Stats show that golf is declining and has been for some time now. Everyone, from the legends in the sport to the weekend hacker know that the biggest issue in golf is how long it takes to complete a round. Gone are the days when it was equipment to blame and green fees. There have been several initiatives to speed up the game including a strong effort to promote 9 hole rounds. But the best way to get more people to start golfing again might be more relaxed rules.
The Golf Channel debuted a series designed to help make golf more attractive and put the fun back in it. Hosts Charlie Rymer and Matt Ginella are the leading voices of the new Relaxed Rules series that breaks golf down to just seven basic rules. Golf Channel did a research study and showed that 85 percent of golfers are in favor of relaxed rules for recreational play.
Take a look at the seven rules below and then think back to your last recreational round with your mates, then ask yourself a few questions. Were any of these “relaxed rules” used? If so did it speed up play, make the round flow more, was it more competitive or more enjoyable? If you never used any of these “relaxed rules” could you have and more importantly, if you did would it have made a huge difference?
These are the seven rules:
1. MAXIMUM SCORE: Double par (i.e. 6 on par 3s, 8 on par 4s….)
2. PENALTIES: All are 1 stroke including out of bounds, water and lateral hazards, lost ball and unplayable lie. Drop a ball near where the original was lost and play on.
3. SEARCH TIME: Two minutes to look for your ball. If lost, proceed under Rule 2.
4. UNFORTUNATE LIES: With your playing partners’ consent, balls may be dropped out of divots or footprints, away from tree roots and any other dangerous lies.
5. CONCEDED PUTTS: Putts may be conceded with your playing partners’ consent.
6. EQUIPMENT: No restrictions, including number of clubs.
7. COMMON SENSE: When in doubt, use common sense and fairness.
The relaxed rules are being supported by Golf Channel on air, online and through social media.
One course in Myrtle Beach has started using bigger golf cups to help speed up play and make the game easier. You can read about it HERE.