"Putts get real difficult the day they hand out the money." — Lee Trevino, pro golfer
The year 2019 will be a landmark time for golfers. The United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews are changing a number of long-standing rules. Golfers everywhere have been playing by these dicta for years and will need to learn the new standards. As stated in the Rules, "Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair. But to do what is fair, you need to know the Rules of Golf."
Imagine if the Rules were relaxed a bit and you had the option of incorporating your own, user-friendly rules. Your time on the course might bring more smiles and less angst. Here are a few suggested "wish-list" rules:
Rule 1. A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be placed in the fairway at a point equal to the distance the ball carried or rolled into the rough with no penalty. Why should we be penalized for grass the grounds crew didn't mow?
Rule 2. A ball that hits a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck, and luck has no place in a scientific game such as golf. The player will estimate the distance the ball should have traveled and play his next shot from the estimated distance.
Rule 3. There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The wayward sphere is on or near the course and will eventually be found by another. This would make the ball a stolen ball and you would be assessed a penalty for playing with stolen property.
Rule 4. If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The Laws of Gravity supersede The Rules of Golf.
Rule 5. There is no penalty for an out-of-bounds shot. If the golf-course owners had bought sufficient land to expand the course, there would be no need to have an "out of bounds."
Rule 6. There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard. Golf balls should float. This is a manufacturing shortcoming.
Obviously, these tongue-in-cheek interpretations of the Rules don't exist. I wish I could take credit for this "tweaking," but I found this while reading some golf articles and I cannot find the author.
But reading these and other interpretations only reminded me that the true reason we are challenging ourselves in this great game is to have fun and enjoy the time spent on the course. Too often you see players who beat themselves up during their rounds. You've seen it — golf clubs attempting to defy gravity. You've heard it — language that does not coincide with the intelligence level the golfer feels he or she possesses. Mother Earth gets punished for bad golf. Players need to relax a bit. None of us will be teeing it up in a major.
Golfers can be competitive, skilled and tough while enjoying a round of golf. This can be in a tournament or your weekly match with friends. If the "Golf Gods" are working against you, and you are facing a hair-pulling round or situation, learn to put an errant shot behind you. Take the difficult lie your ball has found and give the shot your best effort. Don't play the "blame game." Golf is a difficult game to be played on an uncertain "game board." Take what faces you, hit your shot and move on, readying yourself for what faces you on your next shot.
North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The 2-Day Member/Guest was held last weekend under a new format. Players had five nine-hole matches where points were awarded for each match played. The women had two divisions and the men had six. For the women, in the Sorenstam Division it was Toni Belding and Patti Nesbit winning. In the Lopez Division, Kathleen Thompson and Donna Tanner won and were the overall winners in a shootout. For the men, in the Palmer Division it was Ed and Pat O'Halloran. The Nicklaus Division saw Sandy Allan and Jay Morgan top their tier. The Hogan Division had Gary Williams and Chuck Seavey top the group. In the Jones Division it was Steve and Paul Blaser. The Snead Division saw Dick Goss and Francis McCarthy take top spot. The Nelson Division had Scott Merrill and Wally Campbell take top honors. The overall winners in the shootout were Allan and Morgan. Week 8 of the Thursday Ledgeview League saw Designated Drivers finish first. They were followed by The Putt Pirates and Buddy's Boys. Closest to the pin was Bruce Sanderson. Week 7 of the Monday League saw the Green Bottles & Birdies take top spot. They were followed by the Trophy Husbands and Bent Putters. Closest to the pin were Kevin Hamlin and Kathy Sweeney. The Pro/Member tournament will be Sunday, Aug. 6. Sign up in the pro shop.
Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: Week 6 of Red Fox League saw a Best-Ball event using three of the Best-Ball scores. Taking first were The Flyers in 7. Second went to the Hale Merry's and third, Stan and Dan's. Closest to the pin was Jeff Butler. Long putt winners were Jon Rivers and Pam Lewis.This Sunday, the Mixed Team Championship will be held. Aug. 1 is the deadline to sign up for The Ladies Invitational, to be played Aug. 9. This year's theme is "Vintage Golf." The Memorial Hospital Tournament was held last week with a full field and beautiful weather for the players. A big thank you to all who played and helped through sponsorship.
Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: July is "Family Golf Month" at the Eagle. Discounted rates are being offered every day after 2 p.m., when adults play with juniors. The cost is $15 for the adult and $10 for the junior when they play together. The Thursday Eagle League saw the team of Anne Lee Doig, Dick Ficke, Marie and Jack Lee take the top spot. Closest to the pin was Janice Andrews. On Saturday, July 29, PGA Pro, Bob McGraw, will be offering a full swing clinic covering the fundamentals needed to be successful when hitting the driver and fairway woods. The cost is $20 and the class is limited to six students.
Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: Week 8 of Men's League saw Doug Beauregard and Jerry Henry post +3 in the weekly quota game. Closest to the pin honors went to Ray Luchetti. In Women's League action, it was Anne Lee Doig who posted a +6 to take top spot. Dottie Heffernan got closest to the pin. Nine, Wine, and Dine continues every Sunday. For $55 per person, you get nine holes of golf with a cart as well as a full dinner and glass of wine. Call the hotel to make your reservation (603-356- 7100) and the pro shop for a tee time. If you are in the market for a new golf bag, all Titleist and Callaway golf bags are 25 percent off in the pro shop.
Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: The 2017 President's Cup is in the archives. Standing alone at the top was Tim Chandler in this competitive match play event. This weekend, LKCC will host the Club Championship matches. On Aug. 3, at 5:30 p.m., another 9-3-3 Scramble is scheduled. This is a nine-hole scramble where only par 3's are played. The event is open to nine three-person teams where both members and non-members are invited. The cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Sign-ups have begun for the Member/Member schedule for August 6. The cost is $35 and includes dinner at Ebeneezer's. Call the pro shop for more information.
Linderhof Country Club, Across from Storyland, Bartlett, (603) 383-9074: On Saturday, July 29, the LCC will host a nine-hole scramble to benefit the Mount Washington Valley End 68 Hours of Hunger. This a 2 p.m. shotgun start where there will be no prizes: 100 percent of the proceeds will be going to End 68 Hours of Hunger. The golf is $100 per person and a "country picnic" will follow the golf. Entertainment by Miss Maybell and Slimpickin's will be provided 6-8 p.m. The event is open to the public and is sponsored by Black Bear Realty, Memorial Hospital, RE/Max Presidential, Badger Realty, Cooper Cargill and Chant, and Blue Moose Vacation Rentals. RSVP (603) 383-9074.
While playing your weekend round, where you are trying to relax and compete, keep in mind that everyone approaches hitting the golf ball differently. Two of golf's greats, Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan, had opposing views about mind and body when hitting your shot. Jones said, "The keynote of the address position should be ease, comfort and relaxation." Hogan prescribed to "Right off the reel, it will help the golfer realize that pure relaxation is something he can't attain and shouldn't want to."
The next thing you know, someone will ask you if you inhale or exhale during your downswing. Good luck this weekend!
- Category: Sports Columns