Our club golfer is tired of winging it on the course – and so he's made a decision to finally get to grips with the Rules of Golf. And you can too
The questions about the Rules of Golf whirl round my head. True or false? “A practice putting green which is within the boundary of the course is a wrong green”, “Any bush or tree growing in ground under repair is not part of the ground under repair”, “The stroke includes the backward movement of the club.”
I’m grasping for the answers and the exam is less than 50 days away. It’s not a crisis of confidence – yet – but the hubris that had cocooned me when it came to the Rules of Golf had been rudely punctured in one 18 question quiz on the R&A’s website.
When there’s a rules issue on any of the tours, or a request comes into NCG Towers to answer a tricky situation out on the course, it’s usually me that deals with it.
If I’m honest, though, I need to call a penalty on myself.
Everyone’s an expert when they’ve got the rules at their fingertips and, in the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf, there’s very little to which you can’t quickly find the solution.
It had clouded what I thought was my knowledge and it all came to a crashing halt when, massively overconfident, I took the beginner rules quiz and only scored 11 out of 18.
That just won’t do.
I’d also somehow managed to find myself in the position of rules secretary at my club and members were beginning to have this annoying habit of asking my advice.
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- Related: Are you still dropping the ball incorrectly?
Often, I wasn’t sure how to reply – saving my blushes by dipping into the Rules of Golf app on my phone to restore some credibility.
On other occasions, I’d just get it plain wrong. We’re all human, but it was getting a bit embarrassing.
So I’m determined to sort this out once and for all. Over the next couple of months, I’m going to get my rules knowledge up to scratch – and show how you can do it as well.
I will retake the Level 1 Rules Academy, the basic qualification which you can do online, and, with the kind help of the R&A and Scottish Golf, I will bid to pass the Level 2 qualification at the Home of Golf in March.
Could there be a more fitting place to become at one with the rules?
But it’s not just about personal advancement. There are a lot of myths at club level about the rules – that they are difficult to follow and take many months to get to grips with the basics.
I’m going to show you the reality of that over the next few weeks. I’ll document the time I study and the path to knowledge as I build up to the St Andrews test.
I’ll look to debunk some of the perceived barriers that exist to gaining a decent understanding of the laws that govern our game.
And by doing that, and by encouraging more of you to delve beyond the mere basics, maybe we can all gain a greater knowledge and a better appreciation for this wonderful sport.
So let’s get stuck in.
What is your Rules of Golf knowledge like? How do you perform when quizzed by your members? Let me know in the comments or tweet me.