Bodies announce rules changes, modifications
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The Advertiser, with help from Ko Olina director of golf Greg Nichols, is offering this question-and-answer feature on the rules of golf. If you have a question regarding the rules of golf e-mail email@example.com. Nichols recommends readers go to www.PlayGolfAmerica.com for information on golf programs in their area. For additional rules information, ask your local Aloha Section PGA professional or go online to www.USGA.org.
Every two years, golf's two governing bodies — the USGA and the R. & A. from St. Andrews, Scotland — meet to consider proposed changes to the rules.
They generally receive several thousand suggestions from individual golfers as well as from other golf associations, such as the PGA and LPGA tours.
These meetings are very serious affairs; quite a bit of discussion and debate is involved in getting a rule of golf amended. This year, they announced 111 changes to the book, "Decisions on the Rules of Golf," which involved 37 new decisions and 66 revised decisions, while eight decisions were removed.
Their primary interest is in preserving equity in the rules. Often, we see players in major championships penalized or even disqualified for rules violations that seem overly harsh.
One such occurrence happened in the 2003 British Open, where Mark Roe and Jesper Parnevik signed for a correct score but on the wrong score card. Both were disqualified. A new decision gives the committee the ability to now correct this error without penalty.
A few of the decisions deal with situations we would probably never see in a major championship but will perhaps see at a local golf course.
One such new decision, 1-2, 3.8, determines what happens when a ball at rest overhangs the lip of the hole and the player jumps close to the hole in the hope of jarring the ground and causing the ball to fall into the hole.
In a new decision, they have ruled that there is no penalty, provided that the ball does not move. Rule 1-2, which states that a player may not do anything to influence the position or movement of their ball except in accordance with the rules, does not apply.
Before you get too excited and start jumping around the hole, know that if the ball were to fall into the hole after you jumped, then you would be in violation of Rule 1-2/4 and subject to penalty.
(Better to save your jump for the moment after mother nature causes your ball to fall into the hole.)
For a full report on the new decisions or to purchase the "Decisions on the Rules of Golf," go online to www.usga.org.