Proposed Rule Changes (2019)

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Everyone who plays golf is affected to some degree by the official Rules of Golf.

Tour players live or die by the rules and will call penalties on themselves to their own detriment.  Instead of arguing with officials even when they know the official is right (as is so common in other professional sports), professional golfers police themselves.

But what about amateurs?

I’ve played with groups of players at different clubs who play by some pretty lax interpretation of the rules.  For example,  if you hit a ball into the tall fescue, play it as if you had hit your ball in a  hazard.  If you land in a divot in the fairway, just nudge it out and give yourself a decent lie.  If it’s ‘within the leather’, it’s a gimme.  I played with one group where the gimme’s were getting so long that the group organizers put a piece of black electrical tape on each player’s putter to establish what was ‘within the leather’.

Some groups essentially play ‘winter rules’ or lift clean and place throughout the season. The justification used is that tour pros who play on perfectly manicured courses would never be put in a postion where they would have to play off the lies that we mere mortals routinely encounter.  Then there is ‘Mr. I’ve never encountered a lie that can’t be improved’.   I’ve played with golfers who almost on every shot  lift the ball to ostensibly ‘identify’ it.  Invariably, once replaced,  the ball which had formerly been buried deep in the rough is now perched on a nice clump of grass with the back of the ball cleanly exposed.

So, for a lot of  amateurs, unless you play competitive golf, the rules as they exist are not really that restrictive and the proposed rules changes will not have much effect.

A few of the proposed changes however will allow you to do things that under the existing rules even the most wayward golfer could not do without blushing.

Here is a link to a complete list of the proposed changes.

Here is link to videos that explain the proposed rule changes.

Many of the rules changes will be applauded by professional players as the proposed changes tend to reduce ambiguity and eliminate some of the ‘silliness’ from the game.

Amateurs, I suspect, will embrace the changes that favour them and continue to ignore or disregard those they see as ‘silly’.

The proposed changes will go into effect in 2019.

 

How far do you drive the ball?

When someone asks you about your game the answer you give may well depend on who is asking, why the are asking and when they are asking.

Many golfers have a tendency to either exaggerate of downplay their abilities depending on the circumstance.

On the first tee trying to negotiate strokes, golfers tend to downplay their abilities. If asked  at a social function how far you hit your driver and you realize it is highly unlikely that you will ever have to back up your statement you may say ‘oh, around 260- 280’.  The thing is you may have once hit a drive 280, with a 30 mile an hour favoring wind on a dry course with fairways like a parking lot but is that anywhere close to your average.

According to Trackman, at sea level, with no wind and under PGA Tour conditions using a Tour quality ball you need a swing speed of around 105 MPH to hit the ball in the 260-280 Range.  And that presumes you are hitting on the center of the club face with the optimum launch angel and spin rate.

The chart below provides and indication as to what to expect in terms of distance based on club-head speed.

 

b16cd3f5_trackman-driverfittingchart

Golfstat – Using Data to Improve Your Golf Game

Using statistics to reduce crime

During my years as the Deputy Chief of Police in Winnipeg I conducted extensive research on the statistical analysis of crime with a view to using statistical analysis as a basis for deployment of police resources and reducing crime.  The research process involved not only a review of the academic literature on the topic but also meeting with Rudy Giuliani’s consulting group and members of the  Manhattan Institute for Policy Research  in New York City.   Giuliani was the mayor of New York when Compstat was implemented there and the Manhattan Institute was the home of George Kelling who had become well  known in policing circles when he proposed the “Broken Windows’ theory in 1982.  I also visited  Newark New Jersey, one of the many cities in the United States that had implemented programs based on the statistical analysis of crime and met with police officers there.  Upon completion of the research I submitted a  proposal ( click on ‘proposal’ and scroll down the agenda and click on item 85 for a copy of the report)to the City of Winnipeg and subsequently  Crimestat was implemented in Winnipeg.

Using statistics to improve your golf game

During that same period of time I was a very active golfer and started thinking about applying some of the same principles used to reduce crime  towards improving my golf  game.

In my mind I called it Golfstat.   As opposed to tracking where break-ins, car thefts and robberies were taking place and how to reduce them, Golfstat looked at where (on which holes) birdies, pars, bogies and double bogies were being scored with a view to coming up with a means to replicate the good holes and eliminate the bogies and double bogies.

The first step in the process was to gather data.  For those interested in this approach an easy first step is to change the way you enter your handicap scores.  As opposed to simply entering your gross adjusted score you start by entering your scores on a ‘hole by hole’ basis.  The RCGA software allows for not only this but also facilitates the inclusion of other statistical information such as fairways hit, greens in regulation, number of putts and the like and then provides useful information  based on the date entered.

The following shows the Golf Canada hole by hole entry screen:

2015-10-29

(click on image to enlarge)

Once you have entered sufficient data (ten games or so) you can start to do an analysis of the data and draw conclusions and formulate an action plan to improve your scoring.

A future post will examine some of the things the data tells you and how to use it to your advantage and improve your scoring.

Fore!

 

Welcome to Golf In My Kingdom

The title Golf in my Kingdom  is a shameless take off on the title of Michael Murphy’s 1972 book Golf  In The Kingdom  which features the mythical golf professional Shivas Irons.

 This is my first post on this blog and the purpose of this post is to give you an idea as to my golfing habits and volume of play.  This will allow you to evaluate future posts in terms of ‘does this guy actually play the game and does he know what he is talking about’.

In the coming weeks and months I plan on writing posts on various golf related topics such as golf statistics,  scoring strategy,  meaningful practice,  how to attack a golf course, equipment, which tees to use and the like.

I will not delve into golf instruction as I am an amateur, not a pro and there already exists a plethora of instruction material that is at times both helpful and confusing for the average golfer.  I will rather talk about common sense approaches to the game and things the average golfer can do to not only enjoy the game more and learn to become a better overall golfer and shoot lower scores.

I invite readers to comment and enter into discussion as there is no right way to play this game and everyone has an opinion, some of which will no doubt be at variance with mine and those of other readers.

My 2015 Golf Season 

The golf season in Manitoba is short relatively speaking.  This year my golf season started on April 10th and ended on October 22nd.

During those 196 days I played a total of 162 games of golf which means that there were 34 days that I did not play.

My games were distributed between 16 different golf courses with the majority being played at two courses.

My high score for the year was a 85 (I had several of those) and my low round was a 66, shot at the Wildewood Club on June 13th.  while playing with a good friend  and yes there was money on the line that day and I made a few bucks.

My year-long scoring average was 76.2 and my end of year handicap was 3.8 having dipped down to 1.6 in mid-summer.

If you think you might find the content on this blog to be of interest and benefit to you please sign up to receive notification by email each time new content is added and by all means feel free to comment.

Fore!