"Not so Radical" Rules Changes to make the game faster, more fun, for 90% of Golfers.
I recently read about my friend Mark King’s support of growing the game through many initiatives through a commitment to the newly formed initiative called Hack Golf. They’ve got all kinds of great ideas, and the main thing is they are asking everyone for input. And thinking outside the box, to way outside the box (ie. 15 inch Cup for situational use).
Golf needs more golfers. Having more fun. Playing faster. Improving faster. And wanting to come back for more. That is the main message. All ideas are on the table for at least the recreational golfer.
I will share a few thoughts I have, in a 2 part blog, first part today. This is just for fun. Food for thought. Nothing more. Just based on my participating in and observing the game now for many years, at all levels. I’m a 10 handicap.
These ideas may still be seen as way outside the box by the very purist, but I am trying to start with ideas for change that in my opinion would not alter the fundamental experience of the game nearly as much as some that have already been proposed, such as the 15 inch cup.
My goals are to start off by modifying some rules which have a hugely negative impact on enjoyment of the game and pace of play for the recreational golfer, but which are generally not even in play for the highest level golfers. These fun ideas are designed to bring about 3 things immediately for the recreational golfer. More enjoyment while playing. Faster pace. Faster game improvement.
Part 1 Proposal: Modify Rules of the Game. For 90% of Golfers.
1. Eliminate the Out of Bounds Rule. All white stakes would be treated same as red. One shot penalty, point of entry. OB turns 90’s into 100’s, 4 hour rounds into 5 hour rounds. But rarely impacts the best players.
2. Play the ball up. I would do this everywhere, in the rough and the fairway. PGA Tour events actually play the ball up when faced with the conditions of most courses. I’d consider adding bunkers as well.
3. Eliminate the lost ball rule. Another rule that never hurts tour players, because every ball is found by someone. Why should recreational golfers have it tougher? Playing partners choose closest estimated spot. One shot penalty.
4. Red, yellow, white (white same as red) stakes, expand drop options. Drop anywhere between where last shot was hit from and where ball went out. Or keep entry point between next shot and hole. Golfer’s option. 1 shot penalty.
5. Implement Automatic 3 putt rule. Nobody needs to 4 putt during a recreational round. Speeds play.
6. Implement Pace of Play Rule. Help golfers achieve required pace of play. With monitoring tools. And incentives to achieve. There are tools out there. This is more course policy, than rules, but very important.
7. Allow anchored putting. Anchored putters have won Each of the Major Championships recently. New stars have been born who use anchored putting strokes. And some club players enjoy this type of putting. No big deal.
I am proposing these rules for daily play. I will submit one more blog focusing on non rules related ideas in terms of course design, set up, and management, equipment design, etc. that would also enhance the game experience.
Competitive tournaments of course can still stick with whatever rules they want, I am only talking about daily play.
Handicaps would probably be entered same as always, and eventually these changed rules and conditions may simply lower the average players handicap by 10-20%, which would not be a bad thing.
Changing the game in this way could happen in 30 days. Nothing complicated. Better golf. More fun. More rewarding. Grow the game. I am not trying to start a revolution among serious golfers. Please understand that. I think these rules could work for most golfers, and accomplish my 3 goals. Just throwing some ideas out there, for future discussions by any group looking to help grow the game in the ways we all talk about.