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Let's Take A Look - Should The Rules Be Changed?

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Now, I don't know a lot about the technicalities of the golf swing, the subject to which this site is dedicated. But I do want to contribute to the site and to the game. As a student at about a dozen PGA/USGA Rules of Golf workshops, and as a veteran of hundreds of rounds as a rules official, I do know something about the rules. So perhaps I can contribute by clearing up some misinformation or misunderstandings about the rules which spring up from time to time.

Every so often something happens in a televised tournament that creates a mini firestorm over a perception that somehow a player was treated unfairly because of a "stupid" rule.  Craig Stadler had the towel incident. Paul Azinger unwittingly kicked away some loose impediments in a hazard. Dustin Johnson grounded his club in a bunker at this year's PGA Championship.

Johnson's situation begat an article in the October 12, 2010 edition of Golf  Magazine authored by Contributing Writer, TV Analyst, and Top 100 Teacher Peter Kostis entitled "How To Fix the Five Dumbest Rules in Golf." Unfortunately, this article does a great disservice to the game. From  the article's introduction  through the five rules Mr. Kostis would have changed, an unwitting reader gets non-truths and misbegotten arguments from someone whom he could reasonably assume is an expert in the subject, a perception legitimized by the fact that the article appears in a respected golf publication. 

Over the next few days I will show that every argument made in the Golf Magazine article is based on either misunderstanding or lack of knowledge about the rules. My only object is to set the record straight, at least for whoever reads this blog. My only hope is that the reader gains, perhaps, some greater appreciation of the intent as well as content of the laws that govern how we play the game.

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