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Repairing Damage
08-20-2013, 06:39 PM (This post was last modified: 08-20-2013 06:40 PM by ColonelMac.)
Post: #1
Repairing Damage
I suspect that many purists will take me to task for this, but I am truly seeking enlightenment on the "rationale" behind some rules.

I wasn't around in the days of Old Tom Morris when sheep used to graze the courses. But, I suspect that if you found a sheep's footprint (perhaps even a human's) in your intended putting line, it was simply rub of the green.

Rule 15-1b in Code One and 13-1b in Code Two carry forward the present rule that you can repair damage done by a ball hitting the green, but you STILL can't tamp down spike marks. Although soft spikes lessen the damage done by humans on the greens, there are still those who scuff the surface around the hole by not picking up their feet. We see this on our greens DAILY. It does no good to remind people to walk carefully. There will always be the careless ones.

On TV, I see the pros not only fixing ball marks, but also I sometimes see them patting the green with their putter having NOT first used the ball mark tool. And, I say to myself, "What is he tamping down"?

That brings me to the philosophical question of how we got from sheep footprints to the present rule? It seems not only subjective but inherently unfair to classify some types of damage as acceptable and other types not.

If the damage was made by an animal, we get relief. If it was made by a ball hitting the green, we can fix it. But, if it was made by a club in the fairway (a divot), we can neither fix it NOR get relief.

Seems to me if there is ANY damage to the putting surface on the intended line, even if made by a human, it should be either repairable or NOT repairable without differentiation as to how it was caused or who caused it.

So long as it applies equally to everyone, no one gains any advantage. By the same token, no one is unfairly penalized because of the carelessness of players who came before them.
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