From The Inbox

2 minutes can make big difference in amateur game

Touring pros benefit by galleries' spotting wayward shots, but other golfers struggle with reduced time limit under new rules

Of all the rules changes, the most unfair to amateurs is the three-minute rule to look for a lost ball (“Want even simpler Rules of Golf? Try these fixes,” Nov. 25).

If you are playing against an opponent and you have to look for a ball – his or yours – three minutes is just not long enough. That's just two people looking for a ball.

I have witnessed on three occasions when my opponent's time to look had expired, and on his way back to the tee box to hit his provisional ball, he found his ball. On the professional tours, they have spotters who are volunteers on every hole to find and locate the ball and then stick a small flag into the ground to show the player and caddie where it is. In some instances, they have hundreds of people looking for a ball. Most of the time, it's found within that three-minute time frame.

I can't remember very often when a pro lost a ball on land, because there are so many people already there looking for it before the pro even arrives to his ball. Many times, a TV camera can spot the exact location where the ball has landed.

I wish they would give the amateurs five minutes, as in the past. Amateurs need the two extra minutes.

Layne Yawn
Jonesboro, Ark.

Nothing to see here, so please move along
Trying to ignite a firestorm again over the rules is just silly (“Want even simpler Rules of Golf? Try these fixes,” Nov. 25).

All of the examples cited by Morning Read’s Mike Purkey are because of what happened on the professional tours recently, and though they are good copy and somewhat interesting, they are the rules.

Many people were complaining early this year, but as the season wore on, the complaints died.

It doesn’t take a contortionist to drop from knee height. Most people leave the flag in on long putts, and many never pull it out. No big deal.

Cheating is cheating in competition. The ban on asking advice about what club a playing competitor hit has been around since golf began. If a professional loses all of his balls in competition, he was going to miss the cut anyway, and if he threw in some prototypes (which probably were not tested as yet by the tour), that’s on him or her.

The only point on which I agree with Purkey is the out-of-bounds and lost-ball rule. Stroke-and-distance is brutal. One stroke and playing from where it went out is how most golfers play recreationally. I also like the new rule by which you don’t have to announce to the world that you’re playing a provisional, especially when it’s so obvious.

Four balls and a strike. The batter walked.

Jim Robinson
Liverpool, N.Y.

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