124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Two Sets of Rules ?

March 10, 2009

Article by article, opinion by opinion, it seems to be dawning on the golf world that amateurs do indeed play under different rules than professionals and perhaps we ought to take that into account in overseeing the game. We're a long way from agreeing on two sets of rules, but one thinks that eventually the time will come. Mike Johnson's column in the March 9 edition of Golf World moved the ball a couple of steps closer to that end--and got your attention.

Dear Editor,

Michael Johnson writes in his article "It's time for a chat" that there already exist two sets of rules when it comes to posting scores. He refers to recreational players using GPS devices for yardages and the new groove rule. Well I can play with a yardage book just like the pros and I can play with V grooves just like the pros but what I am not allowed to do is use metal spikes just like the pros. Since two sets of rules really do exist then help us recreational players out by modifying the OB rule. It would speed up play and make the game a lot more fun.

Thomas Ray

Liberty NC

I suspect that "modifying the OB rule" means allowing players to hit two from the tee after driving one out of bounds, instead of hitting three. I doubt that will happen. But many amateurs play their own variations of the rule. I'm taking off tomorrow on a golf trip where all OB stakes will be played as lateral hazards. On a narrow, seaside course in a group where handicaps range from 5 to 20, it will save a great deal of time. A friend of mine plays a different version. If he discovers his ball out of bounds, he plays from where it went out and adds two shots to his score at the end of the hole. Both of these "adjustments" are for speed of play. I doubt that the USGA will ever adopt any OB modification. But I agree with your desire to bring us closer to a "recreational" rule book.

--Bob Carney