A local solution to the divot quandary
I would bet that most of us would be unfortunate enough to land in only a handful of real, bare-dirt divots in a year. Where the ball sits in the divot and how deep the divot is will determine whether it is a true penalty or just one that requires a little more concentration and execution of the shot.
But if the divot issue really bothers some players, they should go to their Greens Committee chairperson and request that the playing condition be changed to lift, clean and place. That would “...protect the field and make it a fair challenge to all,” as reader Dave Richner noted (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 7).
As for Richner’s comment about comparing divots to the stymie change: All changes may not be for the better. We used to drop the ball over our shoulder. Is what we have now better?
Search for ‘fairness’ in golf is elusive
A letter to the editor included an incorrect assumption regarding the old stymie rule (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 7).
Dave Richner asked rhetorically, “Wasn’t the stymie eliminated years ago in a step toward fairness, as only a few, not the field, got stymied on a putt?” Being “stymied” by another player’s ball didn’t exist in stroke-play competitions. The old stymie rule was limited to single and foursomes match play.
Regarding Richner’s point on the concept of “fairness” in the Rules of Golf, golfers should consider what fairness is meant to be. Although a goal of the new rules is fairness, there are other, more significant factors. I’m thinking of the famous line by Richard S. Tufts, who was president of the USGA in 1956-57. In his book The Principles Behind the Rules of Golf (1960), he wrote this:
“Play the ball as it lies. Play the course as you find it. And if you cannot do either, do what is fair.”
Note that Tufts wrote cannot.
Not all things in golf are fair, nor should they be. Part of the charm of golf is that there are some random breaks, good and bad. If a player is always allowed a good lie in the fairway, shouldn’t we “in fairness” require him to move his ball to a bad lie when in the rough?
East Grand Rapids, Mich.
Hollywood embellishes stymie mystique
In response to reader Dave Richner, who thought that players should get relief from divots in the fairway (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 7), he used a reference to stymies.
Stymies were allowed only in match play, regardless of what Hollywood portrayed in “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”
Perry Hall, Md.
Another vote for divot relief
I read the letter on the penalty for landing in an old divot, and I agree 100 percent (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 7).
I sent a similar suggestion to the USGA when officials were asking for ideas on improving the rules. This seems like a no-brainer. To be penalized by landing in a divot because you’re playing in a later tee time makes no sense.
The response I got was somewhat confusing. They were concerned about what is a divot and can the definition be misused. In a closely mown area, I don’t see how that can happen. Players should be given relief.
Circumference of a gimme
I have a novel idea for speeding up play on the greens: Have the grounds crew paint a circle 20 inches out around the cup. Anything inside that line is a gimme.
No need for aligning the marks on the ball; no need to analyze the break from five angles; no need for 5-6 practice strokes. Just pick it up and get out of the way.
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