Golf Goals

Breaking records is great, but most snow in February? Give me a warm March day anytime! For a golfer, possibilities and promise are in the air, and it’s the perfect time to set achievable goals for the season. A goal is just a dream with a date attached – and who doesn’t love to dream after a long winter?

Whether it’s whittling your handicap 2 or 3 strokes, building assurance in your short game or confidence in competition, or just plain having more fun with golf, setting goals is an effective way to approach your game. Here’s my golf goals game plan:

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  1. Start with the end in sight. What’s your dream? What’s your definition of a great golf season? Solve a slice, become a better putter, move up a flight in your league, make more time for golf. Pick one goal… or pick ten.
  1. Do a reality check.. We’d all like to be scratch golfers. Is it within the realm of possibility this season? Achievable goals make for big rewards. Golf is hard enough without overlaying it with outsized expectations.
  1. Make it challenging. Commit some energy and discipline to the cause.
  1. Define the how-to’s, the concrete steps to attain a goal. Want to have more fun with golf? Make a list of ideal partners and courses for the season, promise to stop editorializing after every bad hit, and toss in a feel-good charity event. You’d like to kiss your slice good bye? Why not start the season with 2 lessons, a commitment to a weekly practice and an honest assessment of your 10-year-old clubs?
  1. Write it down. Make it yours. Check out my earlier post on keeping a golf journal.

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  1. Pin a date on it. Let’s say, the end of the season, by Labor Day, or before the snow flies. Cancel that last one. We are so done with thinking about snow!!!

Why You Must Know the Definitions in the Rules of Golf

Jeanne Myers is Assistant Tournament Director, Golf Association of Michigan.

In order to apply the Rules of Golf, or even to find the answer to a Rules problem in the Rules of Golf, you have to know the definitions. There are only fifty-one of them, but there is a huge amount of information in them.

More than one golfer has given himself a stroke penalty for causing his ball to oscillate. The Rules savvy golfer, however, knows that oscillating, according to the USGA, is not moving. For a ball to have “moved” it has to leave its position and come to rest in another spot. So, even if you accidentally nudge a ball forward, as long as it returns to its original position, you are safe from penalty – because it hasn’t come to rest in another spot.

Under the definition of “equipment” you will find that when you are sharing a golf cart, when your ball is involved, that cart and everything in it belongs to you – unless the cart is being driven by the other person. And, that “everything in it” includes the other person when the cart is stationary. Therefore, assume another player in your group who is sharing a cart with you, drives the cart and parks it near the green and stays in the cart. You then proceed to play, and your shot hits the person sitting in the stationary cart. You have hit your equipment and will get a one stroke penalty. Hopefully, he will only get a sore arm.

A “stroke” is the forward movement of the club with the intention of hitting the ball. So, if you check your downswing voluntarily or alter your swing path so that you intentionally miss the ball, you have not made a stroke. But, don’t use this to try to disguise a “whiff.” We all know what a “whiff” looks like.

“Through the green” is the whole area of the golf course except the teeing ground and putting green of the hole you are playing and all hazards. Therefore, through the green includes fairways and rough. When you look up relief options, you will need to know that term.

A “rub of the green” is not bad luck. It is when your ball in motion is accidentally stopped or deflected by any outside agency. Therefore, it is a rub of the green if your shot is deflected out of bounds by a piece of mowing equipment, but it is also a rub of the green if it is deflected into the hole by that equipment.

There are no sand traps or pins on golf courses, so you’ll have trouble looking up a Rule involving either. Instead, there are “bunkers” and “flagsticks,” and you will have no problem finding the proper entries in the Index to the Rules of Golf to find the answer you need using those terms.

An “obstruction” is anything artificial except 1) objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences and stakes, 2) immovable artificial objects located out of bounds, and 3) integral parts of the course. If you know this definition, you will know that if retaining walls in a water hazard have been declared to be integral parts of the course, you will not get free relief from them even if your ball lies outside the hazard.

A “provisional ball” is one played for an original ball that may be out of bounds or may be lost outside of a water hazard.

The rest of those definitions are up to you!

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