Significant Changes Coming…

Every four years the United States Golf Association and the R&A make revisions to the Rules of Golf and the Decisions on The Rules of Golf. This revision cycle has resulted in some material changes, not only to some of the rules, but also on the application of penalties.We’ve selected a few of the more significant changes for this article.

Rule 4 – CLUBS
Current Rule: The penalty for carrying a non-conforming club is disqualification.
Change for 2008: Beginning in 2008, the penalty will change to be consistent with the penalty for carrying more than fourteen clubs.
If a player carries BUT DOES NOT USE a non-conforming club, in Match play, at the conclusion of the hole at which the breach is discovered, the state of the match is adjusted by deducting one hole for each hole at which a breach occurred; maximum deduction per round is two holes. In Stroke play, the penalty is two strokes for each hole at which any breach occurred; maximum penalty per round is four strokes.
A player is still disqualified if he uses a non-conforming club at any time during the round.
Current Rule: Except in a hazard, if a player has reason to believe a ball is his, he may lift the ball without penalty to identify it.
Change for 2008: A player now has the ability to lift his ball anywhere on the golf course in order to identify it.
The new rule also requires that it must be necessary to lift the ball in order to identify it and that the original lie must not be altered. In other words, if the ball is buried in a bunker, it must be replaced in the same manner. A player is not going to be permitted to use this rule with the intent to improve his position. If a player lifts the ball when it’s not necessary, he will incur a one-stroke penalty. If the ball is not replaced in a similar
lie (Rule 20-3b), it will result in loss of hole in Match play and a two-stroke penalty in Stroke play.
Rule 15-3 – WRONG BALL
Current Rule: There is no penalty if a player makes a stroke at a wrong ball in a hazard. Any strokes made at a wrong ball in a hazard do not count in the player’s score.
Change for 2008: Since 12-2 now permits a player to lift and identify his ball anywhere on the golf course, the penalty for hitting a wrong ball has been expanded to include strokes made at a ball that lies in a hazard. The penalty for hitting a wrong ball now occurs anywhere on the golf course, including in a hazard. The only exception to this rule is if a player makes a stroke at a ball that is moving in a water hazard. The penalty is loss of hole in Match play and a two-stroke penalty in Stroke play.
Current Rule: The penalty for a ball that is accidentally deflected by a player, his equipment, caddie or partner is loss of hole in Match play or two strokes in Stroke play.
Change for 2008: The penalty has been reduced to a onestroke penalty and is now consistent with Rule 18 for a ball at rest moved. This change has a significant impact on Match play since it no longer results in an automatic loss of hole.
Current Rule: When a ball is in motion, an obstruction that might influence the movement of the ball, other than an attended flagstick or equipment of the players,must not be removed.
Change for 2008: When a ball is in motion, an obstruction that might influence the movement of the ball, other than equipment of any player or the flagstick when attended, removed or held up,must not be moved.
In other words, if your clubs are lying next to the flagstick and a ball in motion may strike them, you may now lift both the clubs and the flagstick without penalty.
Current Rule: In order for a player to follow the procedure for a ball lost in an obstruction, abnormal ground condition or a water hazard, a player must have “reasonable evidence” that the ball is lost in the condition.
Change for 2008: The term reasonable evidence implies that there must be no doubt that the ball could be anywhere else but in the referenced condition. However, there was often confusion and a large amount of subjectivity in the understanding of this concept. The rules are now more definitive. It must now be “known or virtually certain” that a ball is lost in the obstruction, abnormal ground condition or water hazard before a player can proceed under those rules. If there is any doubt whatsoever, the ball must be treated as lost outside of those conditions (Rule 27-1).

As I said at the beginning of this article, this only covers a sampling of some of the changes. In addition to changes to the rules, there are 38 new decisions and about 180 revised decisions including about 60 decisions which the USGA defines as substantively revised. For a complete listing of the changes for 2008, go to our website, click on Tournaments and then Rules of Golf.


