This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Changing Scoring We settled on a points-based


wo years ago, we undertook a project to rewrite the Rules of Golf. After years at the USGA listening to people complain about the complex-

ity of the Rules, we tried to see if we could simplify the code. We assumed we’d conclude that the

current Rules (of which we are biased supporters, after our years of shaping them on the USGA staff) are about as straightforward as they can be. But then we produced not one, but

two alternate versions of the Rules of Golf. We realized that there is great room for both simplification and im- provement of the current code. We thought that our first attempt

(labeled Code One and available in its entirety at pushed the accepted traditions of the game pretty far. We eliminated dropping (so that a player will always place the ball), allowed for the touching of the ground and removal of loose impediments in a hazard, and permitted a player to touch his line of putt (provided he does not improve it). But after discussing our project with then-USGA President Glen Nager, we believed that our work did not go far enough. We decided to start over, since our goal was to significantly simplify the Rules. After much discussion, we conclud-

ed that Code Two’s dramatic simplifica- tion could be achieved only through a big change to the overall game.

system for scoring in both match play and stroke play (similar to the current Stableford scoring). This approach allowed for sweeping changes through- out the Rules. If a player loses a ball, he earns no points for that hole, leaving him with no need to play a provisional ball or return to the tee. If a player breaches a Rule, he earns no points for that hole, so there is no need to correct errors such as playing a wrong ball or committing a serious breach of playing from a wrong place. We are not so full of ourselves that we expect the R&A and USGA to adopt Code One or Code Two in its entirety. We do hope our project shows there is ample room to simplify the current code, and some of our specific ideas might appeal to the governing bodies. We know that the idea of a univer- sal points-based scoring system will not appeal to many, because of both tradition and the actual impact. One person, whose opinion on

Rules we respect tremendously, told us that he could not imagine conducting a championship (or one of the four majors) with such a scoring system. It would be inappropriate to have the championship decided before the win- ner has played all 72 holes. If he has a large lead after 71 holes, he would not need to play the 72nd to win. While that sentiment is understandable, we would quibble over whether preserv- ing the prospect of a rare Jean Van de Velde moment outweighs the incred- ible simplification that change allows to the Rules.

  

Accepting Different Results And that is our main conclusion to

this project—that significant simpli- fication can only be achieved through the acceptance of different results. If people are completely satisfied

with the results produced by the cur- rent Rules, there is no need to change them. They are written and format- ted about as simply as they can be to provide those results.

What Can Be Done Having said that, here are some

specific proposals (from both Code One and Code Two) that we believe the golf world is ready for: • Reduce the amount of time

allowed to find a ball from five minutes to three minutes. Five minutes is a looooong time. • Do not allow a player to replace a

club or add a club during the round, regardless of the circumstances. If a player has an awkward lie against a tree root, he should consider the consequence of damaging that club before he plays. • Prohibit all practice strokes

during the round. Why allow a player to practice putting and chipping but not full shots? Why allow practice at all? • Eliminate the replay option when

a player plays from outside the tee- ing ground and impose a loss-of-hole penalty instead. If a player plays from a wrong place elsewhere on the course, he loses the hole. Why should the result be different with the teeing ground? • Eliminate dropping, so that the

player will always place the ball. This change removes confusion as to when the player must re-drop, etc. • Allow the line of putt to be

touched, provided it is not improved. What is the harm in just touching the line of putt? This change would allow current Rule 13-2 to govern play throughout the course. • Allow the use of artificial devices and unusual equipment, as well as the unusual use of equipment to measure distance, so the Local Rule would no longer be necessary. • Eliminate the penalty for striking an unattended flagstick with a putt. • Allow relief for an embedded ball

anywhere through the green, so the Local Rule would no longer be necessary. • Remove Rule 26-1c(ii) as a relief

option of dropping on the opposite margin of the lateral water hazard. It’s misunderstood, and rarely used.

  

What Should Be Done And here are proposed changes

SUMMER 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 53

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76