Here are some new ‘rules’ to aide the older, more mature golfer

It’s now springtime in Ohio and young men’s thoughts turn to … well, I don’t really know what young men think about this time of year. What I do know is that my thoughts, as well as those of my links buddies, turn to golf. Despite the fact that you may well wake up tomorrow to some more of that white stuff, golf season is just around the corner.

Some groups have already started their season including Bump’s Traveling League. My group, which includes our own Bump (Dave Yerkes), will begin play this week. That means that old guys like myself, will try to get in good enough physical condition that we will be able to finish 18 holes. For some that means a sensible diet and late winter conditioning.

Personally I will show up on opening day and do my usual stretching routine. That involves bending over with hands on knees. Stretch for a few seconds in that position and if you can straighten up, you’re ready to go. Don’t laugh, I did that at a course last summer and could not get back up. There was no golf that day!

Let’s face it, golf is a difficult game. It does not get easier as one gets older. What we gain in experience is offset by loss of distance, lack of feel and nerves that get jittery as we stand over that 4-foot par putt.

So when I ran across some new rules for the most senior golfers amongst us, I decided to share them with you. If your group thinks these rules should be implemented, then go ahead and do so. Old golfers have suffered enough embarrassments and should be rewarded for being so dedicated.

Here then is the list of new rules for Senior Golfers.

Rule 1.k.34 (a): If a tree is between the ball and the hole, and the tree is deemed to be younger than the player, then the ball can be moved without penalty. This is so because this is simply a question of timing: when the player was younger, the tree was not there so the player is being penalized because of his age.

Rule 2.c.7 (h): If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The Law of Gravity supersedes the Rules of Golf.

Rule 3.a.5: A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed on the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the rough with no penalty. The senior (you may set your own minimum age) player should not be penalized for tall grass which groundkeepers failed to mow.

Rule 4.k.9 (S): Advertisements claim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new golf equipment. Since this is financially impractical for many senior players, one-half stroke per hole may be subtracted for using old equipment.

Rule 5.G.15 (2): There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, as golf balls should float. Senior players should not be penalized for any shortcomings of the manufacturers.

Rule 6.a.9 (K): There is no penalty for so called “out of bounds.” If penny-pinching golf course owners bought sufficient land, this would not occur. The senior player deserves an apology, not a penalty.

Rule 7.d.6 (B): A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed NOT to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck and luck has no place in a scientific game. The senior player must estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree, and play the ball from there.

Rule 8.b.3 (G): There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, thereby making it a stolen ball. The senior player is not to compound the felony by charging himself with a penalty.

Rule 9: Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be blown in. This does not apply to balls more than three inches from the hole. No one wants to make a mockery of the game.

My thanks and a hat tip goes out to old friend John Watson in Florida who sent me these rules. I promise to bring them up this week. I do however have a problem with rule No. 9.

Given our physical limitations, one cannot really expect us to get down on all fours to blow the ball in. Remember, getting back up can be difficult. So I suggest we just count it as having gone in. Instead of “that’s good” we can simply say “close enough.”

As for making a mockery of the game!?! I think we crossed that bridge long before we got to rule No. 9.

Al Stephenson is a columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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