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Golf Tips: Seniors get last laugh in this rule book

By: Shawn Kelly
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In case you missed it, in its newest Rules of Golf booklet, the USGA has included some new special rules that apply specifically to special senior golfers. A senior golfer is defined as anyone who is over the age of 55, or those who play like they are. Rule 1.a.5 A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed on the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the rough with no penalty. The senior should not be penalized for uncontrollable mechanical phenomena. Rule 2.d.6 (b) A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck and luck has no place in a scientific game. The senior must estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree and play the ball from there. Rule 3.b.3(g) There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, thereby making it a stolen ball. The senior is not to compound the felony by charging him or herself with a penalty. Rule 4.c.7(h) If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. For seniors, the law of gravity supersedes the law of golf. Rule 5.q Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be deemed blown in. This does not apply to balls more than three inches from the hole. Even seniors do not want to make a travesty of the game. Rule 6.a.9(k) There is no penalty for so-called “out of bounds.” If penny-pinching golf club owners bought sufficient land, this would not occur. Senior golfers deserve an apology, not a penalty. Rule 7.g.15(z) There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, because golf balls should, in fact, float. That they do not is a technical problem that manufacturers need to correct. Senior golfers should not be punished for manufacturers’ shortcomings. Rule 8.k.9(s) Advertisements claim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new clubs, balls, shoes or other equipment. Since this is financially impractical for the average senior golfer, one-half a stroke per hole may be subtracted for using old equipment. This tongue-in-cheek update has been dedicated to all senior players. I hope everyone enjoyed these “special amendments” of the rules of golf for our royal and ancient enthusiasts. May your enjoyment of the game and your sense of humor be enhanced, as well as your scores.