WANG'OMBE: Weird, unacceptable things we do on golf course
- There was a TV programme in the 1980s that used to show people with many weird abilities or doing some very strange things.
- I found the show, You Asked For It, on Voice of Kenya TV, quite captivating. Some of the bizarre acts were cringe-worthy that I used to watch them with one eye closed.
- Iâve watched people breaking Rules of Golf with the same disbelief that I used to have when watching You Asked For It.
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There was a TV programme in the 1980s that used to show people with many weird abilities or doing some very strange things.
I found the show, You Asked For It, on Voice of Kenya TV, quite captivating. Some of the bizar re acts were cringe-worthy that I used to watch them with one eye closed.
Iâve watched people breaking Rules of Golf with the same disbelief that I used to have when watching You Asked For It.
There are Rules of Golf that are so basic that I find it odd that anyone would play more than one or two rounds without knowing them.
The first is that one should never touch their line of putt unless they are removing loose impediments, repairing pitch marks and a few other allowable actions.
However, recently I have been seeing more and more golfers tapping down imaginary pitch-marks on their line of putt, improving it in the process.
Before making a stroke at a ball that is in the hazard, not touching the sand or the water with a club or the hand is the second most obvious of the Rules of Golf. A few golfers are, however, oblivious to this very basic of Rules. I recently saw a player flattening his line of putt with his hand.
Reason? There were some blades of grass that could have deflected his ball. Another one dug the sand immediately behind his ball with his fingers to ensure that he had a good connection with his shot.
These are some of the things that just make me cringe and watch with one eye.
To add insult to injury, many people who know that this is an infringement, donât know how to penalise such infringements.
A few golfers will impose penalties depending on their mood or how irritating they find the action to be. I have heard someone say âYou touched the sand six timesâ¦six strokes penalty for you!â and a gentler one who said:
âDonât you know that you are not allowed to touch your line of putt? I will give you a one-stroke penalty!â
Penalty shots must not be meted out arbitrarily. The Rules of Golf have four distinct categories of penalties that are clearly spelt out in the Rules of Golf:
1. One-stroke penalties for carelessness:
Acts of carelessness that do nât give anyone an advantage attract a one stroke penalty.
Misdemeanours like accidentally stepping on oneâs ball while searching for it or moving the ball in play accidentally by say a practice swing or dropping something on it.
However, it stops being a misdemeanour when one fails to replace their ball back to where it lay before moving it or dropping it as near as possible as where it lay before they stepped on it.
In match play, moving the opponentâs ball will earn the player a one-stroke penalty under this category.
2. Two-stroke penalties for forbidden acts/Loss of hole (in match play):
This is the bigger penalty. The Rules of Golf have many commandments.
Thou shalt not touch the line of putt, thou shalt not touch the sand or water in the hazard and many more. If one breaks any of these commandments, they earn a two-stroke penalty.
There are instances where players gain an advantage by say not replacing the ball on the gree n at exactly where they had picked it from after marking its position.
Some people will look for a smoother spot to replace their ball or even move it an inch closer to the hole. These and other acts that give players an advantage must be penalised under this category.
3. One-stroke penalties for errors of play:
This is the cost of getting a ball back in play after a poor shot. If one loses their ball in the rough or hits it out of bounds, they earn a one-stroke penalty when putting another ball in play.
In this case the player also loses the distances by having to go back to where they hit the original shot. Players whose balls take a swim in water hazards also take relief under this category.
This penalty is reserved for serious breaches of the Rules. Some of the examples of serious breaches are playing with non-conforming clubs, signing for a lower score on a hole, poor time keeping and a few others.
Penalty stro kes must not be meted out on a whim. They will generally fit under one of these four categories.
There are only these four categories of penalties no matter how bizarre or cringe-worthy the action, or lack of it, may be.
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