The game is hard enough

Sometimes I think the rules of golf are too rigid. Padraig Harrington had a smallish birdie putt on 15 this morning. It was windy and the greens at Augusta are quick. The ball moved. Penalty.

There are a few problems with this.

1. It held up play – it took about 5 minutes or so to get a ruling.
2. It seems unfair. He didn’t do anything wrong – he was only trying to address the ball and play the game.

The game is hard enough without having to incur penalties for this type of thing. The commentators seemed reluctant to highlight the issue – only claiming it was “bad luck”.

I think there needs to be a common sense rule in this situation. Surely a golfer should only be penalised if he makes a “fair” pass at the ball? Getting into your set-up position is not hitting the ball. The non golfers in the room with me couldn’t believe he got penalised for this. Think it’s time for a rule change, it seems like an outdated and harsh rule to me.

What are your thoughts?

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  • Bill

    Reply Reply April 12, 2009

    I agree. It is a stupid rule. Once the ball stops this is the end of the shot. Maybe there should be a 5 second rule, that is, if the ball comes to rest for 5 seconds that should deem the shot complete. Then if a gust of wind comes along and moves the ball it should be
    replaced in it’s original spot without a penalty. I think I saw this same thing on the LPGA not to long ago.
    It’s only common sense, but then again.

  • Cameron Strachan

    Reply Reply April 13, 2009

    Agree. Don’t mind the five second idea – the five minute rule is used to good effect for lost balls so I can’t see any problem with 5 seconds.

    Good idea Bill.

  • David Pryde

    Reply Reply April 14, 2009

    One problem with the 5 second rule would be that the hole in one that Fuzzy Zoeller had when the ball moved after a long time at rest and rolled in for an ace would be disallowed.
    There are many silly rules in golf and that penalty for Harrington’s is ridiculous as every golfer would agree – so who is going to change it?
    As Bill said a ball was blown off a green and into the water in a recent LPGA event. What’s the penalty and where do you play your next shot from if dropping at the point of entry into the water happens to be closer to the hole. Do you have to then drop 100 metres or whatever away from the hole and then play your next shot ( unless there is a drop zone)??
    While I am at it – rakes should never be left in bunkers!
    Twice a rake on the back slope of a bunker has stopped my ball rolling down the slope. On removing the rake the ball rolls closer to the hole. The slope is so severe that placing ball on slope is not possible, and, you cannot push it into the wall of the bunker as that alters the lie. You cannot drop out the back of the bunker because you are not allowed to drop out of a hazard even with a one stroke penalty. According to the rules of golf you have to go back to where you hit your original shot from and incur A STROKE AND DISTANCE penalty!!!! Sheer madness. I have tried to research a better option but have failed.
    Any thoughts Cam or anybody?
    David Pryde

  • Cameron Strachan

    Reply Reply April 14, 2009


    The bunker and rake issue is a serious problem. I encountered a similar problem once in a match – the ball rested against the rake right up under the lip. Impossible position.

    I think people that leave rakes in these positions should be castrated! Some course now leave rakes underground – simple solution and works well.

    Common sense must prevail – when a situation is more than bad luck then a sensible decision must be made.

    True story: A golfer threw his marked ball to his caddy – his caddy dropped the ball and it went into a lake. The ball could not be retrieved and a penalty was incurred.

    Surely the powers can be can come up with some better solutions? Yes, some people would cheat or try and take advantage – but those people probably do that already – I think some better rules would improve the game further.


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