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Etiquette section
08-12-2013, 11:30 AM
Post: #1
Etiquette section
What a great forum and forward thinking website! I wondered as you were tackling the job of simplifying the rules if you had thought of making a major change to the etiquette clause of the rules; specifically "consideration for others"? As a D 1 college coach, the dilemma of slow play has reached epidemic proportions and I feel that this is the number 1 cause for people leaving the game. Intercollegiate golf is torturous to view and I believe there is a way to curb this interminable slowness. Why don't we strike the phrase "players should not stand in another players line of putt". With the advent of soft spikes the chance of a spike mark causing a putt to miss is preposterous. Also since there was a group on the green approximately 8 minutes earlier that didn't give a hoot where your line might be doesn't it make sense to have continuous putting? Without question most of the slow play is on the green and so I advocate marking your ball once on the green and off you go. If your line on the ball isn't lined up correctly, too bad. A radical idea to be sure but isn't radical what we need? Love the website. Cheers! Mike Hughes Brown University.
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08-13-2013, 01:55 PM
Post: #2
RE: Etiquette section
Mike -

Thank you for the comments and good points. It is refreshing to see a college coach decry the pace of play in collegiate events. It has been frustrating to me to hear several coaches tell officials that the "players will play as slowly as you [the officials] let them," without taking any responsibility for their players' pace.

David and I did look at the Etiquette section and quickly (too quickly?) decided it was pretty darn good, with little room for meaningful change. I have to admit, though, that we did not spend a huge amount of time on that section, as the priority of the project was the Definition and actual Rules.

The main theme of our project was to simplify the Rules. While an improved pace of play would be a nice side effect of the changes, pace of play was not a driving theme in the work. It would be interesting to take a look at the Rules with pace of play as the paramount concern and see where that approach would take us.

In the 1960s the USGA experimented with continuous putting in stroke play and gave up on the idea after a few years. They found that the pace of play did not improve and that there were some awkward situations. The fact that there was an actual trial of this approach makes me uneasy to return to it. If done properly, the current system should work well (i.e., while you are looking over your putt, your fellow-competitor can be playing).

As for standing on another player's line, in dry conditions your suggestion makes plenty of sense (and in wet conditions there is the principle that a player is entitled to the line of putt gave him and would therefore be able to repair any damage made by the other player). However, with some of the aggressive "spike" designs out there and soft conditions, I could see a player being quite upset at having another player stand on his line of putt. For example, late in the day (after a lot of play and with the lower sun), some greens can still look awfully uneven around the hole from the "spikeless" traffic around it that day.

You are certainly right that we should not shy away from radical ideas to improve the pace of play, so keep them coming!

Best regards,
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08-13-2013, 11:39 PM (This post was last modified: 08-13-2013 11:41 PM by Simonko.)
Post: #3
RE: Etiquette section
My belief on the matter takes it even further than yours, Mike, wanting 'no-touch' throughout the entire course unless taking relief or lifting under 22.

Allow cleaning on the green only if LCP is in effect.

The triplex mower has made greens too perfect allowing surgical putting to too easily account for a poor long game. A recipe for slow play.

Bunkers may become a formidable obstacle for top players if they have to putt with a sandy ball. Lesser players haven't got the precision for it to make a difference.

Afternoon players have to deal with wind. Let's even it out and let morning players have to deal with grass stuck to their ball.
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