Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

QI hit a shot into a bunker, and it rolled into a ground­hog hole in­side the bunker. What’s the rul­ing?

AAre you sure it was a ground­hog hole and not, say, a tun­nel into the Up­side Down? If you’re cer­tain it was a bur­row­ing an­i­mal, take a swig from your flask, gen­u­flect, then reach in there for your ball and hope no one’s home.The rul­ing is sim­ple, whether you re­trieve your ball or have to re­place it.You’ll need to drop within one club-length of the near­est point of re­lief from Chateau Ground­hog, no nearer to the hole. Do that in the bunker, and there’s no penalty.You can drop out­side the bunker, but that comes with a one-stroke penalty (and quizzi­cal looks from ev­ery­one who thinks you just wasted a stroke, in­clud­ing the ground­hog). I see pros re­pair pitch marks with a tee. A tee can’t do a bet­ter job than a real divot re­pair tool, can it? Ever prop your sun­glasses on the back of your cap? Scoop a ball off the turf and flip it into your hand with a wedge? Hit a shot and bend down to pick up the tee with­out look­ing where the ball went, be­cause you know you pured it? Well, just like us­ing a tee to re­pair a pitch mark, these are some of the skills pros learn dur­ing PGA Tour rookie mini-camp, which takes place ev­ery win­ter in an undis­closed lo­ca­tion in the Mo­jave Desert. The haz­ing by the older play­ers has re­ally got out of hand, in­ci­den­tally. It took six hours to get Emil­iano Grillo un­stuffed from a locker last Jan­uary.

We kid.The point we’re mak­ing is that pros often do things be­cause they look cool. Func­tion often fol­lows form in their world.Though there’s noth­ing like a tee to clean your fin­ger­nails af­ter a round, we asked Paul Lat­shaw, the re­spected direc­tor of grounds op­er­a­tions at Muir­field­Vil­lage, whether us­ing a tee to re­pair a pitch mark is a good idea.“Us­ing a tee is fine by me, be­cause the ten­dency with a mul­ti­ple-prong divot tool is to twist, and that sheers the roots,” Lat­shaw says. He’d rather that golfers use a sin­gle-prong divot tool. It’s ba­si­cally the same shape as a tee, but it has a lit­tle plough that helps push the turf for­ward. What is the term used for a golf course whose ninth hole does not re­turn to the club­house? The un­of­fi­cial term is Cruel & Un­usual.We re­ally like a bath­room break and a toasted ba­con and egg at the turn. Our ar­chi­tec­ture edi­tor, Ron Whitten, says it’s also known as a sin­gle-loop de­sign.A dou­ble-loop has Nos 9 and 18 fin­ish­ing by the club­house.This is often done to ac­com­mo­date nine-hole rounds, avoid the cost of half­way houses and al­low you to buy new pants af­ter hit­ting from the mud bog on No 7. In­ter­est­ingly, ar­chi­tect Tom Doak just named his new Michi­gan course The Loop. It’s re­versible, mean­ing holes can be played in ei­ther di­rec­tion be­cause there are greens on both ends. Loopy, right? Can you wrap a towel (or hand­ker­chief) around your grips when play­ing in the rain? Yep. It’s al­lowed un­der Rule 14-3.You can also play with the laces of both shoes tied to­gether, but we’re not sure why you would. Golfers stopped wrap­ping ’ker­chiefs around their grips about the time rain gloves were in­vented. Rain gloves are great. They help you grip your clubs in the sog­gi­est of weather – and they have the ben­e­fit of not look­ing ridicu­lous. I swing at 160 kilo­me­tres per hour and usu­ally hit the sweet spot. What would be the dif­fer­ence if I swung 170 kph and hit slightly off cen­tre? Cue Billy Joel:“Don’t go chang­ing . . . ” Most golfers can’t gen­er­ate an ex­tra 10 kph of swing speed, but let’s say you can. Be­cause each ex­tra kilo­me­tre per hour equals about one me­tre of dis­tance, you’re look­ing at 10-12 more me­tres. Prob­lem is, you lose about 3 per­cent of your dis­tance when you miss the sweet spot by just 20mm.That’s seven me­tres off a drive of 220 me­tres.And don’t for­get, your off-cen­tre hits more often land in the rough, which means lit­tle or no roll. Bot­tom line: It’s just not worth it.

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