Happy New Year 2021 – Welcome to the GPC Rules Corner

Hello, I would like to introduce myself, Heath Wassem, PGA. 

I will be bringing you a look at the Rules of Golf from the perspective of a competitive player as well as a Rules Official over the coming weeks. I am going to bring as many real-life scenarios as possible, dive into not only the rule but the interpretations as well. A great knowledge of the rules can always work to the benefit of the player, not knowing the rules can be extremely costly and always at the worst possible time.

The most recent changes in the Rule of Golf were intended to create a continuity across the world, a simplification and reduction in the number of Rules as well as improving the overall pace of play. Ex. Dropping from knee high into a relief area eliminates the past ability to drop a ball a possible 2 club lengths from a situation and then allow the ball to roll another 2 club lengths providing a player a significant advantage and taking a considerable amount of time.

We shall also start from the beginning of the process and look at the sequence of the Rules. They follow the same sequence we encounter when playing the game. We must first define the game, how it is played and the area we can and can not play on, Rules 1 and 2. Then the format, stroke or match, then the equipment, then playing a hole and so on. 

In reading each Rule, on my app downloaded to my phone, there are specific words in bold and italicized. They have embedded links to the definition of each specific term. Mastering the Rules of Golf can only be done by mastering the definitions. Knowing these key words and the explanations behind each will allow you to quickly and efficiently look up any situation you may encounter on the golf course. Ex. Provisional Ball: Another ball played in case the ball just played by the player may be: Out of Bounds or Lost outside a penalty area. A provisional ball is not the player’s ball in play, unless it becomes the ball in play under Rule 18.3c.

Real life scenario regarding Provisional Ball. So many times I have heard a player say that a Provisional Ball may not be played if hit toward a water hazard. Unless the ball can definitively be determined that the ball was lost in the water hazard, and not found, it must be determined to be lost outside the penalty area. Therefore if a ball may be lost outside a water hazard, a provisional ball may be played. The provisional ball does allow for speeding up play as it eliminates any need to return to the last place the ball was played.

I would like to welcome everyone to the New Year and hope that I can bring an interesting perspective on The Rules of Golf. May we all make a New Years resolution to improve our knowledge of the rules of our game, they are not that complicated

Heath Wassem, PGA

AKA: “Rulesguy”

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