How much range time would it take to mas­ter the game?

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

QWhile ad­dress­ing his ball un­der a tree, a play­ing part­ner was dive-bombed by a large red-tailed hawk. Rather than have him risk his hat be­ing clawed off, we al­lowed him to move the ball away from the tree with­out penalty. Were we cor­rect?

ATo truly un­der­stand the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion, we did some re­search on red­tailed hawks. Did you know they can have wing­spans of more than a me­tre, are also known as a chicken hawk, and fre­quently cause dam­age to Foghorn Leghorn? Re­gard­less of what the Rules of Golf says, we be­lieve you made the right call. No gap wedge in the world was go­ing to save his hat, or his hide, from those talons. But De­ci­sion 1-4/10 con­firms you were in the right.You can take re­lief from a “sit­u­a­tion dan­ger­ous to the player.” It doesn’t cite hawks specif­i­cally, but let’s not split hairs or, in the hawk’s case, hares. Get it? The cor­rect pro­ce­dure is to drop in a spot not nearer the hole that isn’t dan­ger­ous, not in a haz­ard, and not on a putting green. Or run like hell. I work at a golf club and see mem­bers prac­tis­ing two or three hours, three to four times a week on the range. Is there an amount of time where there is a limited re­turn on all that work? ▶▶▶ There has been a lot of re­search on what types of prac­tice are best, but we don’t know of any stud­ies on how much to prac­tice. Mal­colm Glad­well fa­mously wrote in his book Out­liers:The Story of Suc­cess that it takes 10 000 hours of prac­tice to mas­ter some­thing. For ex­am­ple, it took us that long to fig­ure out you could take apart a Ru­bik’s Cube and put it back to­gether with all the colours match­ing. If you be­lieve Glad­well, your mem­bers would have to hit balls for three hours every day for more than nine years to mas­ter golf. Dur­ing that time, they would likely lose their jobs, go through two di­vorces, need spinal surgery and change their names toVi­jay. Is that a limited re­turn? Hm­mmm. As my brother-in-law started his swing, a gust of wind blew his ball off the tee, and he had a big whiff. He said he could re-tee with­out penalty. Was he right? ▶▶▶ Two things ap­ply, to your ques­tion.The first is Rule 11-3 in the Rules of Golf.The sec­ond is Rule 2-6 in the Pro­ce­dures for In-Laws,Vol­ume III. Let’s get the golf stuff out of the way. If the ball fell off the tee while he was mak­ing a stroke, it counts as a stroke. He should have played it as it lies.

What mat­ters here is the def­i­ni­tion of a stroke: the for­ward move­ment of the club with the in­ten­tion of hit­ting the ball. So if the ball fell off the tee in the back­swing, it’s not a stroke. If he stopped his swing short of the ball – like Tiger used to do when he heard sounds in the gallery or in his head – it’s also not a stroke.You fol­low?

Now, back to the brother-in-law thing. Do you re­ally want to make your fam­ily hol­i­day gath­er­ings more awk­ward than they al­ready are? Don’t be that guy; let him re-tee with­out penalty.

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