Everyone knows how important golf is in the military. Indeed, when building a new Air Force Base the very first thing built is the golf course. Thus if they run out of money for some reason, it’s the runway that’s not completed—and it’s always easy to get extra money for runways. The Army’s not so smart; they often build the golf course last.
Anyway, one of my Facebook/email friends just sent this announcement that he claims is very important to all Americans. I am not sure of the authenticity of this message, but I feel a certain responsibility to share it with all my golfing and non-golfing friends anyway.
My friend advised that our president has recently appointed a Golf Czar and major rule changes in the game of golf became effective Sept. 1.
Here is a brief look at just a few of the changes that have been released to date. This is a partial listing because the complete rule book, (expected to be 2,000+ pages) is in the process of being rewritten by a special bipartisan committee charged with updating the obviously archaic game of golf. A goal is to provide change to ensure that all Americans, including Tiger Woods, can compete more evenly with others on the golf links across our great nation, and by regulating the cost of green fees so that more people can afford to play.
Some of the items included among the many changes are the following: Golfers with handicaps:
• Below 10 will have their green fees increased by 35%.
• Between 11 and 18 will see no increase in green fees.
• Above 18 will get a $20 check each time they play.
The term “gimmie” will be changed to “entitlement” and will be used as follows:
• Handicaps below 10, no entitlements.
• Handicaps from 11 to 17,entitlements for putts less than 10 feet.
• Handicaps above 18, if a player’s ball is on or near the green, the player does not need to putt.
The ball can just be picked up.
These entitlements are intended to bring about fairness and, most importantly, equality in scoring.
An 18-plus handicap player who accidentaly hits his ball into a sand trap or water hazard is permitted one free toss by hand per incident to anywhere on the fairway or green. Reasoning for this rule change is that it was not the player’s fault that someone else placed a hazard near where the ball might be hit. Therefore the less-skilled player should not be penalized by the difficult playing conditions.
Another change is that a player will be limited to a maximum of one birdie or six pars in any given 18-hole round. Any excess scores, at or below par, must be given to those fellow players who have not yet scored a birdie or par. Only after all players have received a birdie or par from the player actually making the birdie or par, can that player begin to count his pars and birdies again.
Golf club members are expected to not only accept nonmembers into their club, they are also now mandated to permit the nonmembers to eat and drink at the clubhouse, and the members then must equally share in paying for the costs incurred by the nonmembers.
The current USGA handicap system will be used for the above purposes, but the term “net score” will be available only for scoring those players with handicaps of 18 and above.
These modifications are intended to “re-distribute” the success of winning by making sure that in every golf competition, the 18-and-above handicap players will post only “net scores” against every other player’s “gross score.” These new rules are intended to change the game of golf.
According to the latest press release out of Washington, “Golf must be about ‘fairness.’ It should have nothing to do with ability, hard work, practice and responsibility. This is the right thing to do.”
Thank goodness these long-needed changes are coming. Now, maybe I can finally break 100.