DELO: Reading the course during winter

At this time of New Year’s resolutions, let’s make one that 2010
will be the year you start playing golf by the rules
At this time of New Year’s resolutions, let’s make one that 2010 will be the year you start playing golf by the rules. Now I’m not asking you to be such a stickler that your playing buddies avoid you like the plague when you walk up to the first tee. But let’s be honest with yourself and your golf score.

If you made a resolution to shed a few pounds in 2010, the first thing you would do would be to weigh-in to get a starting point. If you are constantly giving yourself mulligans, not counting penalty strokes or kicking the ball out from behind trees, how do you know what your true score is? Are you improving?

So, let’s just start with the basic rules of golf as a way for you to get an accurate score reading. Then you can see if the score goes up or down over the next few months.

1. If you hit a ball out of bounds, hit another ball from that spot and add two strokes to your score at the end of the hole.

2. If you think your ball might be lost on the course, hit another ball from the spot. If you can’t find it when you get there, add two strokes. If you find it, play it.

3. If your ball goes in a water hazard, drop behind the hazard and add one stroke for every time your ball goes into the water. If the hazard is to the side of the fairway, drop it two club lengths from where it went in and add one stroke.

4. If your ball is “unplayable,” which means you can’t take a swing or stand to even hit the darn thing, move it two club lengths from where it is and hit it. If two club lengths isn’t enough, you can keep the spot where it is between yourself and the hole and go back as far as you need. Add one stroke.

5. Don’t “ground” your club in a sand trap. That means you must keep your club off the sand until you hit it. If you touch the sand at address, add one stroke.

There are countless other rules of golf. If interested, pick up a rule book at any local golf shop. There are some easy versions to understand that I recommend even over the USGA rule book. If you are going to take this game somewhat seriously, then be serious about counting your strokes properly.

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