances, individual club yardages, etc); or

·Using the device to obtain information related to the competition being played (e.g., the leader board or projected "cut").
I could be wrong.
I have been before.
I will be again.
========================================
GEOMETRICALLY ORIENTED LINEAR FORCE
========================================

#9 rogolf

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:09 PM

View PostKaBoom21, on 08 January 2013 - 11:22 AM, said:

Basically, I want to understand the rules of golf thoroughly so I can particpate in events and possibly work at local events.

Long story short, I was a hack golfer for many years who never paid much attention to the real rules. Played OB as a lateral hazard and the group I played with just had our own informal rules.

Reading the ROG handbook is tough - I mean, the rules language can be intimidating and downright snooze-inducing.  I'm not a lawyer, but I've had experience drafting contract/addendum language, so I can't imagine I'm alone in finding it difficult.

I know I need the ROG and Decisions handbooks, but I guess what I'm looking for is the most efficient way and how others have done it that didn't get exposed to the rules until later in life.

Thanks.

Use web resources that are available - USGA, R&A, Golf Canada, Golf Australia etc.  Also, this is an excellent resource - www.throughthegreen.org
Begin with the Guide to the Rules of golf at the beginning of the Rule book
Use the Rule book/Decisions book to look up incidents that you experience, or see, or wonder about - this makes the immediate task interesting.  It's much better than trying to read either book cover to cover.
Have a Decisions book available, and just open it to a page and read that page.  Short, and effective.

#10 sui generis

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

Since 1975, the USGA and The PGA of America, working together to support the best interests of the game, have offered a series of Rules of Golf Workshops to the public. This annual cooperative effort brings together a significant number of the most knowledgeable thinkers and educators on the Rules of Golf to offer a variety of workshops around the United States for anyone interested in learning more about the worldwide code that governs the game.

You can see the schedule of workshops at Workshop Schedule.
You can register for a workshop at Workshop Registration.

2013 WORKSHOP COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Fundamentals of the Rules of Golf – 2-Day Program
Led by two instructors, one affiliated with The PGA of America and one affiliated with the United States Golf Association, this workshop includes an overview of the 34 Rules of Golf, presentations on how the Rules of Golf and the Decisions on the Rules of Golf books are organized, the defined terms used in the Rules of Golf and their importance in fully understanding the Rules, the philosophical principles upon which the Rules of Golf are based, and in-depth presentations on the fundamental Rules governing match and stroke play, playing the ball as it lies, playing the course as it is found and those dealing with relief situations (water hazards, ground under repair, obstructions, balls lost or out of bounds and balls which are unplayable).
Rules of Golf Workshop – 3½-Day Program*
This program includes three days of classroom instruction and interactive exercises led by two instructors, one affiliated with The PGA of America and one affiliated with the United States Golf Association. The curriculum covers all 34 Rules of Golf, all the definitions and more than 100 decisions on the Rules of Golf. Presentations are done utilizing PowerPoint and include the unabridged text of every Rule and definition in the Rules of Golf, photographs, illustrations, animations and videos. While it is recommended that participants have at least a basic working knowledge of the Rules of Golf and some familiarity with the Decisions on the Rules of Golf there are no registration pre-requisites. Anyone interested in increasing their knowledge of the Rules of Golf is welcome and encouraged to participate.
85+ Rules of Golf Workshop – 3½-Day Program*
This workshop is restricted to those who have scored 85 or higher on a 100-question PGA/USGA Rules of Golf Workshop exam taken within the last four years and assumes participants have a high level of Rules understanding. It is led by two instructors, one affiliated with The PGA of America and one affiliated with the United States Golf Association. It follows a similar organizational outline to the Rules of Golf Workshop described above, however, it often features more abbreviated initial presentations on individual Rules in order to allow for additional content and more in-depth and nuanced discussion of applicable issues and topics relating to those Rules.
Officiating and Tournament Administration Workshop – 3½-Day Program*
Led by two instructors, one affiliated with The PGA of America and one affiliated with the United States Golf Association, this program covers on-course officiating techniques, course marking, golf tournament administration and tournament operations.The on-course portions of this program in 2013 will be held at the PGA National Golf Club immediately prior to the tournament week of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic. Approximately half of each of the first three days is held outdoors at the tournament course, the remaining half of the program is conducted in a classroom setting at a nearby hotel. Participants will be able to see a PGA Tour venue being prepared for tournament play and discuss the preparations as well as the issues and decisions involved in the preparation. During the indoor sessions, in-depth presentations on the Rules of Golf dealing with clubs, balls, starting, scoring, player responsibilities, Committee responsibilities, play-off options and procedures, Local Rules, environmentally sensitive areas, and temporary obstructions are scheduled.
* The 3½-Day workshops all offer participants the option of taking a 100-question exam or an 80-question test on the morning of the fourth day between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. For more detailed information see the “Optional Rules Examinations” section in the workshop memo online.

