Anyone who plays golf, knows that it's a game of ups and downs. One day you're hitting great, the next day you feel like you're blowing every shot. One day the cup is like a magnet to your ball, the next it seems to squirm away as your ball approaches. Why do we keep playing? Guess it's because, in spite of all the frustrations, you're never bored! Do you feel the same? Share your favorite courses or golf moments with us.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I don't know if other sports have as many rules as we find for golf, but I doubt if they seem as convoluted to amateurs as the USGA Rules of Golf. One would think that every possible condition has been taken into consideration and ruled upon! Whether you can understand the rule that applies is another matter. Just when you think you've got it straight, they refer you to another rule that may lead you to a completely different conclusion.

I was just browsing through the rules and found an interesting one that I'd never considered before. Did you know that if your ball ends up buried in the sand you can use a club to remove sand to find it? But, once you do find it, you must re-cover it so that only a bit of the ball is visible. No penalty.

While we were playing at the Water Gap Country Club in Pennsylvania, one of our golf partners chipped a ball toward the green, but we couldn't find it. Finally my husband noticed a hole in the slope up to the green. The ball was lodged about two inches down into it. Since the hole was about the same diameter as the ball, attempts to remove it failed and eventually the ball disappeared completely into the tunnel. Some little chipmunk is probably now nosing it around his burrow! The player took a drop without penalty, and I now see in the rules that the abnormal ground conditions rule would apply since the hole was made by a burrowing animal.

When you're playing golf for fun and not in a competition, I think most people would prefer to leave their official rules of golf at home. It's good to know the rules and play by them but constant nitpicking will drive your fellow golfers crazy. I do think, however, that the guidelines for etiquette should always be followed. I'll get into that more at another time!

Right now however, if you want to learn more about the rules of golf and have a hard time figuring out just what they mean, there are a number of books available that simpify these rules. Just go to Amazon or Borders and have a look! I'll give you a short list of just a few that I discovered:

Golf Rules & Etiquette Crystal Clear: Find the Answers To Your Questions About the Rules

The Rules of Golf in Plain English

Golf Rules Made Easy 2008-2009: "The 28 Golf Rules & Penalties for Stroke Play"

The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Golf Rules and Etiquette

Do I Get A Drop?: The Golf Guru Handbook

Now that you know where to find rules that you can understand, you might also consider buying a book that actually tells you the rules of play that can make the game more fun. Check this one out! The Official Rules of Bad Golf It may be more to your liking.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Playing in the Mud

Since my "Waterlogged" posting, I have received some advice on playing in wet conditions from Vince Polich of Kissimmee, Florida. He suggests that the lift, clean and place (or drop) rules would probably apply.

The USGA rule 25-1 is as follows:

b. Relief
Except when the ball is in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard, a player may take relief from interference by an abnormal ground condition as follows:

(i) Through the Green: If the ball lies through the green, the player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief must not be in a hazard or on a putting green. When the ball is dropped within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, the ball must first strike a part of the course at a spot that avoids interference by the condition and is not in a hazard or not on a putting green

In addition courses may post play under winter conditions for the protection of the fairway surface.

Vince also suggested using a stroke similar to what you would use in a sand bunker, merely skimming the surface to avoid chunking!

We've now had two full days with no rain so things are looking up! Unfortunately, there are thunderstorms forecast for this afternoon. Since I jammed my wrist the other day and then further aggravated it by playing 18 holes on Saturday, I'm taking a few days off to give it a rest before our couples league on Thursday. Hopefully, the golf course will have dried out by then!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It's been very difficult getting a round of golf in this summer, here in the Northeast, without getting soaked! Record breaking rainfall has turned the fairways to mush and hindered mowing on some courses to the point where you might as well be hitting from the rough.

On Saturday, we went down to play at a course in Derry, New Hampshire with our son. When we arrived, we were told that the course was pretty wet so it was cart path only. What they didn't tell us was that there was standing water on just about every hole. After each of our drives on the first hole either ended up in nasty puddles or plugged into the mud, we knew we weren't going to have the best of scores! Lucky for us, we managed to stay out of the bunkers which were completely flooded. There are rules governing flooded sand traps, including removing your ball from the trap and taking a one stroke penalty if it's unplayable, but first you would have to find the ball under the murky brown liquid! We did have a good time though because, what the heck, we were playing at least.

On Sunday, we drove down to North Stonington, Ct. We had a tee time for 10:30 Monday morning at one of our favorite courses about 15 miles away in Westerly, RI. Unfortunately, we had heavy rains overnight and again early Monday morning, so by the time we got to Winnapaug
Golf Course, we were pretty certain that we would not be playing. Sure enough, as we drove into the empty parking lot, we could see that the rain had done it's damage. The gulley that serves as a landing area for your drive off the first tee was doing a good imitation of a true water hazard!

We were told that the course was open and carts would be allowed later in the day if we wanted to come back in the afternoon. Now, Winnapaug is a course that usually dries out quickly, but we could see that there was no way that it could dry out before the day was over. Since we had to get back to Vermont on Tuesday, we knew that for this trip, golf was not to be. We had to make do with casino action instead!

As I sit here at home watching more dark clouds gather, I dream wistfully of the normal August conditions at our home course, Skene Valley. At this time of year, the hard clay beneath the fairways is usually baked solid. Your ball seems to roll forever and you get your best scores of the year. Instead, I'm spending time looking up helpful hints for playing in the rain or in wet conditions. Other than going down a club, I don't find a lot of useful information. I could use some tips on finding your ball in the fairway when the grass is longer than the rough normally is, or how to avoid divots the size of a toupee when the ground is so soft that you can create a gouge just by scuffing your foot!

Ah well, the sun will come out and stay out eventually, won't it?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Whether you are visiting Myrtle Beach for a few days or spending the winter, you can save up to $50.00 per round by becoming a member of the Grand Strand Golf Association. Membership costs only $49.00 a year and entitles you and up to three guests to great discounts at some of the best courses in the area.

If you are not into golf packages, this is the way to go. My husband and I prefer to keep our options open when we go on golf vacations. We don't like being tied into packages. This past year, we discovered the GSGA privilege card, and even though we were only in Myrtle Beach for a week, we were able to make up for the price of membership with our first round! The list of courses participating include the four Barefoot Resort courses and the Founders Club of Pawleys Island. Lower priced courses such as Azalea Sands are also included.

The only drawback we found was that, in some cases, you could not book more than two days in advance. This was not a problem for us, however. We were able to get tee times at just about every course we called. We usually prefer not to book too far ahead because we then have a better idea of what the weather will be doing.

Your card also gives you discounts at restaurants, entertainment and lodging. We had a bit of trouble at Friendly's when some of the staff didn't know that they accepted the card, but that was soon taken care of with the help of a "friendly" manager.

Once you are a member, the renewal fee for the following year goes down to $39.00. It really is well worth it!