OB rule leaves a house divided in New Hampshire
Thank you for the article on the inequitable out-of-bounds rule (“Simplest rules fix of all: Allow drop on OB,” Oct. 16).
As writer Mike Purkey pointed out, virtually no one, save in competition, follows this rule. It seems incongruous to apply a different rule for an OB than a shot into a lateral hazard, etc. Why not label all out-of-play places merely “hazards” and assess a penalty of one stroke from where the misguided ball entered the “hazard”?
My wife and I constantly debate the rationale for the difference, usually just after I have OB’d it in one of our friendly matches. Her argument is that the OB rule is intended to be more penal because a shot going OB generally goes off the property of the golf course, whereas the lateral-hazard shot remains in the confines of the venue. My retort is that both shots are hit in places that usually are unplayable, so why the difference in penalty? I never win this argument, and dutifully reload from the initial shot and get assessed the stroke penalty. Ouch.
It might be a good follow-up for Morning Read to explain why the USGA believes that an OB shot warrants a heftier penalty, e.g., what is the rationale?
If the quest for simplifying the rules, and speeding up the game, was the USGA’s primary guide-star for many of the new/revised rules, what could have been simpler and more efficient than having a consistent rule for all lost/errant shots?
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