JERRY TARDE

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - jerry tarde

Putting with the pin in.

Waves of pop­ulism and dis­rup­tive change are flow­ing through our world to­day, and there’s no bet­ter ev­i­dence than the rad­i­cal sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of The Rules of Golf be­ing pro­posed by the Royal and An­cient Golf Club of St An­drews and the US Golf As­so­ci­a­tion (see page 40).

The PGA of Amer­ica will al­low pros to wear shorts dur­ing prac­tice rounds of the PGA Cham­pi­onship this year, and it sounds like the PGA Tour sched­ule might flip, with the PGA mov­ing from Au­gust to May and the Play­ers Cham­pi­onship from May to March (page 46). The Ladies’ Golf Union in the UK merged with the R&A in Jan­uary, and even crusty old Muir­field in Scot­land have de­cided in take in women mem­bers now.The Euro­pean Tour is ex­per­i­ment­ing with var­ied tour­na­ment for­mats, and the PGA Tour is rat­tling the Golf Chan­nel in Amer­ica with talk of start­ing its own TV net­work.

Cheers to all these ad­vance­ments as the game evolves to at­tract new play­ers, but I think the rules changes are es­pe­cially bold and smart be­cause they are de­signed to quicken the pace of the game. I don’t agree with many of the young pros who ad­vo­cate break­ing with the “am­a­teurs” and cre­at­ing their own hand­book of rules. I find my­self on the side of Tiger Woods, who tweeted con­grat­u­la­tions to the USGA and R&A for “great work to ben­e­fit the game.”

I es­pe­cially en­dorse “le­gal­is­ing” the use of range find­ers and GPS de­vices to level the play­ing field be­tween every­day play­ers and pros with pro cad­dies. And I like Ian Poul­ter’s sug­ges­tion that “tour green books” should be banned – these are the in­tri­cate draw­ings that show slope on the putting sur­face and inevitably slow down play as pros study them like a Braille Bi­ble and then ask their cad­dies to look at the putt.

I’d go along with Jimmy Dunne of Semi­nole Golf Club in Florida, who said he planned to test drive the full menu of pro­posed changes right away. Don’t tell me it will mess up hand­i­cap­ping.Amer­i­cans al­ready en­gage in civil dis­obe­di­ence with mul­li­gans. I’d also re­verse the USGA’s bad de­ci­sion to dis­al­low solo rounds for hand­i­cap pur­poses.The spirit of the pro­posed changes is based on trust and sen­si­bil­ity.

We did a lit­tle brain­storm­ing among the Golf Di­gest staff and came up with some new and a cou­ple of old ideas to re­boot golf. (Feel free to send us yours at ed­i­tors@golfdi­gest.com.)

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