Archive for the ‘golf rules’ Category

Junior Golf: Yes This Happens

In this Friday Flop Shot we want to bring up some things that do happen during golf tournaments and we encourage you to work with your son so he recognizes what he is going on and has some idea of what to do.image

Yes, we are talking about rules violations. It is amazing how quickly some young golfers grasp a few of the rules of the game. And understand that there are also rules that the pros have trouble with and a rules official may need to occasionally ask another rules guy or committee to help with a ruling. There are rules that are easier to grasp than others. (photo

For instance, putting a unique identifying mark on your golf ball. There are times during a golf tournament that your son may need to prove that a certain golf ball is his and it is not possible to do so unless he has marked his ball and shown his marked ball to his group members. Please recall the time when S3 and I saw Charley Hoffman and Billy Horschel showing each other their uniquely marked balls prior to teeing off in the Valero Texas Open. If the pros do it, every junior golfer needs to do it, period, for every event, no excuses.

Case in point. And this happened in a college event. A guy in my son’s group rope hooks his tee shot into the trees in the left rough. He declares that he is hitting a provisional and promptly hits it within a few yards of his 1st ball. Parents were allowed to help look for balls so Linda and I went looking for his balls. The young man offered that he was hitting Pro V’s (Titleist Pro V1) with a red number 1. Linda and I each found a ball matching the description, 2 balls exactly alike. I asked if there was an identifying mark on the ball and he said no. And then there’s the question of how did he know which was the 1st shot and which was the second, since both balls were identical and there was absolutely no way to decide which was the correct ball to hit. I believe that if the 1st ball is found, it must be played and the provisional ball is picked up. But, 2 BIG questions, is either of these balls his, because he has no way to prove it other than saying that it went past a certain landmark. And which is the 1st or 2nd ball? What a mess. (photo of Jordan Spieth’s golf ball courtesy of

Well, Linda and I could not comment and did not do so. S3 and the other guy in the group allowed the player to decide which ball was the 1st shot and allowed him to play it and still did not ask him to put his mark on it. Some things you see on the course are not readily explained. I am not a rules expert, but it seems the guy should have at least been penalized for not being able to identify his ball or should have gone back to the tee then hitting his 5th shot with a marked ball. Or is it a dq at some point? Does this fall under the playing the incorrect ball rule? And that rule is a 2-stroke penalty and the player returns to where he 1st played the wrong ball and plays the correct ball. Many times once the players understands he hit the wrong ball he looks a little more and finds his own ball. If your son were to tee off on the next hole without correcting his error he would be dq’d on the spot. See how quickly things can get confusing?

After the round, I asked S3 about this and I could see he knew that his response should have been different. However, being a young man who is not fond of confrontation, I understand why he went easy on the guy. This was a good lesson for our son and since then he has been much more on top of the rules.

See you on #1 tee, show me the mark on your ball… Sam

Junior Golf: Your New Best Friend


In this Wednesday Waggle we will look at increasing your junior golfer’s number of friends. This person is 1 who your daughter may not know very much about, however, in this post I will give a proper introduction. (Dufner photo

I’m talking about rules officials. Virtually all tournaments in the US are governed by the USGA’s Rules of Golf and the book is frequently updated. International tournaments may have a different ruling body, but probably 90%+ of golf rules worldwide are the same. Until your girl gets out of college, she pretty much only needs to concern herself with the USGA rules. Any local exceptions, which usually are ground under repair, or hazards vs out-of-bounds situation, or just unique local/course rules are announced before the start of the 1st round and may be handed to the players in printed material as well.

Your daughter must pay attention to these instructions and she must read and understand any material given out prior to teeing off. Over the last 17 years folks, I assure you that I have seen more kids ignore these rules than pay attention to them. Some just take the printed material and stuff it into their bag without even looking at it. That’s a mistake. S3 and I were told, a long time ago by a rules official, “You’ll win more golf tournaments if you know the rules.” It sounds so simple.

It took getting to college in our part of the world before it seemed that most of the players I was watching actually knew the rules and were interested in seeing them properly applied. S3 and his playing buddies are all pretty familiar with the several rulings you always see in tournaments, the most common of which is relief, as in your daughter taking relief from her ball being on the cart path or some other applicable obstruction. Then there is the old question is this casual water?, and everybody in the group takes a look. And of course is this hazard, native area or rough?

The best advice I have is to encourage your girl to never guess at a rule. The rules officials are on hand to help, not hurt the players. Ask someone to get a rules official, please. Yes, some have more personality than others and some are not much fun, but they should at least want the rules to be properly applied. These men and women are subject to the same integrity requirements as the entrants.

Also in almost every tournament, unless it is specifically forbidden, it is acceptable to play 2 balls. Your daughter must advise her playing partners she is doing so before playing the 2nd ball. This is a great question to ask at the players gathering before the start of the event.

With all due respect to every rules person S3 and I have ever been around, I must say that the rules officials at the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship in Port St Lucie, Florida, are especially amazing. Every 1 is a PGA professional and seems to really enjoy his duties. Of the 8 or 10 we’ve been around the past 4 years, every 1 at least gives you a head nod or returns a friendly wave of the hand. Duty comes 1st and they are always ready to quickly get to a hole where they are needed.

imageRight now I want to give a special shoutout to Brian Fahey, PGA professional, and 1 of the rules folks who was on S3’s course for every round this year and I think for the previous 3 years as well. Brian does rules at 3 tournaments this year, the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship, the Junior Ryder Cup and the PGA Senior Championship, all while being Tournament Director at Pinehurst! Way to go Brian, great stuff! He always has a smile on his face and will give you a minute or 2 for a visit, but he is listening to his headset for what hole he is going to next. Here’s Brian and me at #6 green on the Ryder Course.

Brian and the whole rules crew are another reason the college players feel like they are treated like royalty when they play in this event at the PGA Village. They are part of the team that actually does treat the tournament like a PGA event. So parents remember, rules people can save your daughter strokes and perhaps keep her from making a misstep that could lead to a dreaded dq, something that should be avoided at all costs.

See you on #1 tee, ready to find a rules official when you need 1… Sam

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: