“Rules aren’t meant to be broken”

I often struggled with complying with the many rules in the game of life as well as the game of golf. In life it is a fair rule that we have to do up our seat belts, throw our litter in a can or refrain from throwing lit cigarettes out the car window but in golf it is not the least bit fair that we hit from a fairway divot that the golfer in front of us has just excavated. We should never be punished for “doing good” in golf and a 300 + yard drive down the middle should have a caveat attached when it comes to playing it where it lies. For that matter even if it’s just a 120-yard bunt hit by an 80-year-old senior, give us a break. Life isn’t fair sometimes and golf isn’t fair all the time.

There’s a saying I detest. Rules are meant to be broken. It’s not that I haven’t and don’t break rules I just don’t have a premeditated disposition in thinking they are to be broken.

In golf a rule is defined somewhat as:  A regulation or bylaw governing procedure or controlling conduct.

This definition holds true with the playing of the game as well as how we act and accept and conform to the rules of etiquette.

You see rules aren’t meant to be broken, they just are.

Some rules like the divot dilemma are just downright absurd. You can fix a tiny little ball mark on the green but you can’t move a ball 2 inches left or right out of a divot that is still 240 yards from the green so you can actually have a fair go at it?

Well the rules of golf are constantly being scrutinized and modified and its great to finally see that there is no penalty if your ball moves after you have addressed it while on the putting green. Have you ever played in Saskatchewan, Canada on a hot and windy summers day? Heck they often have to hit a ball while its in motion on some of those lightning fast dry greens!

We really need separate rules for the touring pro’s and recreational golfer. First of all what’s the big deal with the number of clubs you can carry. 14, 15 shoot carry 20 if you want, how many can you hit well anyways?

And you know these high energy 120 compression illegal long distance balls, what’s the big difference, once any ball is banana sliced OB who cares if it has the compression of a nuclear reactor, it’s gone……….reload there mister.

Now to the bunkers, I watched in awe this year as the pros on the PGA Tour were allowed to ground their club in any bunker on the course they were playing, Kiawah Island I believe it was, as opposed to the silly rule of having to hover it just above the sand granules. Now I am not suggesting that we be allowed to take practice swings spraying sand everywhere or gouge a little trench behind the ball to elevate it. The rule should be get in the sand, line up your shot, set the club down on the sand and pull the trigger. Then repeat the same steps because most of us don’t get it out in one anyways.

One of the current hot buttons with regards to rules has to do with the Belly Putter or Broomstick Putter or is it Broom Handle, who cares, first of all it shouldn’t be banned on The Senior Tour as most of those guys have belly’s but it should be banned on the regular tour. I mean come on Keenan Bradley looks goofy enough lining up with his dominant eye, head cocked to one side like he’s about to do a bad Ronald Reagan impression. This guy looks like he is borderline anorexic how can he use a belly putter?! What would they call it if Tiger went that route, A Six Pack Putter? Then you have the guys like Adam Scott who used his long putter to “lose” The Open Championship, Sam Torrance who uses his basically to keep him self upright so he wouldn’t fall over and Bernhard Langer who missed one putt for the Ryder Cup with a conventional putter and had to change, ha-ha!


Here below is the sign at a golf course in our town. I have omitted the name of the course and phone numbers for obvious reasons but take a good look at it; there are a lot of discrepancies here. I play this course and know why and endorse the adherence to this sign. This is a course, which for the most part meanders through several residential streets. Many of the holes are very tight and houses run the full length down both sides of the fairways and safety is an issue. Many a house has more than a few dents in the siding, roof tiles and garden beds from errant shots but it is the threat to human and pet life that is most at risk especially when the good folks from the area think that a golf course is a park for anyone to take little Skippy for a nice long walk. A dog or person struck in the head with a well hit drive especially the temple area means one thing and one thing alone, there’s going to be a funeral and that’s no joke, A golf ball can travel up to 160 MPH and they don’t loose the battle with flesh and bone.

Now to this impressive sign, one of about 5 or 6 mounted on the path entrances connecting the holes of the course. Now as I see it a member, a green fee patron, or my good buddy Cliff, is permitted on the course to go for a walk with my 3 dogs or his cat, ride our bikes or just stroll with our golfing wives. After all it doesn’t stipulate what we have to do it just says we are permitted! It should have the words “For Golfing Only” added.

Now to reporting offenders, which one has to assume is only going to be witnessed while you are out there golfing. Excuse me but Cel phones are frowned upon on golf courses, what are we to do hop the fence of one of the houses bordering the course and borrow the phone. Cliff look out ,here comes a Rottweiler!

The one rule I was brought up by is the Golden Rule one I live by and that is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” which is fine as long as it doesn’t apply to masochists.

Until next time, good golfing!

Diamond Bill


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Bill Flower

Bill Flower is a passionate golfer and lover of the game who lives on Vancouver Island in Parksville, BC. He has played the game since the age of 10 and has spent many years in the golf business ranging from full time teaching pro to part time professional caddy, golf tour operator and golf writer. He loves to travel with his wife Myra throughout the US and Canada playing and reviewing golf courses of all styles. To date he has reviewed over 125 golf courses.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Rules are made by the winners, or operators. I was the Pro at a club that wanted “no rules”. All of the members were also members at city clubs “that had too many rules”. So they built a great course, Mad River, and started to make rules the day the course opened. I’m sure by now MR has about the same number of rules as any other private club. Written rules are easier to manage than unwritten ones. Carry on Diamond Bill!

  • What is the divot rule that everyone complains about? Playing the ball as it lies?

    How would you draft the new rule?

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