The USGA and R&A’s new rule changes that went into effect Jan. 1 were designed to simplify a complicated game. The Forecaddie knows it’s more complicated than just hitting the ball into the hole.
Adam Scott thinks the new rules made golf “a laughingstock.” Justin Thomas said “they’re terrible” before his recent spat with the USGA. From backstopping to the height you drop the ball from, a handful of issues have broken out in the professional ranks early this season.
Meanwhile, the college game has been crawling right along, largely immune to the matter.
With fewer officials on the course, understanding the rules is immensely important for college players. So when the revisions were put in place a couple months ago, coaches across the country brought in officials and even gave out quizzes on the new rule changes.
“There have been some questions, but you just ask an official and you go,” said Georgia Tech assistant men’s golf coach Drew McGee. “I haven’t noticed a huge difference with the rules yet.
“We’ve used the flag in a lot more than I thought we would,” added McGee. “It depends on the situation and what they’re feeling. Some of (the players) just like having something else to aim at.”
Andrew Larkin, an assistant men’s golf coach at UCLA, went as far to say the implementation of the new rules has been “pretty flawless” while also discussing the game’s struggle with pace of play.
“There obviously has to be a gray area if a kid is just playing poorly, or you’re playing in a field with really good teams and some average teams and someone is just struggling. That’s where it gets lost in the translation a little in college because you don’t want to penalize someone for playing bad.”
“I don’t know that (new rules) have slowed down the game because college players aren’t that fast anyways,” joked UNLV men’s head golf coach Dwaine Knight. “I’m hoping we learn how to speed it up a bit more.”
Whining about the new rules is a bad look for everyone involved. While TMOF thinks it’s dumb to penalize a player for dropping a ball too high off the ground, he realizes that while some rules are meant to be broken, that’s never the case in golf. The college players look up to the pros, but those on Tour might be able to learn a lesson or two from the student-athletes: study the rules, obey the rules, don’t complain about the rules.
It’s as simple as that. Gwk