Playing by the Rules - May 2011

May Edition

Playing by the Rules (Issue #21)
Here we go again! We are just about ready to start our 2011 Championship season, the Pro-Pro Match Play with Lebaron Hills Country Club again serving as our host.
I cant wait to get out my paint gun and hammer and start lining and staking again. While some people think I am nuts for enjoying this part of my job I can honestly say it is some of the most fun I have all year. That, along with being able to break out my putter and paint can to start finding some challenging hole locations for all of you!
The best part of it really is that I get to work with great people, who are really good at what they do, the Superintendents at all of our Championship sites. No matter what we have been dealing with weather wise they always seem to be able to pull it together and give me something to work with. We always visit Lebaron Hills early in the growing season, yet Super Mark Klimm always has things under control. All the Superintendents I work with do everything they can to make me look good and I appreciate it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, establish a working relationship with your Superintendent, if you don’t, you are making your job and his a lot harder than it needs to be.
Getting ready for the match play also makes me spend a little extra time with the Rule Book. I always like to refresh my memory on all the differences between the match play and stroke play. The more time you spend using the Rules the more you appreciate what a different game the two formats produce. While I am very comfortable with all things stroke-play, I have to admit I really do need the early season refresher I give myself every year on the match play aspects, especially four-ball match play. Since that is probably the most common form of play at most of your clubs, I think you will probably understand why I would encourage you to look at Rule 30 when you get the chance. It will help when those inevitable questions start coming.
Lastly, if I was going to do one thing to help prepare myself to deal with my members questions I w ould grab a Rule Book and read the "Definitions" in the front of the book. I know I have previously written how important knowing them can be, but every time I either attend or present a Rules Seminar that point is reinforced to me. People don’t believe me when I tell them that a working knowledge of the Contents page, specifically the Rules numbers and titles, combined with the Definitions will allow you to find the answers for many questions you are asked. Sometimes just the Definitions themselves provide the answer.
I say it at every seminar I give, do not try to memorize the Rules, know where to find the information you need. If you can find the information in a short amount of time, it will not only impress them, but also make what you have to say much more credible. Best of all you really won’t have to say anything, just show it to them in black & white. It will make the good or bad news that much easier to understand and accept. Plus, if it is bad news it won’t be you saying it, it will be them reading it. Trust me it helps!
Oh yeah I almost forgot. I hate to admit it (I have been told I am resistant to change) but some new technology really is useful. If you own a smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry, Android) go to and download the Rules of Golf mobile app.
Honestly, it may be easier and more convenient to use than the Rules and Decisions Books themselves when you are on-course.
Besides I’ve suggested for years that everybody keep a Rule Book in their golf bag, I know that isn’t happening, but I know everyone ALWAYS has their phone with them!
FYI-I am not being compensated for this product endorsement; I dont want to be accused of any nefarious activity!
See you next month,