Golf can be tough, and trying to wrap your head around the rules can be even tougher. Some can leave us scratching our heads at times, and, let’s face it, others are just darn right unnecessary. Although the changes made in 2019 were generally for the better, we think there are still a few golf rules that need to be tweaked.
We know we may be screaming into the wind here, and there’s a strong likelihood that these rules will be around forever. But hey, it's nice to let off some steam every now and then, right?
Check out our list of five golf rules that need a rethink.
The fairway divot
After striping your drive down the centre of the fairway - and soaking up your buddies' praise - finding your ball has come to rest in a nasty fairway divot is a real kick in the teeth.
What you thought would be a no-dramas second shot from green-light territory is now a tricky one from a mini canyon. All you can see is trouble everywhere. Good luck with that next shot! You're going to need it.
We get the arguments against being able to lift and place when you're in a divot. Some would say it's a bit of a grey area trying to distinguish between a worn patch of grass and an actual divot. You might believe that bad breaks are just part of the game, and we should all accept what comes our way.
Those are valid points, but we think divots on the fairway are generally easy to spot, and because they're not part of its natural fabric or design, they shouldn't create an additional challenge in your battle against the golf course.
It doesn't seem right to us that good shots are being penalised. Fingers crossed, that will change in the future!
Most golfers are aware that a golf ball doesn't need to have come to rest in an adjacent field or someone else's property for it to be classed as 'OB'. It also occurs when you cross an internal line - those white stakes that are to be avoided at all costs.
Having internal out-of-bounds on a golf course - unless it's for safety reasons - seems unnecessary to us. Often it's for silly reasons like stopping a golfer from using an adjacent fairway to find an easier route to the hole. Come on!
The Knee-High Ball Drop
The knee-high golf ball drop came into effect - along with the whole raft of new golf rule changes - back in early 2019. It was immediately singled out as one of the more absurd rules at the time, with many of the professional game's biggest stars questioning the benefit of the change.
The main reason we want to see it banished is simple: it looks ridiculous. It looks anything and everything but athletic, and there's no obvious reason why a golfer couldn't just drop from any height above the knee.
If anything, it's an element of a disadvantage to drop it from higher. Make the lowest point the knee, and let each golfer decide what's most comfortable for them. It's a simple change, so let's make it happen. We live in hope!
The footprint in the bunker
It's totally understandable to get a bit hot under the collar when you find yourself in a greenside bunker that's been unraked - or has been raked poorly (which is arguably worse!). No golfer should be penalised for someone else's lack of effort, right?
What's the fix then? Well, during the pandemic many golf clubs allowed preferred lies in the bunker due to the unavailability of rakes, which was a pretty cool move. So, could this be a fair route forward to get rid of the 'footprink in the bunker' issue altogether?
Hitting ahead of the teeing area
As we all know, the penalty for teeing off ahead of the markers is two shots (unless you're having a friendly knock with your pals), which seems fair enough - but it can actually escalate to disqualification if you're not careful.
If you don't rectify your mistake before you tee off on the next hole - or before you put your scorecard in if you were on the final hole - you'll be DQ'd.
That seems a bit harsh to us. When you're only getting an inch or two closer to the pin - it can't be argued that you're gaining much of an advantage. And it's not really worth the risk of being disqualified, is it?
We think two shots is enough of a punishment for such a minor offence - and what's essentially a simple mental lapse.
And one bonus 'rule' for the road:
Pro golfers can't play LIV and PGA Tour
Bit of a controversial (but topical) one to finish up our list. Is it really fair that golfers who have joined the LIV Tour can't play on the PGA Tour? Should their future in major championships be in jeopardy? What about the Ryder Cup?
It's a tricky one with strong opinions on each side. We'd love to hear what you think! What would you do if it was up to you?
Is it a case of ‘LIV and let live’, or should the PGA Tour be allowed to ban those who have jumped ship to a rival tour?
Let us know your views and what you think are the worst rules in golf. How should they be changed to make the game more enjoyable for everyone? You can do that in the comments section below.