Our panel of Myrtle Beach golf industry experts – including Golf Tourism Solutions (GTS) CEO Bill Golden, Kingfish Communications’ Chris King, GTS Events Division’s Ryan Hart and Brunswick Plantation Resort & Golf’s Scott Thrailkill – weighs in on the rules of golf they want to see revisited.
Chris: Well, I’m going to tell you what, first off I start this from the position that the rules of golf can be pretty absurd in many instances. And if we want to talk about the rules and the ways they’re administered I’m going to take a back to a year ago at the British Open. Jordan Spieth hits a shot on 13 that’s so bad, Hart here would shudder. It took him a half hour to determine where he’s going to play his next shot from. He gets a drop from a pristine practice area. Meanwhile, his opponent, Matt Kuchar, he’s searching for that elusive first major, he has to sit there, he’s essentially iced for a half hour. And this is all with the blessing of R&A officials.
So fast forward to a year from now, you’ve got Bryson DeChambeau, who apparently is in line with pace of play regulations, has the gall to use a protractor and a compass to try to figure of all things, exactly where the hole is. He has to figure this out because the tour’s pin sheets are inaccurate. We have somehow invented a rule two weeks ago that makes this illegal. I mean, it’s wrong, right? Golf is a game that needs to look forward, not backwards.
Scott: Didn’t he say he’s been using this for several years?
Chris: It’s like so many other things with golf. We don’t react to it until the people who are “important” in the game decide it doesn’t look like golf. We should be encouraging things like what DeChambeau is doing, right? Like he’s trying to figure out where the hole is, as opposed to figuring out how he can get a drop from a practice area off a shot that absolutely didn’t deserve it. So if it was me, I would get rid of the rule we invented two weeks ago. Now that’s just for starters.
Ryan: For me, the big hindrance is range finders and the idea that you can get these range finders out there. I think it takes all of the skill that I had to use playing gold growing up, learning distances on your own and stuff like that. And to some degree, I know people argue with me on it, but I feel like it slows the game down as much as some people think that it speeds it up.
Chris: I’ve played with you, I’d encourage you to use one.
Ryan: No, you won’t see me using one, man.
Scott: I mean, for me, I’m just going to go to the obvious one, Phil Mickelson and what happened (at the 2018 U.S. Open). If that’s any one of us, we’re booted, we’ve been disqualified.
Chris: You’d be run out of the world.
Bill: … Anybody (else) on tour, maybe with the exception of Tiger, they’re booted …
Scott: Yeah, exactly.
Chris: That’s crazy.
Scott: But the reason why … It needs to be clear, choose one. Choose one or the other, stick to one, but it’s the growth of the game. I can see it. You know, when I was growing up, I love tournaments, I’m very competitive, but I was a little hot. I can see myself trying to do something like that because I was having a bad round. I mean, what are we saying if we’re going to give Phil a two-shot penalty, and now all of our kids are going to grow up, get in a little tough spot, ball’s going to be running away, “I don’t want to hit from down there, I’m just going to go bump it.” That, to me. I think it’s maybe not a rule, but just the application of the rule. Do it, and do it right.
Bill: Yeah, for me, I get these guys are playing for just crazy sums of money, there’s a lot on the line, but they’ve got to quicken the pace of the game.
Bill: And there are rules in place to do so, they’re not really enforced. The shot clock event in Europe was interesting. I don’t know that they need to go to that extreme, but we’ve got to enforce pace of play because … J. B. Holmes taking how long over that shot a few weeks ago? It just can’t happen, and it does impact players behind them or players with them. It impacts the viewership, it impacts people who are looking at the game. We are in a world where technology, it’s immediacy, we expect things right away. I want range finders, I want the caddies to have range finders, let’s move. You know, they’ll get the yardage right anyway, it’s going to take them three or four minutes. Just shoot it, pull the club, and let’s move on. I think the tour needs to set the stage for that and let that trickle down to the game here that we play …