Monday, February 2, 2015

Rules School 2015: Another One(Two) Bites the Dust

I've received a lot of comments over the past few months wondering when I would start writing again...  I apologize for the delay, it has been a very busy time and I've been focused on creating Rules materials  used for my profession as the Manager of Rules Education for the NCGA and, well, life.

As I am just starting back up I will start with one person note worth mention... I'm now engaged to the love of my life Amanda and I have spent many of my days enjoying my time with her and setting work aside to do so.  That said, she's taken up my interest in golf and the Rules (she got mad at me when I started answering practice quiz questions too quickly without her!) and so this is the perfect time to start talking Rules with everyone out there again.  I will make a concerted effort to continue with the regularity I once posted for both purely educational purposes and for the Rules situations that occur on TV or in the golf world regularly.

So the best way to start is to talk about Rules School 2015. I attended the advanced class in Dallas with two great instructors, David Staebler from the USGA and Brad Gregory from the PGA.  First and foremost thank you both for a wonderful class.  And a tongue in cheek thank you for a wonderful exam, David! (Actually it really was, nice work!)  I say that because he got me twice out of my own sheer forgetfulness of my main Rule for the exam: Definition > Rule > Decision.  Lew Blakey says it best, "What does the Rule say?"  On two occasions I forgot to start with the Rule and it bit me in the butt.

Obviously, I can not talk about the exam itself.  What I can talk about are some key points that I think are great for all levels of Rules enthusiasts:


  • Clearly, always remember, "What does the Rule say?" If you start with the Decisions, you increase your chance of making the wrong call.
  • The phrase, "the virtual certainty four" sticks with me.  For those having difficulties remembering how many instances you need to have virtual certainty, this at least gives you a start.  Rule 26 for proceeding under the water hazard Rule.  The Ball not found Rules, 24-3, 25-1c.  And then 18-1, the "ball stolen" Rule (when it is known or virtually certain that an outside agency has moved your ball).
  • Rule 18-0: Ball Moved by Wind/Water or No apparent cause covered by Rule 18-1 thru 18-6=Ball played as it lies. I'm dubbing this a "Staeblerism" and the philosophy is a point of emphasis for NCGA instructors but had not been put in that manner until now.
  • Brad Gregory explained something about caddie restrictions that hasn't really applied to any of my events, but struck home as a key point.  Tours or other Competitions frequently prevent caddies from going on the competition course prior to a competition round.  If a caddie does so, the Rules of Golf cannot touch the player.  The player is only responsible for the caddie during the stipulated round. However, the Rules permit the Committee to restrict a player in his choice of caddie, and this can include a caddie that does not follow the posted caddie guidelines. 
  • A final quote that will stick in relation to applying the exception to Rule 18-2b or "Rule 18-0": Have you ever experienced a gust of gravity?
Thank you again to a great class. To those of you whom I do not see on a regular basis, it was great to catch up.  To those whom I had not met, it was nice to meet you.  To those of you I work with and see on a regular basis.... =)

Thanks for reading, it's great to be back!

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