"Golfers should not fail to realize that it is a game of great traditions, of high ideals, of sportsmanship, one in which a strict adherence to the rules is essential." — Francis Ouimet, 1913 US Open Champion.
Arnold Palmer was playing in a tournament at Pebble Beach. When he got to the par 3, 17th hole, his drive went long of the green and he had an impossible lie. His playing partner Jimmy Demaret watched as Palmer tried to decide what options were available.
Demaret turned to the members of the group and said, "If he takes the option of dropping behind the point where the ball rests, keeping the pin in line with his shot, his nearest drop will be Honolulu."
You can be sure Palmer took the proper drop and continued with his round. But, if this had been a match between amateurs or friends out playing for a few dollars, how would the drop be determined? How often have you or your playing partners said, "Just move it over there." When there is an agreement between playing partners to "waive the rules" of golf (Rule 1-3), players face the possibility of being disqualified. I'll guarantee we have all been guilty of not playing by the Rules.
Two scenarios rose up the past couple of weeks amongst my playing companions. In one case, the situation should be looked at by the "rules gurus" because it just doesn't help the game of golf. The second one could result in tarring and feathering the two culprits.
The first situation saw a player having to hit his second shot over water to an elevated green. He hit a low liner into the high weeds on the opposite side of the water and was not sure if the ball had made it out of the hazard. By the rules of golf, he should have gone around to the other side and see if his ball could be found and was playable. He opted to hit a provisional ball and then went to the other side to find his original ball. His rationale for hitting the provisional ball was to keep the pace of play going rather than spend the allotted 5 minutes searching for what he thought was a lost ball. I have got to tell you I was in agreement with him.
Should this have resulted in both of us being disqualified? One member of our group questioned the decision. He was correct by the rules of golf but this is a rule that should be looked at if "pace of play" is one of the reasons that golf is declining in popularity. When he searched for his original ball, he found it outside of the hazard, he abandoned the provisional and continued with his play. Two of us agreed that this was the sensible play and no penalty or disqualification should occur. In hindsight, if there were a violation of the Rules and two players agreed to ignore the Rules, we should have been disqualified.
The second incident happened at a course which lies within a small fishing village north of Boston. The participants play here in the Mount Washington Valley and are familiar with the Rules of Golf. Four guys are out playing a match where a few dollars and bragging rights are the day's trophy. On one hole, two of the players, not partners, hit their balls into a bunker. Both played their shots. One hit his ball onto the putting surface, about 30 feet from the pin. The other hit his to within 6 feet. When they got to the green and proceeded to mark their balls, they realized they each had hit the other's ball. The guy who hit first and was 30 feet from the pin said, "Listen, you hit a nice shot, why don't we just play the ball we hit?" His opponent looked a bit perplexed, but agreed. As fate would have it, the guy who was 30 feet away missed his putt and the guy at 6 feet, drained his. The match was won on this putt by agreeing to waive the Rules. The partner of the losing player was incredulous, not only at the loss, but on the agreement to waive the Rule. Instead of a loss of hole (match play), the entire match, and all the money and bragging rights disappeared.
Rule 1-3, states "Players must not agree to exclude the operation of a rule or to waive any penalty incurred." We play the game of golf by rules that have been around for a long time, and there are times we bypass these rules for the good of our match or to expedite a game. But, there are inherent situations that require the player to play by those rules for good and bad. Now, if we can only get players to stop giving putts that range from 6 inches to 2 feet. When giving the putt, aren't you agreeing to "waive the Rules of Golf?" Putt them out, you're playing by the Rules and protecting the field. When you don't play by the Rules you are leaving yourself and your game open to criticism.
• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway (603) 356-9391: The August Champ of the Month was completed last weekend. Congratulations go out to Dan Kelleher and Jackie Gaudes. Also last weekend, the Senior Club Championship was held. For the ladies, it was Martha Jamieson taking first gross in the A Division and Anne Rourke first net. In the B Division Donna Wallace got first gross and Lydia Lansing first net. For the men, in the A Flight it was Scott Terry grabbing first gross and Rob Brewster, first net. The B Flight saw Bruce Sanderson take first gross and John Smallcomb first net. The C Division had Peter Fresco take first gross and Andy Kennedy, first net. This Labor Day weekend, Pro Days will take place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
• Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: In Nine and Dine action, 30 players competed. The winning team, at -1, was comprised of Jim Fitzpatrick, Joan Loonan, Carol Kramer and Dave Remick. Fuzzy Martin posted a-8 in Rivers Edge Quota game. Closest to the pin honors went to Ed Bailey and Dan Ratliff. Skins were won by Rickie Tibbetts, Ryan Gile, Ken Sullivan, and Dan Ratliff. Winners of The Greater Ossipee Chamber of Commerce Tournament were Sarah Anderson, Mike LaClaire, Josh Rivers and Gillett West. Indian Mound hosted the second annual Jody Buzzell Challenge Memorial Tournament for Starting Point Aug. 31. The Bubba League, a two-person team quota, will begin on Sept. 7. The Celebrate Life Cancer Survivor Network (CLCSN) Golf Tournament will be held on Sept. 25 at the Mound. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m and the golf will begin at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $80 per player and this will include 18 holes, cart and lunch. This is a Bramble format and there will be a shotgun start. Registration forms are available at www.clcsn.org or there is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board at Indian Mound.
• Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The 2016 Club Championship was played last weekend. In the Ladies Championship Flight, Maryann Lowry took first place. Ellie Thompson was second and Lou Anne Cellana finished third. In the Ladies Red Flight, Sheila Hastings took first net. She was followed by Kathy Gilligan in second and Mary Murphy was third. On the men's side, in the Championship Flight, Steve Puzas took top honors. He was followed by Pete Thompson, second and Charlie Russo, third. The Men's White Flight saw Dave Hanlon grab the top spot, with Dave Lowry and Mike Goulart finishing second and third. The Gold Flight had Chili Celana taking top honors. He was followed by George Lemieux and Roy Lundquist. The Ladies' League held an Odd Holes event last week. Taking first was Lynne Walker. There was a three-way tie for second between Jeanne Mason, Beth Ellis and Diane McDonald. Two "Chip Ins" were posted by Ellen Daly and Maryann Fitzgerald. The final week of Red Fox was a "skins" event. Only one skin was won, and it went to the Shanks-A-Lot team of Dave Phaneuf, Charlie Hanlon, Scott Cote, Jeff Butler and Mike Murphy.
• Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson (603) 383-9090: A full swing clinic will be held on Saturday, Sept. 3. PGA Pro Bob McGraw will work on hitting the driver and fairway woods. The class begins at 11 a.m. and is limited to six students. Call the pro shop for more information. The Thursday Eagle League saw the team of Joan Aubrey, Steve and Foster Piotrow defeat the team of Gretchen Soraghan, Russ Veale, Brian Murphy and Jim Doig in a match of cards. Closest to the pin was Ibby Cooper. The Mixed Eagle League saw the team of Annie Nelson, Sandra Taylor, Russ Veale and Don Hall take top honors. Closest to the pin was Terry Fitzgerald. There are still open spots in the Fall Don Ho League. This is a five-week league that plays Tuesday or Wednesday evenings.
• Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: At Hale's, "There's always time for nine" continues. Nine, Dine, and Wine is still being offered on Sundays for only $55 per person. During the week there is a twilight rate after 3 p.m where a player pays $20 when walking. The Women's League completed their season this past week. June Lundin posted a +4 in the weekly quota and Sandy Wolner got closest- to-the-pin honors. On the men's side, Joe Gammon at +5 won the weekly quota, and George Bailey got closest to the pin. The men have one final tournament which will be played on Tuesday the 6th.
Watching a shot on a par 3, which is guarded by bunkers, our foursome followed one player's ball as it hit just below the "lip"of the bunker, and the ball appeared to plug. With the usual sympathetic comments directed towards the unfortunate player, we moved towards the green, while the one player moved into the bunker. As he approached his ball, which was in an uphill position, the ball rolled down into the bunker giving him a better lie, or so he thought. Rule 18 dictates if a player causes a ball to move, it must be replaced to its original position, with a one-stroke penalty. Tough game.