Donal Crawley – A Challenge for 2008

I know that we don’t all make “resolutions” at year’s end or, if we do, we rarely stick to them past January 10th. But I am going to challenge you to seven simple, yet practical, resolutions
that will help your game for 2008.
1: Keep it simple
Whatever method, system or theory you employ with your game, keep it simple. The brain can only handle a couple of swing thoughts at a time. The swing only takes 1.2 seconds, so you have to keep those thoughts as modest and uncomplicated as possible, getting right to the point of what must be accomplished.
2: Set a golf goal
If you are a bottom line person, set a numbers goal. That might mean a low score mentality: “I’m going to break a 100, 90, 80 this year.” Set a realistic one, not a distant dream. For most amateur weekend golfers, aiming at improving five strokes per round would be an attainable goal.
3: Be more consistent
Let’s understand what consistency is. Hitting every shot perfect is perfection, not consistency. To be a more consistent golfer, you have to practice and play on a consistent basis. How about one practice session during the week and one round every weekend? Improving your mechanics will produce more good shots and fewer poor ones, as you build a more consistent, repetitive swing action.
4: Build a routine
If you build a repetitive, unswerving, recurring routine for hitting a golf ball, you will help yourself achieve resolution #3. Building a routine simply means you are following a set of pre-shot steps.
Visualizing the shot can mean no more than seeing, in your mind’s eye, a shot airborne and going forward. Only at the top “Tiger” level are we seeing a high fade falling two yards softly to the right at the end of a 220-yard high, screaming 5-iron. That is Tiger, not you. Where you are concerned, aim the club face before you take your stance. Keep your posture tall and athletic. Plug in your one simple
swing thought.
5: Evaluate your game
Break the game into four areas: driving, fairway play, short approach shots and putting. Which needs the most help? Often, people complain about their score yet never work on their putting, that facet of play which contributes to 30-40 percent of the game.
Rate each area by your own standards (being objectively fair) and find time to work on your weaknesses this year, striving to establish a more balanced game.
6: Get some help
Take a lesson. Very few good golfers are self-taught. To improve, you need another pair of eyes to help you see what is real, not just what you feel.
Make sure this “help” is from a qualified professional and not the buddy who shoots 100+ and with whom you play every Saturday morning. You know, the friend who tries to explain what he saw the pros doing the other day watching them compete on TV.Not going to happen.
7: Be committed
Not to an asylum for the golf obsessed, but be committed to every shot. Remember, you have a 50/50 chance over every shot. You could either hit it or miss it. It could be good or bad. Take a chance and infuse a positive, committed attitude over every shot. Don’t labor over it; just be more confident than
you have been in the past. Practice will help that along.
Select one of these seven resolutions, or all of them, and put them into practice as the year unfolds. You may be looking forward to your most successful golf season ever in 2008. Most of all enjoy the
beauty of this game.


Senior Cup Series A Success

The AGA established a Senior Cup Series in 2006 to expand opportunities for member participation in tournaments. The intent was to create a fun, low-stress environment for senior golfers of all handicaps.
It was launched with the objective of making quality private courses available to senior AGA members at a reasonable cost. A Senior Series Committee was created and co-chaired by John Ranslem, AGA Executive Committee member and Bob Turell, a member of Desert Mountain Club. According to Turell, “This whole series hinges on getting quality courses, in good condition, at reasonable rates.”
Ranslem agrees. However, as a member of the AGA’s Executive Committee, Ranslem’s vision is more along the lines of creating opportunities for AGA members. “It’s great to provide a product to our senior players who make up a sizeable portion of the AGA membership.”
These one-day net events are open to AGA members 55 years of age and over with a USGA Handicap index of 36.4 or under. The format is Four Ball Stroke Play, more commonly referred to as better ball of partners. Each event is flighted with approximately ten teams per flight. Points are awarded based on the team’s net finish within each flight. Although each tournament has a team format, points accumulate to the individual. This allows golfers to compete with different partners throughout the series. Those golfers accumulating the most points over the series earn an invitation to the season-ending championship.
The series was an immediate success. In its inaugural year, there were six events in which 270 individuals participated. In 2007, the Senior Cup Series expanded to include 15 events; eight in the Greater Phoenix Series, three in the Tucson Satellite Series and three in the Sun City West Satellite Series and a championship at Royal Dunes in Maricopa, AZ. The number of participants grew to 350 senior golfers. Each series was independent of one another and qualified a proportionate number of individuals to attend the seasonending championship.
Tournaments were played between May and September in Phoenix and Tucson and January through April in Sun City West. Sites for the Phoenix series included Desert Forest GC, Desert Highlands, Desert Mountain GC, Talking Rock, Cottonwood GC, Pinnacle Peak CC, Mesa CC and Moon Valley CC. The Tucson Satellite included La Paloma GC, The Gallery GC and Oro Valley CC, and the Sun City West Satellite included Pebblebrook GC, Grandview GC and Corta Belle CC.
The top 60 golfers on the points list met for the Senor Series Championship at the prestigious Royal Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, Ariz. Although each series event consisted of a team format, the final championship was played in the Individual Stableford format.
All in attendance received a generous tee prize and also competed for hole-in-one and closest-to-the-hole prizes. This year’s championship required a one-hole playoff to determine the winner. The top three golfers will be invited to the 2008 AGA Spring Awards Banquet, where the overall winner will receive the Gerald D. Graham, Sr. Cup Series trophy. Congratulations to Jon Rainsberger, (champion), Rich Tamburro and Dave Slojkowski.
As the 2008 season approaches, the AGA looks forward to expanding the Sr. Cup Series yet again. The goal is to host eight to ten events in the Greater Phoenix area, four in a Tucson/Southern Arizona Satellite series, three to six events in a Sun City/Sun City West satellite series and a new threeevent Satellite Series in the western river region of Arizona.
The AGA would like to thank the Senior Cup Series Committee for their work in developing and promoting these events: John Ranslem and Bob Turell, co-chairmen, Elliott Bond, Dick Gardiner,
Cecil Morris and Bill Lich.
Congratulations to all for making the Senor Cup Series a success. If you have any questions, would like to add your golf course to the venue or would like to volunteer your services, contact Mark Hennie at 602-944-3035.