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Know the Rules

August 18, 2010 - Steve Anderson

We all watched with sadness as Dustin Johnson got accessed a 2-stroke penalty for grounding his club in a bunker during this week's PGA Champtionship, perhaps costing him the title.  Much controversy has surrounded the ruling as the spot he was in certainly didn't look like a bunker and was not maked at all.  I wouldn't have thought it was a bunker but it was on the rule sheet that the players got before hand and we must play be the rules.

Not knowing a rule is no excuse for breaking a rule.  Many years ago I was playing in a tournament when a golfer in my group hit his shot down by the water in a lateral water hazard.  His ball was not in the water but he was in the long grass close to that was inside the hazard line.  As he was searching for his ball he kept reaching down and moving the grass to look for his ball, both with his hand and club.  After he hit the shot someone in my group asked if he had touched the grass and he answered yes.  The rule states you cannot touch any gound or grass that's within the hazard, you must hover your club above it.  He said, "I didn't know that."  Sadly though he had to take the penalty and was done for the day after that.

There's only 34 rules in the book and less than half of these are actually playing rules so take the time to learn them.  In most cases the rules only help you and are there to make the game fair for everyone.


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