This week, the Golf Channel introduced “The Relaxed Rules of Golf“. Their mantra? “It’s OK. Golf is fun.”

There is an impending sense of doom bearing down on the shoulders of the golf industry. Talk to the high-ups at industry leaders and sit down with GMs of the hundreds of courses closing nationwide– and you’ll learn times are dire. At the end of the day, three reasons for golf’s decline shine at the forefront. Golf….

  1. …is too expensive to play.
  2. …is too hard to play.
  3. …takes too much time to play. 

The Morning Drive tried to tackle numbers 2 and 3 with their newest initiative.

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Here are the Relaxed Rules of Golf (as introduced by the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive):

  1. MAXIMUM SCORE: Double par (i.e. 6 on par-3s, 8 on par-4s….)
  2. PENALTIES: All are 1 stroke, including out of bounds, water and lateral hazards, lost ball and unplayable lie. Drop a ball near where the original was lost and play on.
  3. SEARCH TIME: 2 minutes to look for your ball. If lost, proceed under Rule #2.
  4. UNFORTUNATE LIES (*not your playing partner ‘lying about their score, unfortunately’*): With your playing partners’ consent, balls may be dropped out of divots or footprints, away from tree roots and any other dangerous lies.
  5. CONCEDED PUTTS (‘gimmies’): Putts may be conceded with your playing partners’ consent.
  6. EQUIPMENT: No restrictions, including number of clubs.
  7. COMMON SENSE: When in doubt, use common sense and fairness.

These rules are interesting to me. It seems like patching a bad tire on a Ferrari with duct tape and some gorilla glue. It feels like trying to stop an avalanche by throwing a few 20-pound rocks in the way. The intent is there, but the solution doesn’t seem to be.

In my observation, casual golfers– particularly ones new to the game– don’t follow the rules anyways. They DON’T count their clubs. They drop on out of bounds shots. They pick up their ball for gimmies. I don’t see this “novice golfer playing by the written rules” that Morning Drive speaks of.

Besides, these golfers don’t even know the rules in the first place.

Comparing the troubles facing the golf industry to a Ferrari or avalanche are aggrandized, but the problems are existent nonetheless. The Relaxed Rules will not do anything to help the golf industry.

But if you’re an amateur golfer or new to the game, please follow them anyways. Even if the impact is small, it will be one appreciated by everyone on golf courses worldwide.

Follow me on Twitter @troy_usgolftv

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