It’s a job with lowered expectations
For some time, I have been troubled by the arbitrariness of a ball drop by a player. Sometimes it's an advantage; sometimes it's so-so; occasionally it's a heart breaker. To level the playing field (or course, in this context) I propose the addition of an official to the roster of golf course luminaries: a certified ball dropper.
This person would be an unaffiliated professional, paid through a surcharge on green fees, and available to anyone on the course who might be in need of his or her services (need would be defined as any condition in which a ball drop would be required). As to whether the certified ball dropper, or CBD, would have the say-so about need, that could be determined when a charter is written for the institution of the position. The amount and kind of training necessary to become certified also should be determined when a charter is written.
Imagine how much stress simply would disappear when players knew that they had the opinion and help of a certified ball dropper. Everyone on the course would be the beneficiary of this solution to a heretofore muddled situation.
For clarification, ‘See Full Rules’
Another drop in the ocean? It’s more like a tsunami of detail flowing out from the golf authorities. In the case of “dropping the ball,” surely a child of 5 knows what that means. You don't get to place it on the ground on your preferred lie, and it shouldn't bounce away too far. Height of drop? Doesn't matter. The rules hounds will be looking for your drop from 3 inches above the knee that rolls into the perfect lie so they can make you take it again. They'll keep quiet the next time, when it's in a divot!
These rules have been simplified and shortened for ease of reference and use on the course. But, have you counted how many times the little marker “See Full Rules” appears in the Player's Edition of the Rules of Golf? At a glance, more than 70. So, you gain a working understanding of the rule book, and every time a slightly non-standard question comes up you are referred to a book that you don't have.
Example: Rule 11.2 covers striking a ball in motion. What if I stop my partner's ball? Well, Rule 23.2c should help: “For information on when Rule 11.2 does not apply in Four-Ball.” You guessed it: “See Full Rules.” How about lining up your partner. Are you restricted by the “caddie” rule (10.2)? Indicating the line of his putt, what if this leaves a mark in the dew for him as a guide?
Should be fun.
Don’t tell USGA and R&A
Dave Richner nearly made me spit up my morning oatmeal (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 23).
I sure hope that the USGA and R&A don’t see his comment, as they’re bound to think it’s a great idea.
Style points for Richner
I just read Dave Richner’s letter in Wednesday’s Morning Read (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 23).
I like his style. It’s not too serious.
Brent D. Rector
East Grand Rapids, Mich.
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