Only 15% of golfers have established a handicap and post scores. They are the golfers who should play by the rules of golf.
The other 85% need for the rules to be relaxed in order to have more fun and to speed up the pace of play. Golf is losing a number of players because the rules are too difficult and rounds of golf take too long to play.
I interviewed several of my students and asked them what would make golf more fun. They also gave me suggestions on how to speed up the pace of play.
I came up with the following casual rules that will allow for less-pressured golf and will enhance pace of play. These suggestions can be used if you are not posting a score towards a handicap index or playing in a tournament.
• It’s okay not to keep score.
• Start the hole at the 150 marker until you can make a five from there.
• One mulligan allowed anywhere on the course for every nine holes.
• Tee the ball up in the fairway if you are a new golfer.
• Pick up on all holes after you have made a “double par”; for example, an 8 on a par 4 hole.
• On the putting green, use continuous putting and no “remarking” the ball between putts.
• Concede all putts “inside the leather,” or length of the putter grip.
• Improve all “unfortunate” lies such as in a divot, in a bunker when in a footprint, or against a root or tree.
• All penalties should incur a 1 stroke penalty and the drop should be approximately where the ball was lost, out of bounds, or in the water.
• Limit all searches for lost ball to one minute instead of three minutes. Most people spend way too much time looking for lost balls.
• Use a “hand wedge” (throw the ball) after two unsuccessful attempts out of a bunker.
• Always play “ready golf” even if you are not farthest from the hole as long as you are in a safe position.
• Get excited when you have a good shot. Air high fives and fist pumps are allowed.
Most of all, have fun when you play golf.
If you have any other suggestions to make golf more fun, feel free to email me your ideas.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com