After attending my first 4-day PGA/USGA Rules of Golf workshop, it made me think of how cool it would be to be a PGA Tour rules official someday. Every week on tour, you see some type of new situation come up which makes the rules of golf unique when you compare it to the rules in other major sports. We've had some unique rulings here at Nextgengolf events, but nothing quite like Tiger and the boulder (see below). After going through all 34 rules in the Rules of Golf rule book, here are some of my key takeaways from the workshop…
My instructors were well renowned USGA former Rules Director Reed Mackenzie
and PGA Professional Ron Hickman. Each of which have officiated major PGA Tour events including the Masters and the Open Championship. There is no better instruction than experience, and hearing stories about rulings and relating the rules to practical situations was really helpful for me. These guys have been the ones to give rulings to Tiger and Phil, pretty cool stuff.
When in doubt, check the book(s)
Many people either possess or are familiar with the Rules of Golf book and carry it in their bag. If you thought the Rules of Golf book was in depth, check out the Decisions book that covers almost any scenario. This is the book you may see rules officials use especially when making a ruling on a complicated situation.
Gather all the facts before making a ruling
If you have ever been in a position where you need to make a ruling, it is easy to try and resolve a rules dispute as quickly as possible with whatever information is available. However, this is not always the best practice. When practical, wait for all of the facts to be submitted from all parties involved to render the proper ruling. This will save you a lot of headache from an improper ruling.
Knowing the rules is something that can really help you. So what do you do next time an embedded acorn is in the line of your putt? Seriously, the Decisions book
has this covered as well as just about any other question that could come up in the course of your round. The more familiar you are with the rules of the golf, the better you can help yourself by using the rules to your advantage. Who doesn’t remember Tiger being Tiger?