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Golf: Back To The Future With The Rules?

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“In a game that's been too resistant to change for too many years, progress is finally being made.”
That’s from Jason Sobel’s, “With recent changes, golf breaks from tradition to embrace progress.”

The reason given for fewer rules

In the context of why the need for less and more clear rules, Jason writes, “Examine any report on the state of the game and you'll find what sounds suspiciously like some doomsday scenario. Recreational rounds are decreasing annually, more courses are continuing to close, and Tiger Woods - the player who single-handedly ushered golf from niche to mainstream over the past two decades -- is still dealing with injuries which have left his future in doubt.”

Back to the future perhaps

Brent Kelley writes, “There must have been rules known to golfers dating back to the origins of the game. Otherwise, how could players have squared off in competition? What those rules were, nobody knows.
At least not until the mid-18th Century, when the first known written rules of golf were put into writing by the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, now the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers based at Murfield. The (13) rules were written for the Annual Challenge for the Edinburgh Silver Club in 1744.”

Back to the future with something as simple as only 13 rules? – Don’t think so because there are rules and then there are rulings which require determination from the R&A and the USGA.

Back in 2013, Ron Kaspriske and Keely Levins wrote.
“The USGA and R&A might not have thought of everything when it comes to rules scenarios, but they've certainly given it a try in their 600-plus-page Decisions on the Rules of Golf.”
And if my memory serves me right there’s a need for a new one every two years.

13 to 34 plus numerous subs
How did the number of rules go from 13 to 34 rules with; wait for it, many sub-rules?
Well like the man replied when asked, “How did we manage to get 5 years behind schedule on the project?” He replied, “One day at a time.”

And one day at a time and in spite of their best efforts the rules of golf will never be simplified. If for no other reason than golfers enjoy a good argument about the rules while enjoying their 19th hole indulgences.

Link to Jason Sobel  and to Brent Kelley and link to Ron Kaspriske and Keely Levins

Quote of the Day
“The only sure rule in golf is he who has the fastest cart never gets a bad lie.” - Anonymous


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