Playing By The Rules For The Dedicated Golfer Its Not Just A Suggestion

All games have rules and golf is no exception. From technical reasons to practical reasons, it seems most people agree that when everyone plays by the same Set of Rules, it makes the game a more enjoyable experience.

In tournament golf, playing by the Rules is mandatory. But is it as important when playing a friendly round? Some believe that taking a “mulligan” or a “gimme” or improving a difficult lie can be explained as friendly acts to keep beginners interested in the game or for groups when all are given the same advantage. However, these infractions are used sparingly and are not exercised in standard play.

Knowledge and integrity concerning the Rules of Golf

are a source of pride to the dedicated golfer. Calling yourself on a penalty – even if no one else saw you – is painful, but honesty is a core value of being a golfer. Almost every golfer has a story of having to penalize herself, and it is because of that true honesty on the course that golfers feel such a connection to the sport. How many other sports do you hear about the competitor calling a foul on herself? So if you still consider yourself a beginner or are an occasional golfer, go ahead and play golf your way. But know that there’s a whole other dimension to the game that you can’t know unless you learn and play by the Rules.

The responses listed below represent many average women golfers who were randomly selected for the poll. It is clear that all view the Rules as a fundamental part of the game. So embrace the challenge, play fairly and honestly and be a worthy role model for junior players.

Sally Larson, a Board Member and Rules Chair of the Arizona Women’s Golf Association, said it is her job to ensure that Rules Officials are properly trained and are updated as the Rules are modified. According to Sally, the main reason golfers should play by the Rules is to maintain an accurate handicap. “That mulligan or playing desert rule is often the equivalent of ignoring a stroke and distance penalty,” she said. “From a Rules Official’s perspective, we make every effort to assist players in avoiding a penalty. If a referee approaches you on the course, she is there to help before you make another move.”

Mary Anne Lofquist (Cottonwood – Sun Lakes) said, “Why would you play a game and not follow the Rules! Whether you play with friends or in competition it is only fair that you all play by the same Rules. Golf is an honorable game and if you can’t be honorable, you shouldn’t be playing.”

Cindy Morris (Trilogy) said she is definitely a proponent of playing by the Rules since they protect the integrity of the field. Cindy said emphatically, “If you’re not going to play by the Rules, then don’t call it golf!” Very few of us know all the rules, but most make a concerted effort to learn them.

Carolyn Suttles (Pebblecreek) said, “If you are going to attempt to play a game, any game, it is important to know the Rules. Otherwise you are just playing with no guidelines and, in essence, what game are you playing???”

Barb Kahler (Red Mountain Ranch) said it’s important to play by the Rules so that everyone is playing the same game fairly. Golf is no different than any other game – if you want to play, you must play by the Rules!

Pat Ciccone (Papago) thinks it is important to play by the Rules (like them or not) to protect the integrity of the game. “One never receives a reward for being dishonest,” she said.

Penny Rady (The Country Club at DC Ranch) enjoys playing with a person who is knowledgeable on the Rules of Golf and treats it as a learning experience. “Learning the rules gives me confidence,” she said. She believes the key to learning the Rules is in the delivery. Keep it simple and make it a pleasant experience.

Betty Pasek (Ahwatukee CC) said, “All sports have rules. The Rules of Golf are there not only to help you learn the game but to help you with the game. Where is there a game that gives you a free drop out of casual water? Not in baseball, football, tennis, soccer, etc.”

Colleen Green (Great Eagle) said her first exposure to golf was acting as a caddy for her husband. “I watched the men as they played. Then I started playing and learned the Rules. It is a lot more fun when everyone plays by the Rules and has an equal chance to win.”

Visit the AWGA website at to find upcoming Rules seminars. And remember, the Rules can be your friend!

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