I have offcially been put in charge of all golfers that fall outside the realm of the PGA. In short I am in charge of the rules for all of us duffers and weekend warriors who dream of winning at Augusta but play more like we are Carl Spackler.
The PGA has their rules...here are the rules for the rest of us:
The first rule is the most important rule. All other rules will work to make sure the number one rule is obeyed.
Rule #1: YOU MUST PLAY YOUR ROUND IN 4 HOURS OR LESS!
This is the most important rule because those who do not follow this rule are ruining it for the rest of us. The 5 hour and 6 hour round guys are the ones who make it so our wives will not let us play. Playing a round in 5 or 6 hours means you are gone from your house for 7 or 8 hours on a golf day. Most of us can't make that happen on an off day with out some kind of divorce proceedings being in the offing. If there were a 4 hour round limit most of us would be able to play far more often. This rule will be strictly enforced. You must play in 4 hours.
Rule #2: YOU GET 1 PRACTICE SWING
I know this sounds like a tough rule but people seriously. One practice swing is enough. How many times have you been playing in a group and you watch a guy take practice swing after practice swing only to watch him skull the ball down the fairway or chunk a divot the size of a strip of sod? Guys those practice swings are not going to change your game. Holding the club at the top of your back swing and bringing it 1/2 way down to make sure you are doing the proper hip rotation is not the problem with your game. Take one practice swing and hit your ball already.
Rule #3: ONCE YOU ADDRESS YOUR BALL YOU ARE GOING TO HIT IT
I know you like watching PGA tournaments week after week. I know when you watch those tournaments you see guys like Sergio step up to their ball and get ready to hit it just to back off to make one more check or one more little adjustment. I know you see that and I know you think it's cool but trust me...it's not cool. You are not Sergio Garcia. That little gust of wind that just came up is not going to change your shot. You are not good enough to have it make that much of a difference. You are probably going to chunk the ball anyway so just address the ball and hit it.
Rule #4: GET TO YOUR BALL AND HIT IT
Is that yardage 225 or 230? Are you the kind of guy that has to find the sprinkler with the yardage marked on it so you can pace off your exact yardage? Maybe you can't hit the shot with out a GPS telling you the exact yardage to the front of the green and the exact yardage to the center of the green. You know what? It doesn't make that much of a difference. First of all you are probably aiming at the green and not a quadrant on the green (if you tell me you are anything more than a scratch golfer and you aim at quadrants I'll call you a liar). Whether the yardage is 150 or 155 doesn't matter. Second, you are probably going to miss the green anyway. Remember, we are talking about all of us duffers out here. Get a close yardage and pick the club and go hit your ball.
Rule #5: LINE UP YOUR PUTT AND HIT IT
Ok Tiger. Is your putt a 23 footer with 2 turns on bent grass or bermuda? Well the sun is setting and the cut of the grass changes with the sunlight and all that right? No. Hit your putt. How about the guy you see on the green who gets behind his ball and then has to walk around the hole to line up his putt from the other side of his putt? Have you seen that? How about the guy who kneels behind his ball and then holds his fricken putter up in front of his face to line up his putt? Come on! First of all what the heck does that even do? If anyone knows it is not a weekend duffer I'll tell you that. Second, you are more than likely not going to hit your putt on the right speed or line anyway. Take one look at your putt and hit it. Get it within 2 feet of the hole and its a good first putt. You are not putting to win the U.S. Open. Line up your putt and hit it.
Rule #5: GET OFF THE GREEN BEFORE YOU WRITE DOWN SCORES
You see those guys standing out there on the fairway? They are the ones who have been laboring behind your slow-playing ass all day. They are waiting for you to clear the green so they can hit their shots. They love seeing you and your buddies stop to reminisce about how awesome those putts were while you are still standing on the very green where it just happened. Trust me they love it. I bet they love seeing you break out the score card and watch as you look back down the fairway to count your shots. Heavens knows you don't want to write down an inaccurate score. What would happen to you when you got to the scorers table? Make your putts and get off the green.
Rule #6: YOU MUST PLAY READY GOLF AT ALL TIMES
Yes we know that you are a master of golf etiquette and that you know all the rules for who is away and who has what honors. Thats all great when you are playing at your $50,000 a year country club that doesn't allow blacks or Jews to join. When you are out on the public course you must play ready golf. What does that mean? It means that you all get to your ball and get ready to hit it when its your turn. All four of you do not need to get to each ball to watch every shot and then have all four of you move on to the next ball. All of you get to your own ball and then you hit it when its your turn. Its ok for you to walk out ahead of the guy that you just out drove by 50 yards. It speeds the game up. The same thing applies when you are on the green. All of you stand by, or near, your own ball and get ready to hit it. During the time when you are at your ball you should be checking out your shot and deciding which club to hit and what you are going to do. When its your turn, hit the ball.
Rule #7: YOUR BALL IS LOST DUDE
See those guys behind you again? The ones who were waiting for you to clear the green on the last hole? They are behind you again but this time they are waiting while you forage through the forest on the side of the fairway looking for your ball that you shanked in to the wilderness despite having lined up the perfect shot with the perfect yardage. If you shank your ball in to the woods you get a brief moment to look for it. If its not immediately visible then your ball is lost. Do not go on a Lewis and Clark expedition to find this ball. Those guys behind you are waiting. Besides you have a very long pre-shot routine you need to go through before you can hit your next disaster so pull another ball from the bag and get your routine going.
Rule #7 Corollary: NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO GO ON A BALL HUNT
I know you probably pride yourself on being the guy who finishes a round of golf with more golf balls than you started with but now is not the time. No one wants to wait behind your group while you search the woods for a $1 range ball. You may search for lost balls if there is no one behind you but once you spot a group behind you it's time to move on.
Thats it folks. Those are the rules we all must abide by. Course rangers will be given the power to kick your slow playing ass off the course with out refund. If you cannot follow these rules you are ruining it for the rest of us and we just can't have that.