The rules of golf are regarded as sacred, but the reality is most of us aren’t religious followers, choosing instead to break rules nearly every round with the approval of everyone in the group.
We aren’t advocating that you lie about your score or magically “find” a golf ball on the other side of a tree. But there are rules regular golfers shouldn’t lose sleep about violating on their next Myrtle Beach golf trip.
Here are five rules it’s okay to break, especially if you are a mid to high handicapper.
● It makes sense that Jon Rahm has to finish a hole with the same type of ball he started with, but the one ball rule is absurd for 99.5 percent of the golf population. If I snap hook a ball in the water, I’m playing whatever I pull out of the bag next. There will be no penalty. Period!
● I’m also more than happy to accept a gimme or two and still post the round in the GHIN app for handicap purposes. The guys I play with tend to be miserly when conceding putts, so I’ll take anything I can get. Besides, if accepting gimmes artificially lowers my handicap, the only person hurt is me and whoever my partner is.
● Play it as it lies, they all say. Bull, you know what. I don’t roll it in the fairway or use a foot wedge when behind a tree, but if my ball comes to rest on a root, I’m moving it without assessing a penalty stroke. You won’t get the benefit of an improved lie or angle of attack, but if you are playing with me, you are welcome to move the ball an inch or two to remove the risk of real injury from your next swing. In a similar vein, given that people often don’t rake bunkers these days, if your ball lands in a footprint, feel free to move it.
● The rules prohibit golfers from seeking or providing advice, but feel free to ask me nearly anything you would like. I’ll tell you if I hit a 7 or an 8 iron and sleep like a baby at night. Information matters, but for the overwhelming majority of players, what really matters is execution, not what your buddy just hit.
● In full disclosure, I understand this is a violation some will push back on, but when my group takes a golf trip, we play everything as a lateral hazard. Your penalty for a lost ball or hitting it OB is a stroke, but you can keep the distance and/or at least take a drop based on line of flight. Going back to the tee kills pace of a play, and my guys are so bad that assessing a two-stroke penalty and letting them play from the fairway seems too harsh. Just one man’s opinion.
The rules of golf are sacred, but it’s okay to break a couple minor ones!