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the
applied skill set which a player must
use to play a round of competitive golf.

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#11 lander215

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:22 PM

View Postkevcarter, on 08 January 2013 - 01:07 PM, said:

View Postlander215, on 08 January 2013 - 12:41 PM, said:

View PostHateto3Putt, on 08 January 2013 - 11:49 AM, said:

View PostAugster, on 08 January 2013 - 11:29 AM, said:

Get the USGA rules app for your phone. That way whenever a Rules question pops into your head, or you encounter one on the course, you can start finding the Rules quickly......

....while at the same time breaking the rule regarding smart phones! :busted_cop:


Which rule is being broken if you use the rules app?

Easy mistake to make, now that we all understand smart phones can't be used for calculating yardage. Still many other ways the smart phone can be used.

14-3/16
Use of Electronic Devices

As provided in the Etiquette Section, players should ensure that any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other players.

The use of an electronic device such as a mobile phone, hand-held computer, calculator, television or radio is not of itself a breach of Rule 14-3. For example, the following uses of an electronic device during a stipulated round are not a breach of the Rules:

·Using the device for matters unrelated to golf (e.g., to call home);

·Using the device to access information on advice-related matters that was produced prior to the start of the player's round (e.g., an electronic yardage book, swing tips);

·Using the device to access (but not interpret or process) playing information from previous rounds (e.g., driving distances, individual club yardages, etc); or

·Using the device to obtain information related to the competition being played (e.g., the leader board or projected "cut").

Exactly, using it to look up rules using the USGA rules app is permitted. I knew that because I keep my yardages on courses I've already played from certain landmarks on my phone, which is permissible as well.

#12 rogolf

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:28 PM

try this to see if it will work ---
http://www.golfcanad...ules-education/

Edited by rogolf, 08 January 2013 - 02:07 PM.


#13 lander215

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:38 PM

View Postkevcarter, on 08 January 2013 - 01:27 PM, said:

I have to believe that's a wonderful way to put together custom yardage books!

If I'm not going to play a course again I won't bother taking notes, but if it's one I'll be back to play then I do. It only takes a few extra moments to jot down the yardage, then after my round I update my phone with the information from each hole. It's quicker, for me, to look at my phone as I'm walking over to my ball to get a distance from a nearby landmark (tree/bush/sand trap etc) than to laser it now. Since I don't play on TV on Sundays I just need to have a pretty good idea to the front of the green is all, after that, my (lack of) skills will take over. :)

#14 lander215

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:41 PM

As an aside, and I apologize because this is pretty far off topic now, I've found since I started keeping notes on the courses I play that my ability to judge distances has sharpened considerably. Before when I used the electronic devices for every shot my ability to tell the difference between 100 yards and 150 yards suffered. Now I can play a strange course and usually choose a club based upon no other indication other than my intuition as for distance and be pretty accurate with it.

#15 Augster

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:19 PM

View Postlander215, on 08 January 2013 - 01:41 PM, said:

As an aside, and I apologize because this is pretty far off topic now, I've found since I started keeping notes on the courses I play that my ability to judge distances has sharpened considerably. Before when I used the electronic devices for every shot my ability to tell the difference between 100 yards and 150 yards suffered. Now I can play a strange course and usually choose a club based upon no other indication other than my intuition as for distance and be pretty accurate with it.

Do you have an app or something you put the info into?  I've used my laser almost every round since they were legal, and I can't tell a 50 yard pitch from a 30 yard pitch.  I try to call out the number in my head before I shoot it every time and still, 4 years later, I'm way, way off.

The few rounds that the battery dies, or I forget to put one in, I'm totally lost on the course. I could pace every 60 yarder I suppose, but that may take some time.  :)  Having something like you do and force myself to learn "feel" yardages by sight would be great.

Thanks and sorry for the off-topic.


#16 lander215

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:59 AM

Right now I'm just using a notepad application that allows import. I take my notes and create a notepad item for each course so I can just scroll down the list as I progress hole-to-hole. I can do all the formatting on my PC, then import it into the phone.

I'm working with one of our programmers to see if he can create an app where I can take a satellite image and superimpose yardages onto the image like a real yardage book but without a GPS so I can use it anytime within the rules. If I get that working I'll probably make it available here for everyone.

#17 KaBoom21

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 02:48 PM

Thanks guys, some real great suggestions.

Sawgrass: your suggestion about about playing with "Rules Guy" was hilarious.  I'll definitely be doing that this year.  If that USGA offer included a visor instead of a hat, I'd be all over it. ;) Downloaded the app.

This site has been primarily responsible in getting me to a 12 handicap in the last few years. Play once a week, practice once a week, no lessons, made gear selections all based on what I have learned here.  I no longer need to hit balls before the first hole to "find" my swing for the day. Just hit a few chips/putts, take a few practice swings with the Medicus to promote shoulder turn and smooth takeaway, and I'm good to go.  Signed up for a complete bag fitting at Club Champion here in Chicago and getting involved with the World Golfers Amateur Tour.  Hope to flirt with the single digits in 2013.

Golf has become a metaphor for life for me. Very cool.

#18 Sawgrass

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

View PostKaBoom21, on 09 January 2013 - 02:48 PM, said:


I no longer need to hit balls before the first hole to "find" my swing for the day. Just hit a few chips/putts, take a few practice swings with the Medicus to promote shoulder turn and smooth takeaway, and I'm good to go.  

What do you do with your Medicus after you warm up?  Carry it?  Please don't even practice swing the Medicus during the round.  Note 14-3/10 below!

(In addition, I've seen conflicting comments about it being considered one of your 14 clubs if you carry it even if you don't use it -- I'm not sure how that gets resolved.)

14-3/10

Use of Training or Swing Aid During Round

Q.During a round, may a player make a stroke or a practice swing using a club with a weighted headcover or "doughnut" on it, or use any other device designed as a training or swing aid?
A.No. The player would be using an artificial device to assist him in his play in breach of Rule 14-3, but see also Decision 4-4a/7 for use of a weighted training club.

#19 lander215

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:51 PM

4-4a/7

Carrying Weighted Training Club

Q.May a player carry a weighted training club in addition to the 14 clubs selected for the round?
A.No, but a weighted training club may be selected as one of 14 clubs carried by a player, provided it conforms with Rule 4-1 (e.g., an excessively-weighted driver head may breach the limit on Moment of Inertia - see Appendix II).

#20 KaBoom21

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:57 PM

View PostSawgrass, on 09 January 2013 - 03:38 PM, said:

View PostKaBoom21, on 09 January 2013 - 02:48 PM, said:

I no longer need to hit balls before the first hole to "find" my swing for the day. Just hit a few chips/putts, take a few practice swings with the Medicus to promote shoulder turn and smooth takeaway, and I'm good to go.  

What do you do with your Medicus after you warm up?  Carry it?  Please don't even practice swing the Medicus during the round.  Note 14-3/10 below!

(In addition, I've seen conflicting comments about it being considered one of your 14 clubs if you carry it even if you don't use it -- I'm not sure how that gets resolved.)



14-3/10

Use of Training or Swing Aid During Round

Q.During a round, may a player make a stroke or a practice swing using a club with a weighted headcover or "doughnut" on it, or use any other device designed as a training or swing aid?
A.No. The player would be using an artificial device to assist him in his play in breach of Rule 14-3, but see also Decision 4-4a/7 for use of a weighted training club.

:lol: I knew it!  Thought about clarifying that since I'm asking questions in this section. No, I just stretch and take 5-10 swings with it in the parking lot to "set" my hands and not get too quick on the takeaway.

Or I was just testing you all..

Edited by KaBoom21, 09 January 2013 - 04:13 PM.


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#21 Shiram

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:05 PM

This topic made me think of a conversation I had with my wife the other afternoon. She was asking me a question about a drop rule and I was explaining the proper drop and penalty strokes. This lead to a discussion on when she was allowed to clean her ball before dropping etc. etc. etc.

A few minutes later I'm reading about a multi-million dollar campaign that the USGA is engaging in over the next few years to help golfers better understand the rules (I forget the source - probably some golf magazine)... my wife said, "well they wouldn't need to spend all that money if they just simplified the rules."

She's not wrong - and I know things have been brought up on this subforum many times - but why is an OB drop handled one way, a lateral drop another, and a water hazard a third way! Come up with one drop you like - mark everything a lateral hazard and move on with life! :) It's basically setup to be as confusing as possible.

Anyway - a bit off topic from the OP - but like I said, this post reminded me of this conversation. I found the ROG book from the USGA to be a pretty easy read - but sometimes when I'm on the course - I have to stop and really think about the proper drop in odd situations and when you're playing a casual round - you don't have a rules official to consult!

#22 lander215

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:33 PM

I think maybe your terminology is confusing as there is only one procedure for drops, although it is quite extensive (20-2 and 20-3 for placing). When and where to drop I think is what causes much angst among those learning the rules. How many club lengths from where and when? Penalty or not? How far can the ball roll? Where can the ball roll?

I agree...that is one of the most extensive sections of the rules with many caveats to it.

#23 jlbos83

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:42 PM

I don't really think that the rules are that complicated.  There really are not that many of them, and the vast majority are common sense, once you accept the premise that playing the ball as it lies is of utmost importance.

I think that most of the confusing rules come about because we don't play the game on a perfect field or court.  So we end up with rules to deal with the imperfections.... loose impediments, moveable and immoveable obstructions, abnormal ground conditions, outside agencies, etc.  Then there are hazards and out of bounds.  I think when you look at each one individually, and read the decisions, it takes a lot of the complexity out of it.  There can still be the twisted case where more than one condition seems to apply, and the contrived hypotheticals, but most rounds don't have those issues.

#24 shaffe

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:31 PM

Action plan and golf in the same sentence just made me cringe. :)